April 19 Times Three

Fifteen years ago, from the Hilton Istanbul I watched the news of the Oklahoma City bombing before going downstairs to a cocktail party organized by the English-speaking community. Everyone there hoped and prayed that it wasn’t the work of some crazed Arab. “We’ll have hell to pay if the Arabs are involved,” said one elderly Jewish man.

Only two years before, on the same day, the U.S. Government blew the smithereens out of a religious compound in Waco. I was in Mexico when that happened.

Two years to the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, I was repatriating my late mother’s Seville to the U.S., driving up Interstate 35 at an excessive rate of speed, only to be stopped by the very same Oklahoma State Trooper who nabbed Tim McVeigh. As he’s handing me a citation for not using a seat belt, I notice his name, and I ask him “Are you…?” as I look toward the freeway exit. Yes, he was. Yes, over there.

But there’s another chapter in this story, and that involves McVeigh’s accomplice, Terry Nichols. He would go on to be defended by Ponca City lawyer Brian Hermanson, who would shut down his solo practice and put his own life on hold to accept the challenge. Today Hermanson’s practice is back in full swing, and he’s running for District Attorney for Kay and Noble Counties.

The next time you think that what’s heard halfway around the world doesn’t affect small-town lawyers, think again.

 

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