tv Oklahoma CNN April 13, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
there's been an explosion downtown. >> holy cow. >> reporter: april 19th, 1995. >> we've got a critical! >> people running past us had blood all over them. i had never seen so much glass. >> domestic terrorism strikes in the heartland of america. the rescue. >> i was falling three floors. still in my chair but upside down. >> the arrest. >> he said, "my weapon is loaded." and i said, "well, so is mine." >> the emotion. >> it's as though we entered the gates of hell. >> the stories of those who lived it, in their own words.
"day of terror: remembering the oklahoma city bombing." ♪ april 19th began very beautiful. it was a very beautiful spring morning. >> the sky was kind of a turquoise blue right there at the sunrise. there was some yellows and oranges as the sun crested the horizon. >> oklahoma's news, weather, and traffic -- >> i was listening to the radio,, going through different stations, listening to different, you know, morning drive times, like i always did. >> i went to work, as i always did, and parked underneath the murrah building. i had scheduled a meeting with seven of my staff members. >> i took the kids in the day care and i parked right in front of the murrah building every morning. it was just a normal, regular
morning. >> it was just like any routine -- >> normal -- >> routine -- >> it started out as a very good day. [ explosion ] >> holy cow! about a third of the building has been blown away. >> the federal building. >> we've got a critical! >> smoke and debris and fire on the ground. this is just devastating. >> i've got three ambulances around me. there are fire crews. it looks like a war zone down here. people are running from the federal courthouse, falling out of the windows. >> i was the first reporter on the scene at the oklahoma city bombing. >> i have just seen a man walking out of the building. he has blood on his head to toes. there is glass covering --
>> at 9:02, i was right here at the stoplight at fourth and harvey when the bombing occurred. and about 30 seconds after the bombing occurred i was on the air and started reporting. >> i was just at the stoplight when all of a sudden i heard a large boom and the ground literally moved beneath me. >> the roof has collapsed. we've got a lot of people here. >> it is an amazing sight. it's as if somebody came and sheared off an entire half of the building. in the parking lot, the cars are damaged and they are smoking. we are seeing injured people everywhere. literally dozens of people that are bleeding. some of them, you can't even make them out. >> i felt and heard just a tremendous roaring noise in my head, and everything went black. i could hear people screaming, and i heard my own self screaming, and i was screaming out, "jesus, help me."
i thought maybe i had been shot in the back of the head was the first thing i thought. maybe i'd been shot in the back of the head and that i was falling to the floor. and actually, i was falling three floors. and it was hot and dark. i couldn't see anything. i was actually still in my chair but upside down. and i laid there trying to figure out whether i was dead or alive. >> i remember turning around and kind of leaning back in my chair, and i literally was -- all of a sudden just started to see the whole building blow up right in front of my eyes. then all these girls, in just literally seconds, were just gone. and my desk was just sitting at an angle, ready to topple over into the hole where all those girls had fallen.
>> there's about three more coming. there's a report of about 22 over here in this building. >> ambulance crews are working as fast and furious as they can, trying to get to these people and put them on stretchers and get them to the hospital. everywhere you look, the building has been destroyed. it is really a chaotic situation. many people are running around trying to find friends, coworkers. >> you can't go beyond the yellow tape. >> i don't care. >> i'm sorry. >> right there. >> you were on the first floor? >> fifth floor. >> fifth floor. what happened? >> you went under a table? >> yeah. i went under a table when the ceiling started to fall in. >> i don't know how long after the rumbling stopped and the things stopped falling when i looked around, i could see the sky. i could see across the street where before there were walls on all four sides of me and now on three sides of me there were no walls.
i was standing, looking out the south side of the building and somebody tapped me on the shoulder, and it was mark mulman, the fireman, and he said, "we're here to take you down." thank god for mark, because he talked me down that ladder every step of the way. >> my mom's in there. >> get them back! >> somewhere around 10:20 to 10:30 is when i heard loud screams coming from outside of the building. i went to the rear wall and looked out the window, and i could see the rescue efforts that had been taking place down there were now ceased and everyone was running from the building. >> we have a live picture right now. we are told there may be another explosion in the area right now. we don't know exactly what is happening. this is a live picture, people
running to the north. >> the call was made to evacuate the building. we've got what's believed to be an explosive device that one of our crews has found in the building. and i could see mark michalek, who i had been talking to on the radio, one of the acts i work with in the office, and i said mark, what's going on? and mark said, hey, they think they found another bomb, they think it's going to go off, and try to find something sturdy to hang on to. now, i will remember those words for the rest of my life. >> they're asking everybody to move, please. >> the explosive device that our crews found was a training device one of the law enforcement agencies used. it wasn't an active device. >> authorities in this building behind me are coming across more bodies. >> one of emotions i had to deal with was rage, anger. as i sought to be a journalist dispassionately covering a very emotional story.
