Skip to comments.Student's death brings out theories, fears (Norman bomber-spin alert)
Posted on 10/09/2005 11:22:54 AM PDT by JustaCowgirl
NORMAN - University of Oklahoma officials, the Muslim community, students and others are waiting for the FBI to connect the dots in last week's public suicide of an OU student.
Joel Henry Hinrichs III, 21, was killed Oct. 1 in an explosion that officials say he caused not far from a packed Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
But the dots cannot be connected, at least at this point, said Stephen Sloan, a former University of Oklahoma professor who is alarmed that far-right extremist groups have taken to the Internet with conspiracy theories attempting to link the actions of Hinrichs to the Muslim community of Norman and to the Middle East.
The FBI has provided little information about its investigation but said last week that there is no known link between Hinrichs and terrorist or extremist organizations. But questions linger as to Hinrichs' intent before he died in an explosion while sitting on a park bench in front of the George Lynn Cross microbiology building about 100 yards west of the stadium.
"No doubt there are a lot of questions to be answered," Sloan said. "But it is unfortunately logical to think that he was trying to get into the stadium."
The terrorism expert said the size of the explosion indicates that it was designed to hit more than Hinrichs. He said it seems more than coincidence that this occurred on the Saturday night of a football game.
A student, Adam Smith, related last week that he learned from a ticket taker at Gate 6 on the north side of the football field that a young man had tried to gain entrance. The ticket taker wanted to examine the man's backpack, which prompted the man to sprint away, Smith said he was told.
The FBI reportedly has confirmed that its review of surveillance cameras in the stadium did not reveal that Hinrichs tried to gain entrance. However, OU President David Boren declined at midweek to say whether cameras are mounted at all entrances.
The FBI has kept mum about the explosive that Hinrichs used and declined to comment on reports that large amounts of explosives were in his apartment.
The explosion that killed Hinrichs also burned a large area around the bench. If the explosion had occurred inside the stadium, it could have killed fans, prompting the question of whether that was Hinrichs' intent all along.
A suicide note apparently has not been found. Hinrichs' father, who had conversations with the FBI, told The Associated Press that his son did not leave a suicide note.
Joel Hinrichs Jr. told the Tulsa World that he knew his son was troubled, but he had no idea he wanted to die.
"I would have been there within whatever the speed limit would allow me to be if I had any inclination that he was this unhappy," the father said from his family's home in Colorado Springs the day after the explosion.
It remains unanswered as to whether Hinrichs could have concocted the explosive device on his own, although there are no indications he acted with others.
Those who knew of him -- from his high school teacher in Colorado Springs to fellow engineering students at OU -- said he was typically a loner who sat by himself in the classroom. He was among the National Merit Scholars whom Boren has attracted to the OU campus.
His father told the Colorado Springs Gazette that at an early age, Hinrichs was fascinated with science. At the time of his death, he was a third-year engineering student at OU.
Boren has said it appears this is an "individual suicide," noting that Hinrichs waited until people were inside the stadium before he took his life.
University officials say they have no record of Hinrichs having a season ticket or purchasing one for the OU-Kansas State game.
OU Vice President of Communications Catherine Bishop added, however, that the university has no way of knowing whether Hinrichs could have purchased a ticket from someone outside the stadium, where many people typ ically sell tickets on game day.
Sloan said the public should note the fact that if Hinrichs did try to get into the stadium, he was stopped.
"If Hinrichs was turned away, that is a positive mark in terms of security awareness," he said.
While Hinrichs' individual actions are still being probed, the Islamic community of Norman is on edge, fearful that this troubling event is somehow linked to Muslims.
"Haven't we learned from the bombing of the Murrah Building (in 1995) in Oklahoma City, when the first reports tried to tie the bombing to a foreigner from the Middle East?" Sloan said. "But that proved to be false.
"It is much too early to render a full judgment," said Sloan, who regrets that some people already are convinced this is a conspiracy.
Hinrichs lived at Parkview Apartments, just a few blocks from the mosque of the Islamic Society of Norman. Also fueling the link to some kind of Middle East terrorism is the fact that Hinrichs' roommate, Fazil Cheema, is from Pakistan. Acquaintances of Cheema's say he is not a practicing Muslim and never attends services at the mosque.
Muslims who attend the mosque also say they are not aware that Hinrichs ever set foot in the mosque.
The quest for the truth, however, has been hindered by the fact that Cheema himself has not made himself available to the media since the incident occurred. He has left the apartment where he lived with Hinrichs, although he is still believed to be in Norman.
