Ding dong, McVeigh is dead
Norman is about half an hour away from Oklahoma City. That's where I lived when the bombing occured, and according to legend, the blast could be heard even there. Maybe; I wasn't paying attention. Alls I know is that I walked into the Honors Dorm(where, by choice, I didn't live), headed to the TV lounge, and instead of the usual group I hung out with, there were many more people in there. They were all staring at an image on the screen of some building I'd never seen before, with a huge crater in it. Some of them were crying.
We weren't going to be pitting ourselves against the Jeopardy contestants that day. For a long time, actually, as the coverage didn't let up for weeks. And frankly, I was a little pissed about it.
I have what has been referred to as an overly practical response to Bad Things Happening to Good People: Get over it. I can't relate. I can't make it better. I'm not going to try. If you want to talk about it, I will be here; I will deal with one person at a time, or small groups at best, but worldwide simulcast is just too impersonal. Take as long as you need, but Get Over It.
Last year, some kid on a high school football team broke his neck during a game and died. Some people at work were talking about it all tragic-like. My response? Yes, it sucks, BUT, Occupational Hazard. This teenager, with a body that might not even be fully-formed yet, was plowing into other people head-first at high velocity, and should take responsibility for his actions. His parents and school should also take responsibility for letting him, and even encouraging the behavior. Why isn't there quite so much sadness around the cliff diver who smashes his head on a rock? Oh, yeah, he's an idiot for jumping.
The Bombing(from now on referred to with caps) didn't affect me directly. I didn't know anybody in or near the building. I didn't know anybody who knew somebody, but I'm sure I could get there with a little help from Kevin Bacon. Eventually, some connections were made. A relative of someone I knew was going to be within the blast area, except for some delays. Someone at work had a friend whose husband worked as a paramedic and was involved in the rescue attempts. On a certain level, I have more sympathy for the people who had to clean up this fucking mess than the ones in the building.
The paramedics got to live with such lovely stories as the following, which happened to the guy above: One fine day, in the Murrah building, "Joe" was going about his government job in the usual way. Sometime in the early afternoon, Joe had to go get something from another floor and got on his way. Just as he reached the stairwell and was opening the door, *BOOM*. Later, the paramedics found Joe, and seeing his arm bending in a way that was not usual, they sent him off for some x-rays to see what bones were broken, and what would have to be fixed.
When the x-rays were reviewed, the medics couldn't find any bones.
There were some cloudy areas in approximate bone shapes where they should have been. When The Bomb went off, Joe was holding the handle of the door. The shockwave ran through the building, and directly into his arm, completely pulverizing anything solid in its way. As far as I know, the paramedics who were dealing with him are still traumatized.
I couldn't care very much about the whole Bombing when it happened, and now, five(?) years later, I can only manage to be irritated when hearing about it. The country has spent so much time picking at this scab, I'm not sure people even know what they're mourning anymore. If everyone would let themselves be honest about this, they would find that the majority of people are not mourning the 168, but rather the little fantasy that our country is safe, that we are safe, that everybody else is afraid of us. And what have we gotten out of it? A Survivor Tree that has been on life-support since the day of the Bombing because its species has no business being in Oklahoma in the first place, an ugly memorial to provide an external scar to all the emotional ones, and something amounting to a Museum and Institute for the Study of Terrorism in case this particular incident isn't enough for you when you visit, which may or may not be fully funded yet, and I refuse to find out.
Oh, and another martyr. The government was afraid to put McVeigh under anything but utter isolated lockdown, because they knew he would be torn to pieces almost immediately by the other prisoners. This should have told the government something. And they should have let them. The death could at least be meaningless, then.
I don't want to seem callous, but I just can't allow myself to care about this even the little bit that I did originally. I sometimes even wish that I could have a belief system allowing me to pray(or something to that effect) for people, so they could find some relief from their pain. But I don't, and a part of me envies those who do. My faith rests in the belief that people have the strength to overcome whatever gets thrown at them. If they follow one of those religions I envy, they should realize their god(s/ess) is/are almost surely not malicious and must have some good reason for what occured. Testing faith is not a valid answer; I refuse to believe in a deity that fucks with your head just to see if you stick around.
So maybe now we can all shut up about this, and actually get to some healing.