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The Oklahoma Bombing 16 Years Later: We’re No Longer Surprised

After the bombing/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sixteen years ago today, America was served up one horrific surprise: The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City: 168 people died.

It was shocker.

At the time — April 19, 1995 –  as a reporter at the Detroit News, I called around to federal law enforcement people, checking to see what they knew. Some speculated that it was foreign terrorists, just like in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Others suggested it had something to do with Waco. The foreign terrorist theory sounded more palatable. The idea of our own citizens committing such an atrocity seemed unlikely.

I was wrong.

Two days later, I was headed up to Decker, Mi., about two hours outside of Detroit, to check out a farm  the FBI and ATF  agents were raiding.  The farm belonged to James Nichols. His brother Terry and Tim McVeigh had spent time there. Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh were later convicted. McVeigh was put to death.

Now, 16 years later, we’ve evolved. The  thought of one our own committing a terrorist act simply doesn’t phase us.  A lone wolf. A naturalized citizen. A convert.  An anti-government fanatic. Nothing surprises us any more.

Sixteen years isn’t a particularly noteworthy milestone. But around this time of year, I always feel like its worth noting and offering condolences to the many families who lost loved ones in Oklahoma City.


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