terrorist attacks on American soil.
One morning nearly a decade ago, I got out of bed, went to the
kitchen, turned on the television, and saw the wrecked building in
Oklahoma City. It was a federal government building. I called my
wife at work and told her that neo-Nazi, "tax-protestor" types had
blown up a federal government building in Oklahoma City. Not only was
I not shocked, I correctly knew the culprits would be hateful white
Americans. I knew because of the educational efforts of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I've been to the Oklahoma City bombing site, to see the memorial. It
is excellent, in the way an essay is improved when you remove stuff,
to say more with less.
That was in 2000, therefore before the 9/11 attacks. On 9/11/01, I
figured the terrorism came from another source, not from white guys
with homemade "license plates." Again, I was not shocked that there
were attacks. Indeed, the attacks were not as numerous and ongoing as
I'd expected that day, and I was pleased that the attacks ended and no
nuclear bombs were involved. However, I was, shall we say,
astounded that the buildings collapsed. That required some recovery,
because I had not known the effects of fire on steel buildings.