Please evacuate the building.
On Saturday, someone called in a bomb threat.
One of our administrators sent an e-mail to department heads. Someone said they had put a bomb in the newspaper building and it was going to go off either Sunday or Monday at noon.
On Monday, I came to work like always. There weren't nearly as many people around as usual. At 11:45, the intercom started blaring, announcing that the building was being evacuated.
I grabbed my things and began walking toward the back entrance where I was parked. I wasn't going to stick around. Not for morbid curiosity. Not for journalistic chance. I was going to walk to my car, get in, and drive straight home. I considered not coming back for the day.
By the time I was collected, the newsroom was almost empty. In the hallway leading to Photo, the intercom blasted again.
This is not a drill.
The bomb threat was a false alarm. They swept the area, brought everyone back inside, sent an e-mail. Just like that, it was over.
I stayed home as long as I could hold off. When I returned, everyone was back at their desk.
It played out like a half-remembered dream, and by the end of the day, no one talked about it again.
I'm writing this Thursday, April 19th, on the sixth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
There was a half-hearted attempt at skimming the news today, in an effort to compose a kind of "state of the world," but really, I have none.
The news reports say the bombing memorial anniversary in Oklahoma City today was quiet and low-key. Security around the world tightened, as it usually does on this date.
I scanned the forums at the Oklahoman's Web site and the things I read there made me sad and sick to my stomach.
McVeigh's going to be killed. I don't have an opinion on that, honestly. I don't believe that killing someone is justifiable, even in the name of justice, but I also don't see keeping him alive after all this. But the tone and tenor on those forums, the cries of "Crucify him!" and "Kill the bastard"... that, I can't handle.
What I remember about Oklahoma City, what keeps the memory from being too terrible to bear, is the kindness, selflessness and strength that marked the people of Oklahoma City in the days that followed. What I witnessed restored my faith in humanity after the evil act that preceded it.
But these bloodthirsty calls, the thirst for vengeance and the desire to have it made a public display of brutality against still more human flesh... That's the kind of thing that makes me want to tune the news out further and retreat from what I know.
I can't say much more. I'm sad today and conflicted, and not quite as hopeful as I was yesterday. I'm not looking forward to the execution next month. All I can look forward to is that this may be a little closer to finished when the man responsible is no longer in the public eye.
For those who are interested, I'm presenting the bombing journals I wrote six years ago. They were written, at the start, as e-mails to my family and friends to let them know what was happening. They were forwarded, and gained an audience soon after. I've also included the epilogue I wrote two years later, marking a time when my life was about to change immeasurably.
This is all I know, and all I can say.
I was six years younger: Naive, unafraid and often unmindful. But they were the words I had at the time and the feelings I was able to share.
I don't want to think about all the typos in there, and I've resisted the temptation to edit the content or even reformat the pages beyond changing the links and moving them over to this site.
In six years, the fear and the sadness have become manageable and those of us who were there have moved on. But, contrary to what some people I know feel, it would be a mistake to forget. It would be a mistake to never look back.
We're stronger than that.
won't ever stop remembering.
... will return on Monday.