(New York, N.Y.) – White supremacists this week celebrated Timothy McVeigh for his role in orchestrating what remains the deadliest domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history—the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The attack, which took place on April 19, 1995, left 168 people dead and more than 500 others injured. McVeigh was convicted of the bombing and executed in 2001. During the investigation and his trial, it became clear that he was inspired to attack by The Turner Diaries, a racist, anti-Semitic novel by white nationalist William Luther Pierce about a government overthrow and the extermination of non-white races. White supremacists’ and neo-Nazis’ praise for McVeigh 25 years later underscores the continued threat posed by this ideology.
The Turner Diaries has influenced additional terrorist and violent incidents. Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 people in two terror attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011, was heavily influenced by Pierce’s work. Breivik’s own manifesto drew heavily upon the book. The Turner Diaries also inspired Frazier Glenn Miller Jr. to murder three people during an attack on two Jewish institutions on April 13, 2014. Miller had previously created the now-defunct White Patriot Party, which he modeled after groups described in The Turner Diaries. In 2015, Zack Davies attacked Asian dentist Sarandev Bhambra with a machete and a hammer while screaming “white power” in Mold, Wales. Police discovered copies of The Turner Diaries and other white supremacist literature after searching Davies’s home.
Violent right-wing extremists have continued to glorify McVeigh in the years since his death in 2001. In August 2017, authorities in Oklahoma City arrested Jerry Drake Varnell after he attempted to detonate what he thought was a bomb outside an Oklahoma City bank. The bomb comprised fake explosives provided by the FBI as part of an investigation into Varnell, who reportedly admired McVeigh and sought to emulate him. Last month, Varnell was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019, posted memes and other images of McVeigh on social media prior to the Christchurch attack.
To read CEP’s Timothy McVeigh resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s The Turner Diaries’ Ties to Extremists resource, please click here.