Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 1995. “American Terrorism and the Sociological Imagination in 1995: A Sociologist’s Commentary.” Formal comments presented to my Monday evening Introductory Sociology course at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, April 24.


Copyright 1995 Michael R. Hill


On Wednesday morning, April 19, 1995, a rented truck parked purposefully near the entrance to the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, exploded with extreme force, killing and wounding hundreds of people, including dozens of youngsters in a day care facility. The lethal explosion directly challenged the sovereignty and legitimacy of the United States government. The nation, our television sets reported, was in shock. How could such a terrible event occur in the United States? The television images, so much like frozen frames from a fantastic made-for-TV action-adventure movie, challenged our sensibilities and stung the national consciousness.