The Green Green Grass Of War

No Country For the Veterans Of War:

The Mental Complexities Of Timothy McVeigh

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My brother seethed when I broached the subject, saying Tim "didn't know there were children in that building he bombed" his curt reply was: "Didn't know there were children. Please." He is utterly convinced he's right. Therefore, we don't discuss Tim at all because it ends in a heated argument and life's far too short to waste precious time being at odds with one another.

Actually, what Tim said upon hearing that 19 children had been killed when the building collapsed, leaving them buried under tons of rubble got him vilified by anyone who watched that special with Diane Sawyer shortly before he was executed. Tim's response was, "That's a lot of collateral damage." When I heard that I wanted to reach through my tv screen and shake Tim until his teeth rattled: "Why, why why are you deliberately trying to get the world to despise you???!!! You are NOT a baby killer and as far as Ms Sawyer goes, she made sure that this solitary statement was blared through the speakers to make people happy that you are going to be killed by your government."

Unfortunately, I know how all of these talk shows and prime time news programs work: They do some pretty serious editing, often taking words and sentences taken out of context to emphasize how the producers garner viewers. Someone I know who was on Dr. Phil when he was talking about eating disorders was just furious the way she came across on that program. They took tons of footage and just cut and pasted their version of it. She said she emailed Dr. Phil and told him she had been totally misrepresented, but didn't get a reply, of course. This so-called "doctor" is infamous for manipulating his guests in ways that will garner more viewers.

All of those shows do that. I tried to tape that Sawyer interview, but my VCR was on the fritz and I didn't get it. But I remember it as if it were yesterday. This annoying woman claimed, at the beginning of the show, that she witnessed Tim playing a guitar and singing that Don Henley song, a song I have always hated. It goes something like:"Instead of pitching a fit get over it." Sawyer repeated the words, "get over it." She went on to say that was in "his own words." I call bollocks. This footage was manipulated to make Tim look like a monster. Apparently, Tim was referring to the victims of the bombing. Now, I had never heard any reports of Tim having a guitar on death row. They don't allow instruments or singing. Besides that, it is very easy to take the strings of the guitar and use them to hang themselves. The steel string would sink into an inmate's neck and kill him slowly and painfully. But then again, perhaps that's what everyone wanted and would sing and whistle in the streets, salivating over the thought that Tim did indeed die a horrific death. But I digress.

I am often asked why I think of Tim as a martyr and give him so much coverage on my site. Interestingly enough, I have never received even one nasty email, condemning me and touting me to be "enamoured" of this killer. Obviously, all of the Tim haters won't and don't venture onto my webpage. I didn't create it because I wanted to see what awful things Google people. No, my site was originally strictly an anti-death penalty page and just gravitated over to Tim, perhaps a kind of symbol of the government's practice of condemning criminals to death. Many US states abandoned capital punishment in the mid-70's, only to bring it back in the 90's I am fervently hoping that a permanent banishment of this barbaric punishment will occur in the US. After all, they are the only modern and civilized nation in the world to hang onto the death penalty.

I am presenting Tim as a brave soldier who came home after serving in Desert Storm, had a breakdown in front of his beloved grandfather and later began to drift, not planting roots anywhere, getting one dead-end job after another and then ultimately, let a long-simmering explosive rage take over and he became the sole soldier standing amid society's rubble. Tim was prepared to die over in the Middle East and in a way, he did. Tim was afraid he would come back from war in a body bag. Well, he did. Unfortunately, many lives were lost, both in the Gulf and in Oklahoma City. "Collateral damage" is a buzz phrase used by army drill sergeants. New recruits were told to sing war songs like "Blood makes the grass grow" and other homilies rife with hatred toward an imaginary foe that would, ultimately, be put into action during the first Gulf War.

The bombing emerged as another wartime tactic used by a jaded, depressed soldier of misfortune for the "greater good", he imagined. A revolution was to take place after the bombing of a federal building. There, as in the Middle East, the enemy was real---it was in a strangely intoxicating in a way for this soldier who hated the killing he did in the Middle East, but forged on regardless. A few years later, he utilized the dehumanizing of life for the "greater good" and set off a massive truck bomb. That is why he referred to it as "a legit tactic." What would have happened to McVeigh if he had let humanity get the best of him in the Gulf War?

Timothy McVeigh brings out the best and the worst of military personnel and the politics of warfare. The same can be said when he demolished the Murrah Building.

Tim In Happier Days:

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