Why the series?

You editors of the Tribune-Herald keep defending your advance printing of the Mount Carmel cult story in the Saturday editions prior to the raid by continually declaring that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has said that it did not cause the tragedy.

Now, can you editors be good enough to explain just how this early printing of the story helped the situation any, or what earthly good was accomplished by printing it?

Many of us here think maybe the reporters and editors of this newspaper are just a selfish bunch of career-minded individuals whose sole interest in life is printing a big news scoop that will receive world attention and win a few awards. Some of us think the attention and award you all should get is a term in jail and a huge fine.

The news media are always harping about ‘the public’s right to know” and using it to excuse the publishing of most anything. If you continue to fail to use a little common sense and judgment in what you do, that sacred cow called “freedom of the press” may be drawn and quartered one day and all of us will have to suffer a huge loss of our precious freedom.

Allen Black


A good job

Credit’s due to the selfless officers who are in the heat, cold and rain hour in and out. I’ve had the opportunity to do volunteer work 12 to 16 hours a day for these guys who surround the compound. I’ve seen them at work when I come and go.

People, we owe commendation to the FBI, ATF, Texas Rangers, DPS, Sheriff Harwell and his department, TABC and the state police for being devoted and loyal to their job.

There has been teamwork and leadership which you would have to see to believe. It’s been a job well done so far, and believe you me, I am sold on our country’s law enforcement. If you are not, try putting yourself in Vernon Howell’s shoes and look out your window day or night. Good job, guys.

Mike Gerhardt


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.