OKC Alfred P. Murrah Building Bombing
On April 19th, 1995 a horrific terrorist attack on U.S. soil took place in the heartland of Oklahoma. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was targeted and was completely blown to pieces by one gigantic homemade bomb. The unimaginable had happened at the starting of a typical day at work. This day would be forever commemorated for the rest of America's history, unlike any other day until 9/11, as a prominent attack on the government of the United States.
At 9:03 a.m. a massive bomb resting inside a rented Ryder truck destroyed half of the nine story federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. Within moments, the surrounding area looked like a complete war zone. The smoke in the air so thick it was impossible to breathe or see. A third of the building had been reduced to rubble, with many floors flattened like pancakes. Dozens of cars exploded and were incinerated. Also more than 300 nearby buildings were damaged or destroyed. It also claimed the innocent lives of 169 men, women, and children, while causing critical injuries to hundreds more. The bomb was made up of a deadly and potent cocktail of two and a half tons of ammonium nitrate , 4800 pounds of a common farm fertilizer, and fuel oil then was packed inside the rented truck. The most terrifying thing about the making of this bomb was that its ingredients were cheap and very accessible to the public. Most gardening stores sell 50 pound bags of ammonium nitrate for $10. The substantial destruction from the bomb was luck more than anything. Former FBI bomb expert Denny Kline commented that "he made the biggest bomb he had accessible to him, placed the device outside, and hoped for the best, and in fact, it was the worst scenario" (Camp, 1995). It blew off the front end of the building, blowing up ceilings and collapsing floors, and burying victims under an immense amount of concrete and steel (Camp, 1995)
Just 90 minutes after the explosion, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol pulled over Timothy McVeigh for driving without a license plate on his vehicle. By April 21st, the 27-year-old Gulf War veteran would be known as the main suspect for the Alfred P. Murrah Building bombing and would subsequently be charged for the devastating crime. At the same time, Terry Nichols, McVeigh's old army buddy was wanted for questioning. Nichols turned himself in, in Herington, Kansas, and was also charged with the bombing shortly after. (Clark, 1995)
There has been speculation that the bombing of the federal building was to demonstrate the anti-government feelings over the 1993 government raid of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco Texas. The Branch Davidians are a deeply religious group that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. They have many theological beliefs in common with Messianic Judaism. The Waco raid began because ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) agents were trying to arrest a man named David Koresh, the head of the Davidian Branch, and search the Davidian Compound. The feds believed that Koresh was illegally converting semi-automatic AR-15’s into the fully automatic machine guns that soldiers use. Both McVeigh and Nichols were once spotted at the compound in Waco and were openly supporting the other Branch Davidians. In 1993, McVeigh drove to Waco, Texas during the Waco Siege to show his support. At the scene, he distributed pro-gun rights literature and bumper stickers, such as "When guns are outlawed, I will become an outlaw. The bombing occurred exactly two years to the day after the compound burned to the ground killing 80 men, women, and children after a 51-day standoff between the Branch Davidians and the FBI. The bombing definitely put the spotlight on other groups with anti-government sentiments.
McVeigh's trial was set for Denver, Colorado on March 31, 1997. On June 3rd 1997, the jury found McVeigh guilty of all...