Christian Action Network

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Memorial Erected to Honor Oklahoma University Bomber

Lee Madden

Christian Action Network

May 1, 2007

Norman, Okla.In a move which has shocked and stunned many Americans, Christian Action Network (CAN) has learned that a memorial stone has been placed on the University of Oklahoma campus honoring Joel Hinrichs, the OU student who died after a homemade explosive device he was carrying detonated near a packed football stadium in October, 2005.

The University of Oklahoma’s student affairs division has placed a stone paver outside the student union building with the name of Joel H. Hinrichs III on it.  This puts Hinrichs in good company among such others as Oklahoma native and actor James Garner, CBS news anchor Katie Couric, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – all of whom have been given honorary doctorate degrees when they spoke at OU. 

“This is absolutely outrageous,” says Martin Mawyer, president of Christian Action Network. “From the beginning, Christian Action Network has disputed the ‘suicide’ determination and suggested there is enough evidence to believe Mr. Hinrichs was attempting to perform a terrorist attack against the 84,000 fans at the Oklahoma University football game. We believe there is much, much more to this story than what we have been spoon-fed by the FBI and OU officials.  And to now honor Hinrichs in this manner is an insult to not only our intelligence, but offensive to the rest of America. We believe this is simply another instance of sanitizing and hiding evidence in some misconceived notion of ‘protecting’ our citizens.”

Joel Hinrichs, Jr. the student’s father said OU’s dean of students, Clark Stroud, offered to have the stone placed. In an e-mail to The Oklahoman, Hinrichs’ father said Stroud “very kindly understood that Joel’s act was one of loneliness, not of aggression, and offered to have the stone placed in the memorial courtyard; he also indicated that the wife of the university president might select a tree to be placed on the campus, also in Joel III’s memory.”

Hinrichs’ father said he repeatedly offered to pay the $150.00 fee usually charged for such memorials, but the school offered to place the stone and never billed him.  OU president, David Boren said in a statement that Hinrichs had committed suicide, but a tree has not been placed on campus.  “Instead, the university gives the opportunity for those who desire to purchase pavers in the union courtyard for students, graduates, or friends of the university,” he said. “The university tries to be sensitive to all the families who have lost sons or daughters while they were students.”

Thursday afternoon OU President David L. Boren issued a statement expressing his displeasure concerning an article published in a state newspaper indicating the university arranged for a memorial stone paver to be placed on campus honoring Joel Hinrichs. 

“The university did not erect a monument in honor of this student,” Boren said. “The pavers are placed there by those who purchase them…in this case, the son’s father, and the proceeds go toward the upkeep of the union.” Boren further objected to the tone of the article and the inference that Hinrichs was out to harm others.

“I am deeply disappointed by a media report that could lead to the revival of unfounded rumors about an OU student’s apparent suicide more than a year and a half ago,” Boren continued. “Our society is not well served by encouraging insensitivity or by raising unnecessary levels of fear in the broader community. I regret that the news story may have left the impression that the student’s death was anything other than a suicide.”

Mawyer strongly disagrees with that tone and assessment. “President Boren’s usage of such buzz words such as ‘insensitivity,’ ‘intolerance,’ and the like, only show more of the same ‘heads–in-the-sand’ behavior so typical of the politically-correct crowd. What should we expect next; a tribute to Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City? Or how about an al-Qaeda memorial garden at Ground Zero in NYC? Maybe a plaque for the Columbine killers would be in order. A tribute to the VT killer has been placed next to his victims, for Pete’s sake. When will America wake up? Have we become so soft and foolish as a society that we can allow killers, criminals, terrorists, and gangsters to be honored in such manner? ”

Mawyer went on to state that there are many questions surrounding this case and that the FBI has not been forthcoming about the evidence gathered in the case. 

“Even if we could somehow suspend belief and concede that Hinrichs was only some lonely guy who wanted to kill himself by strapping on explosives and exploding them outside a stadium full of people,” Mawyer said, “how does that explain his Muslim roommate, the evidence found in his apartment, his attempt to buy ammonium nitrate, his visits to the nearby mosque, his associations, or his MSA connections?  More importantly,” Mawyer continued, “what if Hinrichs had been successful in gaining entrance to the stadium?  What if his intention was to kill hundred of spectators?  In the end, why would anyone wish to memorialize a man who publicly blew himself into a thousand pieces next to a stadium?”

The news of the stone memorial to Hinrichs also stunned Jenny Clemons, a nurse who lived close to Hinrichs’ apartment.  “I was just kind of horrified, she told The Oklahoman. “I don’t think he has any business being out there.” A hospital nurse, Clemons was in the stadium the night of the blast. “I feel like…if he’d been successful, he would have killed a whole bunch of us at the football game.” she said.

