Before Sept. 11, 2001, the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil was the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The bombing, carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, killed 168 and injured close to 700.
I mention this because last night Janet Reno, the first woman Attorney General in U.S. history, who led the investigation and case against McVeigh and Nichols, died at age 78 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Reno also oversaw the disastrous 51-day FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco*, Texas in 1993.
The siege ended when the FBI assaulted the compound, igniting a blaze which killed 76 members of the heavily armed religious cult. The deaths at Waco, and an earlier 1992 incident at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in which the wife and teenage son of white supremacist survivalist Randy Weaver were killed by federal law enforcement agents, were cited as justification for the Oklahoma City attack.
A few years ago The New York Times produced a short documentary on the Ruby Ridge siege and how that incident continues to shape both how law enforcement and the armed anti-government right view each other and how to resolve armed standoffs. You can watch the video below.
And now on to this week’s look back.
- Nov. 6, 2001 — Spain: ETA car bomb explodes during rush hour in Madrid, wounding 100.
- Nov. 7, 1985 — Colombia: More than 100 are killed when the leftist revolutionary group M-19 seizes control of the Supreme Court building.
- Nov. 8, 1987 — United Kingdom: Thirteen people are killed in the IRA bombing of a Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
- Nov. 9, 2005 — Jordan: Near simultaneous bomb attacks against Western hotels in Amman kill more than 50 and wound 110. Al Qaeda in Iraq claims responsibility.
- Nov. 10, 2009 — India: Eight civilians killed in North Tripura. The National Liberation Front of Tripura claims responsibility.
- Nov. 11, 2000 — Kuwait: Seven arrested in crackdown on groups planning attacks on US military facilities in Kuwait.
- Nov. 12, 1997 — Pakistan: Four US citizens are killed in an ambush on their car in Karachi. The Pakistani driver is also killed.
*Forgive me for lazily linking to the Wikipedia entry, but I’ve got a lot to do this morning and this is a pretty good summary.