OKC: Ten years ago today
April 19, 2005 5:56 AM   Subscribe

9:02 AM CST 4/19 1995. Ten years ago today. Do you remember where you were when the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed? It was then the biggest act of mass murder in U.S. history. Shocking to a people unaccustomed to domestic terrorism. What followed was an outpouring of volunteer support and grief for the victims, a manhunt for suspects presumed to be Arabic, and calls for a 'war against terrorism'. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were eventually arrested for, and convicted of the crime, but since McVeigh was put to death in 2001, a steady stream of new evidence has called into question both the government's handling of the investigation and the official version of events. Survivors and victims' family members gather today to remember and to reaffirm demands for truth.
posted by airguitar (80 comments total)

 
I don't mean to sound insensitive to those who died in Oklahoma, but sadly, many Americans have forgotten one major point about Oklahoma City: that terrorists don't have to be foreign to be a threat.
posted by johnjreiser at 6:08 AM on April 19, 2005


Documents that have surfaced since the execution show two separate federal law enforcement agencies had information before the bombing that suggested white supremacists living nearby were considering an attack on government buildings.

--reminds me of 9/11. They should have kept him alive long enough to resolve all this--if they had wanted to, that is.

It's all the children that were there ("collateral damage" in McVeigh's words) that still kill me about this.
posted by amberglow at 6:14 AM on April 19, 2005


I was working inna grocery warehouse that piped in music over the intercom. The local radio station broke in and said the Federal Court Building in Cape Girardeau, Mo had been closed to the public and had had it's security increased. I remember wondering what that was about.

But I don't remember the moment that I heard that the Murrah building had been blown up.
posted by wrapper at 6:22 AM on April 19, 2005


I toured the memorial museum about 18 months ago with a group of international academics. It was astounding how much information they left out. It was very moving and well done at the beginning, but by the end I was angry. There was no mention of the fact that McVeigh did this in retaliation for Waco and Ruby Ridge. There was no mention that he chose this as the site of his retaliation because of the ATF offices. There was no mention of the implicit racism of looking for Arabs immediately after the attack. There was no mention that McVeigh was killed in retribution for the bombing.

I am not trying to justify McVeigh's actions or defend them in any sense. I am just appalled the creators of the museum would so blatantly disregard key points.
posted by jmgorman at 6:25 AM on April 19, 2005


I am just appalled the creators of the museum would so blatantly disregard key points.

You make a memorial for those that died, not those that committed the bombing.
posted by johnjreiser at 6:27 AM on April 19, 2005


I was a maintenance guy and AM bar set up person here, and I remember the crazy, conspiratorial but lovable dishwasher had said that "they" had blown up a federal building and it's the beginning of the end for America. I laughed it off because "that's James" and didn't believe it until I turned on the bar tv and ended up not working the rest of the day, just sitting in there with the "townies" and wondering wtf had just happened.
posted by moonbird at 6:32 AM on April 19, 2005


I was in 7th grade algebra, in my middle school north of OKC, and when the truck exploded, we heard it. It wasn't loud, but we heard it. No one had a clue what was going on. Rumors were flying all morning about what had actually happened, because no one (no student, anyhow) seemed to actually know. They sent us home early that day.

Regardless of what they may have left out of the museum, what's important is that those who died are remembered, and they certainly are.
posted by ThatSomething at 6:32 AM on April 19, 2005


It's also the aniversery of the end of the Waco raid - when the Branch Davidian compound was consumed by flames killing 75. The government asserts that revenge for Waco was a motivation for the OKC bombing.
posted by wfrgms at 6:34 AM on April 19, 2005


nothing could be more striking than the federal response to oklahoma city and 9/11.

the response in oklahoma city was not to declare war, but to proceed on the basis that it was a criminal investigation using existing law enforcement agencies. no new laws were written, no new federal agencies were created, no new cabinet positions, no colorized terror alert system, the marines were not sent to invade idaho, utah, and the mountains of colorado to kill or capture armed warlords opposed to the government. people were not thrown into into concentration camps and tortured to reveal other plots.

handled as a criminal offense by democrat pussies, the mastermind of oklahoma city was caught, charged (or vice versa), offered counsel, tried, convicted and executed. may he rot in hell.

handled as a war - the only way macho republicans say that terror can be fought - the mastermind of 9/11 is still at large.
posted by three blind mice at 6:42 AM on April 19, 2005


It's also the aniversery of the end of the Waco raid

And the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which began the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Faintly known as Patriot's Day.
posted by airguitar at 6:44 AM on April 19, 2005


We must honor our heroic men of action.
The age of the tired Ann Coulter and ParisParamus rhetoric is over.
The American Jihad is at hand.
Let's pay tribute to these patriotic freedom fighters.
Great Invisible Hand Akbar!!


posted by nofundy at 6:47 AM on April 19, 2005


the mastermind of 9/11 is still at large.

True. No matter who you think that mastermind is.


There was no mention of the implicit racism of looking for Arabs immediately after the attack

That is what I remember.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:49 AM on April 19, 2005


I remember walking through my dorm that afternoon and entering one of the TV lounges. This woman that I sort of knew (we were both RAs, but never really hung out) was watching the TV laughing and pumping her fists. I asked her what was up, and she looked over at me with this crazy gleam in her eyes and said "somebody just blew up a bunch of Feds! Whoo!"

