"I find it appalling and ghastly that anyone could even think of, much less discuss with a news reporter, 'movie offers' to a madman such as Vernon Howell. But for a member of the bar to engage in such a discussion so soon following the massacre of four federal agents by this madman is disgustingly sickening."
Views From Waco
"The methods used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in the assault on the home of the Branch Davidian sect were criminally reckless and irresponsible."
"What the ATF agents did was reckless and stupid and totally unnecessary. I hope a complete and unbiased investigation of this event is conducted by the Justice Department or by a local grand jury."
"The events in Waco have become so distorted and slanted that it appears the ATF and the media staged the whole event to draw attention to themselves and create misinformation so as to confuse the public to what’s really happening."
"The Grand Wizard of the KKK, Lake Waco Triple Murders, Kenneth McDuff and now Branch Davidians — what is there about this buckle on the Bible belt that nurtures such evil?"
"All you loving, sympathetic people who are praising the kind of people who take up arms against all state and federal law enforcement agents. What in the name of God are you doing?"
"The NRA does not support people who think they have to have .50-caliber machine guns and grenades to protect themselves or to hunt with. These folks are criminals and this is why ATF agents died trying to serve illegal firearms warrants."
"Why was Sunday’s warrant not served two weeks earlier or six days later, rather than on that day after widespread news about the group began? Did then some in Waco seek to avoid bad publicity regarding Waco and the cult and thus pressure law enforcement to do something about the cult’s presence quickly?"
"...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."
"It is incredible, and quite sickening, to see that some people are more appalled at the idea of 'invasion of privacy' than knowing that they have been living not more than 10 miles from an arsenal of weapons that not even the feds can handle."
"To all the law-enforcement agencies at Mount Carmel: With all the criticism directed toward you in this terrible and drawn-out situation, I would like to let you know that I and all the people I have spoken with are behind you 100 percent."
"I have not been able to find a scriptural justification supporting the claim of 50 caliber machine guns, (with tripod mount). AK-47s, AR-15s and M-16s, hand grenades, and various and sundry other explosive materials and devices qualify as the 'whole armor of God' Paul spoke of in the 6th Chapter of Ephesians."
"In my opinion, Howell gave up all inalienable rights when he ordered people to stockpile firearms, ordered the murder of four Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and declared himself a messiah."
"At this point in time I am very shamed that I am from Waco, and it’s not because of the Mount Carmel compound and the events that have taken place there. I am ashamed that people have the pure lack of morals and ethics to capitalize on these events."
"I have to agree with the people who are writing to you saying that the Tribune-Herald is irresponsible in the reporting of what is going on at Mount Carmel. The thousands upon thousands of words written about someone that a lot of people do not really care about could have been better spent on local investigative reporting."
"I believe in freedom of religion, but when the religion endangers my family, society and life I would want some higher government officials to try to take control of the situation."
"I never thought the FBI and the ATF were so inept at negotiating with murderers. It seems they are going to stand around and wait for the cult to run out of food. In the meantime the media will have to stand around all day waiting for the press conference."
"I believe an out-of-control, tyrannical agency, which ATF has become, is exactly what the authors of the Constitution foresaw, feared and hoped to end with the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Amendments."
"What had the people of Mount Carmel actually done to deserve the violent attack? This incident should frighten and anger all U.S. citizens. As proven in many countries throughout history, when the rights of one group are trampled, the rights of none are safe."
"With four dead and 16 wounded ATF members, we find it difficult to believe the Davidian compound members are the innocent victims that the protesters are trying to present to us."
"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 bad news is, the nuts are still holed up east of Waco. The good news is that all Americans and most of the civilized world know where Waco is and how to pronounce our name."
"It seems that these officers need our thanks, not our criticism. And to their families, I also want to thank them for allowing a member of their family to place themselves in danger to help those in need on a daily basis."
"Perhaps the media members have a hearing problem or they are so self-involved that little attention is given to what is being said. Perhaps if the agents were allowed to do their job without interference, the human parasite known as Vernon Howell could be subdued. Thank you, agents of the ATF and FBI, for being here when you are needed."
"Everyone who has put the ATF and FBI down should be ashamed. They are only trying to save the little children who are in there. If not for them I feel they would blow that place to Hades."
"The millions of good things that deeply religious people do go untold because it does not sell papers. Religious fanatics, on the other hand, get plenty of coverage because sensationalism increases sales and viewer participation."
"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."
"As a mainstream Davidian who does not condone and is not affiliated with David Koresh’s actions, I think that this scenario at Elk could have been resolved peaceably if family members and related religious organizations had been involved in the negotiations."
