'American Experience: Oklahoma City'
(DVD / PG / 2017 / PBS)
Overview: 'Oklahoma City' traces the events that led McVeigh to that day and recounts the stories of the survivors, first-responders, U.S. Marshals, FBI investigators and journalists who covered the events. The film provides an in-depth and provocative exploration of the white supremacist, extremist militia movement that rose to prominence in the early 1990s and still makes news today.
DVD Verdict: For those not in the complete know, The Oklahoma City bombing was a domestic terrorist truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, on April 19, 1995. Carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the bombing destroyed one-third of the building, killed 168 people, and injured more than 680 others.
The blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius, shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, and destroyed or burned 86 cars, causing an estimated $652 million worth of damage. Extensive rescue efforts were undertaken by local, state, federal, and worldwide agencies in the wake of the bombing, and substantial donations were received from across the country.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated eleven of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, consisting of 665 rescue workers who assisted in rescue and recovery operations.
'American Experience: Oklahoma City', the new documentary from PBS showcases that within just 90 minutes of the explosion, McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger for driving without a license plate and arrested for illegal weapons possession. Forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and within days, both were charged.
Michael and Lori Fortier were later identified as accomplices. McVeigh, a U.S. militia movement sympathizer who was a Gulf War veteran, had detonated a Ryder rental truck full of explosives parked in front of the building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. Motivated by his hatred of the U.S. federal government and angered by its handling of the 1993 Waco siege and the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992, McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
'American Experience: Oklahoma City' provides an in-depth and provocative exploration of the white supremacist, extremist militia movement that rose to prominence in the early 1990s and still makes news today. Indeed, this documentary played in a few theaters, but opened wide when it was shown on PBS' "The American Experience". As it most often the case with programs on "The American Experience", this documentary is well researched, restrained and very sobering. A must-see for anyone interested in the history of this country; albeit a very, very sad one. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.