I looked over at the TV, decided that this was one fucked-up situation, and left.
posted by COBRA! at 6:54 AM on April 19, 2005


no new laws were written...
On April 20, 1996 (Hitler's birthday of golden memory, at least for the producers of The Producers), President Clinton signed the Anti-Terrorism Act ("for the protection of the people and the state" - the emphasis, of course, is on the second noun), while, a month earlier, the mysterious Louis Freeh had informed Congress of his plans for expanded wiretapping by his secret police. Clinton described his Anti-Terorism Act in familiar language (March 1, 1993, USA Today): "We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans." A year later (April 19, 1994, on MTV): "A lot of people say there's too much personal freedom. When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it." On that plangent note he graduated cum laude from the Newt Gingrich Academy.

In essence, Clinton's Anti-Terrorism Act would set up a national police force, over the long-dead bodies of the founders. Details are supplied by H.R. 97, a chimera born of Clinton, Reno, and the mysterious Mr. Freeh. A 2,500-man Rapid Deployment Strike Force would be organized, under the attorney general, with dictatorial powers... After a half-century of the Russians are coming, followed by terrorists from proliferating drug-related crime, there is little respite for a people so routinely - so fiercely - disinformed. Yet there is a native suspicion that seems to be a part of the individual American psyche - as demonstrated in polls, anyway. According to a Scripps Howard News Service poll, 40 percent of Americans think it quite likely that the F.B.I. set the fires at Waco. Fifty-one percent believe federal officials killed Jack Kennedy (Oh, Oliver, what hast thou wrought!). Eighty percent believe that the military is withholding evidence that Iraq used nerve gas or something as deadly in the Gulf. Unfortunately, the other side of this coin is troubling. After Oklahoma City, 58 percent of Americans, according to the L.A. Times, were willing to surrender some of their liberties to stop terrorism - including, one wonders, the sacred right to be misinformed by government?

http://www.isebrand.com/Gore_Vidal_McVeigh2_2001.htm
posted by airguitar at 6:55 AM on April 19, 2005


A little more background on this article:

I was the source quoted in the Interpress article that first assigned responsibility to domestic terrorists. How it happened was like this ---

For over a year before the bombing, I was part of a relatively small group of human rights activists, political researchers and investigative reporters following the militia story. In January 1995, about 40 of us held a national research meeting in Issaquah, Washington (outside of Seattle) to compare notes about what we had learned since the first research meeting in July 1994 (which was attended by a dozen people.)

The Issaquah meeting was hosted by the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment. Afterwards, they published this consensus statement.

One of the agreed upon actions was compiling and distributing a report on militias and the near certainty there would be violent incidents. This was done in March 1995 by Ken Stern at the American Jewish Committee. The reports went out to hundreds of of media and government agencies. And it was totally ignored.

At the January meeting, I was asked to collaborate with Daniel Junas and Dave Neiwert (of Orcinus blog fame) on an article about militias for Covert Action Quarterly. Dan's article appeared in CAQ in early April 1995.

On the day of the bombing, Jim Lobe, head of the Washington office of the Interpress news agency, heard about the bombing on the radio. He said something like "I'll bet Dan Junas knows something about this" to his staff before going out for coffee. Jim had known Dan previously in Seattle and Dan had a small but very deserved reputation as one of the top political researchers in the country.

Outside the coffee shop was a magazine stand. It had the issue of CAQ with our article in it. Lobe bought a copy and saw the article. He ran back to his office and burst in the door waving the magazine. His staff were flabbergasted, since they remembered his comment about Junas before going to get coffee.

Jim assigned a reporter to call us for quotes. Dan sort of hedged and said the question of militia movement involvement couldn't be ruled out.

I stuck my foot right in it and said I was certain that the bombing would be linked to right-wing domestic terrorists. I derided the notion that Arabs were involved (since I knew that the FBI had earlier issued a national alert about arab terrorists in February in relation the the first World Trade Center bombing trial and that the militias had been buzzing with this for two months.)

The Interpress article ran on the wires on the afternoon of April 19. It was ignored in the US, but picked up by foreign services. I first heard about it when some friends heard a news broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Network quoting Radio Tehran saying the bombing was done by Americans.

I wasn't contacted by media until the second day after the bombing (they were all chasing Steve Emerson's phoney Arab red herring). And then my phone didn't stop ringing for two weeks.

One thing I found was that most of the reporters had already written their stories by the time they called me. All they were looking for were quotes to pad things out.

So now you know...
posted by warbaby at 7:11 AM on April 19, 2005 [1 favorite]


wow
posted by airguitar at 7:20 AM on April 19, 2005


Sadly, nofundy, Time's actual "memorial" to the tragedy isn't any better.

Congratulations to Time for commemorating the murders by glorifying a woman who advocated more of them.

(My father, by the way, works as an editor at the New York Times building. Thanks, Ann)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:22 AM on April 19, 2005


idaho, utah, and the mountains of colorado to kill or capture armed warlords opposed to the government
Not to mention Kansas and Michigan where the plotting actually took place.

I vividly remember watching Waco burn in grade school between that, the OJ trial, and the King Riots, the most memorable moments of my time in Jr. High. The thing that struck me most about Waco and OKC was the death of the children. 9/11 just brought back a lot of memories of that time.

As a small sidebar, does anyone think that if, after WW2 the US went back to a pre-WW2 policy of isolationism, these events would have been much different? Of course, the communist bloc might not have crumbled by now.

