TERRORISM; Power of Prevention

Article excerpt

Does this sound like the making of a terrorist?

He was the middle of three children and the only boy.

His father worked in an auto plant, his mother in a travel agency. They separated permanently when he was in high school.

He was thin, quiet, joined some high school functions, but then dropped out. He didn't have a girlfriend.

After high school, he got a job as an armed guard. He collected weapons and stockpiled food and material in preparation for the breakdown of society.

Two years after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army. His unit was sent to the Persian Gulf War. He left to join the Special Forces, but dropped out. After 31/2 years, he left the military on an early discharge.

He lived with his father for a while, then went traveling, visiting some of his former Army buddies.

He went to Waco, Texas, the site of the violent battle between the Branch Davidians and federal authorities. That apparently triggered something in him.

Those descriptions come from a profile on CNN's Web site. The rest is infamous history. Timothy McVeigh went on to play a key role in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1985.

"How do we prevent something like this from happening again?" Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Jane Holl Lute said following ceremonies in Oklahoma City as reported by The Associated Press.

WHERE WERE CLUES?

Civilized society asks these questions any time an evil deed is committed.

What in McVeigh's history should have tipped off authorities?

Recently, the release of an intelligence assessment from the Department of Homeland Security drew criticism because it seemed to target veterans as potential terrorists.

Of course, only a tiny percentage of military veterans turn to crime. Lute, a veteran herself, said the report should have been better written and presented. …