One could ask any American citizen old enough to remember the year 1995, and they will undoubtedly be able to recall the incident of the Oklahoma City Bombing. Most would be able to identify the man responsible for the devastation: an unremarkable, young, middle class white man named Timothy McVeigh. The Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995 was the most damaging and deadly terrorist attack on American soil, besides the World Trade Center bombings (Ottley). Everyone was even more surprised to find out that it was not another Al Qaeda strike, but the working of a 27-year-old male from New York. Questions flooded in from the public: why would an American citizen commit such an atrocity, what was mentally wrong with him, and where did he come from? A close examination of the life of Timothy McVeigh unravels the upbringings, experiences, and internal resentment that lead to the devastating explosion that wounded hundreds of men, women, and children for seemingly no reason. Equally importantly, McVeigh's motives are exposed as well as why he considered such an act of violence to be a heroic act of martyrdom.
[...] A few minutes later, an enormous explosion erupted from the truck, and a homemade bomb blasted open one third of the building. The single blow killed 168 innocent people, including a large portion of the day care center, which he conveniently parked his van near other people were wounded (Walsh). McVeigh picked this particular building because he thought there would be government workers present at the time of the bombing. He also knew he would kill a majority of women, who he saw as inferior and threatening to his power as a white male. [...]
[...] The Oklahoma City Bombing was largely as a result of Timothy McVeigh's inability and disinterest to conform to society's norms, and exhibits his complete lack of regard for what is accepted (and even legal) in American society. Timothy McVeigh was born on April in Pendelton, New York. He grew up in a predominantly (and almost entirely) working class, Christian, white area. McVeigh had a fairly normal childhood; he was bullied a little as a kid, but did not start to show signs of rebellion until his adolescence (Walsh). [...]
[...] They referred to their standoff with the FBI as an “apocalyptic showdown” between themselves and the government agents (Scruggs 1). There was a 51-day standoff where the Branch Davidians would not leave their compound, which culminated in the FBI pumping tear gas in efforts to force the people out on April The Davidians responded by lighting numerous fires in the compound, and setting off what is described as “systematic gunfire” (Scruggs 2). This massacre left a huge toll; 75 Davidians were found dead. [...]
[...] Timothy McVeigh became an “American Anomie” greatly in part of his extreme violent tendencies, militaristic, and nationalistic approaches at life. Violence has a part in everyone's life, but nowhere near as drastic as McVeigh's. It only seemed appropriate that with his upbringing so stressed in weaponry, he enlisted in the army. This opened a new world of weapons to McVeigh. He became well educated on the guns, bombs, ammo, and explosives used in the military. It was also a haven for desensitization to killing and brutality; by seeing so much pain and violence in the military, it was easier for McVeigh to digest when he inflicted it onto the American people. [...]
[...] McVeigh developed a “paranoid adolescent personality” which culminated in his desire to construct a bomb that would ultimately lead to, as he describes, “state assisted suicide.” (Ottley). This paranoid personality opened up McVeigh to vulnerability to propaganda, especially during the decline of liberalism and the Democratic Party that he grew up during. He possessed traditional, conservative (racist and sexist) views and felt very strongly about his ideals. These ideals are reflected in his favorite book and movie as mentioned earlier: the pro-Hitler The Turner Diaries and violent, militia-based Red Dawn, which he poured over and obsessed about for a good portion of his life. [...]
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