In view of the difficulties associated with resolving the standoff at the Branch Davidian complex at Mount Carmel, I propose the following solution:

  • Using armored vehicles, the FBI would disable all the Davidians’ vehicles. If fired upon, the FBI would not return fire.
  • Again using armor as a screen, construct a high, electrified fence around the premises. Anyone attempting a breakout would have to do so lightly armed and on foot. They should be easy to apprehend. I would expect this to cost what one or two days of the present method is costing.

Cut off phone contact to the inside. Send 90 percent of the law enforcement people home to their families. Grant no more news conferences until the resolution of the matter (which should be unconditional surrender).

  • Wait. I am sure this will not be violent enough for the media and those watching, but I assure you it will work.

An added benefit would be that the government could seize the property after the solution of the issue. Then they could give it to McLennan County as the site of the new jail and detention center.

One more thing. This facility should bear the name of the agents who died there.

Fred Grimes


Our support

We the undersigned citizens of Waco affirm our support and admiration for the efforts of the federal task force and the individuals and institutions public and private currently working to resolve the crisis at Mount Carmel.

We support the enforcement of all pertinent laws whether they be violations of the federal firearms act or those related to the abuse of children. We deplore the use of force against our police officers.

We protest the actions of members of the editorial staff of the Tribune-Herald who have seized upon this tragedy to promote gun control at any price. The issue should be the enforcement of existing laws and the overall concern, the abuse and exploitation of innocent children by a twisted and greedy man.

The concept of limited government is defined and established in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We defend the individual ownership of guns as a civil right with concomitant responsibilities. For this, you have characterized us as “nuts” and “cultists.”

We ask you to act responsibly in concert with your First Amendment rights. Do not distort the facts about guns, existing gun laws and your fellow citizens who disagree with you.

Mike Cumpston

[12 others signed]


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.