There’s something unsaid about the coming Timothy McVeigh execution, scheduled for May 16. Many of us can feel it but are afraid to express it for fear of being labeled a Timothy McVeigh sympathizer or for fear of being charged with condoning the murder of 168 innocent people, including 19 children — or even for fear of being targeted by our government as terrorists ourselves.
What is unsaid can be inferred from the absence of Internet e-mail or newspaper snail-mail condemning McVeigh. In fact, it is the absence of much discussion at all about him. Sure, mass-media reporters talk about him, and our government does, but ordinary people don’t.
When our federal government caused the deaths of 76 people at Waco, Texas, April 19, 1993, exactly two years before McVeigh struck, the Internet and local newspapers were aflood with heated chatter about how horrible and unjust our government was. And when the government acquitted its agents of all wrongdoing and convicted the surviving Branch Davidians of minor offenses — but sentenced them to 30- to 40-year prison terms anyway — there was outrage once more. You could not download your e-mail, surf the web or read your local newspaper without being inundated with the outrage.
But now that McVeigh is about to be executed on closed-circuit television in the first federal execution in 38 years, there is relative silence from ordinary people — both on the Internet and in the local newspaper. Very little e-mail or letters to the editor, very little discussion pro or con.
Why is that? We can’t quite put our finger on it, can we? Or do we dare not express the horror in our heart at the coming moment and the implications for freedom in this country?
Let’s review what many of us feel:
- We accept the fact that Timothy McVeigh is a murderer and we sympathize with the victims’ families. But we also understand that our government’s agents killed 76 people at Waco, including 19 children, many of whom died agonizing deaths vomiting their stomachs out from the CS gas grenades lobbed into the building. We sympathize with those victims’ families also.
- We accept the fact that Timothy McVeigh should pay with his life, but we cannot accept the fact that our government’s agents got off scot-free for Waco — and some were even promoted in its aftermath.
- We cannot accept the fact that the mainstream media remembers the victims of Oklahoma City, but is silent about the victims of Waco. You’d think no one died at Waco, or that there were no dead children there, or that there is no connection between the two events.
- We are outraged by the fact that McVeigh shows no remorse for the deaths of the 19 children at the Murrah Building, but we are also outraged that our government shows no remorse for the deaths of the 19 children at Waco.
- And no, we do not buy the government and mass media line that the Waco victims chose their end by their lack of cooperation with the FBI agents, BATF agents and the tanks that besieged their home. They were nutty members of a religious cult? So what! Since when is that a crime?
Our government created McVeigh by its actions at Waco, just as it creates terrorists around the world by its “police” actions in various parts of the globe. Is it any wonder that one of these created terrorists, one among the millions of people who were outraged by Waco, felt unable to gain justice through the normal legal channels and sought revenge by trying to get at the BATF agents housed on an upper floor of the Murrah Building?
Blowing up the Murrah Building was a horrible act by McVeigh, for sure, but that is what terrorists do. Look around the world at what the Arabs have done in Israel, or what they did here in the United States, in New York, in 1993, at the World Trade Center. We view them as criminals, but they view themselves as justice-seeking terrorists.
Terrorism is a terrible thing, whether it’s committed deliberately by a government against its citizens or by an individual who strikes out in a blind rage.
When the anniversary of Waco and the Murrah Building arrive on April 19, I will mourn all the victims — both those of our government and those of Timothy McVeigh. And when May 16 arrives, and Timothy McVeigh is executed, I will be saddened that his will be the only justice delivered that day.
May 16 will be a major turning point for America. We will all get to see the double standard in action, in all its horrific nakedness: the lone terrorist dies, while the government terrorists go free. We will be rid of McVeigh, but we will understand that far more powerful terrorists still lurk among us.
Dave Duffy is publisher of Backwoods Home Magazine, P.O. Box 712, Gold Beach, Ore., 97444; 1-800-835-2418.