Fame wrong

I read the paper every day and I see David Koresh all over it. I think it’s a shame that someone can kill in the name of God and have a movie and book produced on him.

This man has not helped one soul. But we the people make him popular. He is known all over the world now.

I would like to know why someone can kill and endanger other people’s lives and become famous?

There are a lot of people who do good for other people and no one makes TV shows about them or writes a book about them. Is this what our world has come to?

Marvin R. Cash


Feel sadness

I want to express appreciation for the viewpoint in this morning’s column by John Young [March 23, “They saw it on TV.”] The standoff at the compound has had my attention from the start.

I have most appreciated the coverage of the Tribune-Herald. I much prefer to get my news at my own time and pace, which the printed word offers.

I understand a lot of people have a sense of impatience with this event. I see this as a human need to make closure and move on.

I have a great concern for the children in the compound. Surely they have no choice. They will be affected by this heavy indoctrination and possible abuse the rest of their lives. This concerns me and makes me very sad for their future.

Leota Kuykendall


Use military

I never thought the FBI and the ATF were so inept at negotiating with murderers.

It seems they are going to stand around and wait for the cult to run out of food. In the meantime the media will have to stand around all day waiting for the press conference.

The military should be brought in. The military could go in with the tanks and break the outer walls and then shoot tear gas through all the windows.

I heard most of the kids’ mothers and dads are inside. I believe they would see that the kids got out safe. Why doesn’t someone give it a try?

William H. Bass


How it feels

Well, well. So the Tribune-Herald is being sued for tipping off the Branch Davidian wackos. It just isn’t fair that such a foul, underhanded deed be laid at your step.

Not an objective, honorable, noble institution like the Trib (guffaw, guffaw). Of course not.

The next time you care to run a piece of politically correct drivel trashing the pro-life movement, just remember what it’s like to be misunderstood. Remember what it’s like being the target of distorted and biased news pieces.

When you allow this jerk in Florida to be portrayed as representative of the pro-life movement, then remember your little predicament. Tsk, tsk.

Chuck Raines


No exoneration

The so-called disclaimer that you printed in the March 1 paper in no way exonerates you or the Tribune-Herald from the responsibility that you have for the deaths of the ATF agents and the people in Mount Carmel.

When you and your reporters researching the story were aware that the government was also working on the case and the ATF asked you to hold off publication of your story, you should have waited however long needed until they made their move.

Anyone with one brain cell working could figure that a story with the front page, large-print spread you used would certainly tip the leader and his followers off that something might be up.

By breaking the story you either compromised the ATF in its planned serving of the warrant, or you forced their hand and made them have to move more quickly than planned.

Marcia Cooper


[Jack Killorin, chief ATF spokesman in Washington, has said repeatedly that the series was not to blame for the tragedy. On March 3, Killorin called such accusations “grossly unfair.” —Ed.]


I watched in horror as the events of the “assault on Mount Carmel” unfolded in the media.

I must say that I am appalled at the behavior of the press during this tragedy. The Bill of Rights protects them with certain freedoms, but where does their freedom end and negligence begin?

I have heard many accounts of how this assault came about and who should accept responsibility. ATF officials have reported massive buildups of illegal arms and accusations of child molestation. Yet in spite of this the media have allowed opinions of self-proclaimed authorities to lead the public to believe that these officers were negligent in their duties thereby “bringing this on themselves.”

The thing I have not heard the media report is where their responsibility lies since some of their actions may have led to the officers losing their element of surprise.

Somewhere down the line the media has forgotten that four officers lost their lives and many were wounded, leading me to ask these questions. Does having a scoop on a story equal the cost of human life? To the critics of the ATF agency: Have you stopped to ask yourselves who this cult was planning to use their weapons on?

Cathy Alexander


[Though the ATF by now is aware of the allegations of child abuse, the reports were made to local law enforcement by former cult members as far back as two years ago. A “scoop,” in our view, is not worth a human life. —Ed.]

Ill informed

Since Al Vavra [Letters, March 14] is more knowledgeable about how search warrants are supposed to be executed, maybe the ATF should have consulted him before it went to Mount Carmel.

He said they heard there were guns out there. The ATF does not act on hearsay. It relies on facts. Vavra also stated, “According to what the news media told the public.”

That is where the problem lies. The news media don’t have the foggiest of what is going on. That was apparent in Bob Lott’s editorial Feb. 27, when he blasted the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department for doing nothing, when in fact it had been investigating the cult for a year.

A lot of people like Vavra keep referring to this as a religious issue. That is not the case.

The ATF went to Mount Carmel to issue a search warrant for possession of illegal weapons. It tried to serve the warrant when the door was slammed in agents’ faces and gunfire started coming from within the house. The ATF did not fire the first shot.

News media from KWTX-TV and the Tribune-Herald were there and can attest to that, even though they had no business there.

All they care about is glamorization and making the almighty dollar. They have no respect for human life. God have mercy on them.

Linda Jones


No hint of raid

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be so perfect and be able to get our facts 100 percent correct the very first time we wrote, or spoke out, on a subject?

Well, the plain and simple truth is that if the critics of the Tribune-Herald took the time to read all that was printed about the Mount Carmel cult you would see that nothing in their reporting even remotely hinted at the planned raid of the compound.

Yellow journalism is an abuse of freedom of the press. I feel that the Tribune-Herald was remiss in not postponing its publication of their story. However, that was not the avenue that was used by the compound to get prior knowledge of the raid; that came, as the authorities believe, from a phone call.

My main complaint against the Tribune-Herald is its policy of printing addresses of people arrested in Waco. Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to apply to the Tribune-Herald. Branding a person before trial by publishing his address is wrong. I don’t see that the public has a need to know this depth of information.

Robert Steuer


Attack on liberty

As a proud member of the National Rifle Association your leftist, liberal, commie cartoon in the March 9 edition clearly shows your attack on one of our civil liberties—the right to bear arms.

I do not aspire to any of David Koresh’s beliefs, and I don’t know of any NRA member that does, but your editorial cartoon seems to show otherwise.

The NRA stands on the legal side of gun ownership. They are against people buying and stockpiling illegal weapons such as David Koresh did.

Your cartoon — to say the least — was insulting to me. Which civil liberty are you going to attack next — freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, etc.?

You know, maybe this paper can be blamed in part for the Mount Carmel massacre. You printed a larger than life article on this religious cult one day prior to the shooting. Did your paper know something that it shouldn’t have known? Was your paper the one that tipped off the religious cult that there was going to be an ATF raid?

I have a new name for your paper — how about the Waco Urine Herald — because it belongs in the toilet.

Oh, by the way, I sent a copy of your cartoon and my letter to the NRA in Washington, D.C. I’m sure they’ll appreciate seeing it.

Tom Hutyra


Firearms laws

Kiley Kendrick [Letters, March 16] has submitted one of the most sensible opinions on Mount Carmel incident.

The media are doing just what Vernon Howell wants them to do. If the media would just go home and let things quiet down, it would help our officials.

Also there seems to be far too many peace officers, if the reports are right. Some should be sent home to their families and other duty. It doesn’t seem that it would take so many to wait this out. It would help to keep the cost to the taxpayers down.

The Tribune-Herald, to my estimation, did not gain anything by starting the series on Mount Carmel when they did.

And hurrah for the brave people in New Jersey who upheld the ban on assault weapons in their state. No one should be able to buy and own these weapons in today’s society. Only allow sale of basic weapons for home protection and hunting sports.

Wake up, Texas; let’s have some legislation on firearms.

Leo Krenek


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.