>> for now, that's the latest from this tragic site. >> we have emergency workers walking around scratching their heads, saying they couldn't even estimate the number of victims they saw. >> the ambulance would pull up, and multiple victims would pour out. adults, a couple of children. cars would pull up and unload victims and we would say, did you know him or her? they said, no, we just wanted to help. >> st. anthony's hospital has put out a call for trained medical help who could come in and help with the deluge of patients who arrived in the wake of this explosion. >> there was a sense that the first victims were probably those outside of the building and that the next ones to come would be the badly injured who were in the building and it would take some time to reach them. >> stretcher! >> and i remember that sense of despair when it became more and more clear that there wouldn't be a second wave. there weren't going to be many lives to save and that we probably lost a lot of people.
>> i mean, i was parked in that spot 30 minutes before the bomb went off. >> coming up, the young victims. >> my kids hadn't been at daycare for half an hour, and they were dead. mine was earned in djibouti, africa, 2004. the battle of bataan, 1942. [ all ] fort benning, georgia, in 1999. [ male announcer ] usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans, and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto-insurance quote.
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>> every block i ran, i was like, please, be this building. i didn't want to keep running and not see anything horrible, you know, until i got to the murrah building, but that's what happened. ♪ >> that's when my heart died. edye crumbled to her knees crying, "my babies, my babies." and it's as though we entered the gates of hell. >> come back to me as fast as you can. >> the days of chase and colton's funeral, a rescue worker came up to me.
>> when i arrived, the boy had a pulse. it was very weak. >> he dug through some rubble and found my son, colton. >> i love you. >> he said he held him for a while until he died. >> there was a daycare center in the building. that daycare center would have been devastated. >> the employees were very happy about having their kids on site there where they could feel more comfortable about where they were. >> i felt that p.j. was alive. when i made it to children's hospital, they said oh, he's been screaming and calling you. he had cuts and lacerations about his head. he had second and third degree burns over the upper 55% of his body. he had inhaled much of the gas from the bombing. his lungs were severely damaged. irreparable.
>> i'm so happy to go home. >> yeah. >> at the time of the bombing p.j. was 18 months. >> my name is p.j. allen. i am in the sixth grade. >> he's 11 today. >> i remember a lot of it. a long time ago i had asked why i had the thing in my neck and everybody else didn't. and that's how i figured it out. >> this is albuterol. it opens up my lungs. >> p.j.'s lungs were extremely burned. they were damaged, charred. he no longer had air pockets. so they had to perform a tracheotomy. on january the 6th, 2004 his trache came out and he was able to talk. >> the bridge can carry a maximum of about 5,000 cars. >> i don't like to be treated different than anybody else. >> i'll let you finish.
>> okay. >> and if anybody else can do it, i can do it too. >> if you are by chance watching this program knowing that you've had a young child down at the hospital and have not yet been able to locate them, try calling university hospital. >> about 10:00 or so i found there's a bombing in oklahoma city, downtown area. where i have my wife and my little boy. >> my co-worker come by and ask me, phuong, is that -- christopher your baby in that daycare in the federal building? he said oh, my god, it is. >> and i stopped by the 7-eleven on the way to downtown, and i bought some plastic bag. with the intent to pick up my son's body.
