Oklahoma Bombing Essay, Research Paper
The Bill of Rights in Action
The Aftermath of Terror
Oklahoma bombing was a tragic occurrence that will linger for a
Long time in our memories. A large bomb blasted on April 19, 1995, in front of the nine-story Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 168 people were dead and 19 of them were children. To commemorate the innocent victims, the television broadcasted their funeral as Americans watched and commiserated with the victims family.
Soon after the bombing, rumors speculated that foreign terrorists had set off the bomb. Representatives of Arab and Muslim Americans immediately reported threats and feared retaliation. Rescue workers worked hard until the last minute to save the last survivor.
The FBI immediately began investigation to bring killers justice. As the first clue, an agent found a scrap of metal that had been twisted by the explosion, but it was soon discovered as a piece of truck axle with a vehicle identification number etched upon it. The numbers are placed on auto parts to trace vehicles when they are stolen. The second clue came from a bank camera across the street of the bombed building, which showed a Ryder rental truck parked in front of the building just before the blast. It turned out that the truck had been rented two days prior to the bombing, but the two men used false identifications to borrow it. Nevertheless, the FBI obtained descriptions and made composite sketches which they broadcasted nationwide. In addition, the FBI spread out Junction City to ask questions. Soon tips from the public came in. As a result, the FBI recognized Tim McVeigh as a suspect.
McVEigh was a former army soldier who hated the federal
government. He was especially angry about the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compund in Waco, Texas. The seige took place two years prior to the Oklahoma bombing, on April 19, 1993. The investigators realized the bomb was set off by Americans, not foreign terrorists.
FBI traced more suspects who had been involved with the bombing. One was James Nichols, a farm owner who built small bombs and had some connection to extremist groups. His brother, Terry, an army friend of McVeigh, soon gave himself up to authorities as well. Th two brothers were held as material witnesses. With these arrests, federal prosecutors began to set up a strong circumstantial case against the convicted suspects.
Both McVeigh and Nichols were charged with one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill people and destroy property. They also were charged with one count of using such a device that caused death and one count of injury and malicious destruction of federal property and eight counts of murdering federal law enforcement officers. If they are convicted, they could face the death penalty.
According to the prosecutors, all three defendants hated the federal government, and their conspiracy of Oklahoma bombing were contrived as early as September 13, 1994 when McVeigh and others met in Fortier s trailer in Kingman, Arizona. Michael Fortier pleaded guilty to the charges in his indictment and is expected to testify for the prosecution. McVeigh and Nichols pleaded not guilty to all charges. The defense will argue that the prosecution has the wrong defendants. It points to evidence found at the bombing site which it alleges demonstrates that the real bombers died in the explosion. The FBI are continuing to investigate to see if there were more people involved in the felony.
The Oklahoma bombing and the carried investigation brought to
national attention the existence of the militia movement. Many groups seem to believe that the government is involved in some kind of conspiracy to deprive Americans of their liberties.
While many Americans condemned those who took part in the
Oklahoma bombing, questions arose how to deal with growing terrorism and the increasing militia movement. President Clinton proposed a bi-partisan effort to strengthen national anti-terrorist laws. The proposal proposes to make planning a terrorist act a federal crime. President Clinton made a speech that criticized those who promoted hatred of government and violence against authority. This speech created great commotion between the Congress.
Oklahoma bombing was one of the deadliest examples of terrorism in America. Its impact will be long-lasting. It made America rethink how about our sense of security or what measures are needed to counter terrorism. It also rises the question whether the tragedy will unite Americans together in grief or drive us apart as we debate the issues that were brought upon.