Oklahoma City Bombing Professor Wilt January 30, 2013 The Oklahoma City Bombing

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Erin Potts

CRI 375


Week #4

Oklahoma City Bombing

Professor Wilt

January 30, 2013

The Oklahoma City Bombing:

On the morning of April 19, 1995, an ex-Army soldier and security guard named Timothy McVeigh parked a rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. He was about to commit mass murder. Inside the vehicle was a powerful bomb made out of a deadly cocktail of agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other chemicals. McVeigh got out, locked the door, and headed towards his getaway car. He ignited one timed fuse, then another. At precisely 9:02 a.m., the bomb exploded (Bullock).

Within moments, the surrounding area looked like a war zone. A third of the building had been reduced to rubble, with many floors flattened like pancakes. Dozens of cars were incinerated and more than 300 nearby buildings were damaged or destroyed. The human toll was still more devastating: 168 souls lost, including 19 children, with several hundred more injured.

It was the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation's history (Bullock).

Coming on the heels of the World Trade Center bombing in New York two years earlier, the media and many Americans immediately assumed that the attack was the handiwork of Middle Eastern terrorists. The FBI, meanwhile, quickly arrived at the scene and began supporting rescue efforts and investigating the facts. Beneath the pile of concrete and twisted steel were clues that the FBI was determined to find (FBI).

It did not take long. On April 20, the rear axle of the Ryder truck was located, which yielded a vehicle identification number that was traced to a body shop in Junction City, Kansas. Employees at the shop helped the FBI quickly put together a composite drawing of the man who had rented the van. Agents showed the drawing around town, and local hotel employees supplied a name Tim McVeigh (FBI).

A quick call to the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division in West Virginia on April 21 led to an astonishing discovery: McVeigh was already in jail. An observant Oklahoma State Trooper who noticed a missing license plate on his yellow Mercury Marquis had pulled him over about 80 miles north of Oklahoma City. McVeigh had a concealed weapon and was arrested. It was just 90 minutes after the bombing (Oklahoma City Bombing).

The bombing was quickly solved, but the investigation turned out to be one of the most exhaustive in FBI history. No stone was left unturned to make sure every clue was found and all the culprits identified. By the time it was over, the Bureau had conducted more than 28,000 interviews, followed some 43,000 investigative leads, amassed three-and-a-half tons of evidence, and reviewed nearly a billion pieces of information. In the end, the government that McVeigh hated and hoped to topple swiftly captured him and convincingly convicted both him and his co-conspirators (Oklahoma City Bombing).

This attack was a calculated one, however flawed in the fact that the persons behind this unthinkable act were more or less doing it for their own twisted amusement. Some might feel in a way that what they were doing was some sort of statement, others might feel it was a selfish act and had no barring’s on what on their state of mind at the time. Some could also believe that even if we would have known about the attack before happen we would not have been able to stop it.

People think that this attack has affected Homeland Security in many different ways, without the knowledge of what this attack has taught us we might not have been able to understand the aftermath of 9/11. However, we also think that this was a wakeup call and we should have been listening to this all along so that maybe 9/11 would not have happened. We might have learned from our mistakes but in some ways we still have a lot more to learn.

This is a research paper and the research took a turn back to my own family. My own father served in the Gulf war and even though I was too young to remember the impact it had on society at the time it was happening, I still can relate to its impact not only on what the world is facing now but also what we have learned from the past. My father talked me about what happened over there and how even then there were terrorist groups that attacked them over there in the Gulf. It was a few years before the attack in Oklahoma City, where a man drove a truck loaded with explosives into a building where more than 100 Marines were stationed. The building blew up and all the Marines lost their lives. If you think about it nothing has changed much in over twenty years. There is still a war going on and still terrorist groups everywhere, trying to bring fear into everyone and anyone (Potts).

These days, America is filled with some people who don’t agree with our system of government. Most times, these people suffer in silent, expressing their opinions through their votes, or within the discussions that they hold in their own private homes. When these people act upon this anger, and their disagreement, the feelings are brought beyond the point of normal behavior to vigilantism and violence. This animosity, when pushed to these limits, often results in tragedy, a tragedy that we call domestic terrorism (Currently).

At the same time, there is the harmony that results from these disgraceful and shocking attempts to rip out the American soul. The new Oklahoma City Federal Building was built directly across from the Memorial, showing that we the people will not be threatened by terrorism (Oklahoma).

On that April morning when the building exploded, there was so much chaos all over Oklahoma City that there was not much time for thought. The agents that worked on the recovering of victims were faced with many obstacles, some of which were brought on by Mother Nature herself and others were just merely the effects of the blast. Through rain, and freezing temperatures, they never gave up. Even a seven-ton block of concrete that with every passing day was slipping more and more away from the 9th floor of the building, they still never lost hope that they could save someone’s life. These men and women risked their own lives to help solve one of the most destructive bombing that has ever occurred in the United States (Currently).

Widespread damages always follow when terrorism strikes at home. The bombing in Oklahoma City destroyed the Murrah Federal Building, leaving the city council and the community members no other choice but to collapse it. The devastation that follows these terrorist acts leaves its mark on the public with the destruction of buildings and the loss of property. Nevertheless there are worse signs of devastation that reach far beyond that of money. The devastation that the public feels for the ones lost in these disasters will always be remembered (Oklahoma).

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best when he declared that December 7, 1941 would be "a date that will live in infamy.” So will dates like April 19, 1995 and September 11, 2001, These losses touch the very hearts of the American public; and we rally to help those of us who need it, and question the reasons why there is so many of us who would do such an unspeakable act. The world is still living with these attacks and the aftermath that they bring no matter how much time has passed loved ones were lost and lives were changed forever, even the lives of people not directly linked to a victim.

Works Cited

Bullock, Jane A., George D. Haddow, and Damon P. Coppola. Introduction to Homeland Security. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2012. Print.

"Currently at the Memorial & Museum RSS Feed." Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum â€Official Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2013. .

"Oklahoma City Bombing." FBI. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2013. .

"Oklahoma City Bombing." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2013.

"Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum â€Official Website." Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum â Official Website. N.p., 2011. Web. 02 Feb. 2013. .

Potts, David. Telephone interview. 30 Jan. 2013.

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