Stanley Fish reminds us that today is the fifteenth annivarsary of the Oklahoma City bombings, and that April 19 is significant to domestic terrorists for many reasons, but most of all because it was also the day of the invasion and burning of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas in 1993:
For those who fear government and hold fiercely to the motto of New Hampshire — “Live Free or Die” — April 19 is both a holy and an unholy day; unholy because it marks the naked exercise of state power (at least in the case of Waco and before that of Ruby Ridge), and holy because it serves as a rallying cry for those who wish to “take back” their country from the socialists, communists and one-worlders who, they believe, have hijacked it. Blogger Eric Boehlert declares on Mediamatters.org that “April 19th remains an almost mythical date among dedicated government haters.”
For the government, April 19 is a day to worry about. When F.B.I. agents arrested nine members of the Christian militia known as the Hutaree in late March, they acted because of information indicating that the group was planning an attack on police officers sometime in April. The betting is that the date they had in mind was April 19.
Count me in the worried and watchful camp, not just because of these incidents of political violence (or of intercepted political violence), but because of the incidents of school and campus violence that were also in mid- to-late April. Foremost among these are the murders at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999, and the Virginia Tech Massacre, which appears to have been planned in homage to all of these other incidents of domestic terrorism on April 16, 2007.
And last week, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the University of Colorado can’t ban guns on campus if people may lawfully carry them (thanks to our state’s 2003 concealed-carry permit law). Baa Ram U.’s brand-new no-guns-allowed policy is likely the next one to fall. Time for me to armor up, I guess. (Then again, without metal detectors or security screening, our campuses are open to whatever people want to bring on them, no matter what the Court of Appeals rules.) I was totally unsurprised to see the report that the U.S. has seen such a spike in violence on college and university campuses in the past twenty years.
I really don’t like this time of the year much any more, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with end-of-semester grading, or final exams. It’s too bad, because I’d like to be outside enjoying my campus, and the warm sun, the green grass, and the sound of the birds.
I guess the terrorists have won.