A former teenage bomber, now grown if not reformed, asks:
Should McVeigh be put
The jury said yes today, June 13th.
Does his death punish him or us?
In my life, I've seen heartache and pain...
Do we do unto?
Wrong psalm--I really meant:
An arm for an? A what?
A tooth for a ...
No it doesn't apply, or does it?
I was once a bomber. I bombed buildings and schools,
and lit a fire or two. I was a kid, 15 or 16, radicalized by Vietnam,
Earth Day, Caesar Chavez, Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, Malcom
X and Algiers, Sausalito and the hippies, my parents and teachers,
emboldened by a manic teenage immortality, thrust into multiple
acts against the established powers that were, and really still
are. Arrested by the FBI and confessed. Spent three and a half months
in juvenile hall and looked at spending many a birthday at California
Youth Authority prison.
The FBI and local police screwed up in their zeal
to catch their bad guy, however, and so what all the world thought
would be the end of my freedom for many years turned out to be something
I was sent off with the sons of the rich and powerful
to prep school after the judge threw out the most serious charges
against me, because my Miranda rights to an attorney during questioning
were violated, which made my confession fruit of the poisoned tree.
Well, I ended up doing OK at prep school -- graduating
with honors and gaining entry to UCLA. Did four years at UCLA before
I quit to work and get married. Raised four kids and two grandchildren.
I've worked for the government doing environmental work for about
eight years now.
My bombs and fires never killed anyone; I tried
to keep that from happening. They did not pack the punch of McVeigh's
Ryder truck, for sure. But then luck was mostly in my corner, I
think, or people probably would've died. When I was arrested, my
father was quoted as saying, "Well if he did it, it's amazing he
didn't blow himself up--he was never very good with his hands."
I was protesting the killing in Vietnam and the
invasion of Cambodia; McVeigh was seeking revenge for the killings
at Waco by the ATF and other federal agents. He killed a lot of
people; I was lucky that I didn't. I went to prep school, he's going
to the executioner. I'm a government inspector, he's a federal prisoner
waiting transfer to Death Row.
Prisons were made for people like me and
McVeigh. I lucked out; good lawyers helped set me free. Tim's luck
ran out and he's sure to die as punishment. Prison could hold him
just fine; no one doubts our ability to incarcerate and keep him
locked away. So why not lock him up and throw the key away instead
of having him murdered for justice?
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