Apocalypse In Oklahoma: Waco and Ruby Ridge Revenged

Overview

In a work that is sure to stir controversy, Hamm convincingly argues that the force used by the FBI during the sieges at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and at Randy Weaver's cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, followed by an unwillingness to admit to errors in judgment, fueled the radical right's suspicion and hatred of the federal government and provided the motive for the explosion in Oklahoma City. According to the author, the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco became rallying symbols of excessive ...
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Overview

In a work that is sure to stir controversy, Hamm convincingly argues that the force used by the FBI during the sieges at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and at Randy Weaver's cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, followed by an unwillingness to admit to errors in judgment, fueled the radical right's suspicion and hatred of the federal government and provided the motive for the explosion in Oklahoma City. According to the author, the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco became rallying symbols of excessive government intervention for right-wing activists with ideologies of varying extremes. Hamm skillfully untangles the complex web of catalysts that contributed to the conspiracy to bomb the Murrah Building, and uncovers startling revelations about the groups and individuals involved in terrorist activities against the government. He considers the importance of April 19 as a symbolic date for the radical right; discusses the role of Christian Identity, a theology that gives the blessing of God to the racist cause; and examines the significance of The Turner Diaries, a popular novel among militia groups that details a blueprint for anti-government violence. Hamm also discloses that a plan to bomb the Murrah Building was devised as early as 1983 by Christian Identity member Richard Wayne Snell. The author offers bold insights into the ways in which suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were motivated by these influences. Hamm delves into the differences and similarities of their backgrounds, revealing that the seeds for the destructive blast may have been planted when these two men were brought together in the U.S. Army. McVeigh and Nichols, he argues, were loose cannons on the outer fringes of the radical right. Their misguided plan to avenge Ruby Ridge and Waco brought the weight of adverse public opinion on militia groups and set the movement in decline.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The 1995 destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is the most serious domestic terrorist attack in American history. Through media accounts and court papers, Hamm (American Skinheads: The Criminology and Control of Hate Crime, Greenwood, 1995) documents events leading to the attack and points to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols as the guilty parties. He sees the bombings as retaliation for the federal government's actions against Randy and Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Hamm provides detailed biographies of McVeigh and Nichols and the influence of family, drugs, the military, and the gun culture on their actions. However, he differs from Kenneth Stern's A Force on the Plain (LJ 1/96) in seeing the two as operating outside the American militias and other far-right movements. This book is more scholarly than Brandon M. Stickney's "All-American Monster": The Unauthorized Biography of Timothy McVeigh (Prometheus, 1996) and is a valuable addition to a small but growing body of scholarly work on modern right-wing movements. Highly recommended to all libraries.Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Owen Lib.
Booknews
Hamm (criminology, Indiana State U.) offers his account of the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. He also argues that the excessive force of the federal government during the sieges in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, followed by the its refusal to admit errors in judgement, fed the suspicion and hatred of the government that fueled the bombing. A controversial book to accompany the trial of the government's suspect. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
An academic's speculative take on the April 19, 1995, blast that leveled the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people (including 19 children) and injuring over 500 more.

Drawing largely on contemporary news accounts of the tragedy and its aftermath, Hamm (Criminology/Indiana State Univ.) offers a plausible if not original explanation of what triggered the terrorist act. Noting that the FBI's use of deadly force to end standoffs at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex., and Randy Weaver's backwoods cabin atop Idaho's Ruby Ridge outraged right-wing radicals, he goes on to review the outré beliefs espoused by extremists of this ilk (militias, skinheads, survivalists, Identity Christians, et al.). Turning next to the defendants in the Oklahoma case, the author profiles Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in considerable detail. A decorated veteran of the Desert Storm campaign, McVeigh met Nichols while both were serving in the army. A disaffected loner who embraced the hate-filled antigovernment canons of the ultra-right, McVeigh apparently dominated his comrade-in-arms. By Hamm's account, Ruby Ridge and Waco gave the ex-soldier (made periodically delusional by an addiction to crystal methamphetamine) the push needed to target and destroy the Murrah Building with a homemade truck bomb. While the author skillfully marshals a wealth of circumstantial evidence suggesting the accused's guilt, he never quite manages to connect the solitary McVeigh (other than philosophically) with organized groups of potentially violent dissidents. Also troublesome is the verve and frequency with which the author potshots the FBI and even moderately conservative Republicans (whom he persists in lumping with die-hard reactionaries).

Serviceable as a reconstruction of a national disaster, but it fails to substantiate the conspiracy theories that inform it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555533007
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/1997
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: "Justice Is Coming" 1
Pt. I Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995
1 The Blood of Innocents 37
2 The President, the Press, and the Highway Patrolman 46
3 Horror, Heroes, and a Truck Axle 60
4 The Enemy Within 67
5 Catastrophe, Capture, and a Missed Opportunity 80
6 The Bastard, the Ribbon, and the Mourning 90
Pt. II Conspiracy
7 The Legacy of Waco 103
8 The Warrior, the Ideologue, and the Anchor 118
9 Reckoning 146
10 Free Men of the West: Losers, Loners, and Crystal Meth 166
Pt. III Aftermath
11 The War of Words 205
12 A Hinge of History: Terrorism and Teddy Bears 226
Epilogue: "I Would Not Do It Again" 239
Notes 243
References 259
Index 271
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