Suffer the little children: The Oklahoma City Bombing 20 years later.

April 19, 2015
Firefighterbabyocb

Fireman Chris Fields removing infant Baylee Almon (who later died) from destruction. Photo by Charles H. Porter IV. (smaller size than actual photo to conform to Fair Use) Won the Pulitzer Prize for its impact. Loction of actual photo http://www.pulitzer.org/works/1996-Spot-News-Photography

Just after 9 am on Wednesday April 19, 1995 a massive explosion destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This was a work day and the building was full of office workers just starting their day. The lower level had a daycare centre where employees could leave their children to be looked after while they were at work.

Murrah_Building_-_Aerial.-US Army Corp of Engineers-PublicDoman

Alfred P. Murrah Building after the bombing. Photo by US Army Corps of Engineers.

The bomb killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. Included in the death toll were 19 children under the age of six. A massive rescue operation took place over the next days to find and help others trapped in the debris of the building.

The explosion destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius. Glass was shattered in 258 other buildings and 86 cars were destroyed. An estimated $652 million dollars damage resulted.

The Oklahoma City Bombing was the worst act of domestic terrorism in American history. Timothy McVeigh the mastermind behind the terrible crime was captured within 90 minutes. Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger stopped him for driving without a license plate. The officer arrested him for illegal weapons possession. Investigators used forensic evidence to link him to the attack. Terry Nichols, Michael and Lori Fortier were identified and arrested as accomplices.

The bombers rented a large truck from Ryder, packed it full of explosives and parked it in front of the building. The bomb was timed to detonate just after the start of the work day when the maximum number of people would be in the building.

The bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. The Federal government executed McVeigh by lethal injection on June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols received life in prison without parole. The Fortiers testified against McVeigh and Nichols. Michael got 12 years in prison with Lori receiving immunity for her testimony.

Today the Oklahoma City Memorial sits on the site and annual remembrance services are held on the day. The memorial consists of a chair for each victim. There are 19 small chairs representing the children.

Reading about this event and seeing the pictures I know that evil exists. The victims in this bombing weren’t soldiers, but office workers and children. Innocents going about their everyday routines. Tragically this day they never returned home to their families and friends. The shockwave of the blast still echoes today 20 years later.

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Choreographed death: legal execution in the United States

June 3, 2012

Lethal injection gurney-AP Photo

The death sentence is an acceptable punishment in the United States. It is the ultimate sentence that can be given to a criminal. Once a person is convicted and sentenced to die they are sent to death row to await their execution. Because of the appeal process the sentence may not be carried out for many years. There are thousands of prisoners languishing on deathrow in the United States awaiting their time.

The accepted method of execution in most States now is lethal injection. This usually consists of the administration of three drugs given is stages. The prisoner is strapped down on a gurney in the execution chamber and an IV is started. The first drug given is a sedative, then a saline flush is given to clear the lines. Next a drug is given which paralyzes the inmate. Finally the last drug given stops the heart resulting in death within seconds. The execution is deemed completed when a doctor pronounces the inmate dead. All in all I pretty relaxing way to die for these violent offenders who in most cases killed their victims in the most callous and evil ways.

Other methods still exist in some States. These are usually alternative measures which the inmate can select instead of lethal injection. They include the gas chamber, the electric chair, hanging and firing squad.

Electric chair:
Before lethal injection this was the most common method of execution. First used in 1924. The first night 5 men were executed using the chair or “Old Sparky” as it is sometimes referred to. Improper use of the chair resulted in painful death.

Gas chamber:
This was another very common method used in many States. The gas used was hydrogen cyanide. Execution was in a sealed chamber which in some cases could be used to execution two individuals at once. It was expensive because of the maintenance needed to ensure the chamber didn’t leak. Death in the gas chamber was slow and painful.

Firing squad:
Not a common method it is still legal in Utah. It consists of a firing squad of five shooters, four have loaded rounds, and one has a blank round. The shooters don’t know which one has the blank. The inmate is seated and strapped in with a target placed over his heart.

Hanging:
Little has changed with this method since the 1800’s. A noose is placed around the inmate’s neck, he is bound and dropped through a trap door. He drops until the rope snaps his neck. Proper executions using this method rely on an accurate calculation of the prisoner’s weight and length of rope needed. The noose should break the neck resulting in death. Improper calculations resulted in decapitations and injury without death.

Because the death sentence is mandated by the court proper legal and application procedures are always followed. Unfortunately it is likely that innocent prisoners have been executed in the past. Over the last few decades since the advent of DNA testing many prisoners on death row have been exonerated of their crimes. Without this recourse they would have been legally killed.

In the case of a death sentence the prisoner is entitled to all appeals available to him or her. Some States like California have separate penalty phases of trials to determine the appropriateness of the death sentence once the person has been found guilty. The prosecution and the defence both have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses related to whether the prisoner should receive the death sentence for the crime.

Some interesting facts:

  • last public execution in the U.S. was in 1936 in Kentucky when 10,000 attended
  • Texas, Virginia, and Ohio are the States carrying out the most executions
  • the last hanging was in Delware in 1996
  • in Texas victims families have been allowed to witness executions since 1995
  • it is illegal to record and execution with camera, camcorder, audio recorder or any other method
  • usual witnesses to executions are lawyers, relatives of the inmate, and media

Lethal Injection: Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

May 6, 2008

The State of Georgia plans to execute William Earl Lynd today by lethal injection. Executions in the United States were stopped for the last year because of an appeal to the Supreme Court. In the appeal it was claimed the method used, lethal injection, inflicted unnecessary pain.

Give me a break!

In this particular case the inmate Lynd was convicted of shooting his girlfriend three times in the head and face in December 1988. After he killed her he buried the body in a shallow grave. He then drove to Ohio and while on his little road trip killed another woman.

This killer has managed to delay justice from his conviction in 1989 until today. During this time he has been fed and housed by the state and his legal rights protected. Before his execution he will receive a last meal of his choice. He has requested two pepper jack barbeque burgers with crispy onions, two baked potatoes with sour cream, bacon and cheese, and a large strawberry milkshake.

How will the state carry out the sentence of death? They will strap him to a hospital gurney and a doctor will insert an IV in his arm. To end his life a three-drug cocktail will be given to him through the IV. The first drug is a painkiller designed to dull his senses. In effect this killer will feel nothing.

I don’t think the same can be said for his victim, Ginger Moore. She was brutally shot. The bullets destroyed her head and face. Did she get a last meal of her choice? Did she die painlessly without trauma? I think not. The protesters who will invaritably be demonstrating against this execution need to think of Ginger Moore while they are carrying those placards around.

The death penalty or capital punishment needs to be renamed. It is not punishment or a penalty, but rather a way society can ensure the William Earl Lynd’s of the world never hurt anyone ever again.

Postscript: I was going to include a picture of the scumbag Lynd, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it.


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