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Posted: 12/22/2001 9:46:09 AM EDT
Thoughts on this one folks. Do you think they have a right to be? Oklahoma City bombing victims say they're ignored By JENNIFER L. BROWN Associated Press Writer OKLAHOMA CITY - Some of those who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing are feeling slighted by the federal government over its decision to dispense an average of $1.65 million apiece to the families of the Sept. 11 dead. OKLAHOMA CITY - Some of those who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing are feeling slighted by the federal government over its decision to dispense an average of $1.65 million apiece to the families of the Sept. 11 dead. No such federal fund was ever set up for the Oklahoma City victims. "I don't want to do a hierarchy on terrorism here, but that's kind of minimizing what happened to the people of Oklahoma City," said Marsha Kight, whose daughter Frankie Merrell was killed in the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and wounded more than 500. "The individual loss was just as great for us." More than 3,000 people were killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon and in the plane crash in Pennsylvania. Generally, survivors will get a minimum of $300,000, with the exact amounts depending on such things as the victim's earning potential and pain and suffering. The money will be in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations that are being distributed to those who suffered in the Sept. 11 attacks. The government fund was set up in September as part of a $15 billion airline bailout package. Those who want to receive money have to agree not to sue the airlines over the terrorist attacks.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 9:47:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/22/2001 9:39:30 AM EDT by Gopher]
Spokesmen for Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer of New York, who pushed the bill, did not return calls seeking comment on why Oklahoma City victims were not included, as some families say should have been done. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building, the government paid out death or disability benefits to federal employees or their families. The amounts depended on the employees' insurance coverage. Dan McKinney, whose wife was a federal employee, estimated spouses received $100,000 on average. "Some people may have gotten rich off of it, but none that I know of," he said. And cafeteria employees, parents of children killed in the day care center and those who died while visiting the building did not receive federal benefits. Other federal aid given to the state for the victims totaled only about $75,000, said Suzanne Breedlove, director of victims' services for the district attorney's office. Oklahoma City collected about $35 million in charitable donations, mostly to the Red Cross, Breedlove said. Victims had to prove loss of income or other reasons for assistance. Much of the money was used for mental health counseling and surgery. Jannie Coverdale, whose two grandsons were killed in the day care center, said she has always felt the government treated bombing victims unfairly. "They never offered us anything," she said. "Since we're stuck here in Oklahoma, our state representatives haven't done anything to help us." Before the attacks, in 2000, Congress passed a law that helps compensate American families who lost loved ones in terrorist attacks in other countries. The law makes it easier for victims to claim damages from the frozen assets of countries suspected of supporting terrorism. The law retroactively covers the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa and the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Oklahoma City bombing is not covered because it took place in the United States. Martin Cash, who lost an eye in the 1995 blast, said the law should not treat one terrorist attack differently from another. "A lot of us were a little bit miffed that we were excluded because they are making a distinction between homegrown terrorists and foreign terrorists," he said. "There are a lot of people who could use it. It's still mass murder, or attempted murder for those of us who made it through." On Thursday, Congress did agree to waive some income taxes and provide other tax relief to families of the Sept. 11 victims as well as the Oklahoma City victims. Kight, who now helps Sept. 11 victims through the National Organization for Victim Assistance in Washington, said she is pleased that they are receiving so much help, but wishes the Oklahoma City families had gotten more attention. "Our concerns were minimized," she said. "A lot more is being done now because there are more people and many more voices." Sorry for the length, didnt know it would run that long.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:08:17 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Although I live in Oklahoma City I was not a victim of the attack and further I would not pretend to speak for the victims. However on a purely personal basis I view the OKC attack and the 9/11 attack very differently. The OKC attack was carried of by a homegrown American. The 9/11 attacks were done by a foreign entity. Maybe not a country or state in the traditional sense of the word but an organized foreign entity bent on destroying the whole of America - not just a sick statement against the government as was the case in Oklahoma City. Bluntly I see the 9/11 victims receiving aid far more readily than I do those in Oklahoma City. The very fact that the Federal Government stepped in and offered payment was, I believe, a recognition that America had been attacked by a foreign power. Oklahoma should take care of its' own.
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Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:10:27 AM EDT
I'm not sure I would throw money at either group. How much did victims's families of the '93 WTC bombing receive? Same faction was responsible in both cases. Eddie
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:17:03 AM EDT
Just to give another opinion: I believe that the victim's of the Oklahoma City bombing are in their right to be frustrated. Regardless of who the attackers were (although a valid point), the families in both instances lost loved ones much in the same manner. Beyond emotional ties, the fact remains that both the Oklahoma Federal building and the New York Twin towers were places of business. Thus in both instances, many families lost the primary bread winners of ther households. Thus the economic impact, which is assumedly what the aid packages are aiming to alleviate, is the same in both instances. As such, it is arguable that the wider media coverage of the New York incident is what prompted the public to donate more to the relief fund. However, I believe that in light of the volume of donations recieved, it would be prudent fot the various charities to divert some of the funds to the Oklahoma victims as well. Where there may not have been enough funds to got to them before, the situation seems to be clearly different now. I'm sure that the people, including myself, who donated to the September 11th fund would see such action as appropriate. I for one gave to the Red Cross in hopes of aiding all American victims of terrorism, regardless of their place of residence.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:29:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By LS1Eddie: I'm not sure I would throw money at either group. How much did victims's families of the '93 WTC bombing receive? Same faction was responsible in both cases. Eddie
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Well now there you go using logic to ask logical questions about Fed's Gov. Try this cop-out. For the 9/11 folks the Fed money is already a done-deal. The "Jeanie" she be already out of the bottle. Now if the 9/11 folks are to be compensated and they are, the Fed's Gov should retroactively compensate the 93 WTC victims. As you point out. Same bunch. Oklahoma should take care of its' own. (LS1Eddie, we don't start with a clean slate. Had the 9/11 committment to compensate not have been already made I would favor each state, city and community taking care of its' own.)
