I watched a documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing the other day that was fascinating. I didn’t really know/remember much about the catastrophe because I was a about 6 years old when it happened, and I never did much research. What small amount of information I have now emphasizes two crucial lessons from the crimes of Timothy Mcveigh, who killed so many people in the bombing. The first is that the neo-Nazi ideology is more insidious than any regular person can imagine. The second is that anarchists demonizing the government can lead to the death of countless people, many of whom are innocent.
Even terrorists sometimes make good points, and have grievances with which most people would agree. I didn’t know that Mcveigh was a soldier in the Gulf War. Apparently, he got disillusioned with the sometimes colonial nature of the American military industrial complex. This sort of thing seems to happen at least often enough for the average person to not be surprised. Some soldiers come back from war, and realize that they were participating in a harmful ideology in which the costs outweighed the benefits. I think that a lot of people agree with this generalization of war.
Timothy Mcveigh, and other neo-Nazis, had understandable problems with the events at Waco in 1993 and Ruby Ridge in 1992. For those who don’t know, the former centered around David Koresh, and a Christian cult that he started called the Branch Davidians. They were simultaneously fascinating and terrifying because they had every common ingredient of cults. Koresh viewed himself as the second coming of Jesus, or at least made it seem that way out of ego gratification. As often occurs, the Branch Davidians got increasingly separated from normal society, and began staying in an isolated compound with a large quantity of illegal weapons. David Koresh used his religious privilege to basically steal the wives of men in his cult, which is another common occurrence. He had sex with the women, and forbade them from doing so with their husbands. There are even implications that he was a pedophile, and that he molested children who probably trusted him and were unaware that he was doing anything wrong.
The reason that Mcveigh had concerns with Waco and Ruby Ridge is the incompetent way they were handled. I know almost nothing about Ruby Ridge, but it appears to be true that federal organizations abused their power and caused unnecessary harm in dealing with a similar event as Waco. There was a siege between the F. B. I. and people like Randy Weaver, who refused to obey laws. I know a little bit more about Waco, and it’s more interesting to me due to the cult factor. Although, of course the victims of Ruby Ridge don’t deserve any less empathy.
As far as anyone can externally understand the events of Waco, the F.B.I. aggressively and perhaps unnecessarily escalated the situation. There was not much cooperation from Koresh, which, coupled with mutual antagonism from the F.B.I. and A.T.F., eventually lead to murder on both sides. The most horrifying part of the story to me was when the compound got set on fire. Whether David Koresh or the government are more at fault is debatable, but about 72 people died in the fire, including children. This is why Timothy Mcveigh had understandable grievances. Koresh seems like a morally corrupt sociopath, to say the least. But his followers did not deserve to die. The adults were personally responsible for their actions. However, the power of ideology and a charismatic leader over lonely people looking to belong cannot be underestimated. I don’t think they should have been killed, and I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find someone who believes the children were justifiably murdered. Kids can make choices, but they obviously are much less responsible for their actions than adults. They often follow their parents regardless of the circumstances. Also, if David Koresh was a pedophile, It’s nearly impossible to imagine the level of horror experienced by a child who gets raped by someone they trust, only to be burned to death.
Mcveigh’s nearly irrefutable concerns with the way that catastrophes like Waco were handled fed his burgeoning neo-Nazism. This increased because disillusionment with the government is apparently a recruiting tactic for right-wing extremist groups. For some people, with enough indoctrination, anarchist philosophy can lead to white supremacy. Maybe Timothy Mcveigh changed his thinking in this way because this particular cult catered to his growing desire for violent revolution. The insidious nature of neo-Nazism is reflected in the Oklahoma city bombing. Mcveigh’s extremism increased until he worked with a few ex-military buddies to build, install, and detonate the bomb. His comrades apparently had little to do with the events, and he sure seems like the malevolent ring-leader.
Timothy Mcveigh’s deulsional thinking is shown in the outcome he expected from the bombing. I think that anarchists sometimes make excellent points, but government is necessary in some ways. Also, history appears to demonstrate that violent revolutions always have negative consequences, such as the death of innocents. But Mcveigh expected his attack and subsequent execution to make him a martyr and lead to increased chaos. He either claimed, or truly believed, that he was a good guy, serving a higher purpose, just like every ideologue, whether their motivations are morally sound or not. Violent anarchists like Mcveigh talk about attacking “the government,” as if it’s some ethereal force. However, like any organization, governments are composed of people, some of whom are good, and others who are bad. Almost no government contains only people who are out to maliciously harm everyone else. There are morally admirable people who work for governments. Even if a large number of the casualties in the Oklahoma City bombing were seen as bad people by others, in my opinion, all of those people certainly did not deserve to die. When you attack the government, innocent people die. History does show the success of some violent revolutions, but that is almost never the best solution to a problem. The unadulterated terror of the Oklahoma City bombing is what happens when neo-Nazis win.