April 19: Oklahoma City Bombing

2014-04-19On 19 April 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a rental truck loaded with explosives next to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City and detonated it. The explosion left 168 dead and over 680 injured.  This happened a little over two years after the first large-scale US terrorist bombing in the 1990s.

The first World Trade Center Bombing occurred on 26 February 1993 and was carried out by Ramzi Yousef, a member of Al Qaeda.  The plan was to kill tens of thousands of people by knocking the North Tower into the South Tower and collapsing both. This failed, but the explosion did kill six people and injure over a thousand.

Both of these events caused the passing, with widespread bipartisan support, of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, or the AEDPA. Among other provisions, the law limits both the procedural and substantive scope of the writ of habeas corpus. The term habeas corpus (latin for “you shall for the body”) is a widespread right of the people (in the United States and abroad) against unlawful imprisonment. United States law affords people the right to petition the federal courts for a writ of habeas corpus. The AEDPA limited petitions by a person to one, forcing people to put all of their claims into one appeal.

–Cameron Sumner


Meet the Author

Cameron Sumner is a student at Schoolcraft College.