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:39:10 AM EDT
Let me put on my Clinton mask, and say "Yes and no." First off, my take on this is that it is not funding to aid or assist the victims of the terrorist acts. Rather, it is "protection money" being paid by the government to citizens to prevent them from suing the airlines. Since there was no "Ryder Truck bailout" plan for Oklahoma, this would explain why there was no corresponding payout to them. Given that the government seems to be advertising this payout as aid to victims of terrorist acts, then I think the OKs are justified in feeling slighted. Frankly, I can't say that I think the airlines did anything wrong. As far as I know, the boxcutters used in the hijackings were probably "legal" as far as carry-on objects go at that time. No illegal guns or serrated knives or knives with blades over 4" were used. The pilots were legally prohibited from carrying weapons. In all of recent US aviation history, these security regulations have been deemed satisfactory. You never heard of pilots lobbying for being allowed to carry weapons, or for cockpit-door reinforcement or sky marshals before Sept 11. Hijackings and terrorist acts were things that we watched on TV, not something we experienced in our country. Of course, that has all changed now, but it is unreasonable to judge based on this knowledge. Hindsight it always 20/20. If you asked passengers if they would pay an extra $100 - $300 per ticket to pay for an armed marshal on their flight, they'd laugh in your face. Every day you see evidence of a shift in mentality in America from self-reliance back in the frontier days to todays of "Who can I sue to make my millions?" Things like the Daisy BB gun lawsuit, the suits against gun manufacturers, and lawsuits over just about everything else are constant examples of this mentality. Some people feel that they are "owned" money, and are evidently right, as shown by the trial outcomes. Well, I think I've met all the qualifications for rambling here, but I just read about the OK issue this morning in the paper, and it really hit me wrong. This is why people have insurance - to take care of their families after they are gone. If the insurance companies start excepting acts of terrorism from their policies, then this issue should probably be revisited, but I certainly feel it is wrong for individuals to become wealthy (remember, $1.65 million is the *average*) because of a loved one's death. Heck, the article even mentioned that the amount would be based on the victim's "pain and suffering." Does that mean that if I worked on the 70th floor my wife would receive more money than if I worked on the ground floor? At any rate, while a terrible act in our history, and a striking loss of human life, I don't feel that it is the place of the government to make this sort of payout. Sure, aid to help affected families get back on their feet, get a roof over their head, etc., but not something of this magnitude.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:48:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 50cali: ...... I for one gave to the Red Cross in hopes of aiding all American victims of terrorism, regardless of their place of residence.
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50cali., first I'm believing since you gave with a "good heart" you'll have that point-for-decency entered into that "large-clustered-server-network-in-the-sky." But just a line or two about the Red Cross I know and hate - yes hate, the Red Cross probably more than the terrorists and certainly longer. In WWII the Red Cross "SOLD" donuts, coffee and cigarettes to GI's pulling back for a few days rest from the front line. The Red Cross "dollies" also sold themselves but only to officers. When I was in the Navy we were forced, forced to contribute to the Red Cross every year 100% contributions - no exceptions. (Extortion is a part of the Red Cross' bag of weapons.) Had it not been for Fox News and O'Reilly the Red Cross would have successfully diverted probably two-thirds of the monies donated for the 9/11 victims. My apologies for the rant but these are truly sorry people.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 10:53:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By bjg: ... it is "protection money" being paid by the government to citizens to prevent them from suing the airlines.
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No question that you are accurate here.
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 11:08:25 AM EDT
Private donation money: Fine, but not federal money. The families of the dead police officers will get 200K from the feds anyway, but I'm not sure about the firefighters. The way I see it, if the feds are going to start giving away big taxpayer bucks, then they can start right here with me, or they can tell me not to worry about paying taxes for about 20 years. Jay Arizona
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 11:13:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 5subslr5:
Originally Posted By bjg: ... it is "protection money" being paid by the government to citizens to prevent them from suing the airlines.
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No question that you are accurate here.
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Someone not involved is going to sue the airlines because the government is paying off victims's families to not sue the airlines, which will result in higher taxes for those not involved. We can start an ar15.com class action suit. (you think I'm kidding don't you) Jay Arizona
Link Posted: 12/22/2001 11:20:04 AM EDT
People die all the time from terrible causes. This time it just happened to be on a large scale. Why are these people somehow entitled to tax-funded compensation when no one else is? Let's be real. By the government's own admission, the people who are going to get the most compensation are families of high-income workers. The problem with this is, if I am 35 years old, father of two, make $250,000 a year working for a brokerage or whatever, I probably have a multi-million dollar life insurance policy. And now the government is going to give this guy's family 2 to 3 million dollars as well. *Screw that!* Hate to sound like a welfare-state liberal, but this is one case where the only people who should be helped financially by the government are the people who really need it. The families of low income workers who maybe get $5000 from insurance to cover burial are the ones who are going to be in trouble, not some yuppie widow with a few hundred grand in the bank driving a Cadilac Escalade. I don't see why the government has to guarantee that rich victims' families can keep living at their accustomed level of luxury. There's probably a good argument to be made for giving NO ONE any "government" funds, but I'll leave that to someone else to make. I just don't see the difference in the "pain, suffering and hardship" department between having a loved one snuffed out in a massive terrorist attack or hit by a reckless driver. Not one that justifies one getting $3.5 million from the nanny state and the other nothing anyway.
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