Talk:Oklahoma City bombing

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 Definition The 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168, by Timothy McVeigh, and a collaborator, Terry Nichols, with an anti-government agenda. [d] [e]
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Conspiracy theories

I dislike using the term as a heading, as it's emotionally loaded. Nevertheless, CZ: Neutrality Policy certainly calls for alternate views. Here's what I removed, with references below:

==Conspiracy theories==
As with many major national incidents, a number of conspiracy theories have come into existence regarding the attack and the FBI investiagion that followed. These include accusations of a link between McVeigh and the Elohim City white nationalist compound, and accusations that the federal authorities knew of McVeigh's plans and pulled out FBI and ATF agents, leaving only civilian workers.[1]

My problem is that the theories are coming from clearly non-neutral sources. To me, neutrality policy is not just putting up the views of some advocacy sites against the mainstream position, but showing rebuttals to the allegations. In some cases, there may be no rebuttal, partially because the allegations are not terribly specific -- it's hard to respond to innuendoes. In the particular case, I believe that some of the allegations were addressed specifically in the trial, and, whether or not one agrees with the information, neutrality calls for comparing and contrasting the allegations with things established under rules of evidence in a public trial.

For that matter, some of the allegations need at least redlinks. I have never heard of Elohim City before. I would note, however, that there was a substantial amount of circumstantial connection with the Branch Davidians, possibly Ruby Ridge and with the Turner Diaries. Should these not be addressed? McVeigh never really gave his reasons.

When the issues were not addressed, there still may be counterarguments with decent sourcing. Both sides need to be present, or it's no more useful than a "trivia" section. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:44, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Yay! My first reflexive whole-section deletion! It's like the Other Wiki!! ;) I was hoping that it might prompt people who know more about it to add to it. The conspiracy theories are coming from non-neutral sources. Not sure why that's considered a problem. The links I used ascertain the existence of Oklahoma City bombing-related conspiracy theories. If we are going to discuss conspiracy theories, we will need to link to some pretty kooky sources so that the reader can see for themselves that such ideas exist. --Tom Morris 21:05, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Tom, acting as Editor-in-Chief, I've reinserted your section. Howard's notion of a "non-neutral source" is not one that I use or that I've seen anyone else use. Most sources are not neutral. The sorts of things that we want to be neutral are not sources, but our articles.
Howard is right, however, that a reaction from the theory's detractors needs to be articulated. It does not matter if no one has replied in print to a particular conspiracy theory (but I'll bet someone has dismissed this particular conspiracy theory in print). If no one has, you could say so: "No experts, as far as we are aware, take these conspiracy theories seriously, or has even commented about them publicly." Note that saying so would require research, too.
Tom, you would be doing us a great service, and help prevent further fallout from this particular disagreement, if you actually did the necessary research about detractors/reception of the theory. --Larry Sanger 21:27, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Article title

