History rewritten

As informed people know, the Second Amendment, in its totality, reads as follows: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The National Rifle Association and its members are always careful to delete the militia part.

The militia has been held by federal courts to mean the National Guard.

The NRA followers like to maintain that the private ownership of guns is all that keeps America free, forgetting we have armed forces.

Recently a letter writer wrote that we have never had to fight a war in our own back yards because Americans have guns and will use them. He needs to study fifth grade history. In the war of 1812 the British invaded Virginia, Maryland, New York and Louisiana. The British burned the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The gunmen would do well to stop distorting the Constitution and to stop rewriting history.

M.M. Carlile


Blame Howell

I live in Europe and consequently I am two to three weeks behind in receiving my Tribune-Herald. I have just received the editions from the first week in March.

I am appalled at the number of people who are saying things like, “Poor Vernon, such a nice, kind man. The ATF didn’t have to storm the compound. If they had been courteous and gone to the door. If they had confronted him in town.” Or if, choose your own excuse for “poor” Vern, the bloodshed could have been avoided.

Vernon Howell did not have to illegally stockpile weapons. He did not have to train his organization in paramilitary maneuvers. Was he afraid that someone might try to remove the under-age girls he was abusing? I haven’t heard “kind, harmless” Vernon’s defenders defending his destruction of those children’s lives. Fickle, aren’t they?

The compound would probably have survived the abuse charges as well as other charges leveled at it in spite of their horrendous nature.

Most tragic of all, and the fact that most people seem to be overlooking, Vernon Howell did not have to fire on ATF agents. He chose to do so.

If he had nothing to hide he would have surrendered on the spot and he could have avoided all of the bloodshed. No one is to blame for the injuries and deaths of all those involved but Vernon Howell and his followers.

Jennie Baxley

Edzell by Brechin Angus


Move the tanks

Send the tanks in the back and Super Dave and his so-called tribe will come out the front.

A.L. Maricle


Distorted view

Molly Ivins’ statements in a column March 31 about H.B. 1776 are greatly distorted and a clear demonstration that her main concern is not responsible journalism but the furtherance of hysterical liberal bias.

Ivins asserts that David Koresh could have obtained a concealed-carry permit. Ivins makes statements about a bill she appears to have no first-hand knowledge of.

Ivins also points out that the homicide rate in Texas exceeds the auto fatality rate. Ivins again conveniently fails to mention that the homicide rate in states where there is concealed-carry legislation the homicide rate is lower than this state’s auto fatality rate. If Ivins were truly concerned about reducing violent crime in Texas she would know that the 37 states that have concealed-carry laws have seen reductions in violent crime.

After passage of Oregon’s concealed-carry law in 1989, Oregon’s homicide rate dropped 21 percent while the national rate rose 8 percent over the same period.

Scott Randall


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.