Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Oklahoma City bombing

Oklahoma City bombing

Overview
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children...

 in downtown Oklahoma City
Downtown Oklahoma City
Downtown Oklahoma City is located at the geographic center of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and is the principal business district of the city. With 115 city blocks and around of office space, downtown Oklahoma City also is the economic, financial, and entertainment center of the city...

 on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Oklahoma City bombing'
Start a new discussion about 'Oklahoma City bombing'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, including 19 children...

 in downtown Oklahoma City
Downtown Oklahoma City
Downtown Oklahoma City is located at the geographic center of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and is the principal business district of the city. With 115 city blocks and around of office space, downtown Oklahoma City also is the economic, financial, and entertainment center of the city...

 on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage. Extensive rescue efforts were undertaken by local, state, federal, and worldwide agencies in the wake of the bombing, and substantial donations were received from across the country. The Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

 (FEMA) activated eleven of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force
thumb|Members of FEMA US&R Task Force at [[World Trade Center]] after the 9/11 attacks.A FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force is a team of individuals specializing in urban search and rescue, disaster recovery, and emergency triage and medicine. The teams are deployed to emergency and disaster...

, consisting of 665 rescue workers who assisted in rescue and recovery operations.

Within 90 minutes of the explosion, Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh
Timothy James McVeigh was a United States Army veteran and security guard who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995...

 was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper
Oklahoma Highway Patrol
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is a major state law enforcement agency of the government of Oklahoma. It is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was legislatively created in 1937 due to the growing problem of motor vehicle accidents, the expansion of a...

 Charlie Hanger for driving without a license plate and arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Terry Nichols
Terry Nichols
Terry Lynn Nichols is a convicted bomber's accomplice. Prior to his incarceration, he held a variety of short-term jobs, working as a farmer, grain elevator manager, real estate salesman, ranch hand, and house husband. He met his future co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, during a brief stint in the...

 to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and within days both were charged. Michael and Lori Fortier were later identified as accomplices. McVeigh, an American militia movement sympathizer, had detonated an explosive-filled Ryder
Ryder
Ryder System, Inc. , or Ryder, is an American-based provider of transportation and supply chain management products, and is especially known for its fleet of rental trucks. Ryder specializes in fleet management, supply chain management and dedicated contracted carriage. Ryder operates in North...

 truck parked in front of the building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. Motivated by his hatred of the federal government and angered by what he perceived as its mishandling of the Waco Siege
Waco Siege
The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located east-northeast of Waco,...

 (1993) and the Ruby Ridge
Ruby Ridge
Ruby Ridge was the site of a violent confrontation and siege in northern Idaho in 1992. It involved Randy Weaver, his family, Weaver's friend Kevin Harris, and agents of the United States Marshals Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation...

 incident (1992), McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at Waco.

The official investigation, known as "OKBOMB", was the largest criminal investigation case in American history; FBI agents conducted 28,000 interviews, amassing 3.5 ST (3.2 MT) of evidence, and collected nearly one billion pieces of information. The bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection
Lethal injection
Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broad sense to euthanasia and suicide...

 on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

. Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols; Michael was sentenced to twelve years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. As with other large-scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and allege the involvement of additional perpetrators.

As a result of the bombing, the U.S. government passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, is an act of Congress signed into law on April 24, 1996...

 which tightened the standards for habeas corpus in the United States
Habeas corpus in the United States
Habeas corpus , Latin for "you [shall] have the body," is the name of a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment...

 as well as legislation designed to increase the protection around federal buildings
United States federal building security
United States federal building security refers to the security of federal government installations in the United States. A variety of measures are undertaken to make the buildings safer, while preserving an "open" architecture consistent with democratic governance...

 to deter future terrorist attacks. On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial
Oklahoma City National Memorial
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial in the United States that honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. The memorial is located in downtown Oklahoma City on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal...

 was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Annual remembrance services are held at the same time of day as the original explosion occurred.

Motivation



The chief conspirators, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, met in 1988 at Fort Benning
Fort Benning
Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama...

 during basic training
Recruit training
Recruit training, more commonly known as Basic Training and colloquially called Boot Camp, is the initial indoctrination and instruction given to new military personnel, enlisted and officer...

 for the U.S. Army. Michael Fortier, McVeigh's accomplice, was his Army roommate. The three shared interests in survivalism
Survivalism
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order...

, opposed gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

, and supported the militia movement. They expressed anger at the federal government's handling of the 1992 Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) standoff with Randy Weaver
Randy Weaver
Randall Claude "Randy" Weaver is a former Green Beret who was at the center of a deadly confrontation with U.S. federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992.-Early life:...

 at Ruby Ridge as well as the Waco Siege
Waco Siege
The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located east-northeast of Waco,...

—a 1993 51-day standoff between the FBI and Branch Davidian
Branch Davidian
The Branch Davidians are a Protestant sect that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists , a reform movement that began within the Seventh-day Adventist Church around 1930...

 members which began with a botched ATF attempt to execute a search warrant
Search warrant
A search warrant is a court order issued by a Magistrate, judge or Supreme Court Official that authorizes law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person or location for evidence of a crime and to confiscate evidence if it is found....

 leading to a fire fight (it is unknown whether ATF agents or Branch Davidians fired the first shot) and ended with the burning and shooting deaths of David Koresh
David Koresh
David Koresh , born Vernon Wayne Howell, was the leader of a Branch Davidian religious sect, believing himself to be its final prophet. Howell legally changed his name to David Koresh on May 15, 1990. A 1993 raid by the U.S...

 and 75 others. In March 1993, McVeigh visited the Waco site during the standoff, and then again after its conclusion. McVeigh later decided to bomb a federal building as a response to the raids.

Target selection



McVeigh initially intended only to destroy a federal building, but he later decided that his message would be better received if many people were killed in the bombing. McVeigh's criterion for potential attack sites was that the target should house at least two of three federal law-enforcement agencies: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI), or the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 (DEA). He regarded the presence of additional law-enforcement agencies, such as the Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 or the U.S. Marshals Service
United States Marshals Service
The United States Marshals Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice . The office of U.S. Marshal is the oldest federal law enforcement office in the United States; it was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789...

, as a bonus.

McVeigh, a resident of Kingman, Arizona
Kingman, Arizona
Kingman is located in a desert climate on the edge of the Mojave Desert, but its higher elevation and location between the Colorado Plateau and the Lower Colorado River Valley tempers summer high temperatures and contributes to winter cold and rare snowfall. Summer daytime highs reach above 90 °F ...

, considered targets in Missouri, Arizona, Texas, and Arkansas. McVeigh stated in his authorized biography that he wanted to minimize nongovernmental casualties, so he ruled out a 40-story government building in Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock is the capital and the largest city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 699,757 people in the 2010 census...

, because of the presence of a florist's shop on the ground floor. In December 1994, McVeigh and Fortier visited Oklahoma City to inspect their target: the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The Murrah building had been previously targeted in October 1983 by white supremacist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord
The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord
The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord was a radical Christian Identity organization formed in 1971 in the small community of Elijah in southern Missouri, United States.- Leadership :...

, including founder James Ellison
James Ellison (polygamist)
James Ellison former student at Lincoln Bible College, Lincoln, IL was a white supremacist leader from San Antonio, Texas who, in 1971, founded the radical organization The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord. Ellison purchased a strip of land near Elijah, Arkansas to serve as his compound...

 and Richard Snell
Richard Snell (criminal)
Richard Wayne Snell was a convicted murderer executed in Arkansas for killing two individuals.-CSA membership:...

. The group had plotted to park "a van or trailer in front of the Federal Building and blow it up with rockets detonated by a timer." After Snell's appeal for murdering two people in unrelated cases was denied, he was executed the same day as the Murrah bombing.