Is there a reason 1995 is included in the title? It's not as if there are bombs going off all the time in OKC that we'd need to differentiate.. --Todd Coles 19:47, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Good question, Todd; let me explain my reasoning. First, there have been instances of terrorist attacks on the same facility that absolutely need disambiguation, such as the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Second, a number of recent events involved simultaneous or near-simultaneous events, such as 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. While I haven't yet written on the (April) 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, there have been a lot of embassy bombings, such as 1998 attacks on U.S. Embassies in Africa (in Kenya and Tanzania, about an hour apart).
In general, I find it useful to have dates in the names of terrorist attacks. Howard C. Berkowitz 19:53, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
But, and I think this was Todd's point...we don't expect any more terrorist bombings in Oklahoma City. Beirut, yes. U.S. embassies in Africa, sure. Are you defending it as a general rule that we should have years before all terrorist bombings? I'm not sure I would support such a rule. --Larry Sanger 19:55, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Increasingly, there has been a need to include dates in wars and military events from the mid-19th century forward. As an example, it recently became obvious that we had no politically neutral way to refer to current conflict in Afghanistan; we now have Afghanistan War (2001-) and Afghanistan War (1978-92), and will eventually need First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42) and Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-80). Unfortunately, while some wars may be called first or second, not all countries agree on the ordinal numberings.
Unfortunately, I am not so sanguine as to say there never will be another bombing in Oklahoma City. I certainly hope there will not be, and it's anomalous in that it is generally accepted to be the action of a lone actor. Nevertheless, lighting really does strike twice in the same place. As you pointed out, there have been many bombings in Beirut, and, for that matter, in London and New York City. While I'm not insistent on dates there, we routinely have First and Second Manassas (or, if you prefer, First and Second Bull Run), or First and Second Ypres.
When dealing with a pattern of actions in asymmetrical warfare, the date may be as or more important than the place. I'm perfectly happy with redirects, but I do think there is a need to have dated as well as named titles. There will be individual variations; few need "2001" in association with "9/11". Nevertheless, yes, I do suggest that as a general rule. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:17, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
There is no need to include years in all article titles for "wars and military events," as your argument seems to imply, and it is not CZ practice, nor should it be, that we include years in all our titles. In fact, I would be strongly opposed to such a rule. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. This wasn't a "military event" unless terrorist bombings are military events, and I don't think they properly count as such. (McVeigh was not acting on behalf of any military.)
Obviously, terrorist attacks could happen again in OK City. That doesn't establish that we should use the year in the title, though. If there were a second one, we might retitle the article.
If that is the full extent of your reasoning, with all due respect, it seems fairly clear to me that we should move this to Oklahoma City bombing. This is not to be settled by citing arcana of history and terrorism, but by thinking about sound editorial principles and the convenience of the reader. Most readers know the event not as "1995 Oklahoma City bombing" but simply "Oklahoma City bombing." That's why that should probably be our title, too. Cf. (not as my main argument, just as useful data) [1] vs. [2] --Larry Sanger 20:33, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
This probably needs to go to the Forums, especially if you are claiming terrorist attacks are outside military scope. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:35, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not claiming that terrorist attacks are "outside military scope" (whatever that means, precisely). I'm claiming that this terrorist attack was not a military action. Besides, that's not the main point nor is it especially relevant to the name. The question is simply whether "1995" should be included in the name of the article. I don't find your arguments compelling, but (and I mean this sincerely) I appreciate the time you've taken to articulate them. There is no need to take this to forums because this just concerns this article. Howard, you're wrong on this one. Let's change it. --Larry Sanger 21:02, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Accepting some advice given me before--I've just gone ahead and made the change myself. --Larry Sanger 21:28, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Howard, when someone or other blew up the Los Angeles Times building back in 1915, was that a military event too? It seems to me that we can have terrorists who are not involved with the military in any way, shape, or form. Suppose that some animal-rights activists blew up the United States House of Representative because of the leather chairs found therein? Would that come under the purview of the military? Hayford Peirce 21:36, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
You aren't distinguishing between terrorism as a tactic, which is clearly military, and the motivation of those using the tactic, which need not be. The technical aspects of protection against terrorist acts is clearly part of military science, unless you want to stick it under something like fire protection engineering. There are, indeed, times where the neutralization of terrorists is part of Law (enforcement), but I don't think you will find any serious support for saying that the tactical aspects are not miitary. Terrorism is not an ideology.
In the case of the House of Representatives, the Capitol Police and FBI would be the law enforcement response. They are qualified to deal with small explosive incidents. As a practical matter, the military gets called in for large things that go boom, as well as weapons of mass destruction. Some years ago, a commercial tractor-trailer went off a ramp of the Washington Beltway, and the first responders discovered, to their shock, that it was filled with a very large amount of commercial black powder. The police cleared the blast radius, and Army explosives ordnance disposal people came in to clear what wasn't terrorism at all — but the military had the only capability to render-safe the situation.
Also, don't be US-centric. When the Iranian Embassy in London was taken over by a different Iranian faction in 1980, the Metropolitan Police indeed responded to what were terrorists, but not a military organization. Eventually recognizing their limitations, the police formally turned responsibility over to 22 Special Air Service Regiment, which carried out the hostage rescue. In the U.S. proper, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team probably could have handled an equivalent incident, but there was no British counterpart organization. In much of Europe, there's a blurred "paramilitary" line; French GIGN and German GSG-9 and Italian Carabinieri SC-5 are not purely police or army, but would be the domestic hostage rescue force. There are size issues; a brigade of the 82nd Airborne was needed for the Detroit riots in 1967.
Incidentally, I do intend to use dates for unpleasantnesses in the Middle East. Indeed, it actually may be necessary to go down to month to disambiguate bombings in Beirut (U.S. Embassy, U.S. barracks, U.S. Embassy Annex, and others)Howard C. Berkowitz 22:35, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Why famous or infamous at all?

There was a bombing in Oklahoma City. At the time, the highest loss of life in a bombing in the domestic United States. Why is it necessary, in the lede, to put in a subjective term such as famous or infamous? Personally, I'd prefer the lead to be as unemotional as possible. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:02, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

So delete it. I was just correcting what was already there, written by heavens know who. Hayford Peirce 23:31, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't really matter to me. In case you are wondering why I added this seemingly unnecessary word, I'll try to explain, but I can't guarantee this will make sense to anyone. I added it in order to make the sentence a little more grammatically correct. "The Oklahoma City bombing took place on April 19, 1995" seems to cry out for a completely capitalized name: "Oklahoma City Bombing." Without the capital "B," the sentence is equivalent to "The bombing of Oklahoma City took place on April 19, 1995," but in that case, the "The" does not make so much sense: using "The" grammtically requires that we answer (somehow) the question which bombing of Oklahoma City took place on April 19, 1995. If I add "famous" a (lame) answer is implied: the bombing we mean is the famous one. In other words "The" implies a prior referent, so it doesn't make sense except as a part of a name.

There are two solutions. First, use "an," as in "An Oklahoma City bombing took place on April 19, 1995," but this implies (as we were intimating above) that there might be many Oklahoma City bombings, and this happened to be one of them. The other solution is not to use the phrase "Oklahoma City bombing" at all, and rewrite it "A bombing took place in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995"--but this has the unfortunate consequence of not using the title phrase, "Oklahoma City bombing," which it seems we ought to do wherever possible. Aha, so there's actually a third expedient, to make the first sentence about a phrase: "Oklahoma City bombing refers to a bombing that took place on April 19, 1995..."

That's what was vaguely going through my head as I added "famous."  :-) In case anybody was wondering. I don't really know what the best solution is--maybe just to stick with the text as it is at present. --Larry Sanger 23:40, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Ah. So perhaps the "1995 bombing", after all, deal with the grammatical or style question? Is not a date more precise than "famous" or "infamous" ? Did not "we answer (somehow) the question which bombing of Oklahoma City took place on April 19, 1995." address exactly that concern, although I didn't articulate it as such? Howard C. Berkowitz 00:09, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Howard, that doesn't even make any sense as a solution to my conundrum. --Larry Sanger 00:39, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Just was applying the First Law of Plumbing. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:00, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, that doesn't make any sense either. --Larry Sanger 02:42, 9 March 2009 (UTC)