|McVeigh's defiant mugshot.|
Netflix has a new documentary out on the Oklahoma City Bombing that I've decided to watch, partly because I have a morbid fascination by the dark and the devastation that can occur in a country that supposedly is the greatest in the world (that's why we moved to it), and partly because I did live through it and the precursors that led up to it.
If you were born in the 90's or something, or just didn't pay attention...in 1995, on April 19th, a 26-year-old disaffected Gulf War vet named Timothy McVeigh planted a giant fertilizer bomb in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in a rented truck and set off the fuse. The front of the building was leveled, over 600 people were injured with almost 200 people killed, a lot of them being children who were dropped off that morning at the day care center that was on the first floor. It was domestic terrorism on a level that Americans had never seen, and the deadliest attack on American soil of civilians until 9/11. He was caught, tried, and convicted. He was executed in 2001.
|McVeigh's chilling perp walk.|
A few years ago, living in Los Angeles, I started writing a script about the bombing, not about McVeigh, but about what happens to a person that leads him to create such a horrifying act of hate against innocent men women and children. He did not have a criminal record, he had an honorable discharge from the army, and when they did a perp walk with him and people got a look at him for the first time, amidst shouts of 'baby killer' and 'monster', he looked like a regular home-grown salt of the earth kid, with a thousand yard stare on his face. His subsequent interviews show no glimmer of any type of mental illness nor any remorse, which is terrifyingn and blood curdling. He had just murdered almost 200 innocent people and not an ounce of regret was expressed. The way he spoke about it, seemed like he was talking about a mission that he had to do in Iraq.
The first thing investigators noticed that April 19th happened to be the anniversary of the Waco compound standoff that culminated in the Branch Davidians setting the building on fire without letting many adults and children out despite the plea of the Government.
|David Koresh mid-preach. The media labeled him 'the sinful messiah' who would talk politics, have a beer with you, and just happens to have sex with underage girls.|
Backstory on that: In the 70's, in a small town in Texas, on Mount Carmel the Branch Davidians created a cult that eventually passed to its most passionate follower David Koresh. He preached a lot, saw himself as the messiah, bible-thumped, you know, cult bullshit like that. Oh I forgot to mention he had over 20 wives about half of whom were minors. One day a FedEx delivery man calls the FBI because one of his crates that he regularly delivered accidentally opened and a large amount of grenades fell out. The FBI conveyed this information to the ATF (that's bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for those of you that don't live in Bible Belt states) and they discovered that Koresh and his followers had been turning semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons which are illegal in readiness for the opening of the Seven Seals, and Armageddon and other cult bullshit. Then the stand-off began. I forgot to mention, it was a siege that lasted 51 days in 1993. It attracted a lot of media attention and many drove down to Waco to see it, many of whom had anti-Government pro-gun nationalist beliefs, and saw the Government as this big bully who was trying to take away people's guns. One of those spectators was Timothy McVeigh who was actually interviewed for a local news segment. The negotiator knew that there were children inside and begged Koresh to at least let them out, most of them were able to go. But about 30 of them (whom Koresh claimed were his children stayed). On the 51st day, Janet Reno the Attorney General under the Clinton Administration saw the films that Koresh had sent to the media during the siege, and ordered the FBI, ATF, and SWAT special forces to go into the compound with battery rams.
|The compound at Mt. Carmel engulfed in flames after 51 days of negotiation.|
Let me make this PERFECTLY CLEAR. I never in my life nor do I now, believe that the fire that engulfed the Waco compound was started by the Government. The documentary that I watched and eye-witness testimony confirms that they clearly heard Davidians inside dousing the compound with petrol and telling others to put on their gas masks. And then, the unthinkable happened. A small billow of smoke was seen out of a window on the top floor, and all special forces were ordered to back off. Within seconds the entire compound lit up like nothing I had ever seen before, with over 100 Davidians still inside.
