I was going to talk about juggling babies or some such nonsense today, but I noticed that it was on this day back in 1995 that the Oklahoma City bombing took place, killing roughly 169 people and injuring very many more. I remember in the early 1990s that conservatives, libertarians most especially, were very upset about Ruby Ridge and Waco. And there was a lot of loose talk about armed revolt.
At the time, I felt that the Waco siege had been mishandled. I never had a great deal of sympathy for Ruby Ridge, probably because of its association with white supremacists. I always thought that reaction of people was a bit extreme. This wasn’t exactly Nazi Germany. But regardless, after the Oklahoma City bombing, most of that loose talk of rebellion stopped. Things got very real.
Looking back, I think that had Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols not gotten around to the Oklahoma City bombing, some other pair of “patriots” would have done something similar. But the quiet and reasonableness that this horrific act brought to conservative movement was short lived. I haven’t made a study of it, but you can hear this kind of loose talk any day on The Alex Jones Show. But you will hear the same thing in a less extreme manner from Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh.
Everyone is guilty of loose talk. Children say they want to kill their parents when they get angry. But there really was something different about things in the early 1990s. There was very much a feeling of, “They raped our queen, so we raped their city, and we were right!” But in this case it is hard to see who “they” were. If McVeigh had decided to assassinate Janet Reno (and I certainly heard people talk about that), it at least made some sense; you could argue that she was culpable. But what the hell did the people who happened to be at or near the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building do that deserved death?
But that’s the problem with loose talk. When you live in a realm of theory, people become like chess pieces on a board. It’s like that kid who killed those people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church: he thought he was going to start a race war. Those people were just pawns in his grand plan. Ultimately, people have to trump any kind of high ideal — regardless of how great you think it is.