Acquaintances say that Hinrichs and his roommate have in common the fact that both could be called loners, and possibly ended up as roommates at Parkview because neither of them had other friends, so they were assigned to live together.
Tariq Alzoubi, a Muslim who has been part of the Islamic community in Norman for several years, said when he found out that the individual who died was white and not Middle Eastern, "I was not happy, but I was relieved. Then the issue came up that his roommate might be Pakistani."
Originally from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Alzoubi said Muslims have been on edge when something like this happens ever since Sept. 11, 2001.
"Before 9-11, I knew 30 Saudi students at OU; all but two of them left," he said.
"My only concern in all of this is that we stay away from collective punishment for something bad that happened here," he said.
Mick Hinton (405) 528-2465 email@example.com
LOL..Told you I could connect him to George Soros...google search: Lots of political contributions to DEMS on that link as well. Go figure...(rolling eyes)
Well, they went to very great lengths to describe how much he was fascinated by explosives and ammunition. I think we are supposed to infer that his fascination simply led to his gathering and keeping explosives in his apartment. I'm not buying it.
Don't know about you... I saw the video of the bus driver who said it was three minutes before halftime when he had just walked past him and there was the explosion. He said he had a brand new bus and at first he thought the rear of the bus was on fire or something, so he walked back... you know the rest.
10-4, that's good work. Clumsy cover-ups are harder to accomplish due to good work done by folks like FReepers. Lots of resources here, excellent.
Interested folks should always carry a camera in their cars, maybe two, a video and a digital still camera. Extra media sticks for each in case of confiscation, not paranoia here, this is today's world, believe me.
I went into PI work after retirement, this is NOT rocket science, just good ol' gumshoe stuff combined with a little technology. It's so great to be able to download camera shots to a hard drive or CD, make several copies, file them away for safe keeping. Compact and easy to file and review, wonderful technology these days.
I was first on a small twin-engine plane crash in a ranch, couldn't do anything for the pilot, it was in full bloom. Others arrived, as plane melted down a large mound of small bales of MJ appeared. I was the ONLY one taking photos (35mm film camera--70s). My photos verified who was there and what they were doing; there were wild rumors of "weapons". Photos showed that what people were seeing were not weapons but deformed and half-melted airframe parts, looked strange though.
Small pocket spiral-bound notebooks for notating details, details, details; time, date, weather, etc., etc. So many folks have camera phones, learn how to use them, know what they will do and not do. Simple stuff really but who knows in today's climate of terrorism what might be prevented?
"I don't know that we know for sure that there was a slip of the tongue"
Guess I should have put quotes around "deemed," because I don't believe it was an error, either.
"It has one of the roofs that was not metal on the outside but kind of a leather like material -- I cannot think what they are called."
Landau top, carriage roof or vinyl top, depending on how elaborate it is, and what part of the country you're from, lol. Those old, square Lincoln Town Cars often have the half-vinyl roof with coach lights on the pillars, meant to look like the old limos from the 30s that had an open passenger compartment and an enclosed driver compartment. Very baroque.
"I think we are supposed to infer that his fascination simply led to his gathering and keeping explosives in his apartment."
And that it was Hinrichs alone, not involving Cheema.
Great job, penelopesire. Wouldn't you know.
See Post #96 -- report on video surveillance cameras.
And all along I thought FR stood for Free Republic instead of Far Right. Silly me. ;-)
To the MSM, anybody to the right of Michael Moore is a "far-right extremist".
Great report PhiKapMom. Couldn't you just guess that OU authorities would put out the info that Hinrichs wasn't seen on any video surveillance cameras. Duh, maybe they just forgot to mention that there weren't any video surveillance cameras.
Wow, what a brilliant statement.
The trouble with these "experts" is that they think everyone else is just plain stupid.
Only old ones I saw were pointed toward the back of the ticket booths so technically they could say they had them -- just didn't point them toward the gates!
Just for laughs..I found the profs pic..(similar to Jihad Joey)..scroll down on the page. I would post it here(for laughs)..but have not figured out how to post pics here yet.
The lies continue.....!
"Only old ones I saw were pointed toward the back of the ticket booths so technically they could say they had them -- just didn't point them toward the gates!"
Well, I don't mean to put a chill on your excellent efforts, but if those cameras are operational, you're known now. I'm pretty certain FR has been monitored by quite a few people in Norman; students, faculty, administration and law enforcement. As an example, the Norman PD seemed to issue a new press release within hours, with new spin, every time anyone questioned the behavior of that officer at Ellison Feed & Seed. This happened three times.
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