>> he is only 5 years old. but christopher nguyen is going through enough pain to last a lifetime. >> when i see the pictures of me in the hospital, in the bed, i see like a little boy covered in blood and i just, even at that 5-year-old age, to be hospitalized for something that serious, it's just depressing that there's someone out there who would do that. some people say i should feel angry about it, but i just feel a sadness because so many people died for nothing. it's just uncalled for. killing so many people for just one cause or maybe none at all. >> we mentioned to you earlier the little girl, they had not been able to connect her with her parents. we understand the little girl's name is rebecca. >> the phone rang, and it was claudia, and she said a bomb went off at the federal building, get down here right
away. >> her 3 1/2-year-old brother brandon, blue eyes, reddish-blond hair, he is still missing. >> i couldn't move because, you know, he was gone. my kids were gone. >> this is rebecca five days after the explosion. >> my left side was just all damaged. they had to do surgery on my face. i had 240 stitches in my face. >> 3-year-old brandon denny suffered serious brain injuries. >> first of all, they said he might not live. and second of all, if he does live, he will never walk or talk again. we've proved them wrong. >> good. >> he walks. he talks. he runs. through all his bad times you never saw a more positive person.
he was always smiling, always positive, even when he felt bad. >> still ahead -- buried alive. >> i started screaming out for help. and one of the men said, "i hear you. i hear you." he started yelling, "we have a live one, we have a live one." [ female announcer ] girls don't talk about pads... but they do talk about always infinity. [ marcy ] it's like memory foam. [ female announcer ] the only pad made from a revolutionary material. [ erina ] it totally fits to your body. [ female announcer ] it's incredible protection, you'll barely feel it. always infinity. tell us what you think. to help protect your eye health as you age... would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb.
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the flow of people just the flow of people just never stopped. there was always, as soon as you bandaged one person, the next one was ready. people were in there just digging and digging. and we would find a purse, and then we would find a body. i remember finding a little baby shoe. and i think at that point it was probably when it hit me the hardest. >> you look at that and you wonder how in the world would any kind of rescue worker be able to go in there and find somebody. >> you just wanted to feverishly dig, to try to find a pocket of air or pocket somewhere where there were still live people and
live babies and children. and you just didn't find it. >> my partner and i, steve and i, ran directly into the building. you try to move around the steel rebar that held the concrete together was hanging out and sticking out and protruding. it's like walking through a gauntlet of pokers, if you will. these things were -- hit you in the head, hit you in the shoulder, stick you in the side. i mean, as you try to work your way through and it's dark, and we're wading through water and crawling up and over, up and over boulders. >> we were close to having to be rescued many times when we first went into the building. the debris was deep. and we used the electric cables, actually, as ropes to crawl over some of the debris. we had to keep our balance. bringing the people out, we did the same thing. as we carried them out, we'd have to pull ourselves up and carry them out. we carried these two ladies out.
i saw people laying on the sidewalk, i saw blood running down the cutter. >> when i first came to, i thought i'm dreaming. this has to be a dream. i guess i was down there for a couple of hours. and somebody would come and my rear end was actually sticking -- that was the only thing, like a little hole. >> as i turned and looked right behind me, just feet away, i saw the back side of a person stuck in a wall. all i could see -- i knew it was a lady because she was screaming. i could hear her voice. as i walked over to her i put my hand on her lower back and i'm telling her, "i'm going to get you out of here." there was no way in the world that i knew that i was going to get that lady out. >> they were trying to find some way to get me out. they didn't know how my body was positioned behind the wall that i was in. there was so much rubble that got into my eyes, i couldn't see anything and i just was screaming.
some people wanted me to shut up because i wouldn't stop screaming and the ambulance driver who drove me to the hospital said, "let her scream all she wants to. it's the best sound i've heard all day." >> i heard voices off in the distance, men that were saying, you know, "this is where the daycare children should be. let's split up." i started screaming out for help and one of the men said, "i hear you, i hear you." he started yelling, "we have a live one, we have a live one." they had just begun trying to uncover my hand when another voice came up very frantic and panicked and said everybody pull out now, there's another bomb, pull out now. and then i think the next part was the hardest part, and that's when i was alone and i was waiting for a second bomb. that was the hardest part. you know, the whole thing, you hear other people talk about life flashing before their eyes, you know, when they're at death.
