As I have read some of the letters in your column, and listened to some of the media, I am wondering if some people really know what has been happening or if they just enjoy cop-bashing.

No one has questioned Vernon Howell’s freedom to worship, to speak, to bear arms; however, that freedom did not include the abuse of teen-agers and small children, the taking of any number of wives in order to have children to replenish his cult, stockpiling weapons of war, nor the threats he has been sending out to the officers, but which also apply to our safety.

Personally, I am thankful for the ATF, FBI and all the other officers who have given so much of themselves to try to solve a situation that could never have been solved without bloodshed.

I am thankful for W-A-C-O, Cablevision, Ray Meadows and all the others who were so faithful to take the food donated by so many caring people out to the officers; for those people who drove by on Sunday afternoons and “honked” to show support for the officers.

And more than anything, I am thankful for the freedom of choice that Vernon Howell had, the freedom of choice I have and my neighbor has, and for the fact that if my neighbor decides to tear up my space, there are brave men who will step in to keep me safe, regardless of criticism.

Mary V. Doherty


Special edition

Thank you for Monday afternoon’s special edition [April 19 on the Mount Carmel fire]. It was an appropriate response to mark this sadly historic day in the life of our community.

Knowing the truth is a vital part of the grieving process. The special edition helped us separate fact from rumor and enabled us to begin to cope with the shock of the loss of life at Mount Carmel.

I appreciate the Tribune-Herald’s commitment of personnel and resources to publish the special edition. It could not have been an easy task, but it was an important one.

Hatch M. Bailey



As a Christian I have a really hard time dealing with this situation. First, I feel it is in very bad taste for people to sell these T-shirts after such devastation. I can’t believe such insensitivity. Second, I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the president of the United States say he didn’t feel responsible for a bunch of religious fanatics who decided to murder themselves. I don’t think those children decided anything.

No matter how misguided these people were, their families deserve our respect for their tragic losses. A little compassion would be nice.

Charlotte Williamson


Role models

This is in response to the outrage toward the law enforcement agencies. These agencies have shown excellent courage and leadership. They have been terrific role models for our teen-agers and children.

No one — and I mean no one — can understand the pressures that these men and women faced in 51 days.

For all of you people who think this is the law enforcement agencies’ fault, you need to take another quick look at the real issues here.

David Koresh was given chance after chance to come out. He had the adults and children so brainwashed that they would do exactly what he wanted.

Never have I heard of God’s churches needing to be armed with powerful ammunition.

Tracy Tidmore

Axtell High School

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.