Gone overboard

While the siege at Mount Carmel has been headline news since Feb. 28, the media, as usual, have totally gone overboard. The media have created a circus-type atmosphere of the tragic events which occurred and as is typical of the media’s mentality, completely played into the hands of Vernon Howell. Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh, is no “preacher,” “prophet” or “savior.”

He is an inherently evil man who sold his soul and corrupted many people with his perversions. The media — newspaper, television and radio — have all given this man free, complete coverage and a worldwide audience to which he can deliver his twisted “message of truth.” I truly resented the fact that certain local radio and television stations were so willing to broadcast his corrupt message.

This is not journalism, merely sensationalism of the worse type. The media owe an apology to everyone they subjected to this evil man’s “teachings.” Each member of the media should search his own soul to discover the true motives behind the seeming insatiable need to sensationalize everything.

Cathy L. Philips


Casting doubts

Vern Herschberger’s editorial cartoon March 3 depicts a meddle-aged cleric garbed in robe, collar and pectoral cross, with ammunition around his neck in the form of a pastor’s stole.

The cleric is standing in front of churchly looking windows and behind a pulpit adorned with a bullet etched with a cross. Gun barrels rise from the midst of the unseen faithful, and carbines are imprinted in the window glass. Oh, yes, and the cleric is inviting the people to pray. What does this mean?

At first blush Herschberger’s image seems to question the religion of the Branch Davidians. If that were the case, why was a caricature of their leader or of the compound at Mount Carmel not included?

Instead Herschberger’s cartoon seems more to be a commentary of Christianity in general. Since I suspect the artist intended something more related to the tragedy at Mount Carmel, why the choice of an easy image which as no reference point in the news?

I imagine Herschberger would find offensive a cartoon that suggested media personnel telegraphed information to cult leader and were, thus a factor in the deaths at Mount Carmel.

Samuel Zumwalt


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.