Who Built The Bomb? (That Blew Oklahoma City Down)

Rod MacDonald
Language: English

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da/from "And Then He Woke Up"

Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995.
Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995.

Aerial view of bombing site.
Aerial view of bombing site.
from en.wikipedia

The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995 aimed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 800 injured. Until September 11, 2001, it was the deadliest act of terrorism within the U.S. borders.

Within days after the bombing, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were arrested for their role in the bombing. Investigators determined that McVeigh and Nichols were sympathizers of an anti-government militia movement and that that their motive was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001; Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. A third conspirator, Michael Fortier, who testified against the two conspirators, was imprisoned for failing to warn the U.S. government. As with other large-scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and point to additional perpetrators involved.

The attacks led to the U.S. government passing legislation designed to increase protection around federal buildings and to thwart future terrorist attacks. Under these measures, law enforcement has since foiled over fifty domestic terrorism plots. On April 19, 2000 the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building to commemorate the victims of the bombing.


On April 15, 1995 Timothy McVeigh rented a Ryder truck in Herington, Kansas under the alias Robert D. Kling. On April 16, he drove to Oklahoma City with fellow conspirator Terry Nichols where he parked a getaway vehicle several blocks away from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After removing the license plate from the car, the two men returned to Kansas. On April 17 and 18, the men moved 108 fifty-pound bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, three fifty-five gallon drums of liquid nitromethane, several crates of explosive Tovex sausage, seventeen bags of ANFO, and spools of shock tube and cannon fuse. The two then drove to Geary Lake where they mixed the chemicals together using plastic buckets and a bathroom scale. Once it was completed, McVeigh added a dual-fuse ignition system which he could access through the truck's front cab. McVeigh also included more explosives on the driver's side of the cargo bay, which he could ignite with his Glock pistol if the primary fuses failed. After finishing the configuration of the truck-bomb, the two men separated, Nichols returning to Herington and McVeigh driving the truck to Oklahoma City.

At dawn on April 19, as he drove toward the Murrah Federal building, McVeigh carried with him an envelope whose contents included pages from The Turner Diaries, a fictional account of modern-day "patriots" who rise up against the government. He also wore a printed T-shirt which included phrases such as "SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS" ("Thus ever to tyrants", the phrase shouted by John Wilkes Booth as he assassinated Abraham Lincoln) and "The tree of liberty must be refreshed time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" (from revolutionary Thomas Jefferson). As the truck approached the building, at 8:57 a.m. CST, McVeigh lit the five-minute fuse. Three minutes later, still a block away, he lit the two-minute fuse. He parked the Ryder truck in a drop-off zone (incidentally situated under the building's day-care center, locked the vehicle, and headed to his getaway vehicle.


Fireman Chris Fields holding the dying infant Baylee Almon - symbol of the tragedy.
Fireman Chris Fields holding the dying infant Baylee Almon - symbol of the tragedy.
At 9:02 a.m. CST, the Ryder truck, which contained about 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of explosive material, detonated in front of the north side of the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The blast destroyed a third of the building and created a thirty-foot-wide, eight-foot-deep crater on NW 5th Street next to the building. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings in a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars around the site, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings (the broken glass alone accounted for 5% of the death total and 69% of the injuries outside the Murrah Federal building). The destruction of the building left several hundred people homeless and shut down multiple offices in downtown Oklahoma City.

The effects of the blast were equivalent to 4,000 pounds of TNT and could be heard and felt up to fifty-five miles away. Seismometers at the Omniplex Museum in Oklahoma City (7 kilometers away) and in Norman, Oklahoma (26 kilometers away) recorded the blast as measuring approximately 3.0 on the Richter scale.


Within 90 minutes of the explosion, McVeigh was arrested. He was traveling north out of Oklahoma City on Interstate 35 near Perry in Noble County, when an Oklahoma State Trooper stopped him for driving his yellow 1977 Mercury Marquis without a license plate. The arrest was for having a concealed weapon. Later that day, McVeigh was linked to the bombing via the VIN number of an axle from the destroyed Ryder truck. Before McVeigh was to be released after a court hearing on the gun charges, federal agents picked him up in their investigation of the bombing.

