Oklahona City Bombing Essay Research Paper The

Oklahona City Bombing Essay, Research Paper

The Government’s Response to the Oklahoma City Bombing

The Oklahoma City Bombing affected many Americans, including the President

of the United States. From the start the White House immediately dispatched

the FBI. The initial reaction was to close the airports, but that would

infringe on civil liberties. Government intervention with this tragedy

would help many victims’ family members cope with the loss of their loved

ones. Presidential response as well as monetary compensation would

attribute to the healing process. Since the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah

Federal Building many government actions have been taken to prevent another

incident like the Oklahoma City Bombing.

President Bill Clinton put aside his own political problems to give the

nation response to this tragedy. President Clinton had to choose his words

with care while speaking to the media. The Waco tragedy was fresh on the

minds of many and all of America would be listening to his reaction to the

situation. Clinton was very angry about the tragedy and said that the

bombers were “evil cowards” and would be treated like “killers,” and he was

so gripped with anger that he wanted to put his fist through the television

screen when he first saw the incident (Carney 66). Even though Clinton was

angry he still dealt with the situation very carefully, knowing that what he

said would affect how millions of Americans would cope with the tragedy.

An act of terrorism is what lead to the Oklahoma City Bombing, this tragedy

happened because someone had different beliefs. What is the government

doing about terrorism? An anti-terrorism bill would give the government an

additional $1 billion to help fight the war against terrorism. By linking

this bill to the Oklahoma City Bombing, Clinton and congress would get this

extra money when the bill was finally enacted into law. Libertarian Party

Chair Steve Dasbach said, “It shows that there is no tragedy that

politicians won’t try to capitalize on to further increase the power of

government.” Desbach also thinks that if any government with the power to

kill their own citizens through the criminal justice system also has an

obligation that no innocent person is ever executed (LP Warns 1). Some say

that the best defense against domestic terrorism is a vibrant, open

political system where no American will feel excluded or voiceless. This

would lead to an American foreign policy that does not interfere in the

affairs of other nations.

This policy would help fight against terrorist like Terry Nichols, Timothy

McVeigh, and the others who may have contributed to the bombing of the

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Nichols was found guilty for his part in

the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma on April 19, 1995. On this

day 168 people were killed, more than 500 people were injured, and including

the death of eight federal agents. Nichols was convicted for conspiracy and

involuntary manslaughter; he was sentenced for life in prison and was also

acquitted by the jury on the charges of first and second-degree murder

(Oklahoma 2). Even though convicted he wanted the jury and America to

understand that Timothy McVeigh had intended to kill hundreds of people.

U.S District Judge Richard Matasch sentenced Nichols to life in prison for

the conspiracy conviction, and he also received concurrent six-year

sentences for each of the eight accounts of manslaughter (U.S 1).

McVeigh was known to people who knew him as a boy gone bad. He was found

guilty on 11 counts of murder and conspiracy for the 1995 bombing of the

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. McVeigh was sentenced to die by lethal

injection. If the conviction is upheld on an appeal, it could take three

years (Annin 40). The jurors reached a verdict of death despite McVeigh’s

military record and his boy next-door appearance; they all thought that he

should die. Their votes were unanimous and they had no doubt about his

guilt. To them he was a terrorist not a patriot. Church bells rang across

the city, as the death sentence announcement spread throughout Oklahoma

City. And where the Murrah Federal Building once stood, victims and their

family members gathered to witness a turning point in their tragedy


Mike Fortier, McVeighs former best friend also played a role in the bombing

and he too admitted to his part in one of “America’s biggest tragedy’s” (U.S

1). Fortier received a reduced sentence, but if tried and convicted he too

could have been sentenced with death. Fortier’s testimony is what helped

convict McVeigh. Fortier shared how McVeighed planned the bombing, he first

mapped out the Murrah building and surrounding area with exact detail

(Annin). He chose this building because it was close to the highway where

he could make a fast getaway.

