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October Today in Terrorism

October 1, 2005: Bombing at University of Oklahoma football game

On October 1, 2005 one person was killed in an explosion in a traffic circle about 100 yards from a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma

NORMAN, OKLAHOMA – If something walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck is it 100% for sure it is a terrorist?

You would think that by now, a full twenty years after 9/11, we would collectively know what constitutes an act of terrorism and what doesn’t. After all, that one event was not only catastrophic but it heightened our understanding of the phenomenon and perhaps made us more interested in actual attacks (remember that terrorism long predated 9/11).

We see much more reporting on terrorism around the world and, one would assume, more exposure should lead to more appreciation and knowledge. As a consequence we should be in a better place to decide, when we try to analyse a given act of violence, whether it falls in the terrorism bucket or not.

Alas, like most things in life, it is not that easy. At times what certainly appears to be terrorist in nature turns out not to be – or is it?

I’m pretty sure this was a terrorist act (Photo: Cyril Attias on flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Take today’s featured act.

On this day in 2005

One person was killed in an explosion in a traffic circle about 100 yards from a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The loud noise of the explosion could be heard clearly inside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, where 84,000 people were watching the Oklahoma Sooners play Kansas State.

The Oklahoma homeland security director stated that the incident was under criminal investigation and the motive behind the explosion was not known. In fact the FBI later concluded, after interviewing¬†more than 200 people during their investigation, that it was not terrorism. They found no evidence of any agenda by the engineering student killed in the blast, Joel “Joe” Henry Hinrichs III, who was in essence the bomber.

At first I thought it was a prank because that’s where the Kansas State buses were parked.¬†

OU student

Bomb, TATP explosive, soft target, tens of thousands of potential victims – what a great terrorist scenario. Except it wasn’t.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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