American at April 19 and 20
April 19 and 20 mark the anniversaries of a handful of low-points in recent American history. With that are news reports with updates on survivors, and the retelling of events leading up to and through the end of the tragedies.
The total number of casualties that resulted from these events is 270, a number of whom were children — a sad detail then and a scary one now for kids who hear about what happened, in most cases, before they were born.
Here’s a reminder of the April events and a few of the details, so you can figure out how to answer the questions you might get:
Oklahoma City bombing
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a rental truck rigged with explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the building’s daycare center. McVeigh was executed for the crime. The man who helped McVeigh follow through with the plan, Terry Nichols, is serving a life term in prison. McVeigh was motivated by how the government handled another April tragedy a few years before in Waco, Texas.
Branch Davidian compound in Waco
On April 19, 1993, a 50-day standoff between cult followers of David Koresh and the U.S. government ended when the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal forces stormed the Branch Davidian compound. Gun battle and fire ensued and 76 people, including 20 kids, two pregnant women and leader David Koresh, died. The siege was initiated earlier that year in February after agents from the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to serve a search warrant and were met with gunfire. Koresh and his followers had also been suspected of sexual abuse and misconduct and also of stockpiling weapons.
On April 20, 1999, two students of Columbine High School showed up at school armed with automatic weapons and ammunition and unleashed a massacre that killed 12 students and a teacher. The two high school seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, then killed themselves. Investigations after the attacks revealed the attack had been planned in detail. People also questioned the role depression, psycho-pharmaceuticals, violent video games and suburban life may have played in these attacks.
BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
On April 20, 2010 an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and emptied nearly 5 million barrels of crude oiljust off the coast of Louisiana and the other gulf states. It took five months and multiple attempts before engineers could finally close off the resulting leak. Marine life and fishing industries were devastated by the spill, the effects of which are still being suffered a year later.