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Timothy James McVeigh- (April 23, 1968-June 11, 2001)
Timothy McVeigh, convicted and executed for the worst act of domestic terrorism in United States history, became a radicalized member of the far right-wing in the early 1990s. With fellow army veteran Terry Nichols, McVeigh conspired to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City as a blow to a federal government that they saw as an evil force.
Their blow against the government they despised killed 168 people, eight of whom were federal agents, 19 were children, mostly at a daycare facility in the building, and the rest were ordinary office workers and citizens attending to normal business.
McVeigh grew up in Pendleton, New York, the son of an auto worker. McVeigh began to delve into right-wing and racist ideas and books, a tendency which grew over the next few years. He joined the U.S. Army in 1988 after holding a series of dead-end jobs. He served in the First Gulf War as a machine gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, earning a Bronze Star for his service during that conflict.
After discharging from the Army in 1991, McVeigh became radicalized by what he saw as the actions of an oppressive government. In 1992, the FBI laid siege to the compound of white separatist and Aryan Nations sympathizer, Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge in Idaho. The next year, federal law enforcement agencies ended the siege at the Branch Davidian cult compound with an assault ending in a catastrophic fire. Prior to the assault which ended the standoff, McVeigh traveled to Waco to act as an anti-government demonstrator and to show support for cult-leader David Koresh. McVeigh purposely chose the second anniversary of the Waco assault for his terrorist act as a message to the government.
In a letter he wrote to Fox News correspondent Rita Cosby, McVeigh attempted to justify his attack on a federal building as no different from a U.S. military air or missile strike on a government building in an enemy nation such as Serbia or Iraq. This is the statement of a person who is so alienated from his own country that he no longer recognizes his victims as anything other than an enemy target.
McVeigh read many extreme right-wing publications, including the Turner Diaries, a novel written by a Neo-Nazi named William Pierce (writing under the alias "Andrew Macdonald"), which is full of violent racist and anti-Semitic fantasies. In the book, the main character, Turner, heads a group which explodes a rented truck at FBI headquarters. McVeigh's actions on April 19, 1995 makes the Turner Diaries into a blue print for his plans.
With his mind full of politicized hate, McVeigh drove a rented Ryder truck full of a fertilizer-based explosive toward the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. In the subsequent blast, 168 people died, and hundreds more (at least 800), recieved wounds.
As he fled the scene of the bombing, Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Charles Hanger pulled McVeigh over and arrested him for driving without a license and carrying a concealed weapon. Within days, the connection was made between McVeigh and the man seen running from the Ryder truck prior to the bombing. He was convicted in federal court on June 2, 1997 for the murder of eight federal agents. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Timothy McVeigh represented a culmination of the growth and potential terror of right-wing groups such as the Aryan Nations, The Order, and other racist, anti-Semitic anti-government groups commonly lumped together under the heading "The Militia Movement." The ideas and events which helped radicalize McVeigh; the talk of a "New World Order," the Turner Diaries, the Ruby Ridge incident, the Waco Siege, and other supposed improprieties by the American government, also radicalized others, who, to this point, have not turned their beliefs into mass murder. The advent of the War on Terror, and the September 11th attacks have taken the public's attention away from the right-wing militia groups, but the potential for more Oklahoma City-style attacks still exists.
Education:--High School Graduate
Best Known As: The Oklahoma City Bomber.
Publications About McVeigh and the Bombing: The Oklahoma City Bomber.
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William McVeigh --Father
Mildred "Mickey" McVeigh --Mother
Associates, Colleagues, & Connections
Terry Nichols-Co-conspirator in the bombing. Met McVeigh in the army.
Michael Fortier-friend who was convicted of knowing of the bombing plot, but failed to report it. Met McVeigh and Nichols in the army.
Lori Fortier-Michael Fortier's wife. She was a witness at the trial.
Links and Resources on the Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh
The Making of a Mass Murderer--Very political article on McVeigh which blames society for turning a "working-class" boy into a right-wing killer. Full of socialist opinions; read with care.
McVeigh letter to Fox News-- McVeigh explains his reasons for the bombing in a letter to Fox News reporter Rita Cosby.