Thinkin’ ’bout extremism

Published May 7, 2012 by thinkinbout


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 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:

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.”




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