I guess that holds to my own personal belief that the US should pull all military from every corner of the globe and worry about the common defense only and go back to a defensive only state of mind. Of course I'd like to see bin Laden in the pokey first, but after that why bother? Bring them all home, use the money saved to kill the deficit, create some jobs, and take care of domestic problems.
posted by Numenorian at 7:23 AM on April 19, 2005


I used to work with a guy named Miles who grew up in Oklahoma City. He had a band called Misfit Toys. He moved back home a few months before the bombings. I was working a late shift that day and heard the news in a "special report." I remember thinking of Miles, but never heard his name mentioned. After that I just remember being stunned by the grand scale of the pointless destruction, and stunned when the guy behind it wasn't a crazed foreigner or pointy-headed klansman but a guy around my age who even looked like he could have been a co-worker or freind. Since then, with Columbine, 9/11, Abu Ghraib, we've become numb. It just seems like the unspeakable keeps happening on a regular basis.
posted by jonmc at 7:29 AM on April 19, 2005


What I took away from the event was a strong realization (even stronger now) that there is no such thing as The Government, there are no Feds, there is no "they." The people killed on that day were normal, everyday folks going about their business, kids in daycare, people like you and me. McVeigh thought he was striking a blow for the common man, but in fact he killed lots of common men.

The fact that I'm now part of The Government makes the feeling even stronger; he could have just as easily chosen my building, or the one next door where I go to get coffee, or the one my buddy Greg works in, or the one where my friend Doug's daughter's daycare is. I think about that every time I see a truck go by my building.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:40 AM on April 19, 2005


Weirdness on and around April 19 details some of the violence and tragedy associated with this day in history. And is it any wonder that this comes from a site that celebrates the firearm?
Then there's the Satanic Calendar that proclaims April 19 -25 as a period of "Sacrifice preparation: kidnapping, holding and ceremonial preparation of person for human sacrifice." Holy smokes.
posted by terrier319 at 7:48 AM on April 19, 2005


........................................................................................................................................................................
posted by breezeway at 7:49 AM on April 19, 2005


I was a sophomore in college; I learned about it first by my roommate coming in to our apartment and saying, "norm, does your dad work for the state or the federal government?"

And I said the state government, and she sighed with relief and told me that the federal building had been blown up. I then didn't stop watching coverage for a couple days. Later I found that one of the parents of a kid I went to high school died in it. I didn't know them well, but it still lent that certain air of actuality to the situation. Stupid right-wing terrorists.
posted by norm at 7:52 AM on April 19, 2005


My best friend's birthday is 19 April. He turned 12 in 1995. I remember coming home from school and seeing the TV picutures and thinking, "Man, Ben's birthday will never be the same." I hadn't realized that Waco was the same day, but in high school we were accutely aware that Columbine happened on his birthday. Every year there is so much for me to think about on 19 April. I feel sad for those who were affected by the tragedy and lucky that my best friend's birthday has only been indirectly touched by tragedy.

.
posted by PhatLobley at 8:13 AM on April 19, 2005


I was in a roleplaying game store when I first heard about it, which meant I thought people were just telling campaign stories.

Wasn't there a prominent White Supremicist who was put to death the day of OKC that promised retaliation, and it turns out they may have known McVeigh. I remember there's someone who did a book about it.

The thing that annoys me about people who are still convinced in OKC is that it makes no since (the third man series). Why would two people who were demonstratably racist work with a foreigner to blow up a US building?
posted by drezdn at 8:19 AM on April 19, 2005


Why would two people who were demonstratably racist work with a foreigner to blow up a US building?

Because the foreigners we're afraid of have brown skins and are therefore to be suspected at all times, even when it doesn't make any sense.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:22 AM on April 19, 2005


I agree that it doesn't make sense but some people get the feeling that the Government (especially Gov. Keating) was never totally transparent. It was just handled pretty poorly.
posted by TetrisKid at 8:24 AM on April 19, 2005


Sadly, nofundy, Time's actual "memorial" to the tragedy isn't any better.

Yeah, I know.
And it is very sad indeed.
I don't know how to respond to such madness except with snark. :-(
posted by nofundy at 8:45 AM on April 19, 2005


Slightly off topic but what's up with that Time's cover? Under no news standard does it make sense to do a story on her. She doesn't have a new book coming out, hasn't had much attention lately, hasn't been selling that well lately, etc. If you wanted some right winger for the cover, why not put Michael Savage, who at least has a new book out (grumble, grumble)?
posted by drezdn at 8:53 AM on April 19, 2005


Slightly off topic but what's up with that Time's cover?

Time's just trying to boost its sales in the red states...
posted by clevershark at 9:04 AM on April 19, 2005


It's hard to believe it's been ten years. I can still remember it like it was yesterday.

I was a senior in a small high school about 60 miles from OKC. I was supposed to be in downtown the next day for some school activity. When it happened I was in the hall, getting something out of my locker. A teacher walked by and told me there had been an explosion downtown -- a gas rupture, or something. For the rest of the day we just watched the news coverage.

