Tuesday and Wednesday will bring somber commemorations across the United States and around the world over several dark events that happened on those days through a mix of coincidence and intent.
Tuesday and Wednesday will bring somber commemorations across the United States and around the world, the echoes of several dark events that happened on those days through a mix of coincidence and intent.
The government siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas; the Oklahoma City bombing; the massacre at Columbine High School; and last year’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico all occurred on April 19 or 20. The latter is also Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
“Dates typically matter for terrorists (who operate) as cults,” with small groups of people driven to violence by a shared obsession, said Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago and director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism. “That’s who (Oklahoma City bomber Timothy) McVeigh was.”
April 19, 1993: The weeks-long siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, ends in an inferno, killing about 80 people and further heightening some anti-government sentiment.
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April 19, 1995: McVeigh bombs the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. McVeigh later said the bombing was meant as retaliation for the siege in Waco, and was executed in 2001. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving multiple life terms in prison, while friend Michael Fortier served just over 10 years for not alerting authorities about the plot.
April 20, 1999: Two students at Colorado’s Columbine High School — Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold — fatally shoot 12 students and a teacher and wound more than 20 others before killing themselves. The attack had been planned for April 19, but Harris and Klebold pushed it back one day because they wanted to gather more ammunition, said Dave Cullen, a journalist and author of the best-selling book “Columbine.”
April 20, 2010: BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico explodes, killing 11 workers and eventually releasing more than 4 million barrels of crude oil, one of the worst spills in history.
April 20, 1889: German dictator Adolf Hitler is born in Austria. To this day, his birth is marked with sadness by most, and celebrated by some others. He committed suicide on April 30, 1945, as World War II came to an end.