Happy Scribe Logo

Transcript

Proofread by 0 readers
Proofread
[00:00:00]

I hope you're enjoying our four part special on the mysteries and theories surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing. Before we begin Part two, I want to remind you to check out the second season of Parkis Presents Infamous.

[00:00:15]

There you'll find some of history's most despicable people and detestable events all month long to hear these episodes follow perkiest presents on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcast.

[00:00:30]

This episode contains discussions of violence, which some listeners may find upsetting. Extreme caution is advised for listeners under 13.

[00:00:45]

On February 22nd, 1991, scorching air wafted off the desert sand of Iraq in waves, but 22 year old Army Sergeant Timothy McVeigh paid no mind to this mirage. He kept his eyes peeled for enemy combatants as a gunner and one of the U.S. military's Bradley fighting machines.

[00:01:09]

His job was to identify and neutralize threats as quickly as possible, a job he took very seriously as McVeigh scanned the horizon through the viewfinder.

[00:01:21]

He suddenly caught sight of a flash of light from enemy fire. He zeroed in on the target, which was more than a mile away, his hand ready on the trigger.

[00:01:32]

When the Iraqi soldier made the mistake of popping his head above ground, McVeigh saw his opportunity and fired.

[00:01:41]

The powerful 25 millimeter round hit the soldier directly in the chest, vaporizing his entire upper body on impact. A second Iraqi soldier standing too close to his comrade was taken out by shrapnel and dropped to the ground.

[00:01:59]

This incredible shot was Timothy McVeigh's first taste of dealing out death, but it would be far from his last. Welcome to Conspiracy Theories. A podcast original, I'm Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg. Normally we take things story by story, conspiracy by conspiracy. But in these four episodes, we'll be doing something a little different. We're going to deep dive into one devastating moment in U.S. history, the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19th, 1995. At the time, it was the worst terrorist incident on American soil and it changed the social landscape of the country forever.

[00:02:54]

In this episode, we're going to take an in-depth look at the bomber himself, Timothy McVeigh, and try to understand what motivated him to commit such an atrocious act. Next week, we'll track the fallout and investigation of the most devastating act of domestic terrorism in American history. Coming up, we'll dive into the life of the Oklahoma City bomber. There was very little in young Timothy McVeigh's upbringing to suggest the dark deeds that would later make him infamous. People who knew him as he grew up in rural Lockport, New York, described him as a smart, active, conscientious boy when playing with neighborhood kids.

[00:03:45]

He was drawn to games of cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians without fail.

[00:03:51]

Young Tim cast himself in the role of the good guy. However, early in his life, two incidents challenged his innocence, good versus evil worldview.

[00:04:03]

When Tim was a young child, he was horrified to see an older boy drown a sack full of kittens in a pond. The boy explained that his family couldn't afford to take care of the kittens, but this did little to make him feel better. Then, soon after, Tim witnessed his own cat fatally injure a rabbit. Both events gave him a sense from a very young age that death was often unfair and violent.

[00:04:31]

Unfairness was a bit of a theme for young Tim. He was smaller than other boys, which made him a target for teasing. When he was 10 years old, he had a run in with a bully at Little League practice. His tormentor grabbed Tim's baseball cap, then punched him. Timmy ran to hide in his dad's car, where he cried tears of fear and humiliation. Unfortunately, the bullying continued as he grew up.

[00:05:00]

When he was in seventh grade, two older boys grabbed him in the school bathroom and dunked his head in a toilet, giving him a swirly. And in high school, his tall, thin appearance led to the unfortunate nickname Noodle Mikveh.

[00:05:16]

As he grew older, he learned how to stand up for himself and others. But these incidents stuck with him and contributed to a deep and lasting hatred for bullies, while Tim struggled to find his footing at school.

[00:05:31]

Trouble was also brewing at home. In 1984, when Tim was 16, his parents decided to separate.

[00:05:40]

After years of marital issues, Tim sisters decided to move with their mother to Florida while Tim stayed with their dad.

[00:05:48]

In New York, though, Tim cared about his mother and sisters. He claims that he wasn't overly distraught by his family, splitting up. The only person he truly loved was his paternal grandfather, Ed Mikveh.

[00:06:03]

They formed a deep bond on their walks to and from a wooded ravine where they had target practice.