The nine-story building, built in 1977, was named for a federal judge
Alfred P. Murrah
Alfred Paul Murrah was an American attorney and judge. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was named after him, was destroyed in the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing.-Early life and education:...

 and housed fourteen federal agencies including the DEA, ATF, Social Security Administration, and recruiting offices for the Army and Marine Corps. The Murrah building was chosen for its glass front—which was expected to shatter under the impact of the blast—and its adjacent large, open parking lot across the street, which might absorb and dissipate some of the force, and protect the occupants of nearby non-federal buildings. In addition, McVeigh believed that the open space around the building would provide better photo opportunities for propaganda purposes. The attack was planned to take place on April 19, 1995, to coincide with the anniversary of the Waco Siege and the 220th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord
Battles of Lexington and Concord
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy , and Cambridge, near Boston...

.

Gathering materials


McVeigh and Nichols purchased or stole the materials they needed to manufacture the bomb, which they stored in rented sheds. In August 1994, McVeigh obtained nine Kinestiks
Binary explosive
A binary explosive or two-component explosive is an explosive consisting of two components, neither of which is explosive by itself, which have to be mixed in order to become explosive...

 from gun collector Roger E. Moore, and ignited the devices with Nichols outside Nichols' home in Herington, Kansas
Herington, Kansas
Herington is a city in Dickinson and Morris counties in the U.S. state of Kansas. Named after its founder, Monroe Davis Herington. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,526.-19th century:...

. On September 30, 1994, Nichols bought forty 50 pounds (22.7 kg) bags of ammonium nitrate from Mid-Kansas Coop in McPherson, Kansas
McPherson, Kansas
McPherson is a city in and the county seat of McPherson County, Kansas, United States, in the central part of the state. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,155. The city is named after Union General James Birdseye McPherson, a Civil War general...

, an amount regarded as unusual even for a farmer. Nichols bought an additional 50 pounds (22.7 kg) bag on October 18, 1994. McVeigh approached Fortier and asked him to assist with the bombing project, but he refused.

They allegedly robbed gun collector Roger E. Moore in his home of $60,000 worth of guns, gold, silver, and jewels, transporting the property in the victim's own van. McVeigh had previously visited Moore's ranch, but doubts have been raised about Nichols and McVeigh's involvement in the robbery for several reasons. The robbers wore ski masks (making a positive identification impossible), and the physical description given did not match Nichols. Also, Aryan Republican Army robbers were operating in the area of Moore's ranch at the time. McVeigh did not need to raise money for the bomb, which only cost about $5,000. In all, the truck rental cost about $250, the fertilizer less than $500, and the nitromethane
Nitromethane
Nitromethane is an organic compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest organic nitro compound. It is a slightly viscous, highly polar liquid commonly used as a solvent in a variety of industrial applications such as in extractions, as a reaction medium, and as a cleaning solvent...

 $2,780, with a cheap car being used as a getaway vehicle. McVeigh wrote a letter to Moore in which he claimed that the robbery had been committed by government agents. Despite these doubts, items that were stolen from Moore were later found in Nichols' home and in a storage shed that he had rented.

In October 1994, McVeigh showed Michael Fortier and his wife, Lori, a diagram he had drawn of the bomb he wanted to build. McVeigh planned to construct a bomb containing more than 5000 pounds (2,268 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, mixed with about 1200 pounds (544.3 kg) of liquid nitromethane and 350 pounds (158.8 kg) of Tovex
Tovex
Tovex is a water-gel explosive composed of ammonium nitrate and methylammonium nitrate that has several advantages over traditional dynamite, including lower toxicity and safer manufacture, transport, and storage...

. Including the weight of the sixteen 55-U.S.-gallon drums in which the explosive mixture was to be packed, the bomb would have a combined weight of about 7000 pounds (3,175.1 kg). McVeigh had originally intended to use hydrazine
Hydrazine
Hydrazine is an inorganic compound with the formula N2H4. It is a colourless flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odor. Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable unless handled in solution. Approximately 260,000 tons are manufactured annually...

 rocket fuel, but it proved to be too expensive. In October 1994, posing as a motorcycle racer, McVeigh obtained three 55 U.S.gal drums of nitromethane on the pretense that he and some fellow bikers needed the fuel for racing.

McVeigh rented a storage space, in which he stockpiled seven crates of 18-inch-long Tovex sausages, 80 spools of shock tube
Shock tube detonator
Shock tube detonator is a non-electric explosive fuze or initiator in the form of small-diameter hollow plastic tubing used to transport an initiating signal to an explosive charge by means of a percussive wave traveling the length of the tube...

, and 500 electric blasting cap
Blasting cap
A blasting cap is a small sensitive primary explosive device generally used to detonate a larger, more powerful and less sensitive secondary explosive such as TNT, dynamite, or plastic explosive....

s, which he and Nichols had stolen from a Martin Marietta Aggregates quarry in Marion, Kansas
Marion, Kansas
Marion is a city in and the county seat of Marion County, Kansas, United States. It was named in honor of Francis Marion, a Brigadier General of the American Revolutionary War, known as the "Swamp Fox". As of the 2010 census, the city population was 1,927....

. He decided not to steal any of the 40000 pounds (18,143.7 kg) of ANFO
ANFO
ANFO is a widely used bulk industrial explosive mixture. It consists of 94 percent porous prilled ammonium nitrate , that acts as the oxidizing agent and absorbent for the fuel — six percent Number 2 Fuel Oil...

 he found at the scene, as he did not believe it to be powerful enough (although he did obtain seventeen bags of ANFO from another source for use in the bomb). McVeigh made a prototype bomb using a plastic Gatorade
Gatorade
Gatorade is a brand of sports-themed food and beverage products, built around its signature product: a line of sports drinks. Gatorade is currently manufactured by PepsiCo, distributed in over 80 countries...

 jug containing ammonium nitrate prill
Prill
A prill is a small aggregate of a material, most often a dry sphere, formed from a melted liquid. The material to be prilled must be a solid at room temperature and a low viscosity liquid when melted. Prills are formed by allowing drops of the melted prill substance to congeal or freeze in mid-air...

s, liquid nitromethane, a piece of Tovex sausage, and a blasting cap. The prototype was detonated in the desert to avoid detection.
Later, speaking about the military mindset with which he went about the preparations, he said, "You learn how to handle killing in the military. I face the consequences, but you learn to accept it." He compared his actions to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

, rather than the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

, reasoning it was necessary to prevent more lives from being lost.

On April 14, 1995, McVeigh paid for a motel room at the Dreamland Motel in Junction City, Kansas
Junction City, Kansas
Junction City is a city in and the county seat of Geary County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 23,353. Fort Riley, a major U.S. Army post, is nearby...

. The following day he rented a 1993 Ford F-700 truck from Ryder
Ryder
Ryder System, Inc. , or Ryder, is an American-based provider of transportation and supply chain management products, and is especially known for its fleet of rental trucks. Ryder specializes in fleet management, supply chain management and dedicated contracted carriage. Ryder operates in North...

 under the name Robert D. Kling, an alias he adopted because he knew an Army soldier named Kling with whom he shared physical characteristics, and because it reminded him of the Klingon
Klingon
Klingons are a fictional warrior race in the Star Trek universe.Klingons are recurring villains in the 1960s television show Star Trek: The Original Series, and have appeared in all five spin-off series and eight feature films...

 warriors of Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

. On April 16, 1995, he drove to Oklahoma City with fellow conspirator Nichols where he parked a getaway car several blocks away from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The nearby Regency Towers Apartments' lobby security camera recorded images of Nichols' pickup truck as it drove to the federal building. After removing the license plate from the car, he left a note covering the Vehicle Identification Number
Vehicle identification number
A Vehicle Identification Number, commonly abbreviated to VIN, is a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles. VINs were first used in 1954...

 (VIN) plate that read, "Not abandoned. Please do not tow. Will move by April 23. (Needs battery & cable)." Both men then returned to Kansas.

Building the bomb


On April 17–18, 1995, McVeigh and Nichols removed their supplies from their storage unit in Herington, Kansas
Herington, Kansas
Herington is a city in Dickinson and Morris counties in the U.S. state of Kansas. Named after its founder, Monroe Davis Herington. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 2,526.-19th century:...