I also remember getting online that night -- I think I was on AOL back then -- and talking to people in a chat room about it. Nearly everybody was saying it was Mideast terrorists. Only one guy thought right-wing extremists were involved. That was the first I had heard of militias.
posted by SmartGoat at 9:08 AM on April 19, 2005


...and also rev up controversy (and sales) by putting such a hatemonger and advocate of violence on the cover as well. Think of how many letters to the editor and hits to the website this issue is getting. Alterman on Time and Coulter: Cloud has accepted the role of an unpaid PR flack for a woman who frequently jokes about the mass-murder of journalists—including presumably, himself--and he professes to find this charming.  And let us pause for a moment to note that today is the anniversary of the day that Timothy McVeigh did his horrid deed—the mass murder of men, women and children.  Ms. Coulter and the moron, Gurley, thought it was so cute to joke about wishing he had accomplished at The New York Times.  (I suppose it’s too much to worry about her calling for the mass murder of Arabs.)  With the resources of Time’s legions of researchers and fact-checkers, he relies on a casual Google search to determine that she can be “occasionally coarse” and that her work is “mostly accurate.” 
posted by amberglow at 9:17 AM on April 19, 2005


This movie that I linked to before has some surprising video footage from that day about 19 minutes in.
posted by euphorb at 9:21 AM on April 19, 2005


Ten years ago today, i started my first day on the job at ioNet.net (Internet Oklahoma). It was quite an interesting first day, we spent the entire next 3-4 days getting as much bombing coverage on the Internet as possible. This was before the days when you could find out about something on the Internet before you saw it on local TV. I was giving updates on IRC as I watched TV news; we had a 128K RealVideo stream of a local TV channel, etc...

Today also marks 10 years of my career as an "IT Professional".
posted by mrbill at 9:47 AM on April 19, 2005


It's also the aniversery of the end of the Waco raid
It was not in Waco, TX; Mt. Carmel Center compound, located east of Waco in McClennan County. Calling it the Mt. Carmel compound Raid would be correct. Unfortunately, Waco will be tarnished by the association of it for some time to come.

Ann, Ms Right!?! How? (made this comment previously) As in a recent news interview when asked about her contact with Bush. Surprisingly she replied none. Because she had never met or talked to Bush even by phone nor been in the same room at the same time with him. The closes she says that they may have had contact with each other was while she was visiting the Capitol Building if he was there under the same roof too. She does not know for sure though. So she went on to claim, never in the same room or building together. Meaning she does not know the man.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:56 AM on April 19, 2005


This movie that I linked to before has some surprising video footage from that day about 19 minutes in.

I've seen it too. That thread was an interesting read, while I was thinking of how to start this one. Just to tie the knot, there's a funny exchange between Alex Jones and that covergirl floating around the internet. He plays up to her ego at first and then totally sandbags her by the end before hanging up. Good stuff.

But about that thread, people are quick to try pinning the tinfoil hats on anyone who begins to entertain an alternative explanation of what happened in Oklahoma City. The rotten.com links about Tim and Terry give a biting overview of a few. But alas, it's a game of connect the dots that most people don't want to play, or are woefully disadvantaged at beginning.

That said, The Road to Tyranny does show original footage from ground-zero when the rescue was stopped and people were told to evacuate because another bomb had been found. They have the Gov. of Oklahoma, Frank Keating, at ground zero telling reporters that one bomb had been defused and they were working on another.

My favorite bit, though, is the ATF agents who missed the bomb by not coming to work, but were on the scene within ten minutes in bomb gear.

This is from people who were there. Who worked there. Who saw this.

But none of that brings anyone back. None of that undoes the damage. And to the extent that some other version of events is just wrong, it's a continued insult to people who have already suffered enough.

That said, I do recommend the movie. Many people have serious questions about what happened, and this movie presents the case for some of them.
posted by airguitar at 10:10 AM on April 19, 2005


I was southbound to visit family in Lawton. Headlights on cars started turning on despite it being the midddle of the day. So, click; on goes the radio... "Murrah building, ... please stay away from the downtown area..." ergo I kept on driving.

Odd how the huge quasi-government driven rally that emerged to compensate the tower victims never showed for the Murrah victims. Connie Chung; however, was quickly pulled from the scene due to a distaste for her questions concerning the simplistic nature of the locals and their ability to handle such a crisis...

Former spouse lived in Herington, KS, 2001-2003; it is a nice town, clean and neat, albeit a little on the slow side. Odd how the innocent places get associated with evil when things like this happen... I always thought of it as a bad place after these events, full of crime and grunge before I visited a few times. Looks like a city from an Andy Griffith scenario.

Having been in service for some time; I cling to some belief that McVeigh's own time in service added to the poisoning of his mind. It would not be the first time the obtuse effort to create character backfired and gave rise to an intense hatred of the gov't and country. McVeigh chose the wrong way to express himself, I agree that the death penalty was too easy of a way out for him.
posted by buzzman at 10:12 AM on April 19, 2005


I cling to some belief that McVeigh's own time in service added to the poisoning of his mind.

Here's what he told Time in 1996:
TIME: You said you became disillusioned with war during the Gulf War experience. Could you tell me why?

MCVEIGH: When you're on the ground, and you're not in the rear of the action, you're right up front, you realize that the people fighting are no different from you. They've got a wife and kids at home, they've got a family. They don't want to be out there. And you don't want to be there. You realize you must fire on them or be killed yourself, that's the reality of war. When we took most of the surrendering Iraqis the first day and saw how badly they had been treated and learned that the Republican Guard was behind them, not to back them up, but to make them hold in position, it completely changed your view of the war.

TIME: Were you then completely repulsed by the idea of war at that point?

MCVEIGH: I was taken aback by what I had been told. We all thought we were doing this for your country and these people are terrible, every single one of them. You get over there and you realize two things, they're not so terrible and how is this helping my country?

TIME: How many of the enemy did you kill?

MCVEIGH: There were two. They were firing upon us. I'd like to put that rumor to rest. I think there was one person who either mixed me up with someone else or for some reason was taking a pot shot at me. We rode up within 1600 meters of an enemy position and they fired upon us and we fired back. That was on the second day of the conflict.

TIME: How did the war change your outlook on life and your outlook on the military?

