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Oklahoma City Bombing Presentation
Transcript of Oklahoma City Bombing Presentation
Hartzler began the trial of Timothy
McVeigh. Let's retrace our steps and go
back to the beginning of this tragedy,
to uncover the true motives and reasoning
behind the bombing. But what exactly happened to end
the life of 1-year-old Tevin Garrett?
It all started in a New York high school.
A young man named Timothy McVeigh was
a main target of bullies. As one source described
McVeigh, "He attributes a lifelong hatred for bullies of
all kinds... to early beatings on softball diamonds
and head-spinning 'swirlies' in flushing toilets" (Linder 1). Fast-forward to McVeigh's early twenties. He had joined the military, and was a well-respected gunner for Bradley fighting vehicles. "In basic training, the loner McVeigh found a friend in his platoon leader, Terry Nichols, who shared his conservative and somewhat paranoid political views" (Linder 1). Why did McVeigh feel negatively towards the government?
"McVeigh believed that The Turner Diaries described many of the problems
facing the United States, the chief one being that Americans were allowing the federal government to usurp many of their gun rights" (Roleff 13). In 1992, a man named Randy Weaver in Idaho was being investigated for having an illegal weapons stash. The situation quickly spiraled out of control. "Weaver rebuffed the agent's request numerous times before finally giving in and selling him a shotgun that was just slightly shorter than what was allowed by law... Agents were now allowed to shoot to kill any of the Weavers if they were armed; normally, the rules of engagement permit law enforcement officials to shoot only if threatened by a suspect" (Roleff 15). This was not to be the only deadly event involving weapons that year. "A few months after the siege at Ruby Ridge, another attempt by federal agents to seize illegal weapons owned by a religious group known as the Branch Davidians led to a fifty-one-day siege in Waco, Texas" (Roleff 17).
FBI agents surrounded the compound on April 19, and a fire broke out. What happened next was viewed personally on television by Timothy McVeigh, and it only contributed to his hatred for the government.
"When it was over, 74 men, women, and children were found dead inside the compound. McVeigh, in Michigan, sat stunned and appalled: 'What is this? What has America become? He decided the time would come when he would strike back" (Linder 1). Timothy McVeigh decided to take drastic action against the government in response to the events at Ruby Ridge and Waco. He planned an attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at Waco (Oklahoma 1). McVeigh approached dealers on racing fuel, fertilizer, and other possible bomb ingredients over a few months, and rigged together multiple barrels of explosives inside a Ryder rental truck (Collins 32). Many targets for the bombing were considered, but in the end,
McVeigh chose the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in
Oklahoma City. It was chosen for its glass front which was expected
to shatter immediately, and for the large parking lot across the street.
The lot would dissipate some of the force, protecting non-federal
buildings nearby (Oklahoma 1). 9:02 AM, April 19, 1995. A massive explosion annihilates the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. One eyewitness described the scene as, "... a huge crater in the street, like some kind of meteor had hit it... You could put two Greyhound buses in that hole" (Roleff 48).
Confusion and terror reigned as nearly half of the 550 people who worked in the office building were still unaccounted for hours later (Daniel 1417). To make matters worse, the Murrah housed a childcare agency, and parents rushed into the chaotic mess outside the building in fear of the worst (Daniel 1417). 90 minutes after the explosion, Timothy McVeigh was pulled over by a state trooper for driving without a license plate (Oklahoma 1). The FBI quickly pieced together evidence, and found a signature at a motel where a Ryder truck had been seen. McVeigh was arrested as a suspect in the bombing, and the evidence against him only continued to pile up (Oklahoma 1). Damages from the explosion were estimated around $652 million (Oklahoma 1). 168 people total were killed, including 19 children (Daniel 1418). Also, President Clinton immediately pushed for new laws protecting America's capacity to prevent and counter terrorist attacks (264). "So after Oklahoma City, what happened? I went to Congress and asked them to expedite the legislation I had sent them" (264). However, the defense brought up some interesting points, including speculation that the FBI had not apprehended the real bomber; that McVeigh had not committed the crime. "The FBI did not find McVeigh's fingerprints on the truck rental agreement, the ignition key, or other pieces of evidence..." (Collins 32). Stephen Jones, the lead defense attorney, had a strategy to convince the jury that the infamous John Doe No. 2 was still at large and may really have been the one responsible for the bombing. Jones also put together the testimony of motel witnesses, and a bombing victim who claimed to have seen a Hispanic man exit a Ryder truck outside the Murrah building (Collins 32). A stunning scene outside what is left of the Murrah federal building forty-eight hours after the bombing (Oklahoma 1). Before its destruction, the Alfred P. Murrah federal building was an elegant, large building with glass almost completely covering the front (Oklahoma 1). In the months that followed, Weaver's wife and son were killed by snipers. The standoff was peacefully resolved soon after, but the damage had been done. Timothy McVeigh was infuriated over the overly enthusiastic actions of the ATF and FBI agents and the cover-up that followed as the government tried to play down its role in the deaths during the raid and siege (Roleff 19). The scene as fires destroyed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. McVeigh was incensed by the siege, and those harsh feelings led to his attack on the heartland (Oklahoma 1). This image was taken by a Regency Towers surveillance camera, and shows the possible Ryder vehicle filled with explosives driven by McVeigh. Approximately five minutes after this picture was taken, the bomb was detonated (Linder 1). Timothy McVeigh is shown here in his orange prison jumpsuit during the trial (Linder 1). From the beginning, McVeigh knew there was a slim to none chance he would be found innocent. His beliefs supporting the militia movement and anti-tax laws were convincing evidence against him. In addition, Michael and Lori Fortier (friends of McVeigh) had orchestrated a plea bargain in order to testify against Timothy. Lori had forged a driver's license for McVeigh and Michael assisted in surveying the Murrah in preparation for the attack (Oklahoma 1). Steven Jones and his defense team put together a legitimate argument for Timothy McVeigh. However, overwhelming evidence against McVeigh showed that he was the one responsible for the heinous attack in the nation's heartland (Collins 32). Timothy McVeigh was found guilty on eleven counts of murder and conspiracy on this date. Although the defense argued for a reduced sentence of life imprisonment, McVeigh was sentenced to death (Oklahoma 1). Leading up to McVeigh's execution, he maintained his stance against the government. Timothy believed his actions had in fact brought profound changes to America. "In evidence he cited the peaceful resolution of the Montana Freemen standoff in 1996... and April 2000 statements by Bill Clinton regretting his decision to storm the Branch Davidian compound" (Oklahoma 1). Timothy's last words before his execution by lethal injection was the poem "Invictus" (Latin for unconquered). The poem expresses a reliance on self, a determination to overcome all obstacles, and most importantly of all, the belief that his actions were not wrong (Roleff 30). In the end, Timothy McVeigh was proven guilty without a doubt of the bombing. Nevertheless, he refused to show remorse for his actions. "Because the truth is, I blew up the Murrah Building, and isn't it kind of scary that one man could wreak this kind of (havoc)?" (Oklahoma 1). Meanwhile, Timothy McVeigh continued to be held in prison following the attack. He was indicted on charges of murder on August 10, 1995 (Oklahoma 1). Thank you for watching, and I hope you now know much more about this fateful event in America's history.