, where Nichols lived. They loaded 108 bags of high-grade ammonium nitrate fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

 weighing 50 pounds (22.7 kg) each, three 55 U.S.gal drums of liquid nitromethane
Nitromethane
Nitromethane is an organic compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest organic nitro compound. It is a slightly viscous, highly polar liquid commonly used as a solvent in a variety of industrial applications such as in extractions, as a reaction medium, and as a cleaning solvent...

, several crates of explosive Tovex
Tovex
Tovex is a water-gel explosive composed of ammonium nitrate and methylammonium nitrate that has several advantages over traditional dynamite, including lower toxicity and safer manufacture, transport, and storage...

, seventeen bags of ANFO
ANFO
ANFO is a widely used bulk industrial explosive mixture. It consists of 94 percent porous prilled ammonium nitrate , that acts as the oxidizing agent and absorbent for the fuel — six percent Number 2 Fuel Oil...

, and spools of shock tube
Shock tube detonator
Shock tube detonator is a non-electric explosive fuze or initiator in the form of small-diameter hollow plastic tubing used to transport an initiating signal to an explosive charge by means of a percussive wave traveling the length of the tube...

 and cannon fuse into a Ryder rental truck. The two then drove to Geary County State Lake, where they nailed boards onto the floor of the truck to hold the thirteen barrels in place and mixed the chemicals using plastic buckets and a bathroom scale. Each filled barrel weighed nearly 500 pounds (226.8 kg). McVeigh added more explosives to the driver's side of the cargo bay, which he could ignite (killing himself in the process) at close range with his Glock 21 pistol in case the primary fuses failed. During McVeigh's trial, Lori Fortier (the wife of Michael Fortier) stated that McVeigh claimed to have arranged the barrels in order to form a shaped charge
Shaped charge
A shaped charge is an explosive charge shaped to focus the effect of the explosive's energy. Various types are used to cut and form metal, to initiate nuclear weapons, to penetrate armor, and in the oil and gas industry...

. This was achieved by tamping the aluminum side panel of the truck with bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to direct the blast laterally towards the building. Specifically, McVeigh arranged the barrels in the shape of a backwards J; he later said that for pure destructive power, he would have put the barrels on the side of the cargo bay closest to the Murrah Building; however, such an unevenly distributed 7000 pounds (3,175.1 kg) load might have broken an axle, flipped the truck over, or at least caused it to lean to one side, which could have drawn attention.

McVeigh then added a dual-fuse ignition system accessible from the truck's front cab. He drilled two holes in the cab of the truck under the seat, while two holes were also drilled in the body of the truck. One green cannon fuse was run through each hole into the cab. These time-delayed fuses led from the cab of the truck, through plastic fish-tank tubing conduit, to two sets of non-electric blasting caps. The tubing was painted yellow to blend in with the truck's livery
Livery
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...

, and duct-taped in place to the wall to make them harder to disable by yanking from the outside. The fuses were set up to initiate, through shock tubes, the 350 pounds (158.8 kg) of Tovex Blastrite Gel "sausages", which would in turn set off the configuration of barrels. Of the thirteen filled barrels, nine contained ammonium nitrate and nitromethane, and four contained a mixture of the fertilizer and about 4 U.S.gal of diesel fuel. Additional materials and tools used for manufacturing the bomb were left in the truck to be destroyed in the blast. After finishing the truck bomb, the two men separated; Nichols returned home to Herington and McVeigh with the truck to Junction City.

Bombing



McVeigh's original plan had been to detonate the bomb at 11:00 am CST, but at dawn on April 19, 1995, he decided instead to destroy the building at 9:00 am CST. As he drove toward the Murrah Federal Building in the Ryder truck, McVeigh carried with him an envelope containing pages from The Turner Diaries
The Turner Diaries
The Turner Diaries is a novel written in 1978 by William Luther Pierce under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald"...

—a fictional account of white supremacists
White supremacy
White supremacy is the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. The term is sometimes used specifically to describe a political ideology that advocates the social and political dominance by whites.White supremacy, as with racial...

 who ignite a revolution by blowing up the FBI headquarters at 9:15 one morning using a truck bomb. McVeigh wore a printed T-shirt with the motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, Sic semper tyrannis
Sic semper tyrannis
Sic semper tyrannis is a Latin phrase meaning "thus always to tyrants." It is sometimes mistranslated as "down with the tyrant." The phrase is said to have originated with Marcus Junius Brutus during the assassination of Julius Caesar....

("Thus always to tyrants", which was shouted by John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor...

 immediately after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

) and "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" (from Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

). He also carried an envelope of anti-government materials that included a bumper sticker with Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 slogan, "When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." Underneath, McVeigh had scrawled, "Maybe now, there will be liberty!" and a hand-copied quote by John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 asserting that a man has a right to kill someone who takes away his liberty.

McVeigh entered Oklahoma City at 8:50 am CST. At 8:57 am CST the Regency Towers Apartments' lobby security camera that had recorded Nichols' pickup truck three days earlier recorded the Ryder truck heading towards the Murrah Federal Building. At the same moment, McVeigh lit the five-minute fuse. Three minutes later, still a block away, he lit the two-minute fuse. He parked the Ryder truck in a drop-off zone situated under the building's day-care center, exited and locked the truck, and as he headed to his getaway vehicle, dropped the keys to the truck a few blocks away.

At 9:02 am CST, the Ryder truck, containing in excess of 4800 pounds (2,177.2 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, and diesel fuel mixture, detonated in front of the north side of the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Hundreds of people were killed or injured. One third of the building was destroyed by the explosion, which created a 30 feet (9.1 m) wide, 8 feet (2.4 m) deep crater on NW 5th Street next to the building. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The broken glass alone accounted for 5% of the death total and 69% of the injuries outside the Murrah Federal Building. The blast destroyed or burned 86 cars around the site, causing sympathetic detonation
Sympathetic detonation
A sympathetic detonation , also called flash over, is a detonation, usually unintended, of an explosive charge by a nearby explosion. Sympathetic detonation is caused by a shock wave, or impact of primary or secondary blast fragments.The initiating explosive is called donor explosive, the initiated...

s from the vehicles' gas tanks and tires. The destruction of the buildings left several hundred people homeless and shut down multiple offices in downtown Oklahoma City. The explosion was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage.

The effects of the blast were equivalent to over 5000 pounds (2,268 kg) of TNT, and could be heard and felt up to 55 miles (88.5 km) away. Seismometer
Seismometer
Seismometers are instruments that measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources...

s at Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, 4.3 miles (6.9 km) away, and in Norman
Norman, Oklahoma
Norman is a city in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, United States, and is located south of downtown Oklahoma City. It is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, Norman was to have 110,925 full-time residents, making it the third-largest city in Oklahoma and the...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, 16.1 miles (25.9 km) away, recorded the blast as measuring approximately 3.0 on the Richter scale
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

.

Arrests


Initially, the FBI had three hypotheses regarding who might have been responsible for the bombing. The first was international terrorists, possibly the same group that had carried out the World Trade Center bombing
1993 World Trade Center bombing
The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 lb urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to knock the North Tower into the South Tower , bringing...

 two years earlier. The FBI also thought that a drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

 might have been carrying out an act of vengeance against DEA agents, as the building held a DEA office. The last hypothesis was that the bombing was done by Christian fascists acting on conspiracy theories
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

.


McVeigh was arrested within 90 minutes of the explosion, as he was traveling north on Interstate 35
Interstate 35
Interstate 35 is a north–south Interstate Highway in the central United States. I-35 stretches from Laredo, Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border to Duluth, Minnesota, at Minnesota Highway 61 and 26th Avenue East. Many interstates used to have splits or spurs indicated with suffixed letters , but I-35...

 near Perry
Perry, Oklahoma
Perry is a city in Noble County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,126. It is the county seat of Noble County.-19th century:...

 in Noble County
Noble County, Oklahoma
Noble County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of 2010, the population was 11,561. Its county seat is Perry.-21st century:In 2010, the Keystone-Cushing Pipeline was constructed north to south through Noble County....