MCVEIGH: It gave me a new perspective on life. First, to value every moment of your life, because it may be your last, you never know. And it opened my eyes to be aware of everything going on around me, to read between the lines of things that I'm told.
posted by airguitar at 10:33 AM on April 19, 2005


I was in the doorway of my basement flat in Harrison N.Y. when it came on the telly. A brief moment before I was ticked off that a job interview had just been cancelled, but as soon as I saw the pictures I was grateful that I didn't have to go into the city that day.
posted by dabitch at 10:42 AM on April 19, 2005


I was working at the IRS Philadelphia Service Center 10 years ago today. I was pulling returns from the radio-receptionless files section when the bombing happened. When I returned to my I heard that "someone blew up an IRS office somewhere". I called my mother who filled me in on all the details.

That afternoon our branch chief had a floor meeting and she briefed us on what had happened. Needless the say, the IRS is everyone's favorite federal agency, so we were concerned that it could happen here.
posted by Fat Guy at 11:34 AM on April 19, 2005


I was driving back up from NC to Baltimore with my two kids in the car when we heard about it on the radio. My then 3 year old son went to the Social Secure-A-Kiddie Child Care Center in the federal building downtown, so hearing about that day care center really really struck home for us; it was so awful, so devastating.

I withdrew him from that daycare about a week later - not entirely because of the bombing, but it was a big factor.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:49 AM on April 19, 2005


My first reaction was something like, "Oh, gods, please don't let them blame the Arabs!" (I lived at the time in a racially, ethnically and religiously mixed neighbourhood of Detroit, and had Arab neighbours.) When the idiots on the radio started making dark hints about Arabs, I started screaming back at the radio.

Generally, one is supposed to avoid screaming in a public library when one works there, especially when one has the reputation of throwing out loud people.

I later refused to sign a banner they had covering the reference desk that said, "God Bless the People of Oklahoma City" because I thought the religiosity was in really bad taste.
posted by QIbHom at 12:29 PM on April 19, 2005


Don't remember the day but we stopped by the memorial (still bieng built) 5 years ago while storm chasing. I rmember being amazed at not only the destruction but how run down the whole area was. The only newish building was the post office across the street which appeared to be be either built or rebuilt after the bombing. Many buildings were boarded up for block around.
posted by Mitheral at 12:45 PM on April 19, 2005


Here's the Ann Coulter quote everyone's looking for:

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building. " (Ann Coulter, in a New York Observer interview, 8/20/2002).

Why does someone who makes such remarks as this deserve a Time magazine cover? It's a sad statement on America and on the American press today. I guess we can explain it away by saying that Hitler also appeared on Time's cover.
posted by clevershark at 1:22 PM on April 19, 2005


What I took away from the event was a strong realization (even stronger now) that there is no such thing as The Government, there are no Feds, there is no "they." The people killed on that day were normal, everyday folks going about their business, kids in daycare, people like you and me. McVeigh thought he was striking a blow for the common man, but in fact he killed lots of common men.

Thanks, MrMoonPie. I was at my Government job, sitting in my Government cubicle on my Government chair,. There is always one co-worker who listens to the radio. In this case it was KYW, the AM all-news station here in Philly. It could have been me, or my brother, or my friends or co-workers.
posted by fixedgear at 1:47 PM on April 19, 2005


Government buildings are legitimate targets when the US bombs other countries, so they're legitimate targets for bombing here. I'm not saying that particular bombing was a good idea. The issue is "legitimate military targets", not "moral use of force".

I will point out that the US has in two instances in my recent memory legitimized bombing the shit out of a country, invading and occupying it and "arresting" its leader, so the US would have no business complaining if some foreign country did the same to us; closer to the realm of probability, given the CIA overthrows of Diem, Allende, et al., it would be legitimate for some foreign country's CIA-analog to do the same here. (That these things are unlikely helps explain why anti-US-government operatives would use trucks and planes instead of spies and Marines.)

I would suggest however that recent experience has shown that "terrorist attacks" are counterproductive, leading to more repression -- that most people here LIKE. As reinforcing tyranny is not a legitimate anti-government goal, not even if the majority of the citizenry masochistically enjoys it, I propose building a revolutionary party instead. (A major part of this party's work would of course be teaching Americans to love freedom.)

By the way, did the Feds move their workers' day care centers off-site? I think they should, just in case, unless the point is using kids as human shields. I would not blow up a government building (or any building) packed full of preschoolers, but then the kinds of people who actually blow shit up ain't usually as tenderhearted as I am.
posted by davy at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2005


[T]here is no such thing as The Government, there are no Feds, there is no "they." The people killed on that day were normal, everyday folks going about their business, kids in daycare, people like you and me. McVeigh thought he was striking a blow for the common man, but in fact he killed lots of common men.

So then it was wrong for the US to bomb government buildings in (among other places) Hanoi, Panama, Baghdad and Belgrade, was it not?
posted by davy at 1:59 PM on April 19, 2005


One could only hope that American politicians would look at the OKC terrorist bombing and reflect on the human cost... then realize that every time a government building is bombed elsewhere in the world the human cost is just as important, saddening, and sickening.

Of course looking at American politicians today, there's no reason for me to get my hopes up, as it's clear that they don't give a flying fuck about the human cost when it's foreigners doing the dying.
posted by clevershark at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2005


I would like to point out that had the OKC attack been perpetrated by Arab extremists we certainly WOULD have treated the response as a War and somebody would have been bombed. Some of you act like Clinton was giving free puppies to the Arabs while he was President. That dude was bombing the shit out of everybody.

