Charge survivors

I’m tired of hearing about Vernon Howell’s constitutional rights having been violated. Before there was ever a Constitution, Bill of Rights or a United States of America there was a law called “The Ten Commandments” sent through Moses by the God that Howell purported to be. These can be found in any Bible, and in Howell’s reading he obviously missed this part. He violated all 10.

As for the survivors of the fire, I feel they should all be charged with aiding and abetting murder of 17 children. None was carrying a baby when he or she escaped.


Susan Croft


A service

Your insert May 2 dealing with mental health aspects of the Mount Carmel tragedy was just one more example of the Trib’s commitment to serving our community.

We thank you and hope that the information there will be helpful, and that it will not only be used by individuals but also be the basis for group discussions – in the schools, in our churches, and in groups organized solely for this purpose.

It is imperative that we recognize that even the most hardened among us has some reaction to this cataclysmic event and that we take some positive steps to heal ourselves.

Extra copies of Sunday’s insert are available at the Mental Health Association office, 776-8801

Mary Cantrell

Heart of Texas Mental Health Association


At least some good did come out of the Mount Carmel tragedy. We got a chance to look at ourselves. To get out from behind the wall where each one of us lives we didn’t much like what we saw so we concentrated our misery toward Mr. Howell-Koresh.

We took sides some times. We cheered as one trifled with the mind of the other. We, at times, defended the immoral against the principled, then reversed it as some new revelation came onto the headline.

We watched and waited for the final outcome. We all recoiled with horror as the flames engulfed Ranch Apocalypse. As the people inside died, so did we.

We’re safe now, behind our bastion security wall, hoping that we not become entangled in the affairs of others. We cry for the children and ourselves.

George Vokac


Been remiss

The situation concerning the Branch Davidians has been sad and stressful to all who were aware of it.

However, this tragic end has been typical of situations such as this. We could hardly have expected anything but some horrible end.

I personally think that the ATF and the FBI agents managed this situation as well as any human beings could have. After all, it is impossible to read an insane person’s mind.

Koresh had gotten away with murder for years and this should not have been allowed. According to the information I have had, there had been complaints for several years of child abuse and other things that should have been investigated more thoroughly back then.

I think we have been remiss in our handling of these problems. We should have been more alert to the type of people living in that compound.

V. Joyce Wells


Rule of money

Lawyers Dick DeGuerin and Jack Zimmermann were off base blaming the tragedy at Mount Carmel on the FBI and ATF. They were doing their jobs as ordered.

At least these agents were attempting to enforce the law as prescribed.

Obviously these gregarious lawyers obey the rule of money only, not decency. Their deeds should receive blame, not law enforcement.

James J. Pate


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.