[00:06:11]

Tim was just seven years old when his grandfather introduced him to firearms, but he was instantly hooked.

[00:06:19]

He was proud that his grandpa trusted him to be responsible around guns. This fostered a lifelong love affair with firearms after Tim graduated from high school in 1986.

[00:06:32]

He decided to become a survivalist for a teenager who was lonely, bullied and had no real interests outside firearms.

[00:06:41]

Pursuing independence in the great outdoors was a logical choice. While Tim found a sense of identity in survivalism, spending time alone in the woods did little to help with his loneliness. In a 2010 study, psychologist Natasha Wood found loneliness was a significant predictor of extremism and aggression. She wrote that one's perception of lacking connection to other people seems to be particularly important for viewing extreme behavior as an acceptable means to fulfilling their social needs.

[00:07:18]

All of that would come later, though. In 1986, Tim was just a directionless teen searching for meaning. He briefly pursued formal higher education, starting a two year college program in computer systems analysis. However, he soon grew bored and dropped out, returning to his job at Burger King. Tim took charge of his own continuing education, researching the Second Amendment and studying magazines on guns and survivalism.

[00:07:47]

One book in particular struck a chord with him. The Turner Diaries, written by a former leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. The novel tells the story of a gun enthusiast who responds to strict firearm laws by blowing up the FBI headquarters with a truck bomb.

[00:08:06]

Though the events were fictional, McVeigh saw the book as relevant to the real world, where politicians were pushing for restrictions on firearms. He also empathized with the book's protagonist, Earl Turner, though at the time he had no idea how closely his life would mirror his literary hero.

[00:08:27]

As Tim became more enamored with guns, he decided to invest in his own collection. But to do that, he needed more money than he was making at Burger King. So in the fall of 1987, when Tim was 19, he got a job as a security guard for an armored car service in Buffalo, New York.

[00:08:49]

Working the job gave him the extra income he was looking for and his first real taste of the world outside his immediate neighborhood. But Tim still wanted to do more and see more of the world.

[00:09:01]

Around this time, a family friend suggested that Tim join the army. The idea made a lot of sense. He could explore the world, hone his survivalist skills and shoot all the guns he wanted all in the USA his dime. In May of 1988, he decided to give it a shot. He enlisted the very next day.

[00:09:24]

At the end of that month, Tim reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training.

[00:09:29]

Though the boot camp was physically and mentally challenging, Tim quickly adapted to military life. He relished the grueling outdoor marches and of course, he couldn't get enough of the guns. Ultimately, the army gave him a sense of purpose that was sorely missing from his previous jobs.

[00:09:48]

And it was also where Tim met Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, two figures who would later factor prominently in his story. At age 33, Nichols was older than Tim and most of the other recruits. His wise, grounded air reminded him of his grandfather, which perhaps explains why they forged a close bond. It also helped that they shared similar pro-gun, anti-government ideas.

[00:10:17]

After Nichols left the army in the spring of 1989, Tim became closer to 19 year old Michael Fortier. He and Tim had similar political views, which helped cement a friendship between them.

[00:10:31]

By this point, Tim was deeply passionate about the Second Amendment, Revolutionary War Patriots and the Declaration of Independence, he idolized figures like Patrick Henry, who famously responded to British tyranny with the phrase Give me liberty or give me death. Tim admired how the heroes of the revolution stood for freedom in the face of oppression, even when it could cost them their lives. Tim channeled this spirit of exceptionalism into his training. His goal was to one day join the ranks of the Army's elite special forces, the Green Berets.

[00:11:11]

To this end, he kept a laser focus on his training, aside from occasional, largely unsuccessful attempts to pick up women at bars.

[00:11:20]

Fortunately, Jim had much more success with his professional ambitions in the Army. He specialized as a gunner in the Bradley fighting vehicle and eventually nailed a perfect score on his accuracy, speed and judgment behind the guns.

[00:11:36]

His incredible performance got him noticed. And in the fall of 1990, 22 year old Tim was invited to try out for Special Forces. It seemed like his dream was going to come true and on an expedited schedule.

[00:11:53]

But just a few weeks before Tim's tryout, his hopes were dashed by a dramatic change of plans, war erupted in the Middle East. Tim and his platoon were shipped off to fight in the Persian Gulf against Saddam Hussein.