And that people assumed initially that OKC may have been bombed by "Arabs" is not as sinister and as racist as many have claimed... it shows people were simply paying attention. The first WTC attack was in 1993 only two years before remember! And we found that it WAS Islamic extremists. Not to mention the hundred of other attacks perpetrated by Arab extremists from the 1972 Olympics and Lockerbie to the attacks on Israeli embasies in Buenos Aires.

That law enforcement chased those red herrings long after it became clear that White separatists were involved is certainly troubling but I suspect more to do with politics than race.

Additionally, after OKC, Clinton certainly DID pass anti-terror laws and we certainly DID begin drawing up invasion plans of the Middle East. That is when Clinton drafted "regime Change" policy in Iraq and we began our contact with the Afghani war lords and started large scale SF operations in central Asia. The plan we used to invade Afghanistan and topple the Taliban was Clinton's plan.

I must also state that a military response - NOT an LEO one - was clearly the only workable option in case of 9/11. To believe otherwise is pure fantasy. There was NO LEO solution to getting Bin Laden. The mechanics of it were impossible. What? Do people think we have this Kung-Fu army of Chuck Norris clones who can parachute in at night, never fire a shot, and go Walker Texas Ranger on Bin Laden's ass?

The Taliban were not EVER going to allow LEO officials to investigate or arrest Al Queda operatives that were clearly under Taliban protection and complicity. The Taliban would play us for years and years - like they had done since they came to power. We can argue over the particular tactics Bush used and his end result of bringing War Lords to power and his economic abandonment of the Afghani's. But that war was going to happen, and HAD to happen.
posted by tkchrist at 2:20 PM on April 19, 2005


I was in class at OU (Norman, OK - 35 miles south of OKC) taking a test. We heard the explosion, but didn't know what had happened until after class was over. The professor was doing research into disasters and his research partner came to get him and told us what was going on.

It's amazing how many people were supposed to be there that day that weren't. My parents' neighbors were going to go to the social security office that day, but decided not to. My best friend was also supposed to be in the social security office, but his alarm clock didn't go off that day.
posted by moosedogtoo at 2:26 PM on April 19, 2005


That law enforcement chased those red herrings long after it became clear that White separatists were involved is certainly troubling but I suspect more to do with politics than race.


There is a difference in the US between politics and race?
posted by QIbHom at 2:42 PM on April 19, 2005


Some of you act like Clinton was giving free puppies to the Arabs while he was President. That dude was bombing the shit out of everybody.

Agreed. The day Clinton was impeached (which does not mean defenestrated) I was in San Francisco protesting (as were several thousand others) against the Clinton-NATO attack on Yugoslavia.
posted by davy at 2:46 PM on April 19, 2005


. By the way, did the Feds move their workers' day care centers off-site? I think they should, just in case, unless the point is using kids as human shields.
Recall the first eye witness reports containing large number of weapons, handguns, & bullets being found through out the building’s rubble and surrounding area. This was a reason why the rescue crews had to proceed with caution while rescuing the survivors. Then the reason was used for the rescue crews needing to retreat from the unsafe building though survivors may still have been found in the rubble. You hear little about it latter on even when the building was torn down quicker than normal two days later. This may link a cover up as maybe a large FBI cache of weapon and ammunition existed in the building . Why would that need to be hidden?

There being a day care center in the building and if the FBI stored a large cache of weapons & ammunitions in it, laws were being broken by them. By the FBI storing the weapons and ammunition so close to the proximity of known children.

Also, I don’t think the building’s day care center was just for the Federal employees. So from the early eye witness reports, the day care center may have had to be moved along time before the bombing happened. Imagine the law suits if that was proven to be true. It is odd the Federal agencies that were not at their desk too.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2005


What? Do people think we have this Kung-Fu army of Chuck Norris clones who can parachute in at night, never fire a shot, and go Walker Texas Ranger on Bin Laden's ass?

A month after 9/11, i was in Spain, and more than one person i spoke with expressed utter shock that we didn't have spies inside Al Qaeda, or high-tech James Bond/satellite stuff monitoring their every breath and move. I was really surprised they all had thought we were so on the ball.
posted by amberglow at 3:57 PM on April 19, 2005


Al Qaeda, or high-tech James Bond/satellite stuff monitoring their every breath and move.
If you are familiar with Islamic banking and messenger systems which were founded before the use of wires and modern technology, you can’t.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:26 PM on April 19, 2005


I later refused to sign a banner they had covering the reference desk that said, "God Bless the People of Oklahoma City" because I thought the religiosity was in really bad taste.

No shit! If God were blessing the people of Oklahoma City, He sure as hell wouldn't be going all Old Testament on them, pillars of salt replaced by vanloads of fertilizer and all that.

Davy, the USA blows up foreign government buildings in the name of freedom. That makes it a Good Thing. Off to the re-education camps with you!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:36 PM on April 19, 2005


I heard it. I felt it. I still don't like to talk about it.

The memorial is beautiful, but the one time I visited I couldn't hack it and had to leave, tears in my eyes and lump in my throat.

Watching WTC unfold was like a weird kind of magnified deja vu.

Empathy sucks.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:12 PM on April 19, 2005


http://www.channeloklahoma.com/video/4394051/detail.html
posted by airguitar at 2:40 AM on April 20, 2005


There being a day care center in the building and if the FBI stored a large cache of weapons & ammunitions in it, laws were being broken by them. By the FBI storing the weapons and ammunition so close to the proximity of known children.