Clemons told Christian Action Network she notified the media about the stone paver after learning about the recent Virginia Tech massacre. “It’s just not right,” she said of Hinrichs memorial. “He doesn’t deserve to have any place there.”

Clemons also said she was a neighbor of Hinrichs before his bombing. After the explosion, she watched as the FBI “carted bombs out of his apartment all day.”

Authorities described Hinrichs, 21, as having “emotional difficulties.” He was a National Merit Scholar who graduated in May 2002 from WassonHigh School in Colorado Springs and began attending OU in the fall of that year with a major in mechanical engineering.

The OU bombing occurred at approximately 8:00 p.m. CDT, on Saturday, October 1, 2005 near the George Lynn Cross Hall about 500 feet from the stadium packed with nearly 85,000 spectators watching the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas State Wildcats football game.  Although the explosion was very loud and attendees inside the stadium say they felt the left side of the stadium shake, no one else was injured in the blast. The blast could be heard over five miles away and windows were blown out of nearby buildings.

No announcement was made concerning the blast during the game, but authorities cordoned off the area west of the stadium and spectators were eventually allowed to exit the stadium about 30 minutes later. They were asked to avoid the scene of he bombing, but were not told the reason why. Authorities were at that time collecting evidence and body parts from the scene.

Reports were mixed as to whether Hinrichs attempted to enter the stadium prior to the blast.  What is certain is that Hinrichs’ backpack contained explosives and he may have strapped explosives to his body. The bombs exploded as he sat on a park bench adjacent to the stadium. The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy has ruled the reasons for Hinrichs’ death, “inconclusive.”

The Oklahoman reported that authorities recovered numerous explosive materials when they searched Hinrichs’ apartment. Residents reported they heard police say it would take “several trips and could take up to 24 hours” to remove the material. On October 2, 2005, a series of explosions were heard in the Norman area. These explosions were later confirmed to be controlled detonations of materials found in Joel’s apartment. The detonations took place on a Norman Police Department shooting range located near campus.

Joel’s father described his son as a “very private individual” who had undergone “several severe bouts of depression,” adding that he believes “the underlying cause was his [Joel’s] inability to bond with other people.  He couldn’t make friendships… he was very sensitive and defensive in interacting with others, to the point he didn’t even know his own roommate.”

Others have assessed the situation quite differently. Mark Tapscott of the Heritage Foundation remarked, “There are about 30,000 suicides in America…every year. And you can go back a decade and you will not find a single one of those suicides who blew themselves up in proximity, close proximity, to 84,000 people at a football game.”

Local media reported that Hinrichs had bigger plans originally. The owner of Ellison Feed & Seed, a local feed store, stated that four days prior to the blast, Hinrichs had tried to purchase ammonium nitrate which is the same type of material used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. It was later revealed that an off duty police officer had overheard the conversation between Hinrichs and the store owner, then followed Hinrichs to his car and copied down his license plate number. The officer started an investigation which was still in progress when the bomb went off. 

According to Channel Oklahoma, the bomb contained TATP- made by mixing common household items such as drain cleaner and bleaches to create a white powder with a strong smell.  Called the “Mother of Satan” by Islamic extremists, the mixture is so volatile that it can explode spontaneously or even if it is dropped, say experts.

Hinrichs had a Pakistani roommate and initial reports questioned whether he was a recent Muslim convert who had attended campus Muslim Students of America meetings and the Norman mosque which had once been frequented by Zacharias Moussaoui. 

CAN has requested a Freedom of Information Act report from the FBI, but to date, nothing has been released. Other agencies seeking information through the FOIA have also reportedly been rebuffed. Despite rumors and media reports, the OU administration and the FBI have denied that the Hinrichs bombing was a terrorist act because, according to the FBI, there was “no political agenda” attached to it.

In a related story, the brother of Joel Hinrichs, Thomas Hinrichs- faces federal charges in Colorado follow his arrest in November of last year for threatening to assault or murder an FBI agent. Authorities say 25-year-old Thomas Hinrichs was in possession of an assault rifle, two boxes of ammunition, three ammunition magazines, and a military helmet when he was arrested.  He has been arraigned in a Denver federal court.

He was allegedly angry with the government, this country, and the school system which he blames for creating an environment which led to his brother’s death. 


May 3, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

1 Comment »

  1. This kid obviously committed suicide.
    And so did ten thousand other suicide JiHadists. Evidence to support the claim that he had been under the influence of radical Islam should be sought after & it sounds like there’s plenty already. So what, that he had already displayed manifestations of depression; It was the probable Islamic propa-ganda from his Pakistani roomate that pushed him over the edge.
    And will the 2007-08 football season be the one that sees a successful Muslim stadium attack?
    I guess Johhny Walker’s parents are still trying to rationalize their idiot son as well…….

    Comment by Al yowell | July 9, 2007 | Reply

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