WASHINGTON _ The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995 has gone down as the worst mass murder in United States history.
The person responsible,Timothy McVeigh,was scheduled to be executed on May 16,but because of information withheld by the FBI,his execution has been delayed to June 11.
Many survivors of the bombing and some U.S. citizens believe that McVeigh is an evil man and deserves to die.
When Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that McVeigh's execution would be delayed,many survivors were outraged.
“I'm shocked,I'm dismayed,I'm angry,” said Kathleen Treanor,whose 4-year-old daughter died in the bombing,to ABCnews moments after Ashcroft announced the delay in McVeigh's execution. “I'm just so tired of this man's continual re-victimization of me and my family.”
There is no doubt that what McVeigh did was horrible and he ought to be punished but there is a bigger picture that many are missing.
McVeigh may have been one of the first people to advocate that there is a problem with the American federal government. Moreover,the blunders made by the FBI that has been brought to our attention proves that he may be on to something.
In an interview with ABC.com,Dr. John Smith,the psychiatrist who evaluated McVeigh for the defense during his trial for the bombing,took us into McVeigh's mind. Smith believes that McVeigh is not mentally ill.
“After I examined Tim,I knew that he was not deranged,” he said. McVeigh has “suffered from depression,obsessive-compulsive traits,and at least one severe panic attack.”
In an interview with Barbara Walters,Robert Nigh,McVeigh's defense attorney,describes McVeigh as an “extremely polite” person who was made hard through war. McVeigh “expresses a great deal of care for other people,” Nigh said. “It is possible to hate the action without going a step farther and hating the human being.”
Nigh also believes that McVeigh learned to kill with impunity during his days as a soldier in the Gulf War. He said that McVeigh referring to the children who died in the Murrah building as “collateral damage,” is evidence that he is a product of the U.S. military.
“Those were military terms that had been used to describe killing 350 civilians in Baghdad – women and children,” he said to Barbara Walters. “Those were the words of his superiors.”
McVeigh's motive for bombing the building fueled from the incident in Waco,Texas.
On April 19,1993,at least 80 people died after the FBI and other federal agents bombarded the compound of The Branch Davidian. Some died from fire while others from gunshots. The reasoning behind the standoff was that David Koresh,leader of the religious sect,and his followers refused to comply with a search warrant that was issued 51 days before the tragic event.
The FBI believed that they had to use excessive force to get them to comply with the warrant. It did not work because the FBI stood trial for the killings as well as angered many people.
Smith told ABC.com that McVeigh wanted to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City because of the rage that he felt from his heart when he heard that the Davidians had gone up in flames. “
“He told me that a rage enveloped him like never before,” Smith said. “It was hatred that motivated this killing. And revenge. The bottom line of this is: If there had been no Waco,there would have been no Oklahoma City.”
McVeigh purposely bombed the building on April 19 to send a message that what the FBI did on that day two years earlier was not right,according to Smith.
By now,most people are aware of the current situations with the FBI. We have knowledge of not one but two alleged spies in their midst,(Robert Hanssen and Wen Ho Lee),the FBI withheld audio tapes that could have sent a suspect in the Alabama church bombing in the ‘60s to prison,and now,the FBI found 3,000 pages that were withheld from McVeigh's attorneys.
Again,there is no justification for McVeigh's actions and there is no doubt that he ought to be punished. But to does he really deserve to die?
Sister Helen Prejean,known for her opposition to the death penalty in the Oscar-winning movie,”Dead Man Walking,” believes that all life is sacred.
“We are taught in the American way of life that some life is sacred,” she said in an interview with the American Bar Association network. “Innocent life is sacred. I don't know that we've ever been taught that guilty life is sacred.”
Prejean also believes that who the victim is serves as a determinant for the punishment issued.
“You can definitely see that who the victim is and the status of the victim propels and initiates justice and the punishment that is sought,” she said. “The more we identify with the person killed,the more outrage that is felt over death. When other people are killed we don't identify with,there doesn't seem to be all that passion and outrage over the death.”
The government is pushing hard for the death penalty in McVeigh's case probably because of the many children that died in the bombing.
McVeigh may have had misguided intentions for wanting to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building. He had a right to be angry and the right to want to retaliate against what happened in Waco. Nevertheless,he was wrong to kill innocent people.
If McVeigh is executed,if this situation is not handled properly and justly in every sense of the word,it is very possible that the Oklahoma City bombing will go from being the worst mass murders in U.S history to becoming one of the worst mass murders in U.S history.