Tag Archives: domestic terrorism

Name the ‘enemy,’ Mr. President

Oh, how quickly some of us forget what we say.

Donald John Trump Sr., while campaigning for the presidency, excoriated President Barack Obama for his refusal to say three words in sequence: radical Islamic terrorists.

How can we know against whom we are fighting, he said, if we don’t call them out by name? The former president said he didn’t want to associate the terrorists with a religious faith, saying that they ignored the teachings of Islam, that they are thugs and murderers.

Well, guess what, dear reader. The 45th president of the United States committed precisely the same error of omission by refusing to call out the goons who provoked the riots in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend and who themselves committed acts of domestic terrorism against their fellow Americans.

Trump instead equivocated in a disgusting manner by condemning what he called “violence and hatred on many sides.”

Mr. President, you failed yet another key test of leadership by failing to acknowledge that the white supremacists who gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee were the provocateurs. They were the instigators of the riots. Their message drips with hate, with intolerance, with bigotry.

The president needed to call them out. He needed to mention the words “white supremacist hate groups.” The president needed to do the very thing for which he was critical of his predecessor.

If we’re going to fight against hate groups, then call them all out! By name! Can the president make the same argument to shield white supremacists and racists that his predecessor did regarding international terrorist organizations?

Does he dare do so?

OKC bombing memorial: That's how you do it

My wife and I have visited the Oklahoma City memorial to the April 19, 1995 bombing many times since its completion.

We come away each time with the same reaction: Anyone wishing to memorialize a tragic event needs to visit with the planners who executed this memorial to see how to do it correctly, in exquisite taste and decorum.

It’s on the edge of downtown OKC, where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building stood before Timothy McVeigh detonated the truck bomb that destroyed the structure and killed 168 innocent victims.

It has two outstanding features: a pool of still water and 168 chairs positioned to the side of the pool. Of the chairs, 19 of them are smaller than the rest. They honor the lives of the children McVeigh killed when the bomb went off. The children were attending a day care center inside the Murrah Building. McVeigh drew a figurative bead on those innocent, precious babies when he committed his heinous act.

One wall from the Murrah Building is preserved at the end of the pool. On another wall is an inscription, “9:03,” when the bomb exploded on that horrifying morning.

The good people of Oklahoma City did it right.

If you’re ever traveling through Oklahoma’s capital city, you owe it to yourself — and your children — to see this memorial.

It will move you in a way you might not expect.

Terrorists come in domestic forms, too

Americans have been focused intently since 9/11 on the dangers of foreign-born terrorists, or those who were born here but then renounced our country to take up arms against us.

We’ve managed to eradicate many of them. Others remain in the fight and we need to hunt them down, too.

Terror, though, can visit us at any moment, and it come from any source. Even home-grown, corn-fed, garden-variety Americans who have a particularly evil streak in their heart can bring untold sorrow and fear to their fellow Americans.

Remember the name Timothy McVeigh?

He decided 20 years ago — on April 19, 1995 — to blow up a federal office building in Oklahoma City. He killed 167 innocent people, including more than a dozen children who were enrolled in a day-care center at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Children died at the hands of this monster.

Two decades ago Sunday, McVeigh parked a rental truck in front of the building, walked away and then listen to the blast that tore the front of the building away. He fled in a car, only to be captured by a sharp-eyed police officer several miles away.

Why the Murrah building? Why in Oklahoma City, in the nation’s heartland? McVeigh sympathies with the Branch Davidian cult members who died two years to the day prior in Waco. He wanted revenge against the federal agents that destroyed the cult’s compound.

McVeigh was tried in a Denver federal courtroom and convicted of murder. He then was executed for his crime.

He’s gone. Not forgotten.

The loved ones of those who died or who were injured seriously remember him. They loathe his memory. Heck, even those of us who only heard or read about the act loathe this terrorist.

This blog post I guess is just an excuse for me to vent my continuing rage at those Americans who would commit such evil acts. They are every bit as despicable as the foreigners with whom we are fighting. There are times when I wish that our military could use the same brute force on the homegrown terrorists as it does while waging war overseas.

Then my sense of citizenship kicks in, remembering that we must protect the civil liberties of all citizens, even those who spit in our faces by committing these heinous atrocities.

Timothy McVeigh received the ultimate punishment for his act of terror against his country. It was delivered by a justice system that we sometimes think is flawed. Maybe it is at some level.

However, it wasn’t on the day that McVeigh was convicted and sentenced for committing the most heinous act of domestic terrorism in our nation’s history.

So, as we look out there for those who would do us harm, let’s not forget to look over our shoulder and be vigilant against our fellow Americans who harbor hatred that goes beyond our understanding.