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Oklahoma City bombing: Is 1995 repeating itself today?

Americans observed the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing Monday. Some believe that the extremist political climate in which the bomber, Timothy McVeigh, operated is resurging.

By Staff writer / April 19, 2010

People gather under the Survivor Tree at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Monday, during the memorial ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Sue Ogrocki/AP



It’s been 15 years since Timothy McVeigh blew up an Oklahoma City federal building with a truck bomb. One hundred and sixty eight people died, and more than 600 others were injured, in what remains America’s worst-ever case of home-grown terrorism.

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Since that day, US law enforcement has been on guard against a repeat of such an attack. To see how much the Oklahoma City bombing changed the federal government, just look at the new Washington headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It’s protected by a barrier that looks like a giant concrete and steel fence, which is designed to prevent any explosives-laden vehicle from getting close to the building.

But assaults on symbols of Uncle Sam continue. In February, for instance, a pilot with a grudge against the government flew a small plane into an Internal Revenue Service office in Austin, Texas. Could a disaster on the scale of Oklahoma City ever happen again?

Bill Clinton, who was president at the time of Mr. McVeigh’s assault, is among those who think the political environment of today has some dangerous similarities to that of 1995. He’s talked a lot about it in recent days.

“We have done a much better job over the last 15 years of preparing for it and guarding against it ... but I think the circumstances have a lot of parallels,” Mr. Clinton said last week on CNN.

Today, the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is the Oklahoma City National Memorial, dedicated to those were killed and hurt in the attack. On Monday, hundreds of people gathered there for ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the bombing.

Bells tolled throughout the city prior to a ceremony that began shortly before the 9:02 a.m. time of the explosion. Attendees included Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.