The Oklahoma City Tragedy

This morning I mourn for the twenty children killed by a massive tornado which swept through the Oklahoma City metropolitan region.  Moore, OK, just south of the City, was the hardest hit area by a twister which was two miles wide and went for twenty miles.

I don’t mourn for the adults.  These are idiots and morons who continue voting for the likes of Tom Coburn, James Inhofe and Dan Boren.  Folks, if you refuse to believe in science, in the facts of global warming then you get what you deserve.  This is classic evolution evolving:  stupid people dying from their own stupidity.

I’ve been in Oklahoma City twice while driving to Santa Fe.  Going through Oklahoma is a challenge when you’re gay and liberal: it is the reddest state in America and these morons just keep voting for men like Inhofe who is owned by the fossil fuel industry and reject the overwhelming science of climate change.  The result are more and more extreme storms and more devastation killing more people.  If you’re too stupid to accept science then you’ll die.  Hopefully before you can reproduce.  That’s simple evolution.

The Personal Cost of Vitriol

This entire affair rising from Saturday’s shootings in Tucson has been personal for me.  Last March 1st I was the subject of a death threat.  It was very real and the man involved made it more so by being  a neighbor who subsequently began harassing me even after being arrested.  He eventually pled guilty to felony terroristic threatening.  As part of the legal proceeding I insisted on knowing why he made his threat.  In court his lawyer explained it was because he didn’t like what I write on this blog.  Here is the audio of the threat as he left it on my voice mail: (not work safe)

In June I stopped in Oklahoma City on my way to Santa Fe and took some video at the memorial there to the victims of Timothy McVeigh.  Again, this was domestic terrorism fueled by right wing hate and vitriol for which conservatives have never accepted personal responsibility.  

On September 11 last fall I was invited by the White House to cover First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Shanksville, site of the crash of Flight 93 on 9/11.  It was a somber day seeing the crater and interviewing surviving family members.  One was the widow of LeRoy Homer the co-pilot on Flight 93:

Massacres, terrorism and threats have played a role in my life the past year.  I routinely cover Congressional events, Congressional campaigns and events around Pennsylvania.  What happened Saturday could easily happen here.  Pennsylvania Tea Party members began carrying guns to events following the vitriol aimed at Sen. Arlen Specter in Lebanon in August, 2009.  Yes, I was there too.  It is my job to cover these events, these campaigns.  Perhaps this is why I am so outraged at the Right Wing Hate Machine and the constant stream of hate, threats, vitriol and calls for armed insurrection.  Sedition is illegal in this country, traitors should be brought to court for their actions.

Congressman Bob Brady of Philadelphia is introducing legislation to make it a federal crime to threaten a Member of Congress or use incendiary symbols such as Sarah Palin used.  It is important legislation and due.  How about the public which attends these events however?  We must eliminate the right to bring and carry weapons to federal events.  We must begin a serious national conversation about common sense gun safety laws.  No one needs to have 30 bullet magazines or assault weapons.  Let us brand every bullet with its origin and make the cost of ammunition so high no one will want to spray a crowd as Jared Loughren did in Tucson.

We need to have a civil discourse about our politics, we must address our penchant towards violence and we must do it openly and hold accountable anyone, regardless of Party, who call for revolution, insurrection, blood on the tree of liberty or any other profane concept which is anathema to the peace and order of our nation.

Yes, I was one of those who immediately called out the Right Wing Hate Machine after the shootings Saturday.  After the Ace of Sweeps, Oklahoma City and Shanksville I was very conscious of the outcomes of such irresponsible behavior and its consequences and I decided this was the time to speak.  If not now when?  Please tell me how many more must die before have this discussion.  How many more nine year old girls must be gunned down in our streets before we decide this isn’t healthy for our country?  How many?  I want a number.

The Oklahoma City Memorial

I finally finished the video from my visit to Oklahoma City.  The Alfred P Murrah Federal Building was bombed in an act of domestic terrorism on April 19, 1995.  168 people were killed, among them children in a day care center in the structure.  The Memorial is simple but moving.  The bomb exploded at 9:02 AM.  One arch is inscribed 9:01 and across a shallow reflecting pond another is engraved 9:03.  Between them, on a grassy knoll, sit 168 chairs, one for each victim. That area represents 9:02 when the bomb exploded.  I’m not sure why the video didn’t end at the end, Windows Movie Maker in Windows 7 is very difficult to use.

The Oklahoma City Memorial

Fifteen years ago an American terrorist named Tim McVeigh blew up the Alfred P Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I did a short detour this afternoon and visited the memorial which was built to commemorate the 168 souls who perished at 9:02 AM.  It is a very moving tribute and the fence along the street has a wall of wire mesh where countless people leave messages.  Alongside is a museum and in front of that is a tribute to the day care which was in the building and the children who were killed.

Two large structures stand at ends of a shallow pool.  One is marked 9:01 and one 9:03.  In between, where 9:02 occurred are 168 chairs representing the victims.  It is very simple, very meaningful and very moving.  I’m glad I went.  These are pictures but mostly I shot a video which I’ll work on when I reach Santa Fe.

more pictures are below…