Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What's your scariest moment?

My previous post got me thinking about those frightning things that you walk away from and think "I am lucky to be alive". What's your scariest moment?

I have been in more car accidents than I care to remember. Our current car (which is on jacks in our driveway because the front axel is cracked) has been hit 7 times that I can remember. Maybe because it's red people think it is a target. Luckily, they were all minor wrecks with minor injuries and they were all the other drivers fault. I have also had many near misses when cars near me wrecked but I managed to avoid them. Those were all scary.

The scariest moments for me though, were a possible attempted school shooting and a attempted stadium bombing.

I was working at an elementary school along with my mother and my oldest son was attending 1st grade there as well. A man came onto campus with a gun. He wanted the school to release his son to him. I think he was upset because he was going through a divorce.

One of the Moms saw him and thought he seemed suspicious and irratic. She called her husband, who was a police officer who lived nearby, and he came up and found the man. When he started questioning him the man became very upset. The officer searched him and found the gun and arrested him. They were able to get him off campus without incident.

The man had been trying to get into the classroom that was right between my class and my sons class. My moms class was on the other side in the same building. When my husband heard what had happened he said "I could have lost all of you. If he had started shooting inside that class I could have lost all of you just like that."

Not long after that we had a mock school hostage situation to train the campus personnel and to help law enforcment and first responders be prepaired for similar situations. They made it very realistic and very terrifing. They covered victims in fake blood and set off fireworks to simulate gunfire and explosives. I was glad we participated but is was the stuff of nightmares.

I have not been to very many football games in my life. I went to a New Orleans Saints game at the superdome when I was a kid and a OU (University of Oklahoma) game in high school. When I was the director of a child care center I had several of the OU coaches kids in attendance and became friends with the families. The coaches get free tickets to the games so they invited my husband and I to come watch a game.

When we arrived at the gate we were searched before we were allowed to enter. Not a problem, just unusual because they had not done that at past games. We found our seats and met the family on the West side of the stadium. We were enjoying the game and then we heard what sounded and felt like thunder come from behind us. We looked back and said I didn't think it was supposed to rain today. Then our friend's phone started to ring and she was getting tons of text messages. She looked concerned and said "How about we go up to my husband's office".

So we try to leave the stadium through a side door and get up to the attached office building. There are suddenly lots of security personel around and one of them stopped us but when he saw who we were with he said OK go ahead. We got up to the offices and asked "What is going on?" It was now half time and they were not letting anyone leave the stadium. She told us there was some kind of explosion and perhaps we should leave. She said she had some friends who were tailgating nearby so we headed out. The only reason we were able to get out of the building was because we were going out of the office building exit not the stadium exit. We went over to the tailgating section for a while but we were nervous. Things just didn't seem right.

My mom called me and asked if we were alright. She said she was watching the news and they were reporting a bomb at the stadium with at least one fatality. Jeff's sister called. She was outside the stadium as well and saw the police and the crime scene tape in the south oval. We went home not long after that.

The reports of what happened differ greatly. Most of the details were covered up and the official story from OU was that a disturbed student had commited suicide by blowing himself up outside the stadium. Most people accross the country did not even hear about this incident and it was really kept quiet.

No one wanted to say what really happened. That Joel Hinrichs tried to get into the stadium to leave his backpack full of explosives and was turned away because he wouldn't agree to a search. While he was reaching into his backpack, possibly to reset the timer on the bomb, he accidentally detonated it and killed himself. Luckily he was far enough away from the stadium that no one else was injured.

There were over 84,000 people in the stadium including me. I was six months pregnant with my youngest child at the time. Jeff Gordon was also in the crowd with his new wife. You can read more about the incident at these sites:



Here are our tickets.

Here are some excerpts:

2005 University of Oklahoma bombing
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 2005 University of Oklahoma bombing occurred on October 1, 2005 at approximately 7:30 p.m, when a bomb went off near the George Lynn Cross Hall on Van Vleet Oval on the University of Oklahoma (OU) main campus. The blast took place less than 200 yards west of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, where 84,501 spectators were attending a football game. The bomber, OU student Joel "Joe" Henry Hinrichs III, was killed in the explosion; no one else was killed.

After the incident, speculation began immediately about Hinrichs' motivation and the number of accomplices, if any. An off-duty police officer noted a discussion Hinrichs had with a local feed store owner about ammonium nitrate and had begun an investigation, and his roommate was from Pakistan. The bombing itself was enough to begin rumors of terrorism, which erupted when the explosive agent was found to be TATP, the compound used in a terrorist attack in London in July 2005 in an infamous attempt to destroy a transatlantic flight by igniting a shoe.

