The Life and Times of Timothy McVeigh

By Christopher Zoukis

The amount of information available on Timothy McVeigh is mind-boggling.  At least a dozen books have been written on the subject.  Some of these books present a carefully sanitized account of McVeigh’s life and the events surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing.  In other words, there was no conspiracy.  The bombing of the federal building was simply the work of baneful, disaffected die-hards, who lost touch with reality.  Image courtesy

On the other hand, hundreds – if not thousands – of online Websites preach and publish the wildest nonsense imaginable.  Everything from McVeigh’s supposed connection to Middle East terrorist groups to a government conspiracy to blow up one of its own buildings, and then cover it up by laying the blame on a small group of nutcases.  The latter theory was concocted by zealots of the paramilitary and white nationalist groups, in order to keep “those already within the movement circles from jumping ship in disgust at the carnage.”[1]

The truth lies somewhere in between simple and surreal.  There was a conspiracy, but not one by the government.  Rather it was a religious/philosophical conspiracy.  It happened like this:

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were misfits.  They didn’t fit in anywhere in normal society.  They felt left behind, disenfranchised by the government and the culture in which they resided.  Because of this, black anger bubbled inside them.  They were angry because they didn’t receive the recognition they believed they deserved.  In effect, they felt unloved and unwanted.  This led to feelings of shame.  And it was the government’s fault.  According to McVeigh and Nichols, the government was conspiring to take away the rights and freedoms of all Americans.  Which meant fear was now added to their shame.  They became paranoid.

Paranoia led to their involvement in the paramilitary/survivalist subculture, which was prepared to resist the conspiracy by force of arms, if necessary.  As they got deeper and deeper into the paramilitary subculture, McVeigh and Nichols became paranoid, guilt-ridden psychopaths.

To get what they craved – recognition – they decided they needed to do something so outrageous that the world would have to notice them.  This, in turn, would absolve them of their shame.  They would strike back at their oppressors.  Only through violence and death could McVeigh and Nichols purge themselves of their demons – shame and fear.

So they decided to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City.    

In the fall of 1993, both Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were flat broke.  Except for what little money he made traveling the gun show circuit, McVeigh was unemployed.  Nichols was in hock to his credit card companies, to the tune of $40,000.  In short, the two men needed money.  Especially if they wanted to continue practicing for their planned bombing of a federal building.

So McVeigh and Nichols hooked up with the Aryan Republican Army

On October 11, 1993, McVeigh and Nichols registered at a Motel 6 in Fayetteville.  The next day, McVeigh got a ticket for making an improper lane change.  He was just outside Cedarville, Arkansas, when he got the ticket.  Which meant he was 4 miles from Elohim City.  In Elohim City, at that exact moment, Nathan Thomas, Kevin McCarthy, and Michael Brescia were being trained in guerilla warfare by Andreas Strassmeir.  All three men – Thomas, McCarthy and Brescia – were members of the Aryan Republican Army (ARA).

Three other members of the ARA were also either in Elohim City or staying at a nearby motel.  Richard Guthrie, Peter Langan and Shawn Kenney.  “It is highly improbable – if not statistically impossible – for nine men with such violent predispositions and such deep connections within the white power movement, all of whom needed money desperately, to randomly come together at the same time in the same geographical region.”[2]

All these men were at Elohim City to plan for the Oklahoma City bombing.


[1] Leonard Zeskind, Blood and Politics, page 402.

[2] Mark S. Hamm, In Bad Company, page 145.