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. Oklahoma State Trooper
Oklahoma Highway Patrol
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is a major state law enforcement agency of the government of Oklahoma. It is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was legislatively created in 1937 due to the growing problem of motor vehicle accidents, the expansion of a...

 Charlie Hanger stopped McVeigh for driving his yellow 1977 Mercury Marquis
Mercury Marquis
These were known as the "Continental Styling" years, as Mercury was trying to market itself as an affordable Lincoln, rather than a more expensive Ford...

 without a license plate, and arrested him for having a concealed weapon. For his home address, McVeigh falsely claimed he resided at Terry Nichols' brother James' house in Michigan. After booking McVeigh, Hanger searched his police car and found a business card McVeigh had hidden while he was handcuffed. Written on the back of the card, which was from a Wisconsin military surplus store, were the words "TNT at $5 a stick. Need more." The card was later used as evidence during McVeigh's trial.

While investigating the VIN
Vehicle identification number
A Vehicle Identification Number, commonly abbreviated to VIN, is a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual motor vehicles. VINs were first used in 1954...

 from an axle of the truck used in the explosion and the remnants of the license plate, federal agents were able to link the truck to a specific Ryder rental agency in Junction City. Using a sketch created with the assistance of Eldon Elliot, owner of the agency, the agents were able to implicate McVeigh in the bombing. McVeigh was also identified by Lea McGown of the Dreamland Motel, who remembered him parking a large yellow Ryder truck in the lot; McVeigh had signed in under his real name at the motel, using an address that matched the one on his forged license and the charge sheet at the Perry Police Station. Before signing his real name at the motel, McVeigh had used false names for his transactions. However, McGown noted, "People are so used to signing their own name that when they go to sign a phony name, they almost always go to write, and then look up for a moment as if to remember the new name they want to use. That's what [McVeigh] did, and when he looked up I started talking to him, and it threw him."


After an April 21, 1995 court hearing on the gun charges, but before McVeigh's release, federal agents took him into custody as they continued their investigation into the bombing. Rather than talk to investigators about the bombing, McVeigh demanded an attorney. Having been tipped off by the arrival of police and helicopters that a bombing suspect was inside, a restless crowd began to gather outside the jail. McVeigh's requests for a bulletproof vest or transport by helicopter were denied.

Federal agents obtained a warrant
Search warrant
A search warrant is a court order issued by a Magistrate, judge or Supreme Court Official that authorizes law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person or location for evidence of a crime and to confiscate evidence if it is found....

 to search the house of McVeigh's father, Bill, following which they broke down the door and wired the house and telephone with listening devices. FBI investigators used the resulting information gained, along with the fake address McVeigh had been using, to begin their search for the Nichols brothers, Terry and James. On April 21, 1995, Terry learned that he was being hunted, and turned himself in. Investigators discovered incriminating evidence at his home: ammonium nitrate and blasting caps, the electric drill used to drill out the locks at the quarry, books on bomb-making, a copy of Hunter (a 1989 novel by William Luther Pierce
William Luther Pierce
William Luther Pierce III was the leader of the white separatist National Alliance organization, and one of the most important ideologists of the white nationalist movement. Pierce originally worked as an assistant professor of physics at Oregon State University, before he became involved in...

, the founder and chairman of the white nationalist National Alliance) and a hand-drawn map of downtown Oklahoma City, on which was marked the Murrah Building and the spot where McVeigh's getaway car was hidden. After a nine-hour interrogation, Nichols was formally held in federal custody until his trial. On April 25, 1995, James was also arrested, but he was released after 32 days due to lack of evidence. McVeigh's sister Jennifer was accused of illegally mailing bullets to McVeigh, but she was granted immunity in exchange for testifying against him.

Ibrahim Ahmad, a Jordanian-American traveling from his home in Oklahoma City to visit family in Jordan on April 19, 1995, was also arrested in what was described as an "initial dragnet." There was concern that Middle Eastern terrorists could have been behind the attack. Further investigation cleared Ahmad of any involvement in the bombing.

Casualties



It is estimated that 646 people were inside the building when the bomb exploded. By the end of the day of the bombing, twenty were confirmed dead, including six children, and over one hundred injured. The toll eventually reached 168 confirmed dead, not including an unmatched leg that could have belonged to a possible, unidentified 169th victim. Most of the deaths resulted from the collapse of the building, rather than the bomb blast. Those killed included 163 who were in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, one person in the Athenian Building, one woman in a parking lot across the street, a man and woman in the Oklahoma Water Resources building, and a rescue worker struck on the head by debris.

The victims ranged in age from three months to seventy-three years, in addition to the fetuses of three pregnant women. Of the dead, 99 worked for the federal government. Eight of the victims were federal agents, from four federal agencies. Nineteen of the victims were children, fifteen of whom were in the America's Kids Day Care Center. The bodies of the 168 victims were identified at a temporary morgue set up at the scene. A team of 24 identified the victims using full-body X-rays, dental examinations, fingerprinting, blood tests, and DNA testing
Genetic fingerprinting
DNA profiling is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals by their respective DNA profiles. DNA profiles are encrypted sets of numbers that reflect a person's DNA makeup, which can also be used as the person's identifier...

. More than 680 people were injured. The majority of the injuries were abrasions, severe burns, and bone fracture
Bone fracture
A bone fracture is a medical condition in which there is a break in the continuity of the bone...

s.

McVeigh later justified his killing of children in the bombing: "I didn't define the rules of engagement in this conflict. The rules, if not written down, are defined by the aggressor. It was brutal, no holds barred. Women and kids were killed at Waco and Ruby Ridge. You put back in [the government's] faces exactly what they're giving out."

Rescue efforts



At 9:03:25 am CST, the first of over 1,800 9-1-1
9-1-1
9-1-1 is the emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan .It is one of eight N11 codes.The use of this number is for emergency circumstances only, and to use it for any other purpose can be a crime.-History:In the earliest days of telephone technology, prior to the...

 calls related to the bombing was received by Emergency Medical Services Authority
Emergency Medical Services Authority
EMSA - the Emergency Medical Services Authority - is Oklahoma's largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care. EMSA provides ambulance service to more than 1.1 million residents in central and northeast Oklahoma....

 (EMSA). By that time, EMSA ambulances, police, and firefighters were already headed to the scene, having heard the blast. Nearby civilians, who had also witnessed or heard the blast, arrived to assist the victims and emergency workers. Within 23 minutes of the bombing, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) was set up, consisting of representatives from the state departments of public safety, human services, military, health, and education. Assisting the SEOC were agencies such as the National Weather Service, the Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

, the Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol
Civil Air Patrol is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force . CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and...

, and the American Red Cross
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

. Immediate assistance also came from 465 members of the Oklahoma National Guard
Oklahoma National Guard
The Oklahoma National Guard, a division of the Oklahoma Department of the Military, is the component of the United States National Guard in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It comprises both Army and Air National Guard components. The Governor of Oklahoma is Commander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National...

, who arrived within the hour to provide security, and from members of the Department of Civil Emergency Management.

Within the first hour, 50 people were rescued from the Murrah Federal Building. Victims were sent to every hospital in the area. At the end of the first day of rescue efforts, 153 had been treated at St. Anthony Hospital, eight blocks from the blast, over 70 at Presbyterian, 41 at University, and 18 at Children's. Temporary silences were observed so that sensitive listening devices capable of detecting human heartbeats could be used to locate survivors. In some cases, limbs had to be amputated without anesthetic (avoided due to its potential to cause a deadly coma) in order to free those trapped under rubble. Periodically the scene had to be evacuated after police received tips claiming that other bombs had been planted in the building.

At 10:28 am CST rescuers found what they believed to be a second bomb. Some rescue workers refused to leave until police ordered the mandatory evacuation of a four-block area around the site. The device was determined to be a three-foot (.9-m) long TOW missile
BGM-71 TOW
The BGM-71 TOW is an anti-tank missile. "BGM" is a weapon classification that stands for "Multiple Environment , Surface-Attack , Missile ". "TOW" is an acronym that stands for "Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile"...

 used in the training of federal agents and bomb-sniffing dogs; although actually inert, it had been marked "live" in order to mislead arms traffickers in a planned law enforcement sting. On examination the missile was determined to be inert, and relief efforts resumed 45 minutes later. The last survivor, a fifteen-year-old girl found under the base of the collapsed building, was rescued at about 7:00 pm CST.

