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A Sociological Study of Deviance: Oklahoma City Bombing

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    The Oklahoma City Bombing was a very special event in American history, it was the biggest act of domestic terrorism until 9/11. The Alfred P.

    Murrah Federal Building, which was an office complex in Oklahoma City, was bombed and 168 people were killed. Timothy McVeigh, the subject of my paper, was behind the bombings, and later executed. On April 15, 1995 Timothy McVeigh rented a Ryder truck in Herington, Kansas under the alias Robert D. Kling.

    On April 16, he drove to Oklahoma City with fellow conspirator Terry Nichols where he parked a getaway vehicle several blocks away from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After removing the license plate from the car, the two men returned to Kansas. On April 17 and 18, the men moved 108 fifty-pound bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, three fifty-five gallon drums of liquid nitromethane, several crates of explosive Tovex sausage, seventeen bags of ANFO, and spools of shock tube and cannon fuse.

    The two then drove to Geary Lake where they mixed the chemicals together using plastic buckets and a bathroom scale.Once it was completed, McVeigh added a dual-fuse ignition system which he could access through the truck’s front cab. After finishing the configuration of the truck-bomb, the two men separated, Nichols returning to Herington and McVeigh driving the truck to Oklahoma City. At dawn on April 19, as he drove toward the Murrah Federal building, McVeigh carried with him an envelope whose contents included pages from The Turner Diaries, a fictional account of an underground guerrilla group of racial nationalists who rise up against the government.

    As the truck approached the building, at 8:57 a. m. CST, McVeigh lit the five-minute fuse. Three minutes later, still a block away, he lit the two-minute fuse.

    He parked the Ryder truck in a drop-off zone locked the vehicle, and headed to his getaway vehicle. The bomb killed 168 and maimed over 800 office workers. Timothy Mcveighs personality can be explained sociologically as being both ritualism and rebellion. Timothy McVeigh was part of what can be seen as the pinnacle of conformism during the years before the bombing, the military.

    McVeigh, by all accounts, was a soldier who won praise by taking orders very well and following all the rules, his medals won during the Gulf War prove this. However, like many other people who join the military (gang-members, racial nationalists, survivalists) Timothy McVeigh had perhaps not-so patriotic motives for joining. Nowadays people join the military for reasons other than because they believe in a countries value system, people like McVeigh join for the military training and knowledge of things like explosives, survival, discipline, etc.They in a way use the system against itself.

    At face value Timothy McVeigh did follow the means towards achieving societies goals, but he wanted nothing to do with the ends. He saw himself as a freedom fighter whose destiny was to overthrow the US Government. McVeigh, before joining the military, already had a long history in the survivalist movement. The Survivalist movement is well known by the federal government for its anti-government activities and beliefs, McVeigh shared these beliefs and was set off after the FBI/ATF killings in Waco Texas and Ruby Ridge.

    What McVeigh viewed as an injustice that needed to be avenged, he used the skills he learned as a conformist/ritualist to commit an act of pure rebellion. He saw the goals of American society in general as being wrong and immoral, he (like many survivalists) rejected materialism and big government, and wanted to replace it with a more just system . McVeighs ritualism in the US military later evolved into rebellion, he was like a lot of rebels: a man looking for a cause to serve.

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