15 Years After OKC Bombing, Extremist Rhetoric Is Resurgent


Fifteen years after Timothy McVeigh blew up an Oklahoma City federal building with a truck bomb, killing 168 people in America's worst-ever case of home-grown terrorism, the Christian Science Monitor asks: Could a disaster on the scale of Oklahoma City ever happen again? Some believe that the extremist political climate in which McVeigh operated is resurgent today. Resentment over racial changes in America, combined with the bad economy, is producing an extremist comeback, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks militia activity.

Today there are 512 extremist militias and so-called patriot groups in the US, up from 149 such groups only a year ago, says the SPLC's Mark Potok. “[R]esurgent anger at the federal government has again caught fire,” Mr. Potok writes in a recent SPLC newsletter. Bill Clinton, president at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, says one lesson of the terrorist act is that “words matter.” There is a line that divides legitimate criticism from the advocacy of violence, Clinton said. “And the closer you get to that line, and the more responsibility you have, the more you have to think about the echo chamber in which your words resonate,” he said.

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