Glad they serve

What would the people who have had nothing good to say about the way officials handled the Mount Carmel affair be saying if after the first negativisms were communicated, the local, state and federal authorities packed up and went home (about day two or three of the ordeal)?

People should be grateful the officials didn’t leave. That action would have left Ma, Pa, Sis and Jr. to quickly figure out what to do.

Be grateful, people we no longer live in a time when the only time the law got involved was when the homesteaders couldn’t handle the problem themselves. Some places are still like that.

There have been times, not long ago, when law officials determined a situation was too threatening to help those who needed help.

James F. Roberts III


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.