"Could this have been prevented if some action had been taken over a year ago when complaints were filed locally against David Koresh? Why did it take so long before any results?"
"What is the matter with our local sheriff’s office in handling matters like in this Branch Davidian compound? A precinct constable could have served a summons on Koresh to appear."
"No matter how long and loudly some churches strive to distance themselves from Vernon Howell, they need to examine the doctrines they themselves are teaching sensitive, idealistic children."
"If Mount Carmel had been occupied by an armed white supremacy group or an armed drug operation would you be so quick to question the actions of the federal agents?"
"If law enforcement of McLennan County doesn’t take some kind of responsibility for what occurred at Mount Carmel, this community will be doomed to repeat the tragedy."
"I would like to see the governments of this state and nation stop hiding behind the bodies of our slain ATF agents to avoid addressing the fact that Mount Carmel was a civil liberty disaster."
"...the tear gas that was inserted into the compound is scheduled to be banned for military use by the Chemical Weapons Convention signed by the United States and some 130 other nations."
"I am puzzled by the fact that our local and/or state law officials have not arrested any of the federal agents on a charge of murdering the Branch Davidians and their children. When are we going to see justice here?"
"I am very upset about the way in which Waco has been looked upon by other parts of the country and the world ever since the ATF raid at the Branch Davidian compound."
"I say the federal agents and law enforcement officials did a super job and may they take care of the next uprising in a harsher manner. Don’t be so patient next time. Get it over with."
More than 900 original Tribune-Herald Branch Davidian stories, now online for the first time.
- Franklin H. Littell: Was this necessary?
- Thomas Turner: Then and now, Davidians unwavering
- Todd Copeland: Stigma on city won’t last long
- Skip Londos: False leaders all around
- Philip Segrest: Ask who is this Jesus Christ
- Dan Bagby: Weighing use of language of faith
- Charles Reed: Media missed real story — News organizations arrived at Mount Carmel for the final play
- Jeanie Mercer: Lamb bearing assault weapon
- Joe Murray: Turn cult compound into a prison
- Joe Patrick Bean: Making Koresh a kind of hero
- Mike Royko: Man’s harem others’ tax burden
- Steven M. Steele: Wearing badge to keep liberties
- David Weiner: Journey into the dark side — We mishandle the need of some people to be in control and willingness of others to cede their freedom
- Norman Klein: Unavoidable sense of guilt causes peace to elude us
- William Murray: We’re still buying government’s untruthful stories
- Jeanie Mercer: No more abuse for little ones
- Joe Kagle: A generation at risk — Adults, children should work to break cycle of hopelessness
- Dean Kelley: Mount Carmel tragedy is lesson on freedom of religion
- Rowland Nethaway: Wondering why here — Is Waco at fault for tragedy or is it just circumstantial?
- Rowland Nethaway: Changed by ATF action — There is little wonder Americans’ distrust of government is growing
- Rowland Nethaway: Seeking a better path — Ex-member of a cult says she wanted to live as Bible taught
- Rowland Nethaway: ‘Mind control’ machine — FBI so desperate it considered using Russian device on Koresh
- Rowland Nethaway: Learning about ATF — Federal agency has many harsh critics across the United States
- Rowland Nethaway: No ‘smoking gun’ — Shucks: videotape of ATF raid shows next to nothing
- Rowland Nethaway: ATF’s changing story — If trust of law enforcement is lost, entire system could collapse
- Rowland Nethaway: Prevent recurrence — Authorities must learn to react quickly to warnings
- Rowland Nethaway: The messiah’s book — We may be in for a long wait before siege is finally over
- Rowland Nethaway: Missing his muscle car — Koresh is down in the dumps over life in stinking compound
- Rowland Nethaway: It concerns our liberty — Shootout touched on many issues in the Bill of Rights
- Rowland Nethaway: Call special prosecutor — Independent investigation needed to uncover truth about raid
- Rowland Nethaway: Won’t find itself guilty — If government investigates raid, no wrongdoing will be uncovered
- Rowland Nethaway: From cult to religion — Government should step in when members’ welfare is endangered
- Rowland Nethaway: ATF hatred runs deep — Pursuit of moonshiners, gun-owners, tax-evaders contributes to anti government sentiment
- Rowland Nethaway: From out of woodwork — Another kook of conspiracy nut on the line? Please take a message
- Rowland Nethaway: Perhaps a gun cult? Callers say feds shouldn’t come on property to take guns
- Rowland Nethaway: Not Davidians’ way — Expert on sect calls what’s happening here an aberration