Oklahoma City

We’ve all got points of history that fix us to a certain date and time: maybe you remember where you were when JFK was shot. Maybe it was Prince Charles marrying Diana, or the day the Challenger blew up, or baby Jessica down that well. Certainly 9/11 is fixed in our public conscience. For me, the first news event that really hit me was the bombing in Oklahoma City. I was young, but even in Canada the coverage of this tragedy was electrifying and horrible. I remember learning that there was a daycare in the building, and that feeling in my stomach, a hard pit that formed in my inability to fathom the kind of person capable of this.

MV5BYTJmNWRkYmEtMmU5MC00YzczLTk5NjEtODg3NjFmZTNiNjI0L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjc5MTQ1ODY@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_This documentary places the bombing in Oklahoma City within the context not just of Waco, but of a growing movement within white “christian” “patriots” – white supremacists who distrusted government and valued guns, apparently above all else. The aryan nations held their head quarters of hatred in northern Idaho and things went bed. Of course they did: that many guns in the hands of that many idiots always does.

Meanwhile: who is Timothy McVeigh? Anti-government, conspiracy theorist, sure. But also a soldier, one the government was willing to promote. McVeigh was a loser though, and when he flunked out of ranger school, he hit the road and traveled gun show to gun show. Unsurprisingly, he met with white supremacists, distilling and reinforcing his craziest notions. He washed up in Waco during the siege, selling racist bumper stickers to other lookey-loos, and raged against the government holding its own people hostage, as he saw it. It’s easy to dismiss him as a crackpot, but he’s a crackpot who built a bomb that he knew would claim innocent lives, the lives of children, and felt justified doing it.

When he was arrested and America got their first glimpse of the terrorist behind the atrocity at Oklahoma City, people were astonished to find that this was not some sort of “foreign threat” but one of their own. Fuck.

Over two decades have passed but it’s still hard to look back. Director Barak Goodman offers a restrained, though not bereft of emotion, look at those events, and it’s still hard not to flinch.

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14 thoughts on “Oklahoma City

  1. Sarca

    Mine was the Challenger explosion (I think I am older than you…), but I definitely remember Oklahoma City. In fact every time I hear the name “Oklahoma City” I think of this damn explosion.
    You ever watch the news interview with Timothy McVeigh (I think it might still be on YouTube)? Chilling to say the least. I have an interest in digging into a story, so I am interested in watching this. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, there’s a lot of meat here and you could follow it down a rabbit hole, I bet.

      (I know, I have trouble separating the city from the crime…it’s just so married in my head, and we never gave it a “catchier” name).

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. tubularsock

      Old is a relative term LT. Tubularsock started to remember Presidential assassinations right after James A. Garfield was assassinated in 1881 and has kept a list of each of the other presidents Tubularsock wouldn’t have minded if they had been popped off as well. In relative terms you are a young chick and Sarca and Jay are almost children! But there is something to be said for being ancient. You get to see the long view. However age is meaningless because it’s not real. Of course we are speaking cosmic time here.

      As for Oklahoma City it is like all the tragic things that happen in this country and the reaction is always a surprise. Like the most violent country on earth is immune to what we put out?
      It’s not rocket science but it is spiritual crisis.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  2. Lacey

    I’m from Oklahoma, live in OKC, and the bombing anniversary was last week. My husband and I hovered over this for a second this weekend. I’d like to see this movie, and it looks like it was done well. The bombing still feels fresh at times though. I couldn’t read the description without tearing up.

    Liked by 3 people

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  3. Christopher

    A co-worker who always listened to the radio was the first to hear the news and ran around the office telling everyone. And she wasn’t shy about suggesting that a couple of people in the office–one a student from Turkey, the other a woman who’d fled Iraq to escape execution–were somehow complicit because of their religion.
    It still disturbs me to think that sowing that kind of fear and distrust was exactly what Timothy McVeigh, a white man who, in his final interview, said he still considered himself a Catholic, wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. In My Cluttered Attic

    JFK’s assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center, and Sandy Hook. I remember where I was and how everyone around me reacted to each event. The common denominator is always unbelievable sadness because of an act of madness by a few people altering so many other lives—even those of unrelated victims. So pointless and an undeniable definition of crazy.

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