He was a Vietnam vet, a hard working family man. He was looking forward to retirement in a few years. He was working for us when he was murdered in an act of Anti-American terrorism. Who was he? He was Vernon Hunter, 61 years old, taken from his family and community by self-righteous hate.
Joe Stack, by his own standard, was a failure…
He slammed his plane into the building – the last, desperate move by a man overwhelmed by personal and business failures, trying to strike out at enemies all around him.
“Nothing changes unless there is a body count,” he wrote.
He planned his blaze of glory for the beginning of the work day, when offices would be full, but he only took one life and left one man badly burned in the hospital. Not enough pain and devastation to set a record.
And pretty sad by Oklahoma City standards…
It is estimated that 646 people were inside the building when the bomb exploded. By the end of the day of the bombing, twenty were confirmed dead, including six children, and over one hundred injured. The toll eventually reached 168 confirmed dead, not including an unmatched leg that could have belonged to a possible, unidentified 169th victim. Most of the deaths resulted from the collapse of the building, rather than the bomb blast. Those killed included 163 who were in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, one person in the Athenian Building, one woman in a parking lot across the street, a man and woman in the Oklahoma Water Resources building, and a rescue worker struck on the head by debris.
The victims ranged in age from three months to seventy-three
In 1995 President Clinton made a statement recognizing the sacrifice of the federal workers. He said, “They served their country, and they served well.”
I told my friend, who is a civil servant, and I saw tears come to her eyes.
So far it seems likely that Joe Stack was an angry, isolated man suffering from suicidal depression. But he did not strike out randomly. He followed a script written by terrorists domestic and foreign and left a manifesto on the internet.
So now is a time for leaders to condemn this attack on Americans– targeted because they are working for our government. This is a test of patriotism. This is a test of character for politicians elected for being ‘anti’ the government they campaigned to be part of. This is a time to remember Vernon Hunter, murdered while he was working for us, murdered by a man who never looked him in the face. It’s a time to think of all the other people injured and terrorized. This is a time for eloquent words that powerfully condemn violent acts and the demagogues and opportunists who encourage and enable them.
Scott Brown: Well, it’s certainly tragic and I feel for the families and obviously being affected by it. And I don’t know if it’s related, but I can just sense, not only in my election, but since being here in Washington, people are frustrated. They want transparency, they want their elected officials to be accountable and open and talk about the things that are affecting their daily lives. So I’m not sure there’s a connection, I certainly hope not. But we need to things better.
Massachusetts, you elected an empty suit. Weak and vague at best, appeasing the more violent wing with a covert endorsement at worst.
This is the Senator who will hold outsize influence in votes that will affect health care, employment and the environment. This is a man who can not even talk straight when a domestic terrorist attacks his fellow Americans. Don’t expect him to stand up for you.
MORE: A 28-year-old Iraq War veteran risked his life to rescue people from the fire.
AND YET MORE: Daily Kos contrasts the timid silence of the right wing commentators with the kinds of things they say when the terrorist is not a white, male Christian.