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Extremism Part 2

Published May 13, 2012 by thinkinbout

(Continued from Part 1)

At first glance, Tim McVeigh looks like Ed Norton. Or perhaps more like Eminem with his cold stare. Maybe a mix of the two. He’s a nice looking fellow, someone you could shoot the breeze with. When you see pictures of him smiling he just looks so darn nice. But it’s when he opens his mouth that you get to know the real man behind that young face. He’s just plain unrepentant, and any and all feelings other than disgust flee instantly when you hear his words: “The only way they (federal government) are gonna feel something…is…with a body count.”  Ok, so you’re paranoid that the federal government will take away your gun rights, that you’ll have to live in the wilderness and fend for yourself, and the only way to get the message across from your paranoia is by blowing up a building and killing as many people as possible. Nope, don’t understand it. Like the title of this blog, this is extreme, he’s an extremist.  (He reminds me of certain other terrorists too)

Throughout McVeigh’s confession, there are justifications galore. “A shrink would conclude, I’m not sure if they use the word psychopath or sociopath, and that is they have no respect for human life. Far from that, I have great respect.” (Clearly) “But I also realize my nature as a human being, that humans kill.” Most humans don’t. Why? Because we know it’s wrong. Animals kill. People are more intelligent and therefore usually abide by a certain moral code which animals do not possess. Timmy boy, however, doesn’t think it’s wrong as long as he gets his diluted point across. As stated above, he reminds me of certain other terrorists.

The morning of the bombing, McVeigh gets into his rented Ryder Truck and heads for the Murrah building. He sits at a traffic light near the building wating for it to turn green and lights the 2 minute fuse.”You can see the ridiculous nature of somebody calling me a coward with a 7,000 lb bomb fuse burning behind my back. I lit the 2 minute fuse at the stoplight and I swear to God it was the longest stoplight I ever sat in in my life.” And he laughs heartily, inviting the interviewer to laugh along (which he doesn’t). He sure was desperate for himself to get out of the way, but the lives of those in the building? Not so much. God forbid the bomber dies in his own plot to kill as many others as possible! Self preservation is probably the strongest instinct of all, but terrorists are ultra willing to sacrifice the lives of others. I can’t even fathom how dead someone must be inside to act this way and feel no remorse afterwords. Yes, I would call that a sociopath. Someone who commits evil, knows it’s wrong, and doesn’t care.

He pulls in front of the building, gets out of the truck and walks across the street. “The mission was accomplished, I knew it was accomplished, and it was over.”

Yep, it sure was for the 168 people in the building and other bystanders. It also killed 19 children in a daycare on the premesis (or close by, for some reason the accounts I’ve read differ on that). I’m sure, if you’re old enough for this to have affected you, you’ll remember that gut wrenching photo of a fireman carrying the dying body of a precious toddler, bloodied and dirty from the blast. Looking at that picture while I write this still makes me cry, and I’ve seen it plenty.

Her name was Baylee Almon, one year and one day old when she died. No one should have to die this way, especially a child. God bless that firefighter who brought her out of the rubble.

The blast destroyed or damaged over 300 buildings over 16 city blocks.

Again, McVeigh justified his actions: “Death and loss are an integral part of life everywhere. These people in Oklahoma that lost loved ones, I’m sorry, but you know what? We have to accept it and move on.” We? WE?! Like he was a victim?! He’s unbelievable.

Thankfully, McVeigh was caught very quickly after the bombing, and on a totally unrelated issue: his getaway car had no back license plate. He claimed it was on purpose. It must be since he was very detail oriented. But! Why? Did he want to get caught? I’m inclined to believe so since he was so self involved that he probably wanted to be recognized for his “handiwork.”  “So, even if I wouldn’t have been apprehended…I would still have gained the benefit automatically of being identified. I had already made sure that was in place. There was a no-lose situation.” Yeah, self absorbed to the max.

While rotting in jail, he sees news footage of the bomb. His first reaction? “Damn, I didn’t take the whole building down.” However, he kept his dirty little secret to himself. Law enforcement realized it was him after the rear axle from the truck was found with an ID number which they traced to Mcveigh 2 days later.

Nearly 700 people were injured. One sweet woman, Patti Hall, suffered 40-yes 40-broken bones. I had 2 broken bones once and THAT was torture. Poor, sweet, grandmotherly Patti endured 40 broekn bones-at the same time. Janie Coverdale lost her two grandsons. Looking at the pictures of those sweet boys of course brought tears to my eyes. And I felt so sad inside when she said, on the MSNBC special, “Aaron wold be 20 years old now; Elijah would be 17.” Precious lives cut short.  I can’t imagine Janie’s pain. McVeigh’s response to the victims? “I”ve heard your story many times before. The specific details may be unique, but the truth is, you’re not the first mother to lose a kid, you’re not the first grandparent to lose a grand[child]…get over it.”  But the thing is, they didn’t have to lose them that day. This evil person made an evil choice which affected hundreds of lives. Those people weren’t “lost,” he CHOSE to MURDER them!!!!!! He’s sickeningly detached.