[00:12:10]

Tim had enlisted to protect the United States. He didn't relish going into combat to settle a dispute between two faraway foreign countries. But personal feelings aside, February of 1991 found him stationed on the southern border of Iraq, serving through the early days of Operation Desert Storm.

[00:12:31]

On just the second day of the operation, Tim made an incredible shot from his Bradley from a distance of over a mile. He took out not one, but two enemy combatants with a single shot.

[00:12:45]

The strike solidified his reputation as an exceptional marksman and earned him several commendations.

[00:12:53]

But McVeigh felt conflicted about taking two human lives. Years later, in an interview with Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, Tim reflected on his mixed feelings.

[00:13:05]

When I took a human life. It taught me these were human beings, even though they speak a different language and have different customs. The truth is, we all have the same dreams, the same desires, the same care for our children and our family. These people were humans like me at the core.

[00:13:25]

In light of this revelation, the reality of the war was even more grim. Tim saw dead bodies of Iraqis daily, some corpses grotesquely maimed by battle and others rotting in the desert sun.

[00:13:41]

But in late March of 1991, he earned a reprieve. He was summoned to return to the states and try out for the Special Forces. Unfortunately, though, he struggled with the trial from the very beginning.

[00:13:56]

Tim had come straight from the front lines where he'd been broken down physically and mentally, he pushed himself through two days of grueling challenges. But finally, after barely completing a punishing six mile march, he had to withdraw. His dream of becoming a Green Beret would not come true. Humbled Tim returned to Fort Riley in Kansas, where his fellow soldiers noticed a change in him, where before he was eager and enthusiastic about the military. Now he seemed jaded and bitter.

[00:14:33]

Tim increasingly resented that the country he was fighting for was undermining its citizens Second Amendment rights.

[00:14:41]

In his mind, the U.S. government and military had become bullies, which he detested in late 1991. Tim came to a crossroads. His battalion commander personally requested him as his gunner, which was a great honor. But Tim couldn't accept the offer. He could no longer be a part of the army. His heart just wasn't in it.

[00:15:07]

At the end of 1991, 23 year old Timothy McVeigh left his military career behind and headed back home to Pendleton, New York. He hoped his honorable service would help set him up for a successful civilian life, but he was about to be sorely disappointed. Up next, Tim struggles to adjust to civilian life and becomes radicalized by events at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

[00:15:40]

History, politics, true crime, the new Spotify original from podcast has it all.

[00:15:47]

Hi, I'm Carter and I am thrilled to tell you about the new series, Very Presidential with Ashley Flowers.

[00:15:54]

It uncovers the most damning details surrounding history's most high profile leaders. Every Tuesday through the 2020 election, host Ashley Flower shines a light on the darker side of the American presidency. From torrid love affairs and contemptible corruption to shocking cover ups and even murder. She'll expose the personal and professional controversies you may never knew existed. You'll hear some wildly true stories about presidents such as JFK, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and more very presidential highlights the exploits you never learned in history class, but probably should have family drama, personal vices, dirty secrets.

[00:16:39]

These presidents may have run, but they most certainly can't hide.

[00:16:44]

Follow very presidential with Ashley flowers free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:16:54]

Now back to the story. After serving in the Gulf War, 23 year old Timothy McVeigh found himself increasingly disillusioned with the U.S. Army and federal government as a whole. He left the military in late 1991 and returned to his hometown in rural New York. But there was no fanfare to welcome the young veteran home and civilian life was largely a disappointment.

[00:17:25]

Tim found himself unable to secure high paying, skilled work, which only deepened his loathing for the government. He felt that as a white man, the government's affirmative action policies cost him job opportunities. It probably didn't help that he had failed to complete a bachelor's degree, blocking better options.

[00:17:47]

Tim joined the Army Reserves and went back to his job as an armed security guard.

[00:17:53]

But being a rent a cop was mind numbing work.

[00:17:56]

After serving in a combat zone, he felt stuck back under his dad's roof. Working a dead end job in Tim's intense dissatisfaction may have played a role in his later violent actions. Psychologist Fatally Moghadam asserts that a person's perception of opportunities plays an important role in radicalization. He writes that when paths to individual mobility are seen to be open, there is far less tendency to attempt non normative actions. But Tim felt like he had no viable options, which slowly eat away at him.

