Terrorist Bombs in the U.S. Although the people of the United States are still concerned with the threat of international terrorists attacking our land and citizens, there has been an alarming increase in domestic terrorism that has raised the nations concern about this problem. This increase in terrorist activity has not been imported from other countries but has had its start within our nations boundaries. This increased violence seems to be aimed at influencing governmental policy and public opinion. The recent increase in domestic violence is said to be associated with the rise of anti-government sentiment and the proliferation of self-styled militia and paramilitary groups – some of which take extremist positions on race, religion, federal authority, gun control, or taxation (Fisher 1998).
One of the most devastating and well known forms of terrorism are bombings. Most of the violence associated with anti-governmental attacks takes this form. According to a recent Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) report, bombings or attempted bombings increased from 2,098 in 1990 to 3,199 in 1994 (the latest year available), a 52% increase. Property damage from bombings rose to $7.5 million, with 308 people injured and 31 killed. This does not take into account the tragic Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Some ATF experts believe that it is the ready availability of materials and easy access to instructions and explosives information on the internet that has been the reason for this increase of bombings.
There are several theories in the class text that help to explain the justification behind the actions of these local terrorist in our country. H. H. A. Cooper (1977) describes one called the doctrine of necessity. He believes that these terrorist cannot accept the world as it is and they also reject the possibility of peaceful means for social change. This is why they become terrorist. Cooper feels most of the terrorist do not enjoy the thought of random violence and murder but that they are driven by their utter hatred of the social status quo. He believes the first step in being a terrorist is the violent rejections of normative society.
Although most terrorist do not enjoy violence or wish to adopt terrorist methods, Cooper feels that they are forced toward violence. Violence becomes necessary because there is no other alternative for correcting the injustices of contemporary society. This doctrine of necessary violence, according to Cooper, justifies acts of terrorism. This theory of Coopers can be seen in an example from the Arson and Explosive Incident Report by the ATF. October 11, 1995, The Arizona Desert. Unknown terrorists derail a passenger train 60 miles southwest of Phoenix. One person was killed and 80 injured when the Amtrak train jumped the track and plunged over a bridge click link.
Saboteurs had removed a section of track and bridged the gap with wire to disable the electronic warning system. Notes found at the scene referred to the federal siege at Waco and to Ruby Ridge. At least one note was signed Sons of Gestapo, a group unknown to terrorism experts. These terrorist ultimate hatred of the status quo might have pushed them to do this deed. They made sure to leave some kind of item behind in order for the emergency personnel to know what the reason was for this meditated action. It might be possible that this incident is race related also, due to the fact the Gestapo were German military police during the Holocaust.
Frederick J. Hacker (1976), was a physician who developed an expertise in terrorism and hostage negotiations. He found that terrorists seek reinforcement based on their orientation to life. There are three types of terrorists according to Hacker; criminals, crazies, and crusaders. Crusaders are the type of terrorist that seem most related to the bombings that are occurring in our homefront. According to Hackers theory, crusaders make up the bulk of political terrorists. He describes the category as people who are using terrorism to change society. These terrorist are similar to Coopers doctrine of necessity in that violence is accepted and justified in the name of the cause. Crusaders feel that they must be violent for society to change for the better according to Hacker.
This can be seen in another example from the Arson and Explosive Incident Report. November 13, 1995, Muskogee, Oklahoma. A self-proclaimed anti-government prophet, Ray Willie Lampley and three others are charged with plotting a series of bombings against abortion clinics, homosexual gathering places, welfare offices and offices of the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The four members of the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia were arrested before any of their plans were carried out and charged with conspiracy to manufacture and possess bombs to blow up federal offices in several cities. Lampley and two others were found guilty of the bomb charges in April 1996.
This group of terrorist seemed to have been unsatisfied with the way society has changed in recent years. They do not like things that are common in our society now like abortion and homosexuality. It can be inferred that they are unhappy with how society has become and wants society to change by any means necessary. In this case, bombs would have made a devastating and deadly point. One final theory that I felt was very important to the matter of bombings that were occurring domestically was the Social Conditions Justification.
Richard Rubenstein (1987) agreed that terrorists must ultimately justify their acts, but he argues that instead of terrorist being psychological misfits, social and economic conditions cause terrorism to occur among this group. This, Rubenstein believes, is used to justify acts of violence. An example of this occurring here in the United States can be seen by looking again to the Arson and Explosive Incident Report. December 18, 1995, Reno, Nevada. Two unemployed and heavily indebted construction workers, Ellis Hurt and Joseph Bailie attempted to bomb the Reno, Nevada, office of the Internal Revenue Service.
The pair placed a bomb made of about 100 pounds of fertilizer and kerosene with a lit fuse in a parking lot nest to the IRS building. However, the triggering mechanism failed and the bomb did not ignite. Authorities on the scene believe that many deaths and injuries would have occurred had it gone off. Bailie was described by an assistant U. S.
Attorney as a man obsessed with the IRS, who has boasted that he had not paid taxes since 1985. Hurst testified against Bailie and was sentenced to 10 years. Both were convicted of conspiracy, attempted destruction of a government building, and the use of an explosive device while committing a violent crime. Bailie received a 36-year sentence. Because these two men were poor and in debt, they may have felt severe frustration and hopelessness with their situation and needed someone to blame for their plot.
The Internal Revenue Service seemed like a good idea because they were the ones who were constantly taxing them and taking away their money. This frustration caused these men to act out against the IRS. In order to learn more about the problems that our occurring on our homestead and if bombings were the most prolific avenue of destruction, I went to interview someone in the Metro Police De …