A brave man and Iraq war veteran, Robin Dehaven, rushed into the burning building and saved people from the fire caused by this act of suicide terrorism.
Witnesses described a scene of panic, fire and smoke. Lyric Olivarez, who was working in a nearby building, told CNN affiliate KXAN that she felt her building shake when the plane crashed.Can anyone doubt that if this plane had been piloted into a federal building by a Muslim angry at the U.S. government for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, CNN and all other news media would be calling it a terrorist attack?
"It sounded like an explosion, but it felt like an earthquake," Olivarez said. "Someone came into our office and said there was a bomb in the building next door. We had no idea it was a plane at the time."
When she and others ran outside, they saw the neighboring building in flames.
"People on the second and third floors were busting out windows, screaming, 'Help me! Help me! Get me out of here!' waving handkerchiefs or whatever they could find," Olivarez told KXAN.
"Not before long, the entire parking lot was filled with smoke, and people praying and crying," she said.
"I just saw smoke and flames," said CNN iReporter Mike Ernest. "I could not believe what I was seeing. It was just smoke and flames everywhere."
Dehaven said that as he was driving before the crash, he could see the plane flying low, approaching the building.
"I saw it turn and start heading down like it was diving to come in for a landing, but there's no landing [strip]," he said. "So I knew it was going to crash."
He said his 6½ years in the Army, with two tours in Iraq, helped him Thursday.
"I've had some experience in triage and battlefield, with ... gunfire," he said. "My first thought [was] maybe I can help, because I'm more used to dealing with traumatic situations like that.
"I have a clear head and a calm head to try to help those people, and luckily I did."
I remember the last terror attack on a federal building - on April 19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh drove a truck full of explosives into the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. 168 people died. I was living in Somerville, Mass., at the time, and was on the road either to or from a temporary teaching job at Bates College in Maine. I heard the account on the radio of what happened.
I hope that this domestic terror attack is not the harbinger of more such attacks, driven by the anti-government hate rhetoric of the radical right.
Want evidence that such sentiments are out there? LGF posted an article about a Tea Party meeting in Washington State where one woman called for the hanging of U.S. Senator Patty Murphy. At this same meeting there was a sign calling for the castration of President Obama (remember, that's what often happened to the black men who were lynched by the thousands from the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries - and to the everlasting shame of the United States, Congress never passed an anti-lynching law, because of the legislative power of the southern states).
The SPLC puts this attack in context:
This morning’s attack by Joseph Andrew Stack against an IRS office building in Austin, Tex., is a reminder again of how extreme hatred of government can morph into violence. Since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has documented 75 domestic terrorist plots, most of which involved individuals with extreme antigovernment views. One of the plots, if carried out, would have resulted in the deaths of some 30,000 people.Let's see how many conservatives condemn this as a terrorist attack.
Stack’s actions come as the number of antigovernment “Patriot” and militia groups is rising fast, as revealed by the SPLC this past summer. In the 1990s, the combustible mix of rising antigovernment anger and the growth in militias was a recipe for disaster that ultimately resulted in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh, who was motivated by antigovernment hatred.“This attack comes amid the absolutely explosive growth of the right-wing militias and the larger antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement, which includes thousands of so-called tax protesters who believe the federal income tax is illegal” said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “There is a populist rage out there about what is seen as the coddling of rapacious elites, like the mortgage bankers who kept receiving multimillion dollar bonuses, even as working Americans seem to keep losing more and more.”