Timothy McVeigh is long gone now. He would have turned 44 three weeks ago. Looking at news footage of him, or seeing him smile with his attornies, he looks like someone I could feel sorry for. Sure, he murdered a bunch of people, but maybe he was lost little boy. But once I heard his voice on those tapes, any inkling of sympathy was immediately washed away. He was unrepentant to the end, even quoting a poem of extreme defiance (the poem, however, was written in the 19th century, and has nothing to do with terrorism until McVeigh twisted it), which ends “It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Yep, until the end he remained contemptuously defiant.

Thinkin’ ’bout extremism

Published May 7, 2012 by thinkinbout

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I never thought much about the OK City bombing, at least not until I watched “Saving Grace.” The show takes place in OK City, and the main character’s (Grace) sister is killed in the bombing. It occurred on April 19, 1995, four days before I turned 15, and four days before the bomber, Timothy McVeigh, turned 27. Yes, we share a birthday. I only found that out 2 months ago when I began researching the bombing and the man behind it.

In March 2012, I began a lone cross-country journey. I didn’t actually reach as far west as I had wanted, but it being a solo trip, I am pretty proud of how far I drove. I began in northern VA and headed west. My route took me through the entire length of OK. I didn’t even think about the memorial of the bombing until I reached the state, and decided on my way back that I would visit it. I unfortunately didn’t go into the museum because of some weird payment system the city has for parking, so I snapped a bunch of shots of the memorial and was on my way. While in various motels is when I really researched McVeigh. I watched documentaries on him, listened to his cold hearted voice and read up on him onWikipedia and crimelibrary.com. I was surprised that even to the end he was as cold and remorseless as the devil himself: “I never had trouble admitting to my involvement in what I did because I feel no shame for it.”

Of course this blog cannot cover the scope of the whole issue so I will keep my focus on McVeigh, not his cohorts, Michael Fortier and Terry Nichols. Also, this being a blog and not a professional writing, I will feel free to express my opinions. The following quotes are taken from the MSNBC special called The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist.

After high school, Timothy McVeigh enlisted in the army. He was a kid without direction, and he didn’t enjoy high school. He says he was bullied, and that he was called Tim McNuggut. Hmmm. That’s funny. I was called Sara Lee throughout my childhood, but it never made me mad. Add to that my unusual last name. You wouldn’t believe all the “weed” jokes that were made at my expense. Again, it never made me mad. And, oh, Timmy boy never had a girlfriend! Poor guy. Neither did I (boyfriend, that is)! And I didn’t find my future hubby until I was 29, but did that make me so frustrated that I threw a temper tantrum and blew up a building? I’m pretty sure you know the answer.

Anyway, after enlisting in the army, he met Michael Fortier and Terry Nichols. He and Nichols feared the government wanted to take guns away from people. That really ruffled McVeigh’s feathers. Maybe I should say they were ruffling each others feathers since they were exciting each other with that kind of conspiracy talk. This is the period in which McVeigh began his preoccupation of distrusting the government. His obsession grew rapidly after leaving the army. By all accounts, he was the model soldier, and he says on tape that those were the best years of his life.

Four years later, McVeigh was out of the army. However, returning home held no excitement for him. He was restless. He was disillusioned and bored. He lived a “dead-end existence.” He eventually grew tired of that and left home with no direction. “I lasted at home for one year and one month. I said, ‘F**k this whole neighborhood, this ain’t for me. I don’t have a place here, I haven’t found a love. And then I hit the road.” He thought nothing of driving thousands of miles. Neither do I. I’ve done it. From VA to NM and back. From MT to VA. I can totally relate to him feeling bored, unsatisfied, desperately searching for adventure…but I’m not about to kill people because I’m unhappy and have no direction.

On his journeys he begins attending gun shows where much anti-government sentiment was voiced and fear mongering that the government will take away their guns was spread.  That is where his spiral downward really begins. Booklets on survival, forming militias, and anti-government were everywhere. McVeigh says his favorite bumpersticker (maybe he saw it at a gun show?) reads, “When guns are outlawed, I will become an outlaw. And it was at that point when I was fully intent in my life that I was gonna live outside the law.” Apparently, at gun shows, the mentaility that you must stock pile your weapons NOW, AT THIS MOMENT is universal.

And then there was Waco. Not going to go into it since that’s a whole other story, but McVeigh was following the news closely. He even showed up at the Branch Davidian compound in support of them during the siege (outside that is, he never went inside and he never met them). Of course, they had a bunch of guns, and the whole deal with the ATF, if you want to read about it, click here or copy and paste into your browser if you can’t click it:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege

McVeigh explained: “You feel a bond to this community. The bond is that they’re fellow gun owners, and believe in gun rights, and they’re fellow survivalists, and freedom lovers…I’m watching flames lick out windows, and I’m watching tanks ram walls, and my eyes just well up in tears and the tears started coming down my cheeks as I’m watching this scene unfold.” (The end of the standoff at Waco) “I just stood there in stunned silence… I just remember that scene burned into my memory…I felt aboslute rage.” Full of contradictions, ain’t he? “With OK City being a counter attack, I was only fighting by the rules of engagement that were introduced by the aggressor. Waco started this war. Hopefully OK would end it.”  It’s interesting to note how he shed tears for these people whom he had never met but held only contempt for his own victims, as we will see.