In the days following the blast, over 12,000 people participated in relief and rescue operations. The Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders...

 (FEMA) activated eleven of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces
FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force
thumb|Members of FEMA US&R Task Force at [[World Trade Center]] after the 9/11 attacks.A FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force is a team of individuals specializing in urban search and rescue, disaster recovery, and emergency triage and medicine. The teams are deployed to emergency and disaster...

, which consisted of a team of 665 rescue workers. One nurse was killed in the rescue attempt after she was hit on the head by debris, and 26 other rescuers were hospitalized because of various injuries. Twenty-four K-9
Police dog
A police dog, often referred to as a "K-9 dog" in some areas , is a dog that is trained specifically to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel in their work...

 units and out-of-state dogs were brought in to search for survivors and bodies in the building debris. In an effort to recover additional bodies, 100 to 350 ST (90.7 to 317.5 MT) of rubble were removed from the site each day from April 24 to April 29, 1995.


Rescue and recovery efforts were concluded at 12:05 am CST on May 5, by which time the bodies of all but three of the victims had been recovered. For safety reasons, the building was initially slated to be demolished shortly afterward. McVeigh's attorney, Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones (attorney)
Stephen Jones, , is an attorney and Republican activist from Enid, Oklahoma. He is best known for serving as Timothy McVeigh's lead defense lawyer during McVeigh's trial on 11 counts regarding his actions in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing....

, filed a motion to delay the demolition until the defense team could examine the site in preparation for the trial. More than a month after the bombing, at 7:02 am CST on May 23, the Murrah Federal building was demolished. The final three bodies, those of two credit union employees and a customer, were recovered. For several days after the building's demolition, trucks hauled 800 ST (725.7 MT) of debris a day away from the site. Some of the debris was used as evidence in the conspirators' trials, incorporated into memorials, donated to local schools, or sold to raise funds for relief efforts.

Humanitarian aid


The national humanitarian response was immediate, and in some cases even overwhelming. Large numbers of items such as wheelbarrows, bottled water, helmet lights, knee pads, rain gear, and even football helmets were donated. The sheer quantity of such donations caused logistical and inventory control problems until drop-off centers were set up to accept and sort the goods. The Oklahoma Restaurant Association, which was holding a trade show in the city, assisted rescue workers by providing 15,000 to 20,000 meals over a ten-day period.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

 served over 100,000 meals and provided over 100,000 ponchos, gloves, hard hats, and knee pads to rescue workers. Local residents and those from further afield responded to the requests for blood donation
Blood donation
A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions or made into medications by a process called fractionation....

s. Of the 9,000 units of blood donated 131 units were used, the rest were stored in blood bank
Blood bank
A blood bank is a cache or bank of blood or blood components, gathered as a result of blood donation, stored and preserved for later use in blood transfusion. The term "blood bank" typically refers to a division of a hospital laboratory where the storage of blood product occurs and where proper...

s.

Federal and state government aid



At 9:45 am CST, Governor Frank Keating
Frank Keating
Francis Anthony "Frank" Keating is an American politician from Oklahoma. Keating served as the 25th Governor of Oklahoma. His first term began in 1995 and ended in 1999...

 declared a state of emergency
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

 and ordered all non-essential workers in the Oklahoma City area to be released from their duties for their safety. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 learned about the bombing around 9:30 am CST while he was meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller
Tansu Çiller
Tansu Penbe Çiller is a Turkish economist and politician. She was Turkey's first and only female Prime Minister.- Early career :She is the daughter of a Turkish governor of Bilecik province during the 1950s. She graduated from the School of Economics at Robert College after finishing the American...

 at the White House. Prior to addressing the nation, President Clinton wanted to ground all planes in the Oklahoma City area to prevent the bombers from escaping by air, but decided against it. At 4:00 pm CST, President Clinton declared a federal emergency in Oklahoma City and spoke to the nation:
He ordered that flags for all federal buildings be flown at half-staff
Half-staff
Half-staff is the American term for to describe a flag flying a flag below the summit of the flagpole . The rest of the English-speaking world uses the term half-mast. Technically the flag should be flown one breadth lower to allow for the invisible flag of death...

 for 30 days in remembrance of the victims. Four days later, on April 23, 1995, Clinton spoke from Oklahoma City.

No major federal financial assistance was made available to the survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, but the Murrah Fund set up in the wake of the bombing attracted over $300,000 in federal grants. Over $40 million was donated to the city to aid disaster relief and to compensate the victims. Funds were initially distributed to families who needed it to get back on their feet, and the rest was held in trust for longer-term medical and psychological needs. By 2005, $18 million of the donations remained, some of which was earmarked to provide a college education for each of the 219 children who lost one or both parents in the bombing. A committee chaired by Daniel Kurtenbach of Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries
Goodwill Industries International is a not-for-profit organization that provides job training, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have a disability, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges...

 provided financial assistance to the survivors.

International reaction


International reactions to the bombing varied. President Clinton received many messages of sympathy, including those from Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

, and Narasimha Rao
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Pamulaparti Venkata "Narasimha Rao" was the ninth Prime Minister of India . He led an important administration, overseeing a major economic transformation and several home incidents affecting national security of India. Rao accelerated the dismantling of the Licence Raj. He is often referred to as...

 of India. Iran condemned the bombing as an attack on innocent people, but also blamed U.S. policy for inciting it. Kuwaiti parliament member Ahmed Baqer stated "This is a criminal act. No religion and no law permit such acts. A lot of civilians and children were killed. This is against human rights. This is against logic. We as a movement reject this kind of action." Other condolences came from Russia, Canada, Australia, the United Nations, and the European Union, among other nations and organizations.

Several countries offered to assist in the rescue efforts and investigation. France offered a special rescue unit, and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 offered to send agents with anti-terrorist expertise to help in the investigation. President Clinton declined Israel's offer, believing that to accept it would increase anti-Muslim sentiments and endanger Muslim-Americans.

Children terrorized



In the wake of the bombing, the national media seized upon the fact that nineteen of the victims had been babies and children, many in the day-care center. At the time of the bombing, there were 100 day-care centers in the United States in 7,900 federal buildings. McVeigh later stated that he was unaware of the day-care center when choosing the building as a target, and if he had known "... it might have given me pause to switch targets. That's a large amount of collateral damage." The FBI stated that McVeigh scouted the interior of the building in December 1994 and likely knew of the day-care center before the bombing. In April 2010, Joseph Hartzler, the prosecutor at McVeigh's trial, questioned how he could have decided to pass over a prior target building because of an included florist shop but at the Murrah building not "... notice that there's a child day-care center there, that there was a credit union there and a Social Security office?"

Schools across the country were dismissed early and ordered closed. A photograph of firefighter Chris Fields emerging from the rubble with infant Baylee Almon, who later died in a nearby hospital, was reprinted worldwide and became a symbol of the attack. The photo, taken by utility company employee Charles H. Porter IV, won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 for Spot News Photography. The images and media reports of children dying terrorized many children who, as demonstrated by later research, showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Posttraumaticstress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity,...

.

President Clinton stated that after seeing images of babies being pulled from the wreckage, he was "beyond angry" and wanted to "put [his] fist through the television". Clinton and his wife Hillary requested that aides talk to child care specialists about how to communicate with the children regarding the bombing. President Clinton spoke to the nation three days after the bombing, saying: "I don't want our children to believe something terrible about life and the future and grownups in general because of this awful thing ... most adults are good people who want to protect our children in their childhood and we are going to get through this". On April 22, 1995, the Clintons spoke in the White House with over 40 federal agency employees and their children, and in a live nationwide television and radio broadcast, addressed their concerns.

