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Profile: Fred Burkett
Fred Burkett was a participant or observer in the following events:
Future Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (see November 1991 - Summer 1992 and 8:35 a.m. - 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995), who has moved to Kingman, Arizona, and stays sometimes with friends and sometimes in a rented trailer (see February - July 1994), tries and fails to hold down several menial jobs. Former supervisors and co-workers will later recall McVeigh having problems staying employed, with what the New York Times will call “a spotty work record at several jobs here, marked mostly by silence toward his co-workers and sudden terminations.” (The Times account is questionable, as it will also make questionable allegations about McVeigh’s behavior at his residence—see February - July 1994.) Fellow security guard Fred Burkett will recall being impressed with McVeigh’s skill with weapons. “Believe me, the one thing he did not need was firearms training,” Burkett will tell a reporter. “He was very good and we were impressed with his action. He was arrogant about it. He had this kind of look of ‘You think you’re good, watch this.’ And I have to admit he was real good. We were impressed with him as far as his handling of a weapon because usually we take someone out for training and it’s like the first time they have ever held a gun. But he was very familiar with the gun.” Other than this, Burkett will recall, McVeigh is “pretty much normal.… He had a very dry personality. He was not very outgoing, not talkative and not really that friendly. He wasn’t a person that mingled. He was a kind of by-yourself kind of person, a loner. The only thing he ever indicated was that he didn’t care much for the United States government and how they ran things. He didn’t care much for authority and especially when it concerned the government.” Burkett will also remember McVeigh’s fondness for military garb along with his distate for authority. “He always wore military garb, like jungle clothes, like if you were in Vietnam,” Burkett will recall. “He always wore his hair short, just like when they caught him. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal at the time. I mean, I thought maybe he was still in the Army or something.… McVeigh liked the stringency of the Army. He liked the uniformity of everybody dressing the same and walking the same. But he did not like taking orders from people who he did not think were his superiors. He did not like the US Army.” McVeigh loses his security guard position after shouting at a supervisor who reprimands him for watching television while on duty. McVeigh also works for a few months at the aforementioned hardware store; manager Mike Boggio will remember him as a “quiet” man who “wore his fatigues every day” and politically was “pretty anti-everything.” Hardware store owner Paul Shuffler will recall that McVeigh is not a political radical: “If he was a radical around here, I would have noticed it pretty quick and I would have fired him. Radicals don’t last long around here because they just make a mess of things.” McVeigh’s friend Walter “Mac” McCarty, a Korean War veteran who regularly conducts anti-gun control protests at the county courthouse, later says of McVeigh: “In public, he was quiet and polite and he had this big, easy smile. But when he talked about the country and politics and things, he got real mean and savage. He was one highly strung young man. I don’t think I ever saw anybody with such hatred in him. He was bitter about just about everything, and he believed the country was being taken over by big business and organized crime, and they were all tied up with the government. In particular, he hated the BATF boys [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] and the Feds [FBI]. He used to rant on about how they had become just a big cowboy army, who were taking the law into their own hands. I tell you, he was running right on the edge.” [New York Times, 4/24/1995; Stickney, 1996, pp. 164]
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