That all leads up to why he chose the Alfred P. Murrah building: “The building was chosen out of a phone book, looking in the blue pages, and looking under law enforcement agencies. If you look under DEA, US Marshal, ATF-If they start giving the same address, you know they’re all in one building.”

In 1994 Mcveigh and Nichols began buying bombing making material. Realize now, it was 7,000lbs so a lot of stuff was required, and according to the MSNBC special, several storage units were rented to store the stuff. “I know very much the science of demolitions and using explosives from my military experience.”

Why’d he choose April 19th? “The two most significant events in history that occured on April 19th, to me, was not just one, WACO, but number two…April 19th, 1775. The spark that started the American Revolution.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Meet Vladimir!…

Published May 1, 2012 by thinkinbout

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Meet Vladimir! He is the founder and owner of Creative Dressed Interiors, an interior decorating company, specifically focusing on window treatments. I wanted to know more of his life story, so I sat down with him and he told me of his adventures.

Me: Where are you from?

Vlad: Tarija, Bolivia.

How long have you been in the US?

Since June 1999, nearly 13 years. I first came to Stockton, CA, that’s the bay area. I also lived in San Jose. Beautiful place. My first day my cousin took me to Green St. It’s famous, it’s in the books actually. On the freeway there was lots of traffic, and a car accident. A van was upside down and a body was in the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to help him but I couldn’t. (He was dead)

Near my cousin’s house were clubs and rock bands everywhere. I saw sea lions on the rocks, which was amazing. Beautiful country.

The second day we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge and he took me down where the X Games were. Limp Bizkit and Rob Zombie were there. I was just getting crazy. I got to see all those skate boards and motorcycles. It was huge.

Did you come alone or with someone?

Alone, but I lived with my uncle while in CA.

Why did you immigrate to the US?

For my music career. I was a singer in a Bolivian band, and we toured that country as well as Argentina. I wanted to come here to go a music school. Unfortunately, when I arrived I realized that, realistically, there was no way I could afford it.

So how did you make your living?

I worked for my uncle. He owned several driving schools and I acted as his assistant. And I wanted to stay here, I didn’t want to go back home. I wanted to experience all the shows here (music concerts).

I supervised the driving school classes making sure the teachers did everything right, had coffee and donuts ready, collected money, counted students, deposited money in the bank. I simplified the teachers’ extra duties so they could focus on teaching. I drove to three or four different cities.

Did you know English when you arrived?

Not at all.

You’re fluent now. How did you learn it?

I immersed myself in it. I knew I’d have to learn it if I wanted to work here.

How long did you live in CA? 

Six months. I went to visit FL. Yep, FL was amazing. I stayed. I lived in Miami one year.

What did you do for a living there?

Sales. That’s when I realized, gosh, you can make a lot of money in the United States. But you have to have a sharp mind and be dedicated if you make your own business.

What brought you to northern VA?

My friend living in MD told me there’s a better quality of life. Even though FL is an incredible place. My sister and brother-in-law moved to Manassas and I decided to come too. Plus, I was rapidly forgetting my English because I felt like I was living in Cuba. I wanted to see more of the US and learn about it. I wanted to mix and meld with the culture and keep up with English. I heard that VA had a higher quality of life, and yes it is. So that’s why I stayed, and also my son was born here.

How did you get into interior decorating, and eventually own your own business? That’s a far cry from music!

I was working as a server at Pargo’s and as a pizza driver. I didn’t want to work two jobs, and wanted to put my college degrees to good use (Vlad has a BA in journalism and a BA in computer graphics from a Bolivian university). One of my computer classes had been in interior decorating and I found a position with two companies: Great Falls Interiors and Exclusive Draperies. They had designers, seamstresses and installers. I began drawing designs (Vlad is a BRILLIANT artist) which opened the door to designing on the computer. I didn’t know this would be something I loved, I just fell into it, and I was good at it. I would go with one of the designers to the customers’ homes, which allowed me to see all sides of the business, from giving presentations, to drawing, to installing. The only thing I didn’t do was sew. Unfortunately, that designer had to leave for personal reasons out of the state. That left me without work for six months. I decided to start my own company which I called “Creative Dressed Interiors,” but with one “s,” I didn’t know. (He laughs) So I wrote it “Dresed” until a friend brought it to my attention months later.

What if someone reading this wants to contact you about window treatments, how can they get in touch with you?

They can call me at (703) 901-2412, or email me at huevobrun@hotmail.com. My website will be launched soon, but I am still putting the finishing touches on it.

One last question, Vladimir. I know you have been all over the United States now, and have been in many towns in VA in particular. What has been your favorite trip?

I have two: One, going to MT. That was an adventure. It took three flights to reach, and while on the planes I saw the Milky Way and the Northern Lights. And MT itself is a different world. I loved horse back riding on the ranch (The photo of Vladimir at the top of the blog is him at the top of a mountain in MT which he rode up on horseback).

And two, Orlando! I love Orlando, I’ve been there a few times.