Media coverage



Hundreds of news trucks and members of the press arrived at the site to cover the story. The press immediately noticed that the bombing took place on the second anniversary of the Waco incident
Waco Siege
The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located east-northeast of Waco,...

. Many initial news stories hypothesized the attack had been undertaken by Islamic terrorists, such as those who had masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing
1993 World Trade Center bombing
The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 lb urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to knock the North Tower into the South Tower , bringing...

. Some responded to these reports by attacking Muslims and people of Arab descent.

As the rescue effort wound down, the media interest shifted to the investigation, arrests, and trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and on the search for an additional suspect named "John Doe Number Two". Several witnesses claimed to have seen a second suspect, who did not resemble Nichols, with McVeigh.

Trials and sentencing of the conspirators



The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) led the official investigation, known as OKBOMB, with Weldon L. Kennedy
Weldon L. Kennedy
Weldon Lynn Kennedy was a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and served for 33 years. He is known for his involvement in the Atlanta Prison Riots and the Oklahoma City bombing.He retired as the FBI's No...

 acting as Special Agent in charge. Kennedy oversaw 900 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel including 300 FBI agents, 200 officers from the Oklahoma City Police Department, 125 members of the Oklahoma National Guard
Oklahoma National Guard
The Oklahoma National Guard, a division of the Oklahoma Department of the Military, is the component of the United States National Guard in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It comprises both Army and Air National Guard components. The Governor of Oklahoma is Commander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National...

, and 55 officers from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety
Oklahoma Department of Public Safety
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety is a department of the government of Oklahoma. Under the supervision of the Oklahoma Secretary of Safety and Security, DPS provides for the safety of Oklahomans and the administration of justice in the state...

. The crime task force was deemed the largest since the investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy assassination
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

. OKBOMB was the largest criminal case in America's history, with FBI agents conducting 28,000 interviews, amassing 3.5 ST (3.2 MT) of evidence, and collecting nearly one billion pieces of information. Federal judge Richard Paul Matsch
Richard Paul Matsch
Richard Paul Matsch is a retired United States federal judge.Matsch was born in Burlington, Iowa. He earned his A.B. from the University of Michigan in 1951, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1953. He served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. He was an attorney...

 ordered the venue for the trial be moved from Oklahoma City to Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, citing that the defendants would be unable to receive a fair trial in Oklahoma. The investigation led to the separate trials and convictions of McVeigh, Nichols, and Fortier.

Timothy McVeigh



Opening arguments in McVeigh's trial began on April 24, 1997. The United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 was represented by a team of prosecutors led by Joseph Hartzler. In his opening statement Hartzler outlined McVeigh's motivations, and the evidence against him. McVeigh, he said, had developed a hatred of the government during his time in the army, after reading The Turner Diaries
The Turner Diaries
The Turner Diaries is a novel written in 1978 by William Luther Pierce under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald"...

. His beliefs were supported by what he saw as the militia's ideological opposition to increases in taxes and the passage of the Brady Bill, and were further reinforced by the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents. The prosecution called 137 witnesses, including Michael Fortier and his wife Lori, and McVeigh's sister, Jennifer McVeigh, all of whom testified to confirm McVeigh's hatred of the government and his desire to take militant action against it. Both Fortiers testified that McVeigh had told them of his plans to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Michael revealed that McVeigh had chosen the date, and Lori testified that she created the false identification card McVeigh used to rent the Ryder truck.

McVeigh was represented by a defense counsel team of six principal attorneys led by Stephen Jones. According to law professor Douglas O. Linder, McVeigh wanted Jones to present a "necessity defense"—which would argue that he was in "imminent danger" from the government (that his bombing was intended to prevent future crimes by the government, such as the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents). McVeigh argued that "imminent" does not mean "immediate": "If a comet is hurtling toward the earth, and it's out past the orbit of Pluto, it's not an immediate threat to Earth, but it is an imminent threat." Despite McVeigh's wishes, Jones attempted to discredit the prosecution's case in an attempt to instill reasonable doubt. Jones also believed that McVeigh was part of a larger conspiracy, and sought to present him as "the designated patsy", but McVeigh disagreed with Jones arguing that rationale for his defense. After a hearing, Judge Matsch independently ruled the evidence concerning a larger conspiracy to be too insubstantial to be admissible. In addition to arguing that the bombing could not have been carried out by two men alone, Jones also attempted to create reasonable doubt by arguing that no one had seen McVeigh near the scene of the crime, and that the investigation into the bombing had lasted only two weeks. Jones presented 25 witnesses over a one-week period, including Dr. Frederic Whitehurst
Frederic Whitehurst
Frederic Whitehurst was a Supervisory Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory from 1986 to 1998 where he went public as a whistleblower to bring attention to procedural errors and misconduct.-Vietnam:...

. Although Whitehurst described the FBI's sloppy investigation of the bombing site and its handling of other key evidence, he was unable to point to any direct evidence that he knew to be contaminated.

A key point of contention in the case was the unmatched left leg found after the bombing. Although it was initially believed to be from a male, it was later determined to be that of Lakesha Levy, a female member of the Air Force who was killed in the bombing. Levy's coffin had to be re-opened so that her leg could replace another unmatched leg that had previously been buried with her remains. The unmatched leg had been embalmed, which prevented authorities from being able to extract DNA to determine the leg's owner. Jones argued that the leg could have belonged to another bomber, possibly John Doe #2. The prosecution disputed the claim, saying that the leg could have belonged to any one of eight victims who had been buried without a left leg.

Numerous damaging leaks, which appeared to originate from conversations between McVeigh and his defense attorneys, emerged. They included a confession said to have been inadvertently included on a computer disk that was given to the press, which McVeigh believed seriously compromised his chances of getting a fair trial. A gag order
Gag order
A gag order is an order, sometimes a legal order by a court or government, other times a private order by an employer or other institution, restricting information or comment from being made public.Gag orders are often used against participants involved in a lawsuit or criminal trial...

 was imposed during the trial, prohibiting attorneys on either side from commenting to the press on the evidence, proceedings, or opinions regarding the trial proceedings. The defense was allowed to enter into evidence six pages of a 517-page Justice Department report criticizing the FBI crime laboratory and David Williams, one of the agency's explosives experts, for reaching unscientific and biased conclusions. The report claimed that Williams had worked backward in the investigation rather than basing his determinations on forensic evidence.

The jury deliberated for 23 hours. On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was found guilty on eleven counts of murder and conspiracy. Although the defense argued for a reduced sentence of life imprisonment, McVeigh was sentenced to death. In May 2001, the FBI announced that it had withheld over 3,000 documents from McVeigh's defense counsel. The execution was postponed for one month for the defense to review the documents. On June 6, federal judge Richard Paul Matsch
Richard Paul Matsch
Richard Paul Matsch is a retired United States federal judge.Matsch was born in Burlington, Iowa. He earned his A.B. from the University of Michigan in 1951, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1953. He served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. He was an attorney...

 ruled the documents would not prove McVeigh innocent and ordered the execution to proceed. After President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 approved the execution (McVeigh was a federal inmate and federal law dictates that the President must approve the execution of federal prisoners), he was executed by lethal injection
Lethal injection
Lethal injection is the practice of injecting a person with a fatal dose of drugs for the express purpose of causing the immediate death of the subject. The main application for this procedure is capital punishment, but the term may also be applied in a broad sense to euthanasia and suicide...

 at the Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute
Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute
The Federal Correctional Complex, Terre Haute, is a federal prison for adult males located at the intersection of State Road 63 and Springhill Drive, two miles south of Terre Haute, Indiana United States...

 in Terre Haute
Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute is a city and the county seat of Vigo County, Indiana, United States, near the state's western border with Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,785 and its metropolitan area had a population of 170,943. The city is the county seat of Vigo County and...

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, on June 11. The execution was transmitted on closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....

 so that the relatives of the victims could witness his death. McVeigh's execution was the first federal execution in 38 years.

