Self-style guru

Regarding Merle Witt’s March 24 letter, why should events at Mount Carmel cause people to remember Waco as a dangerous and unstable city?

Those events are not about Waco. They are about a self-styled guru who felt the need to arm the compound at Mount Carmel with assault weapons to protect the practice of his brand of religion that exploits people, especially children, thumbs its nose at our laws and offends our sense of decency.

Howell-Koresh is the dangerous one and those people at the compound are the unstable ones.

Only a few of the Howell-Koresh disciples are from Waco. Many are from outside the United States. Look at the area Howell-Koresh had to comb to find 100 or so who would accept his doctrine.

Waco is a stable city and Waco is a caring city. Thousands here can and do attend church, read their Bibles and express their opinions and beliefs, all without the use of firearms.

The community was saddened by the loss of the courageous ATF agents, and the seriousness of the Mount Carmel affair is not lost on the citizens of Waco.

Place the blame where it belongs—on the head of Howell-Koresh.

Jo Pierce


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.