On April 19, 1995, a man drove a truck full of explosives into Oklahoma City. He parked the truck at the Alfred F. Murrah Federal building. At 9:02am, the truck-bomb exploded.
Among the 168 dead were 19 children, including 15 who had been in a day-care center housed in the building. The truck had been parked directly below the center.
The attack was perpetrated by a domestic terrorist. I think most of us know that, but perhaps we don’t fully appreciate, just how domestic, just how American, this strain of terrorism was. And is.
It was later revealed that the perpetrator was carrying with him portions of a deeply racist, xenophobic and anti-semitic novel named The Turner Diaries. The novel describes white supremacists embarking on a campaign of terrorism which includes blowing up the FBI headquarters in the morning using a truck bomb. These attacks are depicted as starting a civil war and a global race war. This book is believed to have inspired numerous terrorist attacks across the US.
A meme posted on Facebook by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) asking whether red states or blue states would win a new U.S. civil war has been deleted.
The meme depicting human figures composed of “red” and “blue” states, with King’s state included among the blue ones, was posted on King’s facebook page on Saturday evening.
“Wonder who would win….,” King added to the meme, followed by a smirking emoji.
“Folks keep talking about another civil war; one side has about 8 trillion bullets while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use,” the meme reads. — thehill.com/…
The perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing wore a T-shirt emblazoned with Thomas Jefferson’s statement that “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”. Jefferson was, of course a slave-labor camp operator and the third president of the US. The same t-shirt also bore the Latin motto of Virginia, Sic semper tyrannis (the words yelled by the man who assassinated Lincoln).
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Murrah building had been targeted previously, in October 1983 by another white supremacist group. That group had plotted to park “a van or trailer in front of the Federal Building and blow it up with rockets detonated by a timer.
Jamelle Bouie happened to find himself in Oklahoma City and visited the memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack.
That understanding of McVeigh and Nichols as part of a movement with well-defined goals and a theory of action — which itself fits into a history of ideologically driven hate networks — is important if the mission of the Oklahoma City memorial is education as much as remembrance. And in visiting the site and museum, I was troubled by shallow treatment of that context. Are visitors making the connections between past and present? Do they see the relationship between the violence in Oklahoma City and the shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 or the murder of 11 Jewish worshipers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018? Do they see McVeigh as a singular threat or as an important antecedent to our present-day white power killers?
In the manifesto he released, the accused Christchurch shooter made frequent references to “white genocide,” the idea that nonwhite immigration and mixed-race relationships constitute a genocidal threat to “white” people. He recites the “14 words” — a white supremacist mantra — and elsewhere posted images of a gun with the number 14 written on it. As Jane Coaston noted in Vox, the term “white genocide” was coined by David Lane, a white supremacist responsible for the murder of a Jewish radio host in 1984. He, like McVeigh, was also inspired by William Pierce. Again, the museum devotes some space to this movement and those ideas — copies of Pierce’s books “Hunter” and “The Turner Diaries” are on display — but they are overshadowed by exhibits that focus on the experience of the bombing and its aftermath. — www.nytimes.com/…
This is as it should be, the memorial is to the victims, not to the perpetrator’s ideology. But Jamelle Bouie has a point. For too long, most of us have failed to grapple with the implications of the hateful ideology that has driven these people. With how much a part of this country’s history it is.
That failure is why so much American and Western media seems oblivious to the latent racism baked into their coverage:
That failure to deal honestly and forthrightly with the origins of this hate allows it to rear itself over and over again. It is why so many Americans don’t even bat an eyelid when a religious leader tells an entire auditorium that he wished more of them had guns to “end those Muslims before they’d walked in […]”.
That failure to deal honestly and forthrightly with the origins of this hate allows it to rear itself over and over again.
The far-right terrorist who killed 77 in Norway in 2011 (many of them children), frequented hate forums that prominently feature The Turner Diaries. Aspects of his public statements allude to that work, which was published in the 1970s. We have been exporting this form of hate a lot longer than Donald Trump has been around. We can go back further:
[Madison] Grant’s purportedly scientific argument that the exalted “Nordic” race that had founded America was in peril, and all of modern society’s accomplishments along with it, helped catalyze nativist legislators in Congress to pass comprehensive restrictionist immigration policies in the early 1920s. His book went on to become Adolf Hitler’s “bible,” as the führer wrote to tell him. Grant’s doctrine has since been rejuvenated and rebranded by his ideological descendants as “white genocide” (the term genocide hadn’t yet been coined in Grant’s day). In an introduction to the 2013 edition of another of Grant’s works, the white nationalist Richard Spencer warns that “one possible outcome of the ongoing demographic transformation is a thoroughly miscegenated, and thus homogeneous and ‘assimilated,’ nation, which would have little resemblance to the White America that came before it.” This language is vintage Grant. — www.theatlantic.com/…
The terrorist who struck the mosques in Christchurch said he wanted to spark a conflict in the US over guns. The Turner Diaries contains just such a plot. This dangerous rhetoric over guns has been fanned by Republicans for years. It’s vividly present in Steve King’s post above, in the form of “8 trillion bullets”. It’s why Trump talked about what “2nd amendment people” might do.
It is why so many Americans don’t even bat an eyelid when a religious leader tells an entire auditorium that he wished more of them had guns to “end those Muslims before they’d walked in […]”.
That isn’t even the worst of it. The man Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed for president uses the same rhetoric from the White House. Rhetoric that fits in neatly with the febrile “race war” rantings which inspired the terrorist who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. Rhetoric laced with threats.
“I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump,” Trump told Breitbart in the interview, which he later tweeted. “I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.” […]
The president later deleted his tweet as news began to trickle in of a mass shooting in New Zealand that left at least 49 worshiping Muslims dead on Friday. While there are no signs that the suspect was a close follower of Trump, he did mention the U.S. president once in his rambling manifesto, calling Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Trump has previously banned those from majority-Muslim countries from coming into the U.S., keeping families apart under a racist policy. — www.huffpost.com/…
And this rhetoric carries with it a clear message for white supremacists.