Timothy McVeigh Must Not Die Part II
21st Century Lynching - GW Style
By Mario Giardiello
It was the biggest terrorist attack in our countryís history. It was the most publicized FBI case in recent times. Even with the spotlight beaming so brightly on this case, the FBI still made mistakes. The Death Penalty is rare in federal cases so one would think they would pay particularly close attention to the details, especially considering a case of this magnitude and the publicity it has received.
These were not minor mistakes either, but 3,000 pages of misplaced or lost pages of testimony and evidence. If such a catastrophic event can breed such carelessness with the most respected government agency in law enforcement, then think how easy a lone murder case can be bereft with errors. How can we, with clear conscious support the death penalty when we know there are inherent flaws that increase the possibilities for error?
The recent events in the McVeigh Case sheds light on what is wrong with the death penalty. The thousands of pages of lost evidence are precisely why I worry that death penalty convictions are not always accurate. If this much chaos is discovered in this highly publicized case of national defense concern, then how fair can the cases be concerning a poor man without reasonable defense in Mississippi? What about the black man in the mostly white suburb of Texas? Itís what we call a twenty-first century lynching, George W. Bush style.
There would be no public apologies for found evidence in a murder case of such low importance. It would be swept quietly under the rug because after all, he wouldnít amount to much, and he is probably a criminal with nothing to give back to society anyway. One defense attorney for the state of Colorado complains that he has almost one hundred cases pending and how can he give the attention that one manís life deserves. We do not have time to worry about the poor, the disadvantaged, the people who do not look rich, white and male, the people who do not have enough money to have a just chance in our justice system. This is a shame and a sin, and something should be done about it.
I have very little doubt in my mind that McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. I am not in agreement with his "moral mission." But I am wary about the reliability in cases that result in the death penalty. I am asking you to put you emotions aside about the nineteen children and the one hundred and sixty-eight victims. With them in mind it is difficult to look at this case rationally. It is why the death penalty picks up so much momentum during events such as these.
It is obvious to us that this man must pay. As a society we are filled with hate. Yes, thatís the word. We are angry at what he did. We are repulsed by the disregard of human life. We are disgusted that he has no remorse. And we want him to pay. Yes, pay dearly with his life, like his victims did. That feeling in your stomach when you think about this man and his deed; that blood reaching your heart, seeping upward into your head as you read stories about "survivors"; those feelings of how unfair life can be to so many of Godís children; thatís hate. We are filled with hate and we hate the fact that this one man is responsible for these feelings within us. Yes, he has to pay. Letís kill him.
I am arguing for putting this hate aside and coming to rational options to ending the life of one of Godís children. We may not want to admit that he is one of Godís children because that forces us to see him in a different light. Yes, he is one of our bothers and deserves to live. Does he deserve to be let free? Definitely not. He deserves to be locked away and given medical attention. Isnít it obvious to everyone that he is a sick man? He needs help and as a society we have to stop sweeping our sick, disenfranchised and poor people out of the way. It is time we stop cleaning the facades of our buildings and look for true cures to our difficult problems. It is time to stop looking for the quick fixes like killing our criminals.
These men must be rehabilitated and better yet, given a chance before it gets this far. Albert Schweitzer said, "It is better to build children than to repair men." All our children deserve an equal education, an equal chance for success. Letís start looking into our societiesí faults and come up with real solutions.
It is time we love all our children, not just the fortunate few. Itís time we confront our problems and not just put them in the closet. For now the closet is closed, but it will not be long before we will be forced to do some soul cleaning.