Wednesday, April 19, 2006

11 Years Ago Today

11 years ago today, a extremist - a terrorist - killed 168 people in Oklahoma. He later referred to those people as "collateral damage," necessary deaths in his mission to inform the world of the corrupt United States government. These people's crimes: working in the Murrah Federal Building. Or being the offspring of those who worked there, in the building' daycare facility.

In the aftermath, then-President Clinton said that we'd root out this "evil," using langauge that suggested we thought the terrorist(s) were brown-skinned Muslim extremists.

Bomber Timothy McVeigh was an extremist, alright. He was a white, Christian, ultra-conservative, all-American guy. He believe that the Big Bad Government was taking over American freedoms, led by both Bill Clinton and Janet Reno, as was a popular meme on Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio shows at the time. And this conservative Christian believed the only way to stop the Lib'ruls was to turn children into a sticky red paste with a truck bomb.

11 years later. The government, under a conservative Christian Republican leadership, has eroded our rights more than Clinton and Reno ever did. We're running a secret network of prisons. We wiretap our citizen's phones without a warrent. We're torturing prisoners of war. And we have all but forgotten that terrorists need not be brown-skinned Muslim extremists at all. The image is as concretely linked to the word as it was when Clinton himself used that language to describe the then-unknown mastermind of the Oklahoma City bombings.

Today, take a few minutes to reflect on why 168 people lost their lives in Oklahoma. Reflect on what terrorism and extremism accomplish, whether it's Muslim extremism, Christian extremism, or even Athiest extremism. Reflect on what happens when you respond to violence with more violence. Which is then responded to with more violence.

And I leave you with this:

    "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

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