For those who were victims in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal

Building trying to move on and continue their life is hard especially if

they lost a loved one. It seems that such tragedies like this one

ironically bring a community closer together. Downtown Oklahoma is

something that belongs to all the citizens, and reviving the city’s center

was a project initiated before the bombing occured. The federal government

has made a pledge of $40 million to replace the decimated office structure,

and another $40 million to restore a section downtown where the Murrah

building once stood. Their major priority is reconstructing a proud, active

downtown, and meeting place for the citistate.

The Oklahoma City Bombing was a very harsh tragedy and was hard to cope

with for Americans everywhere. Even the ones who weren’t present or

residents in the state still wept with the citizens and victims of Oklahoma.

This tragedy killed over a hundred people and among these people killed,

was also nineteen innocent children. Many lost loved ones in the bombing of

the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building just because one man wanted to kill

people. Why did he want to kill these people in this building? He is a

terrorist who wanted to express his beliefs, and after the bombing was done

and over with he still believed that he was innocent and that a man should

not be convicted because of his beliefs.

It’s been nearly five years since the bombing, the lives of many Americans

have changed, directly and indirectly from the act itself and through the

enactment of new laws passed by congress. On the fifteenth of April of the

year nineteen hundred and ninetyfive marked a histroic and tragic day in the

eyes of America. On this day Terry Nichols, Timothy McViegh, and some

others decided to set a bomb off in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building,

killing over a hundred of adults and children. But it seems that more

questions than answers have evolved. It came as no surprise to anyone that

Timothy McVeigh was a poster boy for the death penalty. The question now

is, will it make the next madman think twice before blowing up another

building? Will his death bring back those who perished? Will this event

give closure to those families who lost loved ones?

Many questions have also evolved from the passing of the

“Anti-Terrorist Bill.” Does this bill give more power to our government

agencies resulting in another Waco tragedy, it makes it a crime to

contribute money to organizations that the government arbitrarily designates

as a foreign organization or “terrorist.” (Anti-terrorism) Terrorist acts

increase wiretapping, search and seizure, and invasive surveillance of

private citizens. According to a book written by David Hoffman, The

Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, he details the evidence

about the U.S. government’s alliance with the terrorist underworld and a

sting operation that led to the bombing in Oklahoma City. Shocking, but

unfortunate, tragedy such as this bombing results in capitalism, and more

power for the government. But tragedy such as this bombing also brings

people together regardless of color, race, or religion. And Americans will

continue to struggle with justice.


Andrew, Murr and Peter Annin. “A Very Narrow Escape: Jurors let Nichols

live, but

some wonder if the Oklahoma City plot has really been cracked.” Newsweek 19

Jan 1998: 25.

Annin, Peter. “The plot goes on trial: McVeigh’s Army buddy prepares to

fight for his

life.” Newsweek 22 Sept 1997: 64.

Annin, Peter and Tom Morganthau. “The Verdict: Death.” Newsweek 23 June



“Anti-terrorism Bill Inches Foward in Senate.” St. Luis Post 6 June 1995:

5A. 26 Oct



Blank, Jonah. “Guilty – but just how guilty: defense ‘mitigation

specialist’ could help

spare Nichols’s life.” U.S News and World Report 12 Jan 1998: 121-123.

Carney, James. “Measure of a President.” Time 1 May 1995: 65-67.

“Cracking Down

on Hate.” Newsweek May 1995: 20-24.

“The Death March.” The Progressive August 1997: 8-10.

Hoffman, David. “The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror.”

March 1998:

1-2. 25 Oct 1999


“LP Warns Anti-terrorism Bill a Danger to U.S.” June 1996:1-2. 25 Oct 1999


“Oklahoma Bombing Conspirator Nicholas Loses Appeal.” 12 Oct 1999: 1-2. 25




Pierce, Neal R. “Oklahoma City: Fire, in the Ashes.” Nations City Weekly 1

April 1996:


“Punishment and Mercy.” U.S News and World Report 29 Dec 1997: 115.

Roebuck, Karen and Gordon Witkin. “Torments that will not end: why Terry


escaped execution.” U.S News and World Report 19 Jan 1998: 33.

“U.S vs. McVeigh: the biggest murder trial in U.S history has opened in


CurrentEvents 28 April 1997: 1-2


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