Oklahoma City Bombing Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3309 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Oklahoma City Bombing

Events before the bombing

What went wrong

Timothy McVeigh, the person who planned and executed the Oklahoma bombing in 1995 was able to create his own bombs by buying the needed chemicals (such as the ammonium nitrate) to a local farm cooperative and nitromethane to a texas Race track. He acted and disguised like a normal civilian needing the said chemicals for personal and inconspicuous use. after the his successful and deadly Oklahoma bombing, the United States of America has proposed a number of plans to prevent anymore terrorism attack (just like what Mcveigh did). However, the proposed programs of the U.S. did not provide any focus to what is very obvious - and that is the people's easy access to chemical-producing bombs.


It was morning, around 9:30 AM, 19th of April 1995 when the people in Oklahoma City was left dumbfounded because of the explosion that was heard in one of the business district of the city. The explosion started from a rental truck parked near a 9-story building. The impact was so strong that a major part of the said building collapsed.

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Hundreds of deaths were recorded - young and old, males and females. A significantly high number of people were sent to hospitals because of severe burns and injuries caused by the explosion. Based on series of investigations conducted, the truck that exploded contained varied forms of chemicals, which are actually used by any normal civilian. The chemicals found in the truck includes some "5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertilizer, and nitromethane, a highly volatile motor-racing fuel -- a mixture also known as Kinepak or ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil)" (Oklahoma City Bombing, n. d.).

Term Paper on Oklahoma City Bombing Assignment

The said explosion was viewed as a form of terrorist attack in the U.S. Based on the reports provided, the convicted person has been planning the said attack several months prior to the explosion. He was seen buying the above-stated chemicals as if it was just for a normal farm or household use. The effect and pain of the said bombing is still being remembered by the Americans until now, even after it has been more than a decade since it happened. This is the very reason why the very cause of Oklahoma City bombing is worth studying.

This paper is aimed at analyzing the major factor that could help prevent the Oklahoma City bombing. Specifically, this paper is intended for:

Reviewing various journals and reports about the series of investigations conducted related to the said bombing

Examining the different preventive measures the U.S. government has proposed and analyzing what are lacking in the said preventive measures

It should be remembered that majority of the chemicals found in the rental truck are very ordinary in such a way that they are used in most household activities. It is hypothesized that such explosion or bombing could have been prevented had the said hazardous chemicals are prevented from public use.

This paper conducted an in-depth review of various credible journals, peer-reviewed articles and news papers that tackle about the Oklahoma City bombing. These materials were all analyzed and summarized and used as integral parts of this paper leading to its conclusion.

The Events before the Bombing

Timothy McVeigh was the culprit behind the Oklahoma bombing. He was the one who planned everything from what materials to use and which building to attack. A year before the attack, several activities of McVeigh were recorded and witnessed which revealed how he had plotted the aid bombing.

It was in September 13 of 1994 when the idea struck McVeigh. He then started sorting the things that he would want to execute his plans. On the 30th of the same month, he was seen buying his "first ton of ammonium nitrate from a farm co-operative in McPherson, Kan" (Library Factfiles, 2003).

Noticed that the area where the first needed chemical was just a farm cooperative. This is a place where, of course, most farmers, without any further questioning from the seller, can buy materials which they can reason out as "for farm use."

October 18, 1994, McVeigh did his second purchase. He again bought tons of fertilizer from the same farm cooperative (Library Factfiles, 2003). Neither the townspeople nor the seller himself became suspicious as to the real identity of McVeigh or the real purpose of the items he was buying.

Three days after the second purchase (on October 21) McVeigh went to a Texas track disguising as a biker. He then bought "$2,775 worth of nitromethane racing fuel" (Library Factfiles, 2003). Again, no one suspected that what McVeigh was buying was actually for a bomb he was making. Everybody thought that he was a real biker and that he would just be using the nitromethane for a race.

What Went Wrong?

The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing is one of the firsts that can be considered as a form of terrorist attack in the United States. It should be noted that terrorism is now one of the biggest problem of the country. However, there had been man lapses as to how the U.S. treated the terrorism attacks, such as what Mcveigh did in Oklahoma. These lapses, when corrected, are believed to be capable of preventing more attacks in the U.S. Or to any other country for that matter.

As far as the word terrorism and bombing had been overly used in every context, there is no exact definition as yet regarding the term. Even the United Nations had not been able to clearly define the word. This problem was deemed to be the reason why until at this moment, combating terrorism and terrorist attacks, like bombings, had been the hardest task for every nation including the United States.

The first step in dealing with any problem is to make sure that it is understood properly. Unless the problem of identifying what terrorism actions truly means, the reality of combating this problem is too bleak. Terrorism is a complex issue which needs to address first the identification of who the enemies are before doing a single move against it. During the early years of terrorism, there had not been enough attention given to this globally alarming problem. However, there had been myths presented regarding terrorism. Academics, media, government officials, and others had tried their best to contribute upon leading the policies of countering terrorism yet nothing seems to be effective. Numerous first steps had been developed as anti-terrorism strategies, but all had failed - because all of the information was just mythical. (Jackson, 2002)

Although the U.S. State Department had its annual list of terrorist groups and the same time the state supporter of terrorism is the most widely accepted formulation in countering terrorism, there is yet consistency from the U.S. government that remains lacking in dealing with terrorism. The list had been changing on a regular basis according to prevailing U.S. policies. This situation only creates as much confusion to the community as the word terrorism had been confusing to them as well. When McVeigh was still buying the items he needed to make the bomb, nobody suspected him capable of plotting a terrorist attack, much more of killing hundreds of people. When Osama bin Laden was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan with CIA support, he was nowhere to be seen on that list. But now, he, of course, is number one. At one time or another, both the IRA and the ANC were on the list. Iraq was on it as a terror-supporting state, then off during the war against Iran, and then went back on the list after the 1991 Gulf War (Jackson, 2002)

Another error is the present insistence on designating the collective enemy as 'international terrorism', as if such a phenomenon actually exists. While there are terrorist organizations that operate across borders - giving them the 'international' context, they are all unique groups that have to be understood in terms of their own history, ideology, and social and political contexts. Acts of terrorism can come in different forms. It is, in fact, a misnomer to assume that Palestinian 'terrorism', Irish 'terrorism', Basque 'terrorism', Tamil 'terrorism', Islamic 'terrorism', 'narco-terrorism' or anti-abortion 'terrorism' in the United States have anything more than superficial similarities. In the same context, it is false to assume that there is no difference between revolutionary terrorism and nationalist terrorism, as well as the difference between ideological terrorism and religious terrorism (Jackson, 2002).

A significant problem that exists on this issue is that an act of terrorism is only considered when it happens. If no attacks happen, terrorism does not exist. Like what happened to the Oklahoma bombing. Nobody thought about the chemical bought as detrimental parts of any explosive material, but when it was used by McVeigh, that was the only time they became mindful about the idea. Needless to say, it is only when various terrorist groups started pestering the country that the government had thought it existed. Americans tend to perceive it as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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