Though there are many striking revelations about the United States government in Jones' book, there is one particular bit of information that gave me pause; and after reflection, a growing concern over our government's use of its formidable military might against United States' citizens.
I have known for a long time that McVeigh's confessed motivation for bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was retaliation for the 1992 Ruby Ridge Incident and the 1993 Waco Siege where government officials used deadly force and killed U.S. citizens. McVeigh thought himself a 'patriot' and a 'freedom soldier' by striking back against the government, similar to the way 18th century American patriots used force against the government of England. Attorney Stephen Jones, however, personally and verbally scorched his client by reminding McVeigh that no patriot or freedom soldier would ever take the lives of innocent women and children.
Stephen Jones is right.
Yet many Americans either do not know or have forgotten that women and children also died at Ruby Ridge and Waco, shot and killed by government officials. Stephen Jones quotes from a report put together by two Congressional oversight committees that investigated the assaults on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco. Congress wrote:
"Many citizens no doubt would be surprised and concerned to learn that components of the same forces the United States used in Operation Desert Storm, Somalia, and Bosnia [i.e., the Texas National Guard], also can be used against them in the United States. The Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents epitomize civilian law enforcement's growing acceptance and use of military-type tactics... When ATF faced the option of conducting a regulatory inspection or a tactical operation, it chose the tactical operation. When ATF had to decide between arresting away from the Branch Davidian residence or a direct confrontation, it chose direct confrontation. ATF also decided to conduct a dynamic entry as opposed to a siege."A 'dynamic entry' is government speak for 'an assault.' Congress, in essence, is saying that Americans would be shocked to realize that our local civilian police departments are becoming more and more comfortable using military armaments, tactics, and even personnel (combat troops)--unique elements of war that have been historically reserved exclusively for combat in foreign countries--against our United States citizens living on American soil.
On April 18, 1995 I spent the night in Prescott, Arizona, in a hotel right next to the Internal Revenue Building. I was in Prescott speaking on behalf of the Franklin Graham Organization, helping local pastors prepare for its upcoming Franklin Graham Festival. It was only after reading Jones' book that I realized Michael Fortier's and Timothy McVeigh's first choice for a building to bomb was the IRS building in Prescott. Just another reminder to me that there is but a 'step between life and death' for all of us.
I took a very early morning flight out of Phoenix on April 19th, arriving at Will Roger's Airport in OKC at 8:30 am. I was driving by downtown OKC when the bombing occurred. The shock wave actually shook my car. For the next three days I spent time at the temporary morgue, set up in the basement of First Methodist Church, and would make trips to First Christian Church north of downtown to console family members of victims who had gathered there, waiting for news of their loved ones who were in the building.
I know first-hand the destruction and havoc Timothy McVeigh caused. He deserved the death penalty for his actions, and he received it. But McVeigh's attorney has done all Americans a good service by reminding us that acts of terror against United States citizens are wrong, whether they come from terrorists like Timothy McVeigh or from police organizations designed to protect the rights, liberty and peace of all American citizens.