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As rescue efforts officially end, recovery begins as blurry-eyed workers sweep up the remaining shards of broken glass off the sidewalks of Oklahoma City. The nation's heart directs itself to self-reflection in hopes of making sense of this blotch upon the pages of our shared political history. How could we have let such evil slip into our midst unnoticed, an evil disguised as respectable folk - even draped in the American flag at times?

There has been much talk of distrust and fear of government by many individuals and groups. The most radical of these "patriots" even prepare for the day when there will be no government, when they can finally "disunite" what has existed for over two centuries. Where did this supposedly "patriotic" notion that all government is bad get started? Proponents of these anarchistic leanings claim kinship to the thoughts and writings of the framers of the Constitution. They couldn't be more mistaken.Oklahoma City exposes a dark reality for all Americans, revealing the consequences of ambition, self-interest, hatred, distrust and fear within society that the framers of our Constitution were attempting to control as they created our government.

"Government by the governed" placed full responsibility for government on the shoulders of those who created it, benefited from it and supported it.

As the investigation continues and justice moves steadily forward, only those who were crazy enough to actually commit the act will be apprehended and tried. That is the way of justice. But there are many more who must answer for what happened. The rhetoric of fear and hatred divides and fragments the unity of our diverse population and provides the fertile soil for fanaticism, extremism and our own home-grown tyrants to flourish. Freedom of speech does not imply freedom from responsibility for that speech, especially speech that can destroy what we have created in these United States.

Keith Homer

Salt Lake City