If your accusations were true, then cIte the law that would break. Unless, of course, you just made that up.
posted by grouse at 4:57 AM on April 20, 2005


What? Do people think we have this Kung-Fu army of Chuck Norris clones who can parachute in at night, never fire a shot, and go Walker Texas Ranger on Bin Laden's ass?

Yeah, the failure to capture Bin Laden is just a matter of pure incompetent leadership and political expediency.

It is not a failure of the intelligence agencies or of our military, even if we don't have a Kung-Fu army of Chuck Norris clones.
posted by nofundy at 6:54 AM on April 20, 2005


warbaby: I first heard about it when some friends heard a news broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Network quoting Radio Tehran saying the bombing was done by Americans.

Amazing... When the truth is simple enough, a very tiny hole in the blanket of misinformation can blow the story wide open.
posted by Chuckles at 7:11 AM on April 20, 2005


The funny part was my friends demanded to know if the news report on the CBC was my fault. They were in the picture and knew I was fuming about the "Arab terrorists" nonsense.

What are the odds I'd have to 'fess up to being responsible for a news report on Radio Tehran?

The story didn't break in this country until the feds had id'd the rear axle from the rental truck and had a garbled description of McVeigh.
posted by warbaby at 7:27 AM on April 20, 2005


Unless, of course, you just made that up.
WASHINGTON (AP) - When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, the government had a TOW antitank missile stowed in a locker several floors above the daycare center.

The missile, about 3 feet long, actually had an inert warhead and only a small amount of rocket fuel, and the government says it did not contribute to the massive explosion that day. Instead, it tumbled into the rubble of the Alfred P. Murrah building.

``Tow Missile recovered from A.P. Murrah Building,' states an Oklahoma County sheriff's department evidence form showing the missile was removed from the rubble by the department's bomb squad and examined by military ordinance experts.

The GSA says its security procedures have changed greatly since 1995. The changes ``include extensive exchange of information with local, state and federal law-enforcement organizations, designing federal buildings to incorporate security measures and using magnetometers, X-ray machines and other innovations, some not visible to the public,' GSA spokeswoman Viki Reath said.

Just last summer, GSA implemented a new regulation requiring federal agencies to seek its authorization before bringing ``hazardous explosive or combustible materials' into federal buildings.

Still, the TOW missile is among a growing number of recent examples of weaponry, ordinance and other potentially dangerous materials that have been involved in incidents in government buildings.

The Customs Service acknowledged it possessed the TOW missile in the Murrah building. When its discovery in the rubble sparked alarm, a Customs agent attempted to assure rescuers the missile was unarmed and pleaded unsuccessfully not to delay the rescue efforts.

``The Customs agent offered to personally remove the inert TOW missile from the building,' the service said in a statement to AP. ``Rescue officials did not take up the agent's offer.'

Customs said the missile was marked live because it ``must appear to be live in order to gain the confidence of suspected arms traffickers during undercover investigations.' But the agency added it believes its storage in a ``reinforced strong room' was legal.

``Customs' actions in possessing and storing this system were completely within the law,' the agency said. It would not discuss the details of the planned sting.

The FBI eventually took custody of the missile and traced the weapon's history from its creation and initial firing at an Alabama Army depot to its reconfiguration with a dummy warhead.

posted by airguitar at 7:35 AM on April 20, 2005


warbaby, I think you just proved my theory wrong.

I would be very interested in links to quality (and easy to access) articles about how the story was covered.
posted by Chuckles at 7:42 AM on April 20, 2005


[T]here is no such thing as The Government, there are no Feds, there is no "they." The people killed on that day were normal, everyday folks going about their business, kids in daycare, people like you and me. McVeigh thought he was striking a blow for the common man, but in fact he killed lots of common men.

I agree with you, MrMoonPie, to a point. Nonetheless, it is very interesting to note that you are echoing McVeigh's own words:

When you're on the ground, and you're not in the rear of the action, you're right up front, you realize that the people fighting are no different from you. They've got a wife and kids at home, they've got a family. They don't want to be out there. And you don't want to be there.
posted by Chuckles at 7:50 AM on April 20, 2005


Still, the TOW missile is among a growing number of recent examples of weaponry, ordinance and other potentially dangerous materials that have been involved in incidents in government buildings.

Are they insane? I just don't get that at all.
posted by amberglow at 8:58 AM on April 20, 2005


amberglow, it sounds like the missile was just a mock up, and it was completely inert. (I'm not sure about this at all, some more reading is called for)

I agree that storing weapons in building's here there and everywhere is completely nuts, but I'm not sure it applies to the Oklahoma City situation.
posted by Chuckles at 9:24 AM on April 20, 2005


grouse, this is a discussion within a thread, I don't have to site anything.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:32 AM on April 20, 2005


but why would a missile be in a building full of government workers that is visited by the general public daily, and has a daycare center--even an inert one? Don't we have bunkers and bases and silos and places for that kind of thing to be?
posted by amberglow at 9:33 AM on April 20, 2005


One of the quotes above suggests it was a prop for arms dealer sting operations:

Customs said the missile was marked live because it ``must appear to be live in order to gain the confidence of suspected arms traffickers during undercover investigations.' But the agency added it believes its storage in a ``reinforced strong room' was legal.

