Oklahoma City bombing still haunts America
Today is the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, when Timothy McVeigh parked a truck packed with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building then walked away, killing 168 men, women and children – 19 under age 6 – and injuring 680 others.
The worst case of terrorism on U.S. soil up until the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Oklahoma City attack is actually more puzzling for the reasons it occurred.
McVeigh, a veteran, took out his anger in the attack, an anger that was likely only quelled when he was executed June 11, 2001, just three months to the day before the attacks on the World Trade Center.
It’s still difficult to come to terms with why McVeigh and others did what they did – murder so many other innocent fellow Americans. The illogic and randomness of their act is indeed perplexing.
What the Sept., 11, 2001 attacks did, by contrast, was focus our attention away from domestic to foreign terrorism -someone more easily identifiable and tangible. Does that mean, though, that the threat of domestic terrorism no longer exists?
Thankfully, our government has been vigilant in detecting 60 domestic terrorist plots in the 10 years following the bombing at Oklahoma City. Airport security has been stepped up, police departments have received special training and U.S. Homeland Security has assumed responsibilities previously held by a good number of federal agencies to combat terrorism, both domestic and abroad.
Does this mean we should let our guard down regarding security here at home.
Again, absolutely not.
It’s up to every American to remain vigilant and aware of his or her surroundings. We can all contribute to our nation’s security in many ways by reporting suspicious behavior whether it’s illegal drugs, street crime or something even more serious.
The result will be a far safer America for us all.