April 19th, 2010
08:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Keating: Anti-government mood part of a long American tradition

'As long as you say, I'm angry, but I’m not violent, that’s okay, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said Monday on CNN.

'As long as you say, I'm angry, but I’m not violent, that’s okay, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said Monday on CNN.

Washington (CNN) – On the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the man who was the governor of Oklahoma at that time said there is a big difference between violent extremists and more moderate citizens speaking out about their criticisms of Washington.

“The reality is we have had, unfortunately, a lot of violent acts by extreme individuals and groups,” Frank Keating, a Republican, said Monday on CNN’s John King, USA, “but I think to have a group of individuals – largely reasonably well-educated, upscale economically – who have had enough of taxes and are protesting and are angry – that’s really quintessentially America. I mean that’s something from the Boston tea party forward.

“As long as you say, ‘I’m angry, but I’m not violent,’ that’s okay. If you’re angry and you’re violent, then you’re a problem, law enforcement is interested in you and that is not American.”

Keating put Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for his role in the crime, in a long line of violent, anti-government extremists including John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth, all of whom Keating called “isolated, dangerous individuals.”

Keating, a former U.S. attorney, said that in blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, McVeigh had crossed the line between voicing frustration with government and violence. And Keating suggested that McVeigh’s actions were not logical.

“He hated the ATF. He didn’t touch an ATF agent,” Keating told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “He hated the FBI. The FBI wasn’t even in this building. He killed 19 babies. He killed people standing in line to get their Social Security checks. He killed people who had nothing to do with his beef.”

Keating added that McVeigh committed “an evil, wicked, outrageous act.”

The former Republican governor said the he thought proper civic education was the way to prevent violent extremism while still encouraging political engagement and debate.

“What’s important is for schools to teach civic responsibility – sharing, debate, but not crossing the line,” Keating also told King.

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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Seattle Sue

    What a loser!

    April 19, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  2. Mike

    Tea Party: Another example of trying to romanticize a movement using past historical movement of revolution. Weren't these the same people that voted former President Bush in office who approved the spending of so much money on "pork barrell" projects? I will say this, they are fun(ny) to watch. The blind leading the blind supported with a hand gesture from the political masterminds of conservatism.

    April 19, 2010 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  3. Blue IN

    Call me old fashioned, but I reckon that flying a prop plane into an IRS building is being angry and violent. Am I on crazy pills? Does anyone recall that kamakaze flight outside of Austin a few months ago? What a stupid comment by a man that held such a high appointment: "As long as you say, 'I'm angry, but I'm not violent,' that's okay." I got a newsflash for you Matlock, you're not violent until you do something violent. And when it happens it's too late and maybe instead of trying to toe the line with the self serving teabagging crowd, maybe, on this solemn anniversary, you should express a little disdain for the near seditious rhetoric that is spewing from your party's pseudo-intellectuals. You are so weak!

    April 20, 2010 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  4. Michael from Ventura

    Once again the ex-Governor fails to see the forest for the trees. The Baggers I've met aren't anything like the ones he described. In a State and City that was devastated by a terrorist, you'd think people would be wary of these people. I was born in OKC and have family there...this is not amuzing.

    April 20, 2010 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Keating may understand the "anger" of these people but let's put this into it's true perspective- they hate.
    Taxes are actually down for 90% of Americans. These "angry" people complain about Obamacare until they are asked about specific aspects, then they approve it by 70-80%. Most don't realize that Medicare is a federal program of healthcare but they approve of it.
    What they are truly "angry" about is Obama, our Black President, being in office and a Democratic Congress. This is hate, not anger.

    April 20, 2010 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  6. Albert R. Killackey, Esq.

    There is a big difference between anger and hate, nevertheless it is best to leave them both at home! When in public bring your passion and reason. These are not "reasonably well-educated, upscale economically" people. Look close, these are hard working people who sometimes express hate, anger, fear, and are being led-on by a corporate backer who misleads what the real Boston Tea Party was about. These people need to read the history and learn that those three ships in Boston harbor belonged to a global corporation and the tea was corporate cargo which hurt the little tea shops in Boston. The tax issue was two-prong, lowering taxes on the global corp and increasing taxes on the common people. That is what Reagan and the two Bush presidents have done. Obama is making the global corps pay higher taxes and small merchants pay less. These people need to think about how our middle-class wealth has been sponged since Reagan because of the global corporate economy taking it. Think about Wall Street deregulation (no policeing on Wall Street under Republican presidents). Think about the Republican Supreme Court 5, who just opened the door for global corporations to spend their money on who they want to hold public office in our county. Think about who the Republican leaders really are, they are opposing Wall Street reform, WHY? $$$$$$$$$ in their pockets, not yours! Think about the American farmers who fired the shot herd round the world and how today just a handful of global corporations control our nations food supply (again, Reagan deregulation). Think about what nations have had universal health care for decades and have been building the tallest buildings and fastest trains since Reagan's deregulation of Wall Street, NOT America!.These people need to read and reason for themselves and stop being told what to believe by the Tea Party corporate backers.

    April 20, 2010 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  7. Ryan

    Anti-government is a ridiculous title for ANARCHISTS...which are they same people who brought you such great ideas like Domestic terrorism.

    If you have a problem with the U.S. Government that you can't resolve through voting then move! Move to your dream country that has no government...like Somalia, Mexico, or Nigeria or Haiti...look at the wonderful life those people live there, are you jealous enough to go? Please? Soon?

    April 20, 2010 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    Teach civic responsibility in schools? Well, sure–but since a lot of pupils learn almost nothing in school today, how will that help?
    The students who study already know the involved concepts and laws: you can say anything you please to another person, but you can't assault (or kill) him.

    April 20, 2010 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
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