Oklahoma City Bombing Essay, Research Paper
Do you remember the conflict that America had in the Persian Gulf a few years back? An incident occurred there where a man drove a truck loaded with explosives into the building where more than 100 Marines were stationed. He blew up the building, along with the Marines. The incident was published by the AP Press soon after. Now do you remember the bombing just four years ago, in Oklahoma City? Suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols drove a Ryder Van loaded with 4,800 pounds of fertilizer and fuel oil to the front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, where it subsequently exploded, killing 169 people and injuring some 500 others. Of course you do. While both were massive acts of violence involving American citizens, the impact of such acts is always felt the most when it happens right here at home.
These days, America is filled with those people who disagree with our system of government. Most times, these people suffer silently, 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.
Being the oldest daughter of a Senior ATF Agent, I have been exposed to domestic terrorism all of my life. My father has investigated thousands of bombings, fires, and explosions for more than twenty years now. Many of these incidents were examples of the terrorism that I speak about. His experiences have taught me countless lessons and informed me of many current events. The information that I have obtained from him is far more valuable than anything that the media could ever possibly convey. Though he is always strictly guarded with the confidences of his profession, he has always provided me with a firsthand knowledge of the impact that domestic terrorism has on the citizens and law enforcement. Through him, I learn the facts of these incidents without the media s exaggerations. Today I will share with you some of these facts. I will talk to you about the impact that domestic terrorism has on our citizens. These impacts include: the monetary damages that terrorism inflicts, along with the injuries to the victims, the shocking repercussions that are embedded into the minds and souls of the people who come to sort through the rubble to find the survivors and the remaining evidence. At the same time there is the unity that results from these outrageous attempts to tear the American soul.
When that building exploded that sunny April morning, there was such chaos throughout Oklahoma City that there was little time for thought. However, after the building was cleared of victims, the city had a moment to reflect and look at the once colossal building that now stood before them in a crumbled heap. Extensive damages always follow when terrorism strikes at home. The bombing in Oklahoma City completely destroyed the Murrah Federal Building, leaving the city council and the community members no other choice but to implode it.
The destruction that follows these terrorist acts leaves its mark on the community with the abolished buildings and loss of property. Yet there are signs of devastation that reach far beyond the monetary damages. These losses touch the very hearts of the American public. It is the lives that are lost and the people that are wounded that we remember the most.
Domestic terrorism claims hundreds, if not thousands of lives every year. In the case of the Oklahoma City bombing, 169 lives were lost, and more than 500 people were injured in some manner. It was, according to CNN News, The Worst Terrorist Attack on US Soil. Perhaps one of the issues that made this attack the most devastating that the US has experienced, was that 19 of the lives that were lost that spring day were those of children that were in the America s Kids Daycare Center.
While it is always difficult to lose a loved one or suffer the long-lasting scars of a terrorist attack, perhaps some of the most lasting effects of domestic terrorism are those inflicted upon those people we call upon to take care of the situation. They are the paramedics, the support groups, and the investigators that are subjected to these senseless acts of violence. This is the part of the terror that is most personal to me. During the Oklahoma City Bombing, my father was gone from the day after the bombing to the day after the implosion. That is almost two months. While the rescuers were searching for the survivors and the victims, he along with the other investigators, was in a relentless search for evidence that would soon point the finger at Timothy McVeigh and his ex-Army buddy Terry Nichols. Investigators were out there twenty-four hours a day, picking through the rubble of broken stone, family pictures, and children s toys, as well as other graphic images too gruesome for public viewing. They were out there all day, every day, until May 9th. The day that all but the final victim were found.
During this time, agents were faced with threats from anti-government talk show hosts like G. Gordon Liddy, who on his national radio show, referred to federal agents as Jack-booted thugs and then instructed his listeners to shoot agents. He told listeners to shoot agents in the head, because they wore bulletproof vests for protection. These were just agents, out there doing their jobs, just as the emergency workers and firefighters were. These agents had not only to contend with the horrific task at hand, but also the possible repercussions of the inflammatory remarks of the ignorant.
Agents were faced with rainstorms, freezing temperatures, and a seven-ton block of concrete that every day threatened to slip from its position high upon the top of the nine-story building and crush the remaining wreckage and its occupants. Even after the investigation ceased, and now that the trial is underway, there are still many of these rescuers and investigators who have suffered post-traumatic stress. After weeks of sorting through the debris, and finding pieces of bomb around the fragmented bodies of the victims, many even had to turn to the help of medical professionals. These men and women risked their own lives to help solve the most destructive bombing that has ever occurred in the United States.
Fortunately, they were not alone in their search. While the agents were sifting through ruins, Oklahoma sifted through their own ruins: their broken hearts and broken dreams. They showered the agents with the same love and affection that they demonstrate in their own homes. This city in the heartland pulled together even though their lives were being torn apart. People worldwide were so touched by the actions of the rescuers and the investigators that they donated clothing and food and sent cards, poems, and banners. The city that was so broken was now able to unite to honor these people that they saw as heroes.
These images are just some of the thousands that were so common during the months of April and May of 1995. They reflect the massive destruction of the bomb, with all the damages that it caused to the area that it encompassed, the pain and suffering of the victims and their families, and the stress of all the agents that were there to solve this heinous attack. They are representative of the impact of all domestic terrorism that occurs with increasing intensity every year. The extensive monetary damages, the injuries and deaths, the dramatic repercussions suffered by the rescuers, and the ability of these terror-torn cities to unify to recognize the heroism of those who come to help. These are the impacts of domestic terrorism. These, the fallen buildings, the broken hearts, the unsung heroes, and the quiet voices that emerge through the aftermath of these senseless acts. — The acts of domestic terrorism.