Excellent video from Channel 9 in OKC, here.
Pulls together known facts about Joel Hinrichs in a well-organized way. Apparently the bearded picture was earlier, around high school graduation in '02. Should have been a signal to somebody! He dropped out in '03, returned in '04. This summer he began attending the Islamic Society of Norman, and also had a Pakistani roommate who worked for the Athletic department. The last known event was an unsuccessful attempt to buy ammonium nitrate from a Norman feed store. (Homeland security bureaucracy sometimes helps!)
So there's no doubt at all about Hinrichs's intentions. But it seems unlikely that he was acting on orders, just because an organized terrorist group wouldn't pull such a half-baked attempt even as a warning or drill.
The video was sort of chilling, because I recognize all the stores and buildings from the time I worked at OU in the late '70s.... nothing much has changed in Norman. And I recognize the lonely scientific nerd only too well.
Considering that al-Qaeda is run by an engineer and likes to hire engineers, perhaps we need to be paying more attention to our own alienated young engineer types; giving them more respect, social warmth, and hope for the future.
Addendum: Since I'm being autobiographical, I should stipulate for the record -- and in an odd way for the honor of Norman -- that my own Norman years were emphatically not
lonely. For some reason I took root and bloomed there, found a wide circle of friends and acquaintances of all types and all genders. Could walk into any joint around Campus Corner and start a conversation. But different folks require different soils, and it's obvious that Hinrichs failed to bloom in Norman, leaving him easy prey for the deadly parasite of Mohammedanism.
Update 10/5: No really fresh info, except that the FBI has issued the expected nothing to see here
A stray thought: I wonder if the FBI is genuinely confused between Mennonites and Mohammedans. Both are long words beginning with M, both require beards on men and extremely modest clothing on women, and both claim to be a Religion of Peace. Maybe that's the problem.