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Saturday, October 08, 2005

DEAR PRESIDENT BOREN: What Did You Know About Joel Henry Hinrichs and When Did You Know It?

Your recent letter to the news media and others regarding the Oct. 1 death of Joel Henry Hinrichs on your campus contained an admonition to not judge people or their actions "on the basis of color, race, gender, economic status or freely exercised religious beliefs. To rush to judge others or make assumptions about them on that basis is nothing short of prejudice."

Let's put aside for the moment the fact that you appear to be assuming that you know the assumptions underlying the reporting and analyses of at least some of the journalists and citizen journalists who have covered the Hinrichs bombing.

Let's focus solely on established facts:

1. More than 30,000 people commit suicide in America annually, according to the National Institute for Mental Health. Not one of those unfortunates who died in 2004 blew themselves up in a public place using a bomb that included the ingredient known among Middle East terrorists as "Mother of Satan," as did Hinrichs just outside of the OU-Kansas State football game with more than 80,000 fans.

In fact, I am unable to find such a suicide by any individual in America ever. "Mother of Satan" was also used by confirmed Muslim terrorist Richard Reid, the so-called "Shoe Bomber" who attempted to blow up a commercial airliner.

2. Hinrichs attempted to buy a quantity of ammonium nitrate fertilizer two days before he died. Ammonium nitrate, of course, was a key ingredient in the destruction of the Murrah Buiding and in other terrorist attacks elsewhere.

3. Additional bomb-making materials were found in the apartment Hinrichs shared with his Pakistani roomate and three or four other individuals described by neighbors as being from Middle East countries.

4. Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi described in a May 30, 2005, letter to Osama Bin Laden a planned series of "spectacular attacks" on U.S. soil timed to coincide with Ramadan, holiest of Muslim holidays. Ramadan coincides with the month of October on the U.S. calendar.

5. The U.S. Department of Justice was granted its request by a federal court to seal the search warrant used by authorities to gain access to Hinrichs' apartment. That search warrant described what authorities expected to find and why they believed they had good cause to find it.

These five statements of fact have been independently confirmed by multiple sources and do not depend in any way upon assumptions about Hinrich's religious or political views.

Now, it was only a few hours after Hinrichs died that you issued a statement declaring that he acted alone, was a troubled young man and intended only to kill himself. Then the FBI said it could find no evidence linking Hinrichs' to terrorist organizations or activities.

I believe the single most striking fact about this tragic event is the short amount of time that elapsed between the detonation of the bomb that killed Hinrichs and your statement that he acted alone, was a troubled young man and intended only to kill himself.

In making that statement, you ask Oklahomans and indeed all Americans to assume that you relied upon concrete and persuasive evidence in reaching your announced conclusion. It seems remarkable that such evidence could be so quickly available to you.

In view of the established facts that strongly suggest a contrary conclusion about the circumstances that led to Hinrichs' death, it is incumbent upon you to now make public the evidence upon which you ask the rest of us to trust your judgement in a matter of life and death, and perhaps of national survival.

The sooner you make this evidence public, the sooner we can all move forward on the basis of established fact rather than blind trust in your judgement.