Shortly before halftime of the Saturday evening game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Kansas State Wildcats, spectators inside the stadium heard an explosion. The explosion was reported as being heard up to five miles away, but people on the east side of the stadium heard only a rumble like a low-volume thunder, of the type that signals impending rain. A few heard nothing. Spectators were not allowed to leave the stadium at half-time, which caused concern among fans who did hear the explosion. No stadium announcements were made until the third and fourth quarters of play, when bus drivers were asked to leave the stadium and meet at the northwest corner of the Asp Avenue Parking Facility. During the last six minutes of the game, an announcement was made over the public address system in the stadium and over local radio to exit through the south and east gates and to avoid the area, known to students and fans as the South Oval, west of the stadium. No further explanations were given to game attendees because university officials "didn't want to start any kind of panic."

According to local media, Hinrichs inquired about purchasing a large quantity of ammonium nitrate, the chief ingredient in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, at a local feed store two days before the explosion. An off-duty Norman police officer was in the store and overheard the conversation between the feed store owner and Hinrichs. The officer followed Hinrichs out of the store, checked Hinrichs' license plate, and began an investigation when his shift started. That investigation was still in progress when the bomb went off.


By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director
2 October 2005: Law enforcement sources have confirmed that search and seizure warrants were served today upon the residence of the "suicide bomber," 21-year-old Joel Henry Hinrichs III of Colorado Springs, CO, who was a resident of the Park View Apartments on campus. Speaking strictly "off the record," the officials stated that they recovered "a significant amount" of Islamic "Jihad" type literature.

Further reports by the same officials indicated that the bomb was detonated prematurely when the suspect was either arming a bomb vest or backpack, which contained TATP, a homemade explosive. TATP (triacetone triperoxide)

The same officials, requiring anonymity as the investigation is ongoing, continued to confirm that "other un-detonated explosive devices were found in the area cordoned off by police and federal officials." Initially, information suggested that that the so-called "suicide-bomber" was attempting to attach bombs to the buses parked in the area when one of the bombs detonated prematurely. The investigation has expanded into the possibility that others might have been involved.

The man who was killed in the blast has been officially identified by authorities as Joel Henry Hinrichs III of Colorado Springs, CO., who was a student at the University. In a press conference by University President David Boren, HINRICHS was described as a student who had "emotional difficulties" and reportedly opted to take his own life "near a packed football stadium using an explosive attached to his body."

4 October 2005: It was last Saturday night when 21 year-old Joel Henry Hinrichs III, a college student at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK detonated a large bomb outside of a packed football stadium in America's heartland. The bomb was so large that it could be heard up to four miles away and shattered windows in the George L. Cross building located about 100 yards from the blast.

This blast was undoubtedly one of the largest "silent bombings" in America, and except for media centers with journalistic integrity such as WorldNetDaily and a handful of other Internet news sources, the blast might have been muffled before it could serve as yet another wake-up call to a slumbering public suffering from general malaise and terror fatigue.

5 October 2005: According to confidential sources close to the University of Oklahoma bombing probe, HINRICHS was just one of several others involved in a much larger, much more sinister and pre-planned terrorist plot in the war of Islamic terrorists versus the West in a bombing plot designed to kill innocent Americans, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the details of the investigation but speaking on the condition of anonymity.

In a story that received virtually no media attention since the Saturday "lone suicide bombing" at the O.U. football stadium packed with 84,000 fans, details are emerging that a larger-scale Islamic terrorist operation was to revisit America's heartland for the second time in a decade.

The explosion that killed 21 year-old O.U. student Joel Henry HINRICHS III was to be much larger and was part of a much more deadly planned attack targeting the fans in the packed stadium. In the style reminiscent of the blast at the Murrah building that killed 171 people on 19 April 1995, it was also confirmed that HINRICHS attempted to purchase a large quantity of the fertilizer ammonium nitrate, the very same compound that was used in the Ryder truck bomb just miles from where the Murrah building once stood, and a favorite bomb component used by Middle Eastern terrorists.

"Thankfully, more than a few things went wrong, but the failed plan left HINRICHS holding the bag in the end, literally," added this source. "Otherwise, we could have had a bombing on the scale of Oklahoma City in 1995 of lives lost."

7 October 2005: Found among the items removed from the Park View apartment shared by Joel Henry HINRICHS and Fazal CHEEMA was at least one ticket to the country of Algeria scheduled for a date subsequent to the University bombing. Also found were a variety of explosive materials and other items that would facilitate this and perhaps other terrorist operations.

When HINRICHS walked into the feed store two days prior to the bombing, he was intent on purchasing a large amount of ammonium nitrate, the same component used in the 1995 Murrah Building blast. The attempted fertilizer purchase, travel plans, bomb components, and other items - some found and others yet undiscovered - represent the antithesis of "economic reality" of a financially challenged 21 year-old sometime college student. Regardless of his placement in life, HINRICHS was being provided the money and means to accomplish much larger objectives than what took place last Saturday night.

Excerpt: "Norman Police have confirmed that Hinrichs was briefly investigated days before the bombing when he tried to purchase ammonium nitrate fertilizer from Ellison’s Feed and Seed. Ammonium nitrate is the same chemical used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 people(and 3 unborn children)."

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