Why lawyer?

One would wonder why David Koresh, who professes to be Christ, would need an attorney.

Wallace Martin

Waco

Must be stopped

Vernon Howell has the right to think and preach that he is the messiah. But when his preaching causes the death and suffering of others, then it is time for the “messiah” to be stopped and face the consequences of his actions.

Some people think that Howell has gone too far and that ATF needs to go in there and just kill him. In my mind, that would be murder. Such action, motivated by anger, would be unjust, and that is not what an authority like ATF should stand for.

On the other hand, negotiators should not make promises they cannot keep. Honesty is the best policy.

Maria D. Dokolas

Waco

Knock down

If you can believe the things you read about Vernon Howell, he is nothing but a Bible-thumping, beer-drinking pedophile who has mysterious power over some people.

A fitting punishment for Vernon would be a properly applied coyote snare, given a firm tug and his “seeding” of little girls would be forever stopped.

Many questions remain to be answered pertaining to the raid on those people’s home by 100 ATF agents.

Vernon is not worth the lives he has cost so far, and then there could be many more lives lost. If the children were out of the place, it would already by fire-bombed.

It seems that if the government had enough evidence on the Davidians to send the ATF against them, the government had enough to end the standoff by systematically knocking it down with Abrams tanks, without killing any more of the children.

Drive the tanks through the buildings slowly, giving Davidians time to move from the falling buildings.

Then, when it is all over and the Davidians are incarcerated, let the planner of the raid on 90 women and children do some explaining. As it stands now it smacks of Third World doings.

Walton Ballew Sr.

Waco

Call ACLU

I see on TV the compound known as Mount Carmel and I saw the “storm trooper” attack by the ATF agents. Now I see the search lights and hear the noises sounding around the compound from our FBI people.

Now, I don’t condone cult type of living, but don’t people, even in a cult, have civil rights? After all, other than the children, they were all there by choice, weren’t they?

Had they not been there for several years without creating any problems for the surrounding community?

ACLU, where are you?

Paul Baldwin

Whitney

Liberty attacked

To describe the conduct of law enforcement in the Davidian situation as reprehensible is probably to be branded a defender of religious fanaticism. Rubbish.

The assault on Mount Carmel was an assault on civil liberties. As nearly as I understand, the law thinks the Davidians have contemplated suicide … or maybe have some “illegal” weapons. If suicide is unlawful, punish the guilty. If contemplating suicide is unlawful, then I dare say half the county has been guilty at one time or another.

If the right to bear arms is unlawful, so is the Constitution. Therein lies the problem. Liberty comes packaged with the potential for excess. Religion liberty allows for religious extremism.

Firearms can be used unfortunately against one’s enemies, or, as I think the constitutional framers intended, against the excesses of government.

Our country is full of problems, but until the ATF arrived, Mount Carmel was not one of them.

But where is the Fourth Estate in all this? So often our “free” press has stood firm against the extremism of government. At Mount Carmel they’re part of the circus, a sideshow to an exercise in tyranny. Shame on you.

D.H. Crites

Temple

Gifts for kids

Before the Christmas music was played on March 23 at the Mount Carmel “compound” I was thinking about Christmas gifts for the children who remain in the compound.

David Koresh is being denied many of the luxuries of life, but he continues to be much better off than if he surrendered. He knows that if he can continue prolonging the standoff, he will be able to spend Christmas with his favorite wife and or a juvenile concubine.

He should accept his lawyer’s advice to surrender, plead insanity, go to Vernon State Hospital for a few months, be declared mentally competent, and be able to get out and through mind control, start another harem.

H.C. Mitchell

Waco

Officers polite

We would like to thank all the law enforcement officers who work the checkpoints on FM 2491 and FM 2957 for being courteous and mannerly.

We live within the secured perimeter of the Mount Carmel compound and have had to go through two road blocks every day since Feb. 28.

I, for one, am extremely happy they are there to keep out those who do not live in that area who try to get a glimpse of tragedy.

DPS, sheriff’s department and ATF agents have been extremely polite and congenial to my family.

It has been a tragic way to meet such nice people from all over the state. We wish to express our sympathies to the ATF families who lost loved ones that fateful day and a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

Debra Kubitza

Waco

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.