Terry Nichols



Nichols stood trial twice. He was first tried by the federal government in 1997 and found guilty of conspiring to build a weapon of mass destruction and of eight counts of involuntary manslaughter of federal officers. After he was sentenced on June 4, 1998 to life without parole, the State of Oklahoma in 2000 sought a death-penalty conviction on 161 counts of first-degree murder (160 non-federal agent victims and one fetus). On May 26, 2004 the jury found him guilty on all charges, but deadlocked on the issue of sentencing him to death. Presiding Judge Steven W. Taylor
Steven W. Taylor
Steven W. Taylor, , is the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.-Early life:Steven Taylor was born in Henryetta, Oklahoma. During his high school years at McAlester High School in McAlester, Oklahoma, he served as a student body president and as member of the speech and debate team, and the...

 then determined the sentence of 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole. In March 2005, FBI investigators, acting on a tip, searched a buried crawl space in Nichols' former house and found additional explosives missed in the preliminary search after Nichols was arrested. In 2009 Nichols was being held in the ADX Florence
ADX Florence
The United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility is a supermax prison for men that is located in unincorporated Fremont County, Colorado, United States, south of Florence. It is unofficially known as ADX Florence, Florence ADMAX, Supermax, or The Alcatraz of the Rockies...

 Federal Prison.

Michael Fortier



Michael and Lori Fortier were considered accomplices for their foreknowledge of the planning of the bombing. In addition to Michael assisting McVeigh in scouting the federal building, Lori had helped McVeigh laminate a fake driver's license which was later used to rent the Ryder truck. Michael agreed to testify against McVeigh and Nichols in exchange for a reduced sentence and immunity for his wife. He was sentenced on May 27, 1998 to twelve years in prison and fined $75,000 for failing to warn authorities about the attack. On January 20, 2006, after serving ten and a half years of his sentence, including time already served, Fortier was released for good behavior into the Witness Protection Program
United States Federal Witness Protection Program
The United States Federal Witness Protection Program is a witness protection program administered by the United States Department of Justice and operated by the United States Marshals Service that is designed to protect threatened witnesses before, during, and after a trial.A few states, including...

 and given a new identity.

Others


No "John Doe #2" was ever identified, nothing conclusive was ever reported regarding the owner of the unmatched leg, and the government never openly investigated anyone else in conjunction with the bombing. Although the defense teams in both McVeigh's and Nichols trials suggested that others were involved, Judge Steven W. Taylor found no credible, relevant, or legally admissible evidence, of anyone other than McVeigh and Nichols having directly participated in the bombing. When McVeigh was asked if there were other conspirators in the bombing, he replied: "Because the truth is, I blew up the Murrah Building, and isn't it kind of scary that one man could wreak this kind of hell?" On the morning of McVeigh's execution a letter was released in which he had written "For those die-hard conspiracy theorists who will refuse to believe this, I turn the tables and say: Show me where I needed anyone else. Financing? Logistics? Specialized tech skills? Brainpower? Strategy? ... Show me where I needed a dark, mysterious 'Mr. X'!"

Aftermath




The Oklahoma City bombing was the deadliest act of terrorism against the U.S. on American soil until the September 11 attacks. The deadliest act of terror against the U.S. prior to September 11 was the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103 was Pan American World Airways' third daily scheduled transatlantic flight from London Heathrow Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport...

, which killed 189 Americans in an explosion over the United Kingdom. It has been estimated that about 387,000 people in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area (a third of the population) knew someone who was directly affected by the bombing.

Within 48 hours of the attack, and with the assistance of the General Services Administration
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S...

 (GSA), the targeted federal offices were able to resume operations in other parts of the city. According to Mark Potok
Mark Potok
Mark Potok is a spokesman and director of publications and information for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a nonprofit organization that arose from the anti-segregation movement to counter extremism and hate crimes....

, director of Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

, his organization tracked another 60 domestic smaller-scale terrorism plots from 1995 to 2005. Several of the plots were uncovered and prevented while others caused various infrastructure damage, deaths, or other destruction. Potok revealed that in 1996 there were approximately 858 domestic militias and other antigovernment groups but the number had dropped to 152 by 2004. Shortly after the bombing, the FBI hired an additional 500 agents to investigate potential domestic terrorist attacks.

Legislation


In the wake of the bombing the U.S. government enacted several pieces of legislation, notably the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, is an act of Congress signed into law on April 24, 1996...

. In response to the trials of the conspirators being moved out-of-state, the Victim Allocution Clarification Act of 1997 was signed on March 20, 1997 by President Clinton to allow the victims of the bombing (and the victims of any other future acts of violence) the right to observe trials and to offer impact testimony in sentencing hearings. In response to passing the legislation, Clinton stated that "when someone is a victim, he or she should be at the center of the criminal justice process, not on the outside looking in."

In the years since the bombing, scientists, security experts, and the ATF
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 have called on Congress to develop legislation that would require customers to produce identification when purchasing ammonium nitrate fertilizer, and for sellers to maintain records of its sale. Critics argue that farmers lawfully use large quantities of the fertilizer, and as of 2009, only Nevada and South Carolina require identification from purchasers. In June 1995, Congress enacted legislation requiring chemical taggant
Taggant
A taggant can mean a radio frequency microchip used in automated identification and data capture . In such cases, electronic devices use radio waves to track and identify items, such as pharmaceutical products, by assigning individual serial numbers to the containers holding each product...

s to be incorporated into dynamite and other explosives so that a bomb could be traced to its manufacturer. In 2008, Honeywell
Honeywell
Honeywell International, Inc. is a major conglomerate company that produces a variety of consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments....

 announced that it had developed a nitrogen-based fertilizer that would not detonate when mixed with fuel oil. The company got assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to develop the fertilizer (Sulf-N 26) for commercial use. It uses ammonium sulfate to make the fertilizer less explosive.

Building security and construction



In the weeks following the bombing the federal government ordered that all federal buildings in all major cities be surrounded with prefabricated Jersey barrier
Jersey barrier
A Jersey barrier or Jersey wall is a modular concrete barrier employed to separate lanes of traffic. It is designed to both minimize vehicle damage in cases of incidental contact while still preventing crossover in the case of head-on accidents....

s to prevent similar attacks. As part of a longer-term plan for United States federal building security
United States federal building security
United States federal building security refers to the security of federal government installations in the United States. A variety of measures are undertaken to make the buildings safer, while preserving an "open" architecture consistent with democratic governance...

 most of those temporary barriers have since been replaced with permanent security barriers, which look more attractive and are driven deep into the ground for sturdiness. Furthermore, all new federal buildings must now be constructed with truck-resistant barriers and with deep setbacks from surrounding streets to minimize their vulnerability to truck bombs. FBI buildings, for instance, must be set back 100 feet (30.5 m) from traffic. The total cost of improving security in federal buildings across the country in response to the bombing reached over $600 million.

The Murrah Federal Building had been considered so safe that it only employed one security guard. In June 1995, the GSA issued Vulnerability Assessment of Federal Facilities, also known as The Marshals Report, the findings of which resulted in a thorough evaluation of security at all federal buildings and a system for classifying risks at over 1,300 federal facilities owned or leased by the federal government. Federal sites were divided into five security levels ranging from Level 1 (minimum security needs) to Level 5 (maximum). The Alfred P. Murrah Building was deemed a Level 4 building. Among the 52 security improvements were physical barriers, closed-circuit television monitoring, site planning and access, hardening of building exteriors to increase blast resistance, glazing systems to reduce flying glass shards and fatalities, and structural engineering design to prevent progressive collapse.

The attack led to engineering improvements allowing buildings to better withstand tremendous forces, improvements which were incorporated into the design of Oklahoma City's new federal building. The National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel, also commercially abbreviated and trademarked as Nat Geo, is a subscription television channel that airs non-fiction television programs produced by the National Geographic Society. Like History and the Discovery Channel, the channel features documentaries with factual...

 documentary series Seconds From Disaster
Seconds From Disaster
-By original broadcast date:National Geographic Channel has broadcast many episodes under multiple titles. The title currently or most recently listed on the NGC Calendar is shown first...

suggested that the Murrah Federal Building would probably have survived the blast had it been built according to California's earthquake design codes.

