Friday, September 10, 2004


I am sitting here running sound in the conference center for 'an educational health forum' on Homeland Threats and the Local Response.

Its a conference in terrorism and healthcare's response. The first speaker, Ken Thompson, is a somber gentleman, but then he is the directoor of External Affairs for the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), Oklahoma City.

Mr. Thompson brough back all of those 'good' memories of the Oklahoma City Bombing. I about lost it when he mentioned the story of the 'Survivor Tree', the century old American Elm tree that got hit by a flying car, and burned twice, yet survives today. And survivors of the bombing come and collect seeds each year to plant new trees.

At the end of Mr. Thompson's talk, he showed a photo of the last person identified at the Oklahoma City Bombing. That was his mother, Virginia Thompson. Virginia Thompson worked at credit union in the federal building.

I remember walking through the Cincinnati Convention Center, working a show, listening to my walkman. Hearing what I thought was a joke. Hearing the description of what was happening live, yet all around me people were going about their business not knnowing what happened. Then slowly people started to talk about it.

Looking at the MIPT site I see many good things that will help prevent terrorism in the future. And help mitigate the effects of terrorism. Information on bioterrorism and consequence management is here. Combating terrorism is covered in depth. But what I could not find was a section discussing how we can defuse the terrorists. Don't get me wrong.

You would have to be an damn fool if you believe we shouldn't go out and hunt these terrorists down. Or that we shouldn't try to root out terrorist cells. If we don't better prepare our first responders, police, and medical workers to deal with the consequences of terrorism, we haven't learned anything. But there is an important part mssing from this discussion on terrorism. Why did Timothy McVeigh bomb the Murrah Building?

Some people think they know why.
Some people are kooks.

Why do we have terrorism? Why did 9/11 happen? Why did all of those people have to die in Chechnya?

Sure, questioning the motives of terrorists strikes some as trying to fight a 'sensitive' war on terrorism. And it may appear to make their means as valid. But if we don't try and mitigate some of this anger before the terrorist strikes, we are going to get hit more often. We could spend billlions more trying to stop terrorists. We can invade countries and take away rights until we are blue in the face, but a crafty terrorist who isn't afraid to die will find a way. We can't watch everywhere at once.

There will always be an achille's heel.

We must also work to defuse tensions that feed the hatred that makes an intelligent person decide to choose the path of destruction.

An interesting site. Try the Important Dates in Terrorism. http://www.mipt.org/tacalendar.asp

Another view of OK City.

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