Posts Tagged ‘Bigotry’

McVeigh and Today

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Inspired by The McVeigh Tapes (Rachel Maddow 4/19/10), and in memory of the 168 people (including six children under the age of six) who were killed in the most deadly case of domestic terrorism in American history.

“Taxes are a joke. Regardless of what a political candidate ‘promises,’ they will increase. More taxes are always the answer to government mismanagement. They mess up. We suffer. Taxes are reaching cataclysmic levels, with no slowdown in sight… Is a Civil War Imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn’t come to that. But it might.” – Timothy McVeigh letter to local newspaper
“The government is afraid of the guns people have because they have to have control of the people at all times. Once you take away the guns, you can do anything to the people. You give them an inch and they take a mile. I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control.” – Quote from interview to student reporter given during Waco siege, where he distributed gun rights literature to show his support for the Branch Davidians
“ATF, all you tyrannical m***er f***ers will swing in the wind one day for your treasonous actions against the Constitution of the United States. Remember the Nuremberg War Trials.” – Letter to  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
“I Explain Herein Why I Bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.” – Title of McVeigh letter from prison 4/06/01 (two months before his execution) to… Fox News

Fifteen years ago today

America met Timothy McVeigh.

Taxes and gun control were the source of his dissatisfaction.

The socialist-authoritarian government justified his action.

The federal action at Waco triggered his rage

And “forced” him the government enemy to engage.

He quit the NRA because he thought their position was too weak,

Then traveled the gun show circuit to find the political home he did seek.

The people he met showed him that he wasn’t alone,

Even though some of them had views even more extreme than his own.

He referred to himself as being in the “Patriot Movement,”

Dedicated to America’s improvement.

The 19 children he killed were just “collateral damage,”

A unavoidable part of his anti-government rampage.

“You’re not the first mother to lose a child,” McVeigh callously said.

“Get over it,” as if that’s possible for the parents of 19 children now dead.

When McVeigh set off his bomb he wore a t-shirt

That his core beliefs did assert.

It showed Abraham Lincoln and the motto “sic semper tyrannis,”

As if McVeigh were next in the long line of “patriots” who began this.

On the back, the shirt showed a bloody tree and quote used by Teabaggers many times since:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Fifteen years have since gone by.

Are there any lessons from this tragedy that we can apply?

It’s comforting to think of McVeigh as the crazy exception,

But many others today share his perception.

McVeigh isn’t by a long shot alone

In his view that the government should be overthrown.

That he and many others advocate violence “only if necessary”

Doesn’t make me feel any better (on the contrary).

Don’t McVeigh’s quotations sound eerily familiar?

It’s the same tired trope to which today’s Teabaggers constantly refer.

And why did McVeigh write from prison to Fox News?

Did he suspect they were most likely to share his views?

But what we must most remember when commemorating the 168 who died 15 years ago today

Is the role in violence that incitement and extreme rhetoric play.

There are just too many similarities between now and then,

And if we aren’t careful, it will happen again.


Here’s Jon Stewart’s 4/13/10 interview with Rachel about her McVeigh documentary.

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Here’s Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a ceremony commemorating the victims of the bombing.

Here’s Rachel’s report. For more on what turned McVeigh into one of the worst mass murderers in American history, read American Terrorist by Lou Michele, who conducted and recorded the 45 hours of interviews with McVeigh that were the basis for the Rachel Maddow Show documentary. His book was also one of the principal sources for the Wikipedia article I referred to in this post.

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Here’s your theme music for today, Loneliness is Pure from the CD Sic Semper Tyrannis by the group John Wilkes Booth. I chose this song for four reasons: (1) because of the t-shirt that McVeigh wore on the day of the bombing (similar to those worn by many Teabagger protest attendees), (2) the song has that death metal (or as the band refers to it, “dirt rock”) intensity and dissonance that suggests the state of mind that I believe fits the Teabagger/militia culture, (3) because the lyrics encapsulate some of what McVeigh says in his taped interview and a way of thinking that I think is unfortunately all too common in his “Patriot” movement, and (4) I think it’s a cool-sounding song. NB: I don’t know what the group’s political views are, but I’m by no means saying that they support violence (I hope they don’t).


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