[00:18:37]

A few months after his return to New York, Tim's feelings of angst and frustration came to a head on a snowy winter day as he sat in his dad's house. He was overcome by a feeling of panic. He didn't know where he wanted to go, but he knew he had to get away.

[00:18:57]

Wearing just a pair of sweatpants, Tim hopped in his car without even putting on shoes or a shirt, despite the snow on the ground with tears in his eyes. He drove to his grandfather's house. Ed McVeigh was Tim's rock, the man who first took him shooting, sparking a lifelong affinity for guns.

[00:19:19]

As soon as Ed opened the door, he realized his grandson was dealing with some heavy emotions. Tim took refuge in his grandfather's house while his thoughts went to dark, self-destructive places. He considered suicide, but decided against it, not out of fear or regard for his own life, but because he didn't want to cause his grandfather undue pain.

[00:19:45]

After this dark episode, Tim pulled himself together and went back to his unfulfilling life. But in late May of 1992, he made a change. He resigned from the Army Reserves after seeing gun control measures like the Brady Bill proposed in Congress. Tim believed the government was planning to slowly irace its citizens rights to bear arms. And as a lifelong gun enthusiast, he could no longer be a part of an institution he actively despised.

[00:20:21]

In the summer of 1992, Tim's were suspicions were confirmed by the events that took place at Ruby Ridge as we covered in the previous episode, a federal raid of Randy Weaver's remote Idaho cabin led to an 11 day siege. In the end, a U.S. marshal was killed, as well as Weaver's wife and 14 year old son. Like his fellow survivalist and gun enthusiasts, Timothy McVeigh was increasingly alarmed by what he saw as government overreach when it came to the right to bear arms.

[00:20:56]

In addition to his unease about the government. Tim still felt unsatisfied and lonely in his own life. He was looking for something, a sense of purpose or meaning, and he couldn't find it in his small town. So in early 1993, he decided it was time for a change without a final destination in mind. He packed up his car and took off from rural New York. His first stop was Florida, where his mother and sister still lived.

[00:21:28]

Soon after he arrived, he heard about a disturbing event unfolding near Waco, Texas, which had echoes of the violence at Ruby Ridge. As we discussed in part one, the ATF attempted to raid the compound of a church called the Branch Davidian house. In a tense standoff ensued.

[00:21:49]

Tim began obsessively tracking the developing situation as the standoff stretched over days, then weeks, he decided he had to do more than read and watch the news about Waco. He had to go there and see it for himself. So Tim loaded up his car with anti-government literature and bumper stickers and started driving to Texas.

[00:22:13]

When he arrived, he settled at a lookout point where many other gun enthusiasts and far right anti-government types had gathered. There he found a solid market for his bumper stickers, which featured slogans like Fear the Government That Fears Your Gun. And when guns are outlawed, I will become an outlaw.

[00:22:36]

While Tim was at Waco, he was interviewed by then college journalist Michele Rausch, which gives us a glimpse into his worldview. At the time, he said, I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful, and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control. He also expressed his belief that the government was breaking constitutional laws by using armed forces against civilians. And he cautioned against restrictions like the ones within the Brady Bill, which he thought were the beginning of a total ban on guns.

[00:23:19]

After spending a few days on the sidelines at Waco, Tim moved on, though he continued to closely follow the standoff in the news. He didn't return to Florida. Instead, he began hopping from gun show to gun show at these gatherings.

[00:23:36]

He sold survival gear and books like The Turner Diaries. And more importantly, he met like minded people, which confirmed and deepened his anti-government views.

[00:23:49]

Tim took a break from gun shows to reconnect with longtime Army buddies Michael Fortier and Terry Nichols, with whom he maintained a strong bond even after leaving the service on Terry Nichols farm in Decker, Michigan. Tim did more than just reminisce about his glory days. He also picked up a new skill making explosives.

[00:24:13]

Several workers on the Nichols farm experimented with homemade bombs as a way to entertain themselves. Tim watched as they poured different mixtures of household chemicals and played around with methods to detonate them. These skills would become very useful to McVeigh down the line.

[00:24:31]

All the while, Tim kept close tabs on the events unfolding in Waco. One morning in April of 1993, while McVeigh was outside changing the oil on his car, shouting came from inside the house. It's on fire.

