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Oklahoma City, Waco, and crisis exploitation

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 19, 2010 10:35 AM

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The Oklahoma City National Memorial is here. 168 of our fellow Americans died in this evil act of terrorism. Take a moment to learn about their lives here.

Today is also the 17th anniversary of the deadly siege at Waco. After a 51-day standoff with the feds, 76 Americans (including 17 children) perished. It, too, was a shameful act of violence.

But one anniversary will get more attention the other today because the establishment Left isn’t interested in sober reflection. And Bill Clinton certainly isn’t interested in taking responsibility for horrors under his watch that do not fit the conservatives=violent extremists narrative:

“What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold – but that the words we use really do matter, because there’s this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike,” he said.

“One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have.” Clinton made the remarks at events sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund on the upcoming anniversary of the bombing.

…Clinton argued that the Boston Tea Party was in response to taxation without representation. The current protesters, he said, are challenging taxation by elected officials, and the demonstrators have the power to vote them out of office.

“By all means keep fighting, by all means, keep arguing,” he said. “But remember, words have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and responsibility, we have to take responsibility for. We owe that to Oklahoma City.”

What does he owe the victims of Waco who died as a result of gross FBI incompetence, negligence, and zeal?

Flashback: “The Fire Last Time,” Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine, 1998, review of Waco: The Rules of Engagement, directed by William Gazecki, Fifth Estate Productions and No More Wacos: What’s Wrong with Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It, by David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman…

As Kopel and Blackman show, the investigation of the Branch Davidians by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the BATF’s February 1993 raid on Mount Carmel, the 51-day FBI siege, the April 19 assault that led to the final fire, the trial of the survivors, and the subsequent explanations can all be understood in terms of prevalent prejudices and familiar failings. Hostility toward private gun ownership and unconventional religions played an important role in the government’s actions against the Davidians and in the public’s indifference to their fate. Another conspicuous factor was the tendency for overconfident people to screw up, dodge responsibility afterward, and rationalize their behavior as justified by some greater good. As scary as it is to contemplate, it’s doubtful that anyone involved in this shameful episode felt in his heart that he was doing wrong.

At the same time, to blame the deaths of 86 men, women, and children (including four BATF agents) on a series of errors does not do justice to the government’s conduct at Waco, which rose at least to the level of negligent homicide, or to the cowardly cover-up that followed. And to blame the dead themselves is audacious, since all would be alive today but for the government’s gratuitous use of force…

Today in Washington, gun owners will march in defense of Second Amendment rights.

Predictably, left-wing groups are taking their cue from Clinton and using the event to smear Tea Party activists, the NRA, and limited-government advocates all as potential OKC bombers.

In the Left’s playbook of Rahm Emanuel-esque political crisis exploitation, the Timothy McVeigh card has no credit limit.

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