Federal agents then searched for Nichols, a friend of McVeigh. Two days after the bombing, Nichols learned that FBI investigators were looking for him, and he turned himself in. After a nine-hour interrogation, he was formally held in federal custody until his trial for involvement in the bombing.


At the end of the day of the bombing, twenty were confirmed dead, including six children, and over a hundred injured. The toll eventually reached 168 confirmed dead, not including an unmatched leg that might be from a possible, unidentified 169th victim, which is why it is sometimes claimed that the bombing claimed 169 lives (The missing leg appears to have been a sort of "clerical" error, but nothing after 1996 could be found about it). Of these, 163 were killed in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, one woman across the street, another in a parking lot, a man and woman in the Oklahoma Water Resources building, and a rescue worker struck in the head by debris. The victims ranged in age from three months to seventy-three, not including unborn children of three pregnant women (Michel & Herbeck 234). Nineteen of the victims were children, including fifteen who were in the America's Kids Day Care Center. The bodies of all 168 victims were identified at a temporary morgue set up at the scene. Twenty-four people, including sixteen specialists, used full-body X-rays, dental examinations, fingerprinting, blood tests and DNA testing to identify the bodies (Michel & Herbeck 234). The bomb injured 853 people. The majority of the injuries ranged from abrasions to severe burns and fractures.
Who built the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?
"Not I," said the Washington lobbyist, checking the names off on his list.
"We give money to candidates who vote exactly like we tell them to:
to preserve all our basic rights to own a rifle with a scope sight
or an assault weapon to clear a street or a militia if we want to beat
down on anyone in our way until the revolution comes one day.
Okay, so one got out of line, you can't say the blame is mine."

Who bought the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?
"Not I," said the leader of Congress, busily beating on his chest,
celebrating the victory of his political party.
He rode his white horse to Washington, set up his targets and mowed 'em down.
"The biggest need today," he said, "is eliminating the goverment.
Boom the environment, boom health care, it's a revolution, boom welfare.
As for some guy with a bomb on a bus, he's totally unimportant to us."

So who placed the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?
"Not I," said the action movie star as he derailed 15 railroad cars,
rode his 'copter through the hotel and blew the bad guys straight to hell.
"I'm killin' villians all over the world, so be like me and you'll get the girl.
We don't pay extras on this film, so there's no bystanders to get killed.
As for the law it's just a drag, at the end of the movie I get back my badge.
With a quip and smile in every frame, you can't say I'm to blame."

So who set the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?
"Not I," said the right wing radio host, "but then I can proudly boast
good people everywhere agree with me, there's a liberal conspiracy
that must be stopped immediately if we're gonna keep our country free
and sure I said the President and his wife are deviants
whose government has no authority and must be destroyed, but actually
I didn't mean it literally, I was just trying to get myself on TV."

So who lit the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?
"Not I," said the preacher, book in hand, with his personal knowledge of God's great plan.
"God will punish those who do wrong and sometimes we need to help Him along.
It just shows how our morality has sunk to new lows with sex and free
speech and rock music and this generation, though in this case it was a right-wing Christian
gun nut, racist white man. I still say we need to make a stand
for God and Christ and this here station, so won't you please send a donation?"

So who denied the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?
"Not I," said the people, eyes glued to the screen as they pulled the bodies out from the scene.
"Those Arabs shouldn have done what they done; what do you mean it was an American?
There's nothing I hate more than violence; I still say it would've made more sense
for them to go on Oprah for 'Guys who can't stop making war'
or to let our boys win in Vietnam or drop the big one on Iran;
but killin' Americans, it ain't the same. No, you can't say we're to blame."

So who built the bomb that blew Oklahoma City down?

Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2007/3/29 - 11:30

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