be a heavy death toll in what would be the first successful terrorist
act on U.S. soil since 9-11.
back to memories of the Oklahoma City bombing, this would obviously
be a massive headline in our ongoing war on terror. One would
think attention would be heightened even further if such a story
were to occur again in Oklahoma.
reason to believe it nearly happened, and it was indeed in Oklahoma,
making the paltry coverage of the story unfathomable.
On Oct. 1,
as the Oklahoma Sooners hosted Kansas State in front of 84,000
fans, University of Oklahoma student Joel Hinrichs III blew himself
up outside the stadium.
evidence that he sought to enter the game and was turned away
by security after refusing to allow his backpack to be searched.
Some minutes later, that backpack, containing the chosen explosive
of shoe bomber Richard Reid and the London subway bombers, exploded,
killing Mr. Hinrichs as he sat on a bench.
been some dutiful print and broadcast accounts of this event,
all leaning heavily on the favored establishment take –
that this was a troubled young man who sought only to kill himself,
simply doing so in an offbeat way.
if the young man had a Pakistani roommate? What if he had been
spending time at the Islamic Center of Norman, Okla., once frequented
by "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui? What if the warrant
used in the search of the bomber's apartment had been sealed by
What if explosives
had been found in that apartment? What if the young man had tried
to purchase ammonium nitrate, the chosen explosive of Tim McVeigh,
at a Norman feed store days earlier?
lot of what ifs, and they range from the confirmed to the unconfirmed.
But the parts we do know – the Pakistani roommate, the attempted
fertilizer purchase, the veil of secrecy around the investigation
– should be enough to cast doubt on the simplistic "troubled
young man" theory favored by, among others, OU's nervous
president, David Boren.
father told me his son was not the type to join radical causes
and would not want to hurt anyone. But his son's chosen method
– blowing himself up in a public place – would seem
to cast doubt on his concern for his fellow man.
As for the
terrorist angle, Mr. Hinrichs is now the subject of understandably
intense scrutiny, virtually none of it from the mainstream media.
You might think the story fizzled because there was, in fact,
no death beyond the bomber. True enough, but I'd suggest that
if a raid revealed some radical plan to bomb an abortion clinic
anywhere in America, the suspects would be household names by
nightfall without a single fuse lit.
about the nature of this event has swallowed almost whole the
normal curiosity one would expect from the usual sources.
Is it political,
because acknowledging a terror threat on our soil might bolster
President Bush's war logic? Is it economic, out of fear of scaring
people away from football games? Is it geographic snobbery because
it didn't happen on either coast? Or is it a PC fear of seeming
to lunge toward a jihadist angle?
the reason, hunting for details of this shocking story puts you
in some offbeat company.
is a writer who has spent years documenting what she asserts is
an Islamic connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. She has a
fan in Douglas Hagmann, director of an outfit called the Northeastern
Intelligence Network, whose Web site (homelandsecurityus.com)
has a conspiracy geek vibe that might spark scoffing.
But the fact
of the matter is that these people are breaking fresh news on
this story that only later winds up in more conventional news
I'm not calling
for a leap to the conclusion that Mr. Hinrichs was another in
a series of Caucasians pressed into service by terror cells for
their undercover value. But it seems equally unwise to shrug dismissively
at the possibility.