[00:24:48]

McVeigh rushed into the farmhouse to see the Branch Davidian compound going up in flames on TV while the government's armored vehicles battered the walls. He stood there for several minutes and shocked, horrified silence.

[00:25:04]

The side of the complex burning brought tears to his eyes. However, his grief gave way to rage when the ATF raised their own flag over the remains of the compound. Tim saw this as cold, callous behavior from the government, he said. What is this? What has America become? After the tragic end of the siege at Waco, Tim was a changed man the way he saw sought the U.S. government a declared war on its own citizens. The feds had become bullies and he still hated bullies with a fiery passion.

[00:25:45]

No longer was Tim content with selling pamphlets and bumper stickers. He felt that he had to do something to fight back. In February of 1994, Tim went to spend time with Michael Fortier in Arizona, still steaming about the events at Waco. Every day he combed through newspapers for other examples of violent government overreach. He believed that Ruby Ridge and Waco were just the tip of the iceberg and that the government was constantly breaking the constitution to limit individual freedoms.

[00:26:23]

In July of 1994, Tim moved on to visit Terry Nichols, who had relocated to Durham, Kansas, to work as a ranch hand when Tim arrived. He invited Nichols to join him in a gun show business. He thought they could make a lot of money selling ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that was also highly explosive in preparation for their business endeavor. Tim Nicholls began purchasing ammonium nitrate in bulk in the summer of 1994.

[00:26:54]

That September, a new ban on assault weapons went into effect. The federal law banned certain semiautomatic rifles, military style features and large capacity magazines.

[00:27:08]

The stated goal of the legislation was to reduce civilian deaths caused by high capacity military grade weaponry. But McVeigh believed the government had a darker intention to slowly but surely ban all guns.

[00:27:25]

This was unacceptable to Tim, who felt that his independent survivalist way of living was under attack in a very real sense. After all, he had seen what happened to the weavers at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian at Waco.

[00:27:41]

In his mind, the federal government had become distressingly similar to the tyrannical rule of the British over the colonies. Just like the Revolutionary War heroes he so admired, he felt the time had come for him to take action and throw off the yoke of oppression.

[00:27:59]

He decided to show the government that there were consequences for their actions by committing a major violent act against them. He didn't know yet what it would be, but he knew it would be big. Coming up, Timothy McVeigh plans and execute the most deadly domestic terrorist attack in American history. Now back to the story.

[00:28:32]

In September of 1994, 26 year old Timothy McVeigh made up his mind to commit a drastic act of violence against the United States government as a lifelong gun enthusiast. He was disturbed and enraged by the tragedies at Ruby Ridge and Waco. He believed the government had gone too far. Something had to be done to stop them that fall.

[00:28:59]

Tim left Kansas, where he had been visiting an old Army buddy, 39 year old Terry Nichols, as he sped through America's heartland. The specifics of his plan took shape in his mind by the time he arrived in Kingman, Arizona. He had a lot to share with his friend, Michael Fortier.

[00:29:19]

Tim shared his plan. He was going to bomb a federal building and he wanted Fortier to help him.

[00:29:30]

At first, Fortier wanted no part of it, but Tim pressured him to change his mind. The plan depended on him. What Tim was planning was simply too massive to pull off alone.

[00:29:44]

Tim conceived of an improvised explosive device constructed from more than 4000 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, mixed with roughly one ton of liquid nitromethane, an explosive material used as fuel in drag racing and about 350 pounds of blasting caps and explosive blasting gelatin.

[00:30:08]

McVeigh just needed to find a way to get his hands on all of that material. Naturally, the most highly combustible elements were tightly regulated and difficult to find. So he got creative.

[00:30:23]

On October 2nd, 1994, Tim enlisted help from Terry Nichols to break into a rock quarry in Kansas in the middle of the night, they helped themselves to seven cases of the gelatin explosive and more than 500 electric blasting caps which contained liquid nitromethane.

[00:30:44]

The last ingredient, ammonium nitrate, was a commercial fertilizer and much easier to come by in late September and October. Tim and Nichols bought 4000 pounds of ammonium nitrate using the aliases Mike and Terry Havens. After a few more bulk purchases, they had nearly 5000 pounds of explosive material.

