Bomber, victim shared similar beliefs
Spencer Allen, Allen’s father and Timothy McVeigh were shocked when federal agents stormed the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas.
Critics blame federal agents for sparking a fire that claimed the lives of 74 sect members. “It’s ironic that (my father), Timothy McVeigh and I believe the government caused the Waco deaths,” he said.
Ironic, because two of the three men who shared that belief are now dead. Ted Allen, 46, died April 19, 1995, in the blast that ripped through the federal office building in Oklahoma City.
A death penalty opponent, Spencer Allen shares no sense of closure or even satisfaction from McVeigh’s execution Monday for the bombing that killed 168 people. The 23-year-old Lakeside Inn & Casino worker – a high school senior at the time of the bombing – believes there are other conspirators.
Further, Allen says the government botched the investigation by focusing on McVeigh and co-defendant Terry Nichols, who is serving a life sentence for his role in the attack. In Allen’s eyes, McVeigh is only a “truck driver” in a broader conspiracy that killed his father, who worked for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Not many people share that view, Allen admits, even within his own family. And regardless of the events that preceded it, he remembers losing the loving father who coached his son on and off the basketball court.
Allen heard reports of the bombing as he drove in his car, thinking at first it may have been a mail bomb. The scope of the devastation soon became clear.
Allen’s family posted scouts at the local hospitals to check the “found” list throughout the day. As evening fell, Allen had a hunch his father wouldn’t come out of the building alive.
“I knew that night,” he said. “(But) people in my family didn’t want to believe it.”
Six days later, a rescue team found his father’s body. The tragedy didn’t end there.
His family’s grief, news cameras invading loved ones’ homes and the federal government’s treatment of the investigation challenged Allen’s state of mind in trying to make sense of the tragic event. Six years later, he’s still trying.
“It’s sad. Moreso, I feel they’re trying to close a chapter on this story and sweep it under the rug like it’s done,” he said.
What has changed for Allen is his perception of the United States and his quest to make every day count.
“It changes your reality of America because most people live in Mayberry,” he said, referring to the television show about rural living.
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