“Terrorism is the Theatre of the Obscene”

Note: This post was first published April 19, 2012; republished in 2013, and now on April 19, 2015 – the 20th anniversary of the OKC Murrah Building Bombing.  Peace to you and yours ~ Editor.

Last night I was delaying the process of going to bed.  My mind was spinning a bit with the question of how to appropriately honor what this day means for our community.

At some point, I was thinking back to a dinner I had attended a year before the OKC bombing.  One of my favorite theatre professors at UCO was one of THOSE people – Dr. Roberta Sloan was the kind that opens her heart and her home to her students and had asked us over for what was, to me, a gesture of extreme kindness.  I wasn’t used to seeing professors in social situations.

I have a soft spot in my heart for historic homes, so when we pulled up to her driveway that night in the historic Heritage Hills neighborhood in Oklahoma City, romance filled my brain.  I looked up and down the street and wondered how many dinners had been attended by how many people since the turn of the century on this block.  That evening we all met our professor’s husband, Dr. Stephen Sloan.  He was one of the few and most noted terrorism experts in the U.S.

Just months later, the Oklahoma City bombing happened and Dr. Stephen Sloan was on both the local and national news frequently.  Their lovely home was only ten blocks away from the Murrah Building.  Ironically, Sloan had identified the federal building as one of the most vulnerable targets for a terrorism attack in years past.  But when he started his profession in the 70s, “terrorism” wasn’t really on the U.S. radar.  And, at some point in between those early years and 1995, I read one article that quoted Sloan saying there were “only 12 specialized academics” who studied terrorism as part of their political science agenda in the U.S.

Sloan actually created and started teaching the first university course on terrorism during his long tenure at the University of Oklahoma.  In other words, he was truly a pioneer in a field that is now fraught with university degrees of Emergency Preparedness across our country.

So last night, my thoughts settled on him for a number of reasons.  I wondered what he was currently working on, how Roberta was, and if he would be doing a TV interview today.  I pulled up a profile of Stephen Sloan produced by the university he had moved to a few years ago and watched for a while.  One of the quotes he shared hit me.  He said a colleague of his, Bryan Jenkins, once said, “Terrorism is a form of theater, aimed at the people watching.”  Many of his messages in the piece were aimed at sharing information about how people react after becoming the achievement of a goal by the perpetrators.

Sloan furthered that quote, however, by adding his own spin: “Terrorism is the theatre of the obscene.” Continue reading “Terrorism is the Theatre of the Obscene”

Every Point, Part Two, Team of Three

April 10, 2015 marked the day of my last “Every Point on the Map” feature compiled by our original two-person team.  Reaching this small milestone felt good. To celebrate, I sent a text message to Rachel and April with several exclamation marks.

We have changed since our pilot run, as much by the lives we have encountered as by the information gathering and relationship building process.

Reflecting on my own personal change, I’ve noticed something different about myself compared to last year: I’m not afraid to ask people for conversations any longer.  I used to feel sheepish. I even wrote once, “I don’t want to step on their daisies.” Continue reading Every Point, Part Two, Team of Three

How to Make Redbud Jelly

Redbud blooming season has almost passed in Oklahoma, but the opportunity to make delicate, floral jelly happens every year.

These easy step by step instructions, plus a few common questions and answers should help guide you through the process easily.  Once you’re finished, stand back and admire your stock of unique gifts for friends, or delicious wares for your pantry.  Happy canning!

Redbud blooms in jar


3 cups of redbuds
Approx. 2 cups boiling water
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Sure-Jel powder
2 cups sugar; 1-2 tsp. butter

1.  Gather 3 cups of fresh, new redbud blooms.  Be careful while gathering.  Honeybees like to visit the trees so you’ll have to share with them. Continue reading How to Make Redbud Jelly

EPTOM: Owasso, OK (Email Mondays)

We must have crossed into a funk zone.  That’s the only way I can explain our Owasso point on the map.

Somewhere between our visit with the Roundtable Breakfast Club in Sperry and a middle class neighborhood in Owasso, Rachel and I must have entered an unmarked Oklahoma worm hole.  It certainly felt “alien.”  We literally knocked on ten doors with not one “yes” for our conversation.

Prior to turning south into this particular area with newer homes and nicely paved streets, we had just said to each other, “We really need to sit down with a few middle class folks.  Someone we find at home, not necessarily just outside hanging around wherever we happen to be.”

As we agreed on this plan, I felt it was exactly the right thing to do. Go to a middle-class neighborhood in the middle of American.  After all, I’m a middle class individual and live in somewhat of a middle-class neighborhood.  My people, right?

“Piece of cake,” I said to myself as I walked up to the first door of ten.

Ten. Continue reading EPTOM: Owasso, OK (Email Mondays)

33 Down. 561 To Go. Happy First Anniversary, EPTOM!

It’s been 18 months the since Every Point on the Map began to take shape, 15 months since we began planning our first trip, and as of today, it’s been exactly one year since our pilot run to Carney.

Today, we’re sharing a meaningful conversation with each other. Sitting together in the outdoor section of RJs Supper Club and Lounge, Rachel and reflect on various aspects of our first year.

To those of you who have begun to join us by reading or sharing our journeys, we are grateful.

And year two, we can’t wait to meet ya.

Kelly, Rachel…and now April, too.

Showcasing Red Dirt culture ~ authored and managed by contributors with connections to the great state of Oklahoma.