[00:31:08]

Now it was time for a dry run to test whether his IED or improvised explosive device would work. Tim drove way out into the desert of Kingman, Arizona, with a Gatorade jug full of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane.

[00:31:27]

He successfully detonated the IED. Now he had proof that his design would work, but he still needed to select his target. McVeigh's goal was to have maximum impact in every sense of the word. So he set a few criteria.

[00:31:47]

First, he wanted a building that held offices of at least two of the three agencies he saw as most culpable in violating citizens rights, the DEA, the FBI and the ATF.

[00:32:03]

And it was also of paramount importance that his attack had as high a body count as possible. He believed that was the only way to make the government stop and consider the error of their ways. And he reasoned that this was the U.S. government's own policy when it came to military engagements to strike fast and hard to deter any future aggression. So it felt appropriate to turn the government's own tactics back on them.

[00:32:34]

He finally settled on the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. It contained offices of the ATF, DEA and Secret Service, and it would be full of civil servants to give him his coveted body count.

[00:32:50]

After weeks of research, Tim presented his plan to Michael Fortier. Tim was going to build his bomb in a large truck, just like his hero Earl Turner did in The Turner Diaries. And he would detonate the bomb. On April 19th, 1995, the two year anniversary of the tragic conclusion of the Waco siege, April 19th also happened to be 220 years to the day from the Battle of Lexington and Concord, which kicked off the American Revolutionary War.

[00:33:27]

Naturally, Fortier expressed concern over the innocent lives that Tim would be snuffing out, but Tim was unbothered.

[00:33:36]

Authors Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck put it this way. In their book, American Terrorist, McVeigh felt his bombing was a necessary act, an act of extremism in the service of liberty. His actions would wipe many innocent people off the face of the earth.

[00:33:53]

But someday McVeigh was convinced historians would call him a martyr, maybe even a hero, with his justification firmly in place, Tim continued preparing his attack just before Christmas of 1994. He and Michael Fortier drove to Oklahoma City to check out the Murrah Building in person the moment Tim saw the nine storey structure fronted with panes of dark tinted glass.

[00:34:24]

He knew it was exactly what he was looking for. The Murrah Building was tall, imposing and surrounded by a great deal of empty space. He sensed that it would make for dramatic footage and photographs once it had been destroyed.

[00:34:40]

Tim claimed that neither he nor Fortier actually went inside the building on this trip. If they had, they might have noticed the daycare center on the second floor with the materials gathered, the targets selected and the dates scheduled, it was time to mix and assemble the bomb. But at this point, Fortier put his foot down. He couldn't participate in actually constructing the bomb. After all, he had his wife and daughter to think about.

[00:35:13]

Frustrated Tim left Fortier's home for good at the end of March 1995, with only a couple weeks until the date of his intended attack. He moved into a room in a nearby motel and spent the next 12 days in intense preparation alone in the motel.

[00:35:32]

Tim pondered what his life would look like after the bombing. Perhaps he would plan subsequent terrorist attacks, or maybe he would arm himself and lie low, then make a stand when the feds came after him. With his survivalist background, Tim figured he could fend for himself in the desert of Arizona, but even without a firm plan in place, he had to keep moving forward.

[00:36:00]

On April 12th, Tim drove back to Oklahoma City to make sure no new obstacles had gone up in the previous few weeks, they hadn't, but he was thrown a curveball from a different direction.

[00:36:14]

Tim's trusty car broke down in Junction City, Kansas. He bought a rundown 1977 Mercury Grand Baqi for 250 dollars. It was going to need a getaway car after all.

[00:36:28]

The next morning, Tim went to Elliot's body shop and filled out the paperwork to rent a 20 foot Ryder truck. He used a fake ID with the alias Robert de Kling.

[00:36:40]

The following day, Easter Sunday, Tim had planned to drive to Oklahoma City with Terry Nichols to drop off the getaway car.

[00:36:49]

But when the time came, Nichols didn't show up and rage. Tim called Nichols from a payphone, screaming threats at the top of his voice until Nichols agreed to come meet him in separate cars.

[00:37:03]

They drove the five hours to Oklahoma City. Tim parked the getaway car, the grand marquee, a few blocks away from the Murrah Building. Then he got into Nichols truck for a tense ride back to Kansas on Tuesday, April 18th, the day before the bombing was set to happen, Nichols was supposed to meet him at their storage unit to load supplies into the Ryder truck. But again, Nichols failed to show up.