you're thinking about your family and your friends and eternity. you're thinking about other things. and so i just prayed, and i don't know how much time passed, but i heard voices coming back to me again. and so then they began the tedious work of uncovering me. when they pulled me out, they said, we're going to pull and it's going to hurt. and they did. they counted to three and they pulled. it hurt so bad. and it was the best feeling i'd felt all day. i remember looking around and it looked like a war zone. but i'll never forget what it felt like to breathe in that first breath of fresh air. >> i went to take a shower because i was just filthy. and the water no sooner hit me till i just -- i lost it. i mean, i don't know what it was, but it was -- soon as i got in the shower, i just started crying. and i bet i cried for the next
hour. because i finally let my emotions in. >> i looked into the eyes of rescue workers, and the one impression that came back to me each time was the utter absolute grit of these people. yes, we've been bombed. yes, some of us have been murdered. yes, we're bloody, but we are determined to survive. we're determined to help. >> after that we're through with our search, the building will be turned over to the oklahoma city police department. >> it was obviously kind of a relief yet a letdown when we had to call the operation off, knowing that we still had a couple people in the building. we knew where they were. we couldn't get to them because of the structural dynamics of the building. but wow, it was tough. i mean, it was real tough to try to especially communicate that to the families of those
victims, that the chances of us finding their loved ones alive were just almost gone toward the end of that effort. >> the building was creaking, the building was dangerous and unstable. and that was an urban area, so they needed to take the building down. >> i knew the two people that were -- that the bodies that they still hadn't gotten out at that time and, you know, that bothered me. i knew they had to do it. i knew that they needed to do that. >> i had the honor of standing by philip and ken thompson. they are the sons of virginia thompson, who was left in the building. and that was an experience i'll never forget as long as i live. >> all of us got rather teary-eyed because we had been so emotionally involved with this. but then once the smoke cleared
and we could see that the symbol wasn't there -- >> i remember my reaction was to go and want to kick the material, just kick it like, you know, you're out of here. it's over. you know, this agony is behind us. we hated what had happened there, and to get it out of our psyche was a very good thing. >> when we return, the arrest. >> he said, "my weapon is loaded." and i nudged him a little bit with the barrel of my weapon, and i said, "well, so is mine." with the spark miles card from capital one, bjorn earns unlimited rewards for his small business. take these bags to room 12 please. [ garth ] bjorn's small business earns double miles on every purchase every day.
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i'm don lemon at cnn world headquarters in atlanta. here are your headlines at this hour. secretary of state john kerry got a promise of cooperation from china today on the north korea issue. kerry says there's no more room for threats or confrontational language with pyongyang. he's on a three-nation diplomatic swing of asian countries. kerry arrives in tokyo tomorrow. now, incredible video showing a plane with a huge crack floating in the ocean. amazingly, everyone on board survived. the lion air 737 carrying more
than 100 people overshot a runway and slammed into the ocean near bali, indonesia. the l.a. lakers star will be out for at least six months after similar injuries have ended the careers of some other players. those are your headlines this hour. i'm don lemon, keeping you informed. cnn, the most trusted name in news. we flew by charter jet, late at night the day of the bombing. as i looked at that building, with all the night lights on it, my only thought was, who could do this? >> he came in, using a different name, put a deposit down to be
able to rent a truck. he had a driver's license showing it was bob kling. he just seemed just like an average, nice, young gentleman. there was nothing about him that would make you suspicious about anything. he was polite and he wanted a 20-foot truck for what he was hauling, and he rented it to go to omaha, nebraska. >> the truck bomb, there's going to be a crater right where it was sitting. we knew the bomb came up in the truck because that's where it was parked, right on the crater. and it just disintegrated the truck. so at that point you have to start looking at trying to identify the truck. the real axle of the truck had blown all the way in front of the regency towers. a car was pulling up there about the time of the explosion. it had hit on the front of that