It certainly wouldn't need to be stored in a "bunker or silo ... for that kind of thing". It might belong at the police station, of course, but it wasn't *that* crazy... (assuming the story is accurate, that is)
posted by Chuckles at 9:43 AM on April 20, 2005


but even a prop for a sting operation shouldn't be in that kind of building. What kind of intelligent sting trying to catch arms dealers dangling missiles as bait takes place in a busy office building? Are they imbeciles, or lying to us? Even dumb arms traffickers would know that's bullshit.
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on April 20, 2005


I have an inert bullet on a keychain, is that stupid? My Mom is selling a vase made from an inert shell in her antique store, what about that?

It isn't even as if they were conducting the sting at the time, the "missile" was in storage. Potentially even in safe storage, I don't know how much I want to believe of what they say...

In the end it depends what offices were in the building, doesn't it. There was an ATF office there, for example. I don't think the ATF had anything to do with the missile, but whoever had the missile might have had reason.

Of course having an ATF office in the same building as a daycare sounds inconsistent in itself, considering all the guns and tear gas and whatever that they would have. I don't know how far down that set of considerations one wants to go though. Personally I believe in integrated communities, within reason, and that means ATF offices as well jails, asylums, day cares, and just about everything else...
posted by Chuckles at 10:29 AM on April 20, 2005


And 12 years ago on April 19th was the burndown at Waco. You don't have to be a right-wing extremist to get pissed off about that either: at the time I wore mourning and often explained why. I discovered then, to my surprise, that many Americans think it's perfectly okay to burn somebody alive, along with his friends and family, because some government official called him a child molester -- with no trial or even real supporting evidence. When I replied that that was nothing but lynch law, and that the whole thing was not about allegations of pedophilia anyway, I often heard that there must be something wrong with me for "defending a proven pedophile" (despite the fact that nothing had been proven), so maybe I too should similarly dealt with.

Oh and by the way, to cross-thread here, as far as I know Teddy N. has not been convicted in any court of child molestation, and a 17 year old female would be of legal age in most US states anyway. It's Nugent's politics, his image, his personality and his hypocrisy I have a problem with; I have nothing to say about his sexual ethics. (Hitler was said to be very good to his dogs.)
posted by davy at 11:25 AM on April 20, 2005


thomcatspike: Hey, you don't have to cite anything. I can make stuff up too—it was Sadaam who blew up the Oklahoma City federal building.

A ludicrous assertion without a shred of evidence? Perhaps, but this is a discussion within a thread and I don't have to cite anything.
posted by grouse at 3:06 PM on April 20, 2005


grouse, I heard it from a retired FBI agent.
I cannot prove it. I do recall reports in the news about weapons and ammunition be scattered everywhere. Then had that information passed on to me afterwards?
You do have to wonder why was the building torn down so quickly and cleared away? The structure was in no danger of falling on other structures from what I could tell. Do I wear a tin foil hat? No. Though I'm able to say the the government does hide facts from us.
fyi, in the thread you don't have to prove everything. Most of the comments would be deleted if that were the case.
Please excuse my reaction in my last comment from your tone of words.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:38 PM on April 20, 2005


I discovered then, to my surprise, that many Americans think it's perfectly okay to burn somebody alive,
If you saw the film footage of the Fed's supplied tank shooting flames, that portion of the film was bogus. There use to be a site that showed the real footage and fake which after seeing corrected most people's thought the government burnt the place down.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2005


I can make stuff up too—it was Sadaam who blew up the Oklahoma City federal building.

A ludicrous assertion without a shred of evidence?


that's what Fox is now saying, insanely
posted by amberglow at 6:31 AM on April 21, 2005


thomcatspike: Let me be more clear. My contention is not with your reference to the cache of weapons and ammunition, which you couched in sufficiently conditional language.

It's the "laws were being broken" part. I'll repeat: if your accusations were true, what laws were being broken?
posted by grouse at 7:29 AM on April 21, 2005


It's the "laws were being broken" part.
That’s what the retired FBI agent who worked out of that office said.
My guess, which I hope, you may allow. From interviews that I have heard, have found no evidences the nursery was for Federal employees only. So it may have to do with that regarding a broken law. Or that the amount of weapons being held was not properly logged for either federal or public knowledge.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:27 PM on April 21, 2005


According to Oklahoma City assistant Fire Marshall, Dick Miller, and other eyewitness reports, high explosives were removed from the building after the blast. The bomb squad apparently removed a 2-cubic-foot box that contained what was said to be detonators for C-4 plastic explosives. The box was detonated and Miller said it was definitely high explosives. (28)
A civilian contractor hired by the GSA, told the Gazette: "They had everything! home-made zip guns, AK-47s, sawed-off shotguns, AR-15s, M-16s- literally hundreds of guns. You name it, they had it all any kind of weapon you could ever want." He also said he recalls seeing an ATF agent with a five-gallon bucket of hand-grenades. (29)
Witnesses even attested to seeing a TOW (antitank missile) removed from the building. These weapons were allegedly stored illegally on the 9th floor, the offices of the ATF. The FBI and ATF said the explosives removed were training devices. (30)

But this seems to be another lie, because the McCurtain Daily gazette obtained a film from the sheriff's department, showing federal officials removing munitions from the federal building weeks after the bombing.
On the film, the feds yelled at the local police to leave the area because they didn't want any witnesses. (31)

Some people have speculated that the ANFO bomb outside set off the illegally stored explosives inside the Murrah building. This is totally wrong, and for the exact same reasons given for the ANFO bomb not being able to collapse eight columns. The ATF offices were on the ninth floor and on the opposite side from the ANFO bomb; the ATF's office wouldn't of been affected at all by a single 4800 pound ANFO bomb parked outside the building.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:40 PM on April 21, 2005


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