[00:37:34]

Angry, but undeterred, Tim got to work loading 108 bags of ammonium nitrate onto the truck by himself. Just as he was finishing that arduous task, Nichols showed up. He pitched in with getting the 400 pound barrels of liquid nitromethane up the ramp and into the cargo bay.

[00:37:57]

Once the supplies were loaded, Tim and Nichols headed to an isolated spot in Kansas near Geary Lake. There, they mixed the ammonium nitrate with the nitromethane in 55 gallon barrels after fitting the barrels in the cargo bay. Tim put together the ignition system. He used two sets of shock, caused one to minute fuse and one five minute fuse. He ran the fuses through two holes in the back of the cab so that he could set them off using just a cigarette lighter.

[00:38:34]

The bomb seemed foolproof, but Tim built in one last backup plan. He placed a pile of explosives in the corner of the cargo bay. If push came to shove, he could shoot the truck from close range to detonate them. This maneuver would surely cost him his life, but he felt it was worth it after the bomb was assembled.

[00:38:58]

Tim parted ways with Terry Nichols and drove south into Oklahoma. He spent the night in the truck parked near a motel around seven a.m..

[00:39:09]

Tim pointed the Ryder truck south and drove to Oklahoma City. He proceeded slowly and carefully, not wanting to risk getting into an accident or worse, pulled over with over 4000 pounds of explosives in the back.

[00:39:26]

Tim had planned every aspect of the day down to the tee, including his outfit.

[00:39:32]

He wore a T-shirt with a picture of Abraham Lincoln on the front, along with the words sic semper tyrannis.

[00:39:42]

The words which John Wilkes Booth is said to have shouted after assassinating the president translate to thus ever to tyrants, knowing that he would likely either be caught or killed in the aftermath of his attack.

[00:39:57]

He also carried an envelope full of articles and writings that could communicate his message to the public. It included quotes about liberty from Patrick Henry, John Locke and, of course, Earl Turner, the protagonist of Tim's favorite book, in whose footsteps he was about to follow.

[00:40:18]

Tim pulled into Oklahoma City just before nine a.m., right on schedule at a stoplight just one block away from the Murrah Building. He lit the two minute fuse as it burned. The cab began to fill with smoke, forcing McVeigh to lower the window so he could see the red light seemed to last forever, almost a signal telling him to stop, to think about what he was doing. Even in that moment, it wasn't too late to cut the fuse and call the whole thing off.

[00:40:52]

But then the light turned green. McVeigh slowly and calmly pulled through the intersection and up to the Murrah Building as he turned into a drop off point in front of the building. He was struck by the weight of what he was about to do, but he didn't stop. McVeigh stepped out of the truck, still moving slowly. Careful not to arouse suspicion, he took a moment to survey his handiwork, feeling nothing but pride. Then he grabbed his envelope of propaganda, locked the truck and walked away.

[00:41:29]

He didn't look back as he mentally counted down the seconds until detonation.

[00:41:46]

Thanks for tuning in to conspiracy theories. We'll be back Monday with our third episode following the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing.

[00:41:56]

You can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all of their podcast originals for free on Spotify, not only to Spotify, already have all of your favorite music, but now Spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite precast originals, like conspiracy theories for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream conspiracy theories on Spotify.

[00:42:21]

Just open the app and type conspiracy theories in the search bar.

[00:42:25]

Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story, and the official story isn't always the truth.

[00:42:35]

Conspiracy theories was created by Max Cutler and is a Park Studio's original executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Anthony Vasek with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Travis Clark. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Nancy O'Callaghan's with writing assistants by Allie Wicker and stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy. It's the most powerful position in American politics and arguably the world, but behind the oath to preserve, protect and defend, lie, dark secrets supposed to leave some legacies in disgrace.

[00:43:18]

Don't forget to check out the new Spotify original from past very presidential with Ashley Flowers. Every Tuesday through the 2020 election, host Ashley Flowers shines a light on the darker side of the American presidency, exposing wildly true stories about history's most high profile leaders.

[00:43:38]

To hear more follow very presidential with Ashley flowers free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.