and it was laying there in the street. i got to thinking, there's going to be a stamp number in that axle. we ended up getting the full confidential number on the truck. at that point i called the national insurance crime bureau. they told me the full vin, that it was a ryder truck. >> the vice president from ryder called us and he said that he was sure that that was the truck that was involved in the oklahoma city bombing. just couldn't hardly believe that it was. >> on the morning of april 19th, 1995, i stopped an old yellow mercury marquis for a traffic violation. he wasn't displaying a tag on the rear of his vehicle. when he got out of the car, he looked like a clean-cut young man that had a military-type appearance. he had a short haircut. he also had a light windbreaker or jacket on. and it was zipped up just slightly at the bottom. but as he was removing his billfold from his right rear pocket, the jacket tightened up, and i could see a bulge under his left arm that appeared to me to be a weapon. and i grabbed the bulge on the
outside of his jacket and instructed him to get his hands up and turn around. at the same time i was drawing my weapon and stuck it to the back of his head. he said, "my weapon is loaded." and i nudged him a little bit with the barrel of my weapon, and i said, "well, so is mine." it was just a routine traffic stop with an individual that happened to be carrying a weapon. i would have ticketed him and let him go if he had not had that gun on his person. and he'd have been on down the road. >> they brought the sketch artist in the next morning. my mechanic was sitting in there on break the whole time that he was in there on monday, right close to him. so the mechanic made this sketch for them, and i looked at it. i said that looked just like him. >> and agents in that area went around to all the hotels and everywhere they could showing these sketches and asked if anybody would recognize him. and it just so happens mr. mcveigh had stayed in one of the hotels. he rented the truck under the name bob kling, but he registered in the hotel under his name. >> i had ran mcveigh's name,
social security number, date of birth, and also checked the weapon. the morning i had arrested him i had ran all this information. >> if a person's name is checked through ncic, there's a signature that's left in the system, and you can determine if somebody's name is actually ran at a certain time. and i called up, telephone rings, nova county sheriff's office. and i said, well, sheriff, here's the deal. highway patrol hooked up an old boy wednesday morning after the bombing, and i think they brought him into your facility. can you tell me if that's true? he said sure, mark, hold on. >> mcveigh was probably 15 to 20 minutes away from being released from the novo county jail. >> about five minutes later he said, yeah, yeah, he arrested him. he brought him here into my jail. he said, as a matter of fact, we still got him. i said, you're kidding me. what's his name? he said timothy james mcveigh. and i screamed, "we got him!" and the whole place just erupted.
>> we was down at the elks that evening and seeing it on tv that he was arrested and brought out. and i said, that's the man. >> and you see that individual with that solemn, grimaced-looking face, and you wonder how anyone could have committed such a horrendous crime against innocent people. >> a terrorist talks, next. >> he told me on the very first meeting, he said, "i decided to do this." how he assembled the bomb. how he drove it to oklahoma city. first kid
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he told me the very first meeting, and he said, "i decided to do this." he told me why he chose the murrah building, told me how he assembled the bomb, where he got the parts, how he drove it to oklahoma city and parked on way down at blackwell, oklahoma, came down the next morning. how he lit it when the bomb -- when the truck was paused briefly in front of the regency towers, that he lit one of the fuses there and then lit another fuse and closed the door and walked away. he took 100% of the blame. >> holy cow. >> tim mcveigh considered himself a patriot. that was his conviction, that the government had overstepped, it had killed people, violated the law, the law had failed to avenge the wrongful death of innocent people in ruby ridge and mt. carmel with the branch davidians. >> this fire is really rolling now. >> and that it was necessary to strike back in, say, the fashion
of john brown at harper's ferry. >> he had to know that there were children in that building, and i just cannot imagine anybody committing that kind of act against another human being. >> at times he said he knew there was a daycare center there. at other times he appeared to avoid that. i think that the death of the children was very uncomfortable for him. on one hand he sought to rationalize it. on the other hand, it was beyond rationalization, and even tim mcveigh knew that. but i think the first time he said -- he just looked at me and he said, "children also died at waco." he assigned almost all responsibility to himself. "i did this," "i did that." terry nichols helped me with this or that, but he played down the role of terry, played down the role of anyone else. i think he expected to be found guilty. >> we got him!
