End of freedoms

Well, the smoke is finally settling from the bloody assault on the Davidian cult. I feel it portends the end of our heretofore sacred freedom of conscience and religion. The politically correct crowd has had its grand moment.

A small group of people has dared to believe in a way that most of society finds repugnant; for that, the storm troops have descended upon them with horrible results. This has been done while placing the blame on the Davidians who only responded to an armed assault on their property and person.

Unfortunately, we as Christians, because of our revulsion to their seemingly blasphemous beliefs, remain mum in the face of pure police-state tactics. It’s the Davidians today. But why would we think it won’t be the Baptists tomorrow?

As an ex-sheriff’s deputy, I recall the standard procedure was to first present the warrant and then, if resistance was met, we used force.

However, in this day of “democracy,” as long as the majority approves, such atrocities will go unpunished. In a saner day, our Constitution would protect a person from such outrages. But today our constitutionally protected rights are trampled daily.

Floyd T. Martin


Support agents

Stop blaming the ATF agents. They’re doing their jobs and doing great at that.

My family and I are 100 percent behind these wonderful agents and officials.

Debbie Boeche


Opened my eyes

I’m so glad that your paper decided to run the series on Vernon Howell, aka David Koresh. It really opened my eyes about what can go on inside the cults that are out there in the world.

What I’m so appalled at is how the TV media are turning this into a three-ring circus. In my opinion, they are only feeding the Howell/Koresh the attention that he wants.

My suggestion to the federal agents is to just round up all the TV media and put them in the convention center and tell them, “When we know something, we’ll let you know.”

Rene Sawyer


Disregarded law

Until lately, I thought that the Constitution was the supreme law of America. When did that change? Can our law enforcement agencies operate in total disregard to that law? It seems that they can.

According to what the news media told the public, the ATF agents went to Mount Carmel, a legally organized religious organization, for the mere purpose of serving the search warrant.

Sure, they’d been told that there were some illegal weapons there, but our Constitution says that we are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. We are also considered secure in our homes, and have the right to defend ourselves should we feel threatened.

There’s not a one of us who would not have felt ourselves to be in danger had a large bunch of goons rushed our home, with drawn guns, yelling for us to come out. (And I mean no disrespect to those ATF agents who were only carrying out orders.)

That search warrant should have been served by a duly-constituted authority, in a non-belligerent manner. Then, if illegal weapons were found, an arrest should have been made. If arrest was resisted, then and only then should the overwhelming force have been used. These people had not been proven guilty in the legal way.

Al Vavra


Wasted life

Mount Carmel leader David Koresh based his “life and fortune” on the Apocalyptic literature of the Bible as did Jim Jones of a generation ago. This is a truly great tragedy.

Not only did Koresh waste his life and those of his cult members but also those who were pledged to uphold the law. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that his actions were based on what he thought to be Christian principles.

Carroll Johnson


Cut the power

The ATF and FBI may be limited by law in what actions they may take, but it seems to me the electric utility company could disconnect power to the compound and expedite God’s intervention.

Tom C. Morris


Enough’s enough

It is time for two things to occur with this criminal cult.

First, taxpayers are tired of paying millions of dollars for some nut to act out his fantasies. It is time to give them the choice of coming out on their own we burn them to the ground.

Second, any money to be made on movies or books should not go to these nuts, but to the taxpayers who area paying the millions of dollars in costs. A local attorney stated in the Tribune-Herald he could help the cult make big money on movie rights. Under no circumstances – no way.

I encourage everyone to write to Congress and the president to pass legislation immediately to assure that not only do these nuts not get one red cent in any type of royalties on the murders they committed, but also all their property be seized and sold and that money go to the taxpayers of this country also. Enough is enough.

Jim Denton

Elm Mott

Not worth 1 life

It is so disgusting to know what kind of people we have in this country nowadays.

All you loving, sympathetic people who are praising the kind of people who take up arms against all state and federal law enforcement agents. What in the name of God are you doing?

If you “good people” want such as that living around you, go where those kinds of people rule their country. Leave those of us who still want to respect law and order and have law officers we can trust to protect us against such criminals.

That whole cult isn’t worth one life that has been taken trying to protect decent people.

Since when does any fool have the right to defy the law?

Violeta Davis


Prove it first

Everyone is ready to string up Vernon Howell for the allegation of child abuse and molestation.

Let’s prove it happened first. Just because someone claims it happened, doesn’t always make it true.

It is so easy here in Waco to accuse someone of child molestation and sentence him without a fair trial.

If it is true, then let’s string up the real culprits here. The parents of those children are the ones to blame.

I believe in God’s love and fear him. But not even God himself would have my permission to molest or seduce my children.

Cathy Thompson


Bad guys winning

Charles Manson and David Koresh, aka Vernon Howell – who are they?

It scares me spitless to think what has happened these past few days could happen so close to Waco. I realize we are pretty notorious crimewise, but I’m truly scared. To think that a “Charles Manson” is right here on our doorstep is unbelievable.

Maybe David Koresh hasn’t terrorized outside the cult, but he certainly has his followers, especially the young girls, just like Charles Manson.

How has our society allowed normal, everyday people to be armed more than the local police, sheriff or ATF?

I am a nurse in the critical care unit at Providence Health Center, and I have met some of the ATF officers. I have met some of the ATF officers. I have found them to be normal people, not boastful or arrogant. They were doing a job, a job they train long and hard to do correctly.

It’s sad to hear people taking the side of the “bad guys,” saying the ATF was wrong in how they went about their job Feb. 28.

Wake up, people. We need more good guys in our world today. The bad guys are winning and they are hiding everywhere.

Linda Putman Waller


Disobeying God

Being an advocate for mental health, I cannot understand Vernon Howell, being such a religious man, is not abiding by the Ten Commandments. “Thou shalt not kill.” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as they love thyself.”

Helen Michael


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.