Oklahoma City and Ruby Ridge get fresh air dates and free streaming window after Charlottesville violence
President Trump may have have equivocated on the motives of some nativist, racist and neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville, Virginia, but there can be no doubt about the destructive capacity of hate-filled right-wing groups. A man linked to the "Unite the Right" march allegedly drove a vehicle into a crowd of counter-demonstrators on Sunday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring more than a dozen others. Members of the white supremacist and white militia groups -- under the banner of swastikas and Confederate flags -- clashed with counter-protesters in separate incidents leaving many more injured.
Charlottesville was only the latest display of the toxic power of white grievance. In 1995, Timothy McVeigh -- who closely identified with the white militia movement -- and his confederate Terry Nichols conspired to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.
"In light of recent events," PBS announced -- tacitly recognizing the connection between strains of white extremism -- it will re-air the documentary Oklahoma City by Barak Goodman, a film that explores the bombing and what motivated the perpetrators of the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism.
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, a former soldier deeply influenced by the literature and ideas of the radical right, set off a truck bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people and injuring 675 others.
The encore broadcast of Oklahoma City is scheduled for August 24. That same day the film will become available for free streaming for a period of two weeks.
On August 24, PBS will re-air a related documentary, Ruby Ridge, also directed by Goodman that focuses on the infamous 1992 standoff between U.S. Marshals and the family of Randy Weaver in a remote section of Idaho. Gun battles there would leave a marshal dead, as well as Weaver's wife and 14-year-old son.
"As a companion to OKLAHOMA CITY, RUBY RIDGE is a riveting, moment-by-moment account of the deadly events that helped give rise to the modern militia movement...," PBS announced in a press release provided to Nonfictionfilm.com. Ruby Ridge will get a free two-week streaming window as well, beginning August 24.
McVeigh's anti-government crusade was spurred by outrage over the Rudy Ridge incident and the government's fatal raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993.
If President Trump isn't too busy dismissing additional members of his staff, he may find it well worth his time to watch these documentaries that demonstrate the degree to which white resentment and fear of losing cultural and political hegemony can produce cataclysmic events.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.