>> he was not surprised by the return of the verdict finding him guilty, nor was he surprised that the jury voted death. as i recall, we simply exchanged some brief momentary remark and then the marshals took him out. >> if anyone was ever deserving of the death penalty, it was tim mcveigh. >> they got us up about 6:30 that morning. we got in a van, we drove over to the chambers. we was the last ones to go in. they finally opened up the curtains and he looked over, first of all, to his area where his lawyer was at. then he turned his head towards us. and he only kept his head there just maybe 30 seconds or less. enough time for me to see in his eyes kind of like dead eyes. there was no feeling whatsoever in the eyes.
in my own heart i felt like the only way that we, my family or anybody else in the world that had been affected by it, the only way that we could get any peace was to watch him die. >> he was pronounced dead at 7:14. >> i believe that tim mcveigh was recruited, that he was not the mastermind. that's my best judgment, that there were others involved. perhaps their role was more peripheral. perhaps it could have been stronger. we will never know. certainly, tim mcveigh is beyond the ability to relate. >> published report says oklahoma city bombing conspirator terry nichols admitted last year to his role in the bombing. >> it was a confession. he wanted to avoid the death penalty here in oklahoma. nobody knew about it until well after the trial. he admitted in this that he was involved in the buying of the materials and that he helped build the bomb, even siphoning diesel fuel out of his own truck when they ran out of racing fuel.
it was i did this, i did that, i was involved in the actual making. and he -- they asked -- prosecutors asked him if he knew of anybody else involved, and he said he did not. >> this act of terrorism, the snuffing out of lives, was an unimaginable slap in the face. and the slap was, this can happen. this did happen. regrettably, possibly this can happen again. >> we had some kind of explosion downtown. >> when we come back, nearly two decades later, how people are coping. >> i believe you never heal from something like this.
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the explosion went off around 9:00 a.m. we could feel the explosion -- >> stretcher! >> got out from under the desk, and there just wasn't any building left around me. >> people talk about the healing process as if you can take a shower after you've exercised outside on a hot day. i believe you never heal from something like this. >> i did lose something that day. it wasn't a family member, but it was that realization that you always grow up thinking nothing is going to happen to you, nothing bad, and that's gone. >> i don't know if i'm considered exactly lucky because even though i'm a survivor with the other kids, i have to deal with thinking about why we're here and they're not. we were all in the building at the same time. even if we were in different places, we were in the building and they're dead and we're not. so i have to -- i have to suffer
with that because it's like a burden. >> i think that if god could save me from second and third-degree burns and a broken arm, since all those other people died, and out of six survivors god saved me and those other five, he must have something special planned for all six of us. >> you just can't imagine it. there are just bodies laying everywhere. there's people just laying there screaming trying to get out. and i've helped rescue several bodies, a bunch of babies that we've had to drag out. it's just a real gruesome sight. >> it's certainly a stark reminder of all the people who died here. and it's sad to me just to think that that's what's left for my
children, you know, the daycare that they loved. now they have these two chairs, and that's it. whenever i pray about it, i always ask god to tell them i said hi. that's the main thing. like, just tell them i said hi and that i love them. you know, i don't know what happens to children when they die. i don't know if they become adults when they go to heaven. i'm not sure about those kinds of things. but i know that they're safe and they're happy and they're watching out for us. >> we just had some kind of explosion downtown. >> can you give me a location? >> during the time that i was trapped and i was thinking about my life, i thought about the fact that my husband and i didn't have any children. because at that point i'm thinking, okay, this is it, my life is over. i'm dying. and i never had a child. and it really bothered me. so after the bombing and i had this second chance at life, we really rethought the whole no children thing. and i got pregnant and i have a wonderful 5-year-old that's just absolutely changed my life.
i don't look forward to the day when i have to explain to him what happened to me and what kind of world we live in, because right now, he thinks everybody is good and everybody is wonderful. >> people change and people move on. but i can tell you personally, from my standpoint, my grandkids' grandkids will know as much as i know right now. they won't have all the feelings that i've got, but they're going to know what happened on that day of april the 19th. they're going to know the people that lost their lives down there that day is an act of domestic terrorism, and they're going to know that evil is real in this world. >> ten years, and i still get emotional. what i want to say is it's not -- an awful thing happened. a really, really horrible thing happened here.
and yet, what struck me and what sticks with me is that all of these wonderful things happened, that all of these people stepped up. they didn't have to. >> within that community, it was a source of pride that we did this so well, we love our neighbors so well. we could come together so well as a people. how can good come out of evil? sometimes it does. and in this case i think good very definitely came out of evil. >> i think most people should know that life is just too short to live in hatred, because you need to get what you can out of life while you have the chance. >> you never recover from something like this. how can you? you don't heal. you contend, you cope, you live, but i don't believe you heal.