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Timothy McVeigh: An American anomie

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  1. Introduction
  2. Emile Durkheim and the concept of 'moral malaise'
  3. Background of Timothy McVeigh
    1. Place of birth
    2. Interest in survival mechanisms
    3. Joining the army
    4. The Branch Davidians
  4. His view of the radical action of bombing a building
  5. Why Timothy McVeigh became an 'American Anomie'
  6. A paranoid personality and vulnerability
  7. The most remarkable facet of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

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). [...]


[...] McVeigh also developed an early obsession for survival mechanisms and being prepared for attacks. He had to deal with poverty and rough times growing up in New York, so he saw it extremely important to always have stock prepared in case an emergency were to present itself (Ottley). Timothy was frequently bullied through his childhood, which often carries over to resentment towards society as a whole in later life. His mother also left his family when he was young, prompting his distrust and disrespect for women as a whole. [...]

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