Talk about a challenge: Use my writing to depict Timothy McVeigh as more than the "American Terrorist," to peel away the many thick layers of pbplic opinion and generalized rage that have gripped the hearts of the majority of people ever since that infamous "perpetrator walk" was filmed, as the accused bomber of the Murrah Building is led out of the courthouse and into a police cruiser. It has been a determined hatred---fueled by the tremendous damage that McVeigh wrought upon many of the citizens of Oklahoma City that sunny but suffocating morning of April 19th, 1995. When it was determined that 168 people were killed in the blast and that nineteen of those victims were small children and babies, Tim McVeigh truly epitomized the most hated man in America. And he was so damned easy to despise, particularly during his trial, when he appeared the epitome of arrogance and studied aloofness, then, from 1997 to 2001, as a prisoner serving out his sentence on two different death row units, the raging fire was stoked even more when Tim referred to his victims as "the woe-is-me crowd" and, later, when he seemingly dismissed the murdered children as "collateral damage." It did truly appear as though Tim McVeigh wanted everyone to revile him----he worked damned hard at creating the image of the heartless, souless fiend, a man for whom the death penalty seemed oh-so right and good.
Why would a young man, a decorated Gulf War veteran who'd served his country selflessly and who'd come home broken, disheartened and disillusioned, do so much and destroy so many lives in order to be dubbed, "The All-American Monster"? Why did he sublimate any decent, kind and remorseful feelings he might have had bubbling below the surface, in return for creating an image of consummate evil? Was Tim McVeigh really a despicable monster, a conscience-deprived sociopath, who saw his bombing as a "legit tactic" right to the very end?
I've read many articles on McVeigh that refer to him as "an enigma." It seemed that, no matter how hard journalists and news people tried to understand and make some sort of sense of the man who perpetuated the worst act of terrorism on American soil---at least until September 11 of last year, that is---but nobody had any answers. Theories expounded about "Generation X" and how Tim embodied everything for which that generation stood. I've read articles that ramble on about individuals born in the late 1960's to turbulent families that often ended in divorce as being aimless "slackers," young people who just didn't seem to be trying, who languished after high school, often drifting into self-destructive behaviours, never developing self-esteem, were dogged by severe depression that often required anti-depressant drugs like Prozac. One jouralist even went so far as to claim that "planning and building the bomb was McVeigh's anti-depressant." So how true are these claims?
Enigma. It's a word often attributed to yours truly, hence my nick of "Enigmacat." Was Tim undiagnosible? Was he more than the bad seed, was there "something missing" in his personality and consciousness that prevented him from feeling any semblance of remorse for his act? Well, I happen to believe that Timothy James McVeigh can be accurately understood and explained. I am going to write my own story about this man's short, turbulent life. Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck had their shot at it, missing a great deal even though they actually had Tim right there to tell them everything. But these men were not equipped to make statements regarding what drove McVeigh, what series of events, beginning with his birth, led him to take that dangerous, violent road when he could just as easily have walked down the one most travelled.
I am working on the story now and will post Chapter One shortly. As I continue to work on my novel, this cyber-novel about Tim as he really was, as he actually felt and what he honestly experienced and why, will be worked on in between. I am fortunate to have afternoons and evenings free to work on these projects.
I know a lot about Tim McVeigh, because my life, in many ways, was his life and his childhood was my childhood. Our birthdays were only a day apart and so we share a lot of similar character traits and motivating triggers. So before you dismiss me as some kind of delusional writer, I urge you to read what will be posted on this page. You may disagree with me entirely. You may actually agree with what I will tell you. But, for the sake of his family and those who cared about him, you should keep an open mind about my take on Timothy McVeigh.
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