Discussion of the nature of dissent


Even many who agreed with some of McVeigh's politics viewed his act as counterproductive, with much of the criticism focused on the deaths of innocent children; critics expressed chagrin that McVeigh had not assassinated specific government leaders. McVeigh had indeed contemplated the assassinations of Attorney General Janet Reno
Janet Reno
Janet Wood Reno is a former Attorney General of the United States . She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1993, and confirmed on March 11...

, Lon Horiuchi, and others in preference to attacking a building, and after the bombing he said that he sometimes wished he had carried out a series of assassinations instead. Those who expressed sympathy for McVeigh typically described his deed as an act of war, as in the case of Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal is an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist. His third novel, The City and the Pillar , outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality...

's essay The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh. Other journalists compared him to John Brown
John Brown (abolitionist)
John Brown was an American revolutionary abolitionist, who in the 1850s advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery in the United States. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre during which five men were killed, in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas, and made his name in the...

.

McVeigh believed that the bomb attack had a positive impact on government policy. In evidence he cited the peaceful resolution of the Montana Freemen
Montana Freemen
The Montana Freemen were a Christian Patriot movement based outside the town of Jordan, Montana. The members of the group referred to their land as "Justus Township" and had declared themselves no longer under the authority of any outside government...

 standoff in 1996, the government's $3.1 million settlement with Randy Weaver
Randy Weaver
Randall Claude "Randy" Weaver is a former Green Beret who was at the center of a deadly confrontation with U.S. federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992.-Early life:...

 and his surviving children four months after the bombing, and April 2000 statements by Bill Clinton regretting his decision to storm the Branch Davidian compound. McVeigh stated, "Once you bloody the bully's nose, and he knows he's going to be punched again, he's not coming back around."

Conspiracy theories



A variety of conspiracy theories
Conspiracy theory
A conspiracy theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.-Usage:The term "conspiracy...

 have been proposed about the events surrounding the bombing. Some theories allege that individuals in the government, including President Bill Clinton, knew of the impending bombing and intentionally failed to act on that knowledge. Other theories focus on the possibility of additional explosives within the building and additional conspirators involved with the bombing. Additional theories claim the bombing was done by the government to frame the militia movement or to provide the impetus for new antiterrorism legislation while using McVeigh as a scapegoat. Other conspiracy theories suggest that foreign agents, particularly Islamic terrorists, were involved in the bombing. Experts have disputed the theories and government investigations have been opened at various times to look into the theories.

Oklahoma City National Memorial



For two years after the bombing the only memorials to the victims were plush toys, crucifixes, letters, and other personal items left by thousands of people at a security fence surrounding the site of the building. Many suggestions for suitable memorials were sent to Oklahoma City, but an official memorial planning committee was not set up until early 1996, when the Murrah Federal Building Memorial Task Force, composed of 350 members, was set up to formulate plans for a memorial to commemorate the victims of the bombing. On July 1, 1997 the winning design was chosen unanimously by a 15-member panel from 624 submissions. The memorial was designed at a cost of $29 million, which was raised by public and private funds. The memorial is part of the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 and was designed by Oklahoma City architects Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg. It was dedicated by President Clinton on April 19, 2000, exactly five years after the bombing. Within the first year, it had 700,000 visitors.

The memorial includes a reflecting pool flanked by two large gates, one inscribed with the time 9:01, the other with 9:03, the pool representing the moment of the blast. On the south end of the memorial is a field of symbolic bronze and stone chairs—one for each person lost, arranged according to what floor of the building they were on. The chairs represent the empty chairs at the dinner tables of the victims' families. The seats of the children killed are smaller than those of the adults lost. On the opposite side is the "survivor tree", part of the building's original landscaping that survived the blast and fires that followed it. The memorial left part of the foundation of the building intact, allowing visitors to see the scale of the destruction. Part of the chain link fence put in place around the site of the blast, which had attracted over 800,000 personal items of commemoration later collected by the Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation, is now on the western edge of the memorial. North of the memorial is the Journal Record Building, which now houses the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, an affiliate of the National Park Service. The building also contains the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism
The National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism is a United States-based non-profit training and professional development center dedicated to improving the skills of police officers.-Role and focus:...

, a non-partisan think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

.

St. Joseph's Old Cathedral


On a corner adjacent to the memorial is a sculpture titled "And Jesus Wept", erected by St. Joseph's Old Cathedral
St. Joseph Old Cathedral (Oklahoma City)
St. Joseph Old Cathedral is a parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City located in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. It was the seat of the Diocese of Oklahoma City from 1905-1931, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978...

. St. Joseph's, one of the first brick and mortar churches in the city, was almost completely destroyed by the blast. The statue is not part of the memorial itself.

Remembrance observance


An observance is held each year to remember the victims of the bombing. An annual marathon draws thousands, and allows runners to sponsor a victim of the bombing. For the tenth anniversary of the bombing, the city held 24 days of activities, including a week-long series of events known as the National Week of Hope from April 17 to April 24, 2005. As in previous years, the tenth anniversary of the bombing observances began with a service at 9:02 am CST, marking the moment the bomb went off, with the traditional 168 seconds of silence—one second for each person who was killed as a result of the blast. The service also included the traditional reading of the names, read by children to symbolize the future of Oklahoma City.

Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

, former president Clinton, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry
Brad Henry
Charles Bradford "Brad" Henry was the 26th Governor of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected governor in 2002...

, Frank Keating
Frank Keating
Francis Anthony "Frank" Keating is an American politician from Oklahoma. Keating served as the 25th Governor of Oklahoma. His first term began in 1995 and ended in 1999...

, Governor of Oklahoma at the time of the bombing, and other political dignitaries attended the service and gave speeches in which they emphasized that "goodness overcame evil". The relatives of the victims and the survivors of the blast also made note of it during the service at First United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

 in Oklahoma City.

President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 made note of the anniversary in a written statement, part of which echoed his remarks on the execution of Timothy McVeigh in 2001: "For the survivors of the crime and for the families of the dead the pain goes on." Bush was invited but did not attend the service because he was en route to Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, to dedicate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum documents the life of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, and the course of the American Civil War. Combining traditional scholarship with 21st century showmanship techniques, the popular museum continues to rank as one of the most visited...

. Vice President Cheney attended the service in his place.

See also

  • The Third Terrorist
    The Third Terrorist
    The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing is a book by television journalist Jayna Davis about evidence of a conspiracy behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The Justice Department initially sought, but then abandoned its search for a Middle East suspect...

  • List of terrorist incidents
  • Lone wolf (terrorism)

Further reading

  • Hinman, Eve E. David J. Hammond. Lessons from the Oklahoma City Bombing: Defensive Design Techniques. New York: ASCE Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7844-0217-5.
  • Jones, Stephen
    Stephen Jones (attorney)
    Stephen Jones, , is an attorney and Republican activist from Enid, Oklahoma. He is best known for serving as Timothy McVeigh's lead defense lawyer during McVeigh's trial on 11 counts regarding his actions in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing....

    . Peter Israel. Others Unknown: The Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. New York: PublicAffairs, 2001. ISBN 978-1-58648-098-1.
  • Oklahoma Today
    Oklahoma Today
    Oklahoma Today is the official magazine of the State of Oklahoma, United States, published in cooperation with the state department of tourism and recreation. It provides its readers the best of Oklahoma's people, places, travel, culture, food and outdoors in six issues a year.Oklahoma Today has...

    . 9:02 am, April 19, 1995: The Official Record of the Oklahoma City Bombing. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Today, 2005. ISBN 0-8061-9957-1.
  • Hoffman, David. The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror. Feral House, 1998, ISBN 0-922915-49-0.
  • Sanders, Kathy. After Oklahoma City: A Grieving Grandmother Uncovers Shocking Truths about the bombing ... and Herself. Arlington, TX: Master Strategies, 2005. ISBN 0-9766485-0-4.
  • Sherrow, Victoria. The Oklahoma City Bombing: Terror in the Heartland. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 1998. ISBN 0-7660-1061-9.

External links