Friday, April 17, 2015

You could be living next door to one of the Oklahoma City bombing conspirators, and have no way of knowing.

(This was supposed to publish some time ago. Whoops)

It's the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. For me it was one of those "I remember exactly where I was at the time" moments. I was driving to the dentist in Austin to have X-rays taken as part of my Peace Corps enrollment process. Later that week I found out that an acquaintance of mine had a cousin who was one of the victims and for some reason it became much more tangible to me at that moment, and I remember that it was then that I got emotional about it and feeling odd that my response was triggered by such a convoluted connection.

It's always been odd to me that, in light of the white supremacist motivation of the perpetrators, that we never talked about white supremacists in the same way we do "radical Islamic terrorists" despite the frequency of domestic terrorist plans and acts by white supremacists.

Anyway, there were three main conspirators in the case of which two are in custody or dead. Timothy McVeigh, of course, who was the mastermind of the whole thing. He was executed for his crimes on June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols who helped acquire the bomb materials, hide the get away car and provided other material support. He's in prison in Colorado serving 161 consecutive life sentences (just a little more than 160 to go!)

The third accomplice was Michael Fortier. He knew of the plan and helped scout the building and his wife laminated McVeigh's fake ID. Fortier agreed to testify against the others and was convicted with a reduced sentence. He was released from prison in 2006, and placed in the witness protection program. Which means he could be living literally anywhere.

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