Timothy McVeigh was incensed by this. He grew up tall and lanky and was bullied in school and in the army. He saw the Government as a big bully that had to be taken down a peg. And if innocent lives got in the way, so be it. His rage was also fueled by the incident at Ruby Ridge (I believe it was in '91), where Randy Weaver and his family were killed in a stand off by with the FBI after they had learned that he had been sawing off shotguns for the KKK. So white nationalists put two and two together and basically started a battle cry that was something along the lines of; the Government is attacking whitey and taking away whitey's guns, fuck them, let's destroy them.
Today, it seems like gun violence and white supremacy go hand in hand, and the seeds of this were planted in the '90's with the aforementioned events. Many guns around the '90's were purchased at gun shows, which were frequented by mostly white supremacists at the time. Along with this hateful rhetoric, something that really affected McVeigh's belief in nationalism and gun ownership was a book called 'The Turner Diaries'. It's basically the KKK bible. I haven't read it (obviously), so I have no idea what it's about. I heard in my research that it's about a man who fears 'white genocide' pfffft...and goes to live in a cabin in the woods with his most precious possession; his guns. White genocide...I mean the gall that you have to have to use that term. Seriously. If you're a white person and you say that to a Jew or an African American, or an American Indian...etc., you deserve to have your ass kicked.
|We all remember this right? 'Jews will not replace us'. Don't worry potato face, I don't want whatever it is that you do.|
So now, people cling to the Second Amendment like it's drift wood in a violent ocean. Most of these people are more than likely racist, and have grandiose delusions of grandeur. And in the midst of all of this recent gun violence that has been, and will continue to go on and on and on without the government doing anything is because the government is too scared of people starting to bring up Waco, or Ruby Ridge. But those were instances where the Government had full autonomy to do what it did. And where it leads is a situation like the bombing in Oklahoma City. That's the logical escalation. We sit and wonder why even Democrats won't talk about harsher gun control legislation after catastrophes like Sandy Hook, and most recently in Sutherland Springs, because they remember what happened throughout the '90's and what kind of hell will come down on them if they move on it. They're afraid of another Oklahoma City. This does not excuse it whatsoever. The atrocities of the 90's that, I swear to god made me bawl like I've never bawled, will never be erased from the American consciousness and nationalists and white supremacists will always use it as leverage against stricter gun laws.
With the white power rally in Charlottesville, we can see a kind of u-turn back to those cataclysmic times, and it's terrifying to think that domestic terrorism is once again taking front and center in our narrative. All it takes is for one man to have a completely skewed and ill-informed consciousness to lead to unspeakable acts of terror. Mental illness is not the problem. The Government (especially the Trump administration) is quick to blame it on anything aside from laxed gun laws that murder far too many people. Everyone (including myself) is up in arms about; how can Congress not discuss this? How can they say that it is not the time? They understand that they should believe me. They are like those farmers in and around Germany in the 1940's who lived quietly next door to death camps and said and did nothing, knowing full well what was happening, and later denying it. Put a gun in the hands of a white nationalist filled with hatred, resentment, and nothing but rage, and that's all it takes. I don't know if love and tolerance is enough to get us through this, or the understanding that when the Founding Fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution they were talking about gun powder war muskets and bayonets not semi-automatic weapons that are distributed to the Army before they are deployed to a war zone. It's very black and white, and the Government doesn't want to be the bad guy. They know that if they tighten the rope around the 2nd Amendment, there will be an uprising that will very likely lead to another Ruby Ridge, another Waco, and eventually another Oklahoma City. This is however no excuse because it's getting to the point where it's like cancer; every single person will soon know or be someone who was killed due to gun violence. And now more than ever it's out of control. That's a scary thought.
Side Note: If you Google: 'shooting in...' like I had to for this blog post, every city in the damn country comes up.
Also: There is a mini-series coming up about the Waco Siege. I don't have an opinion on it, but it looks like a Blame-the-Government kind of angle so I'm not so happy about it. Trailer below.