June 13, 1997 in City

Justice Requires That He Must Die Evil Unmasked Deliberately, Coldly, He Blew Up A Building Full Of Innocent Americans.

By The Spokesman-Review
 

If Timothy McVeigh spends the rest of his life in prison, he will be free to write a book, give interviews, visit with family members, draft screeds for the Internet and encourage fellow paranoids to join domestic terrorism cells. That’s justice?

If the United States retains any of the backbone and moral discernment required to make a society civil and just, it will allow him to do none of these things. It will execute him.

Yet McVeigh’s crime is so ghastly and his demeanor so cold that normal, feeling people may fear they’d be like him if they support his execution.

No way. The difference between a murder and an execution is simple. It’s the difference between crime and punishment, between a war of aggression and a war of national defense, between a predator who attacks a child and a father who shoots that predator to defend his child.

The shedding of blood is not invariably wrong. One who sacrifices his own life to save another shows love. Ethics have recognized for thousands of years that killing can be an act of justice and societal preservation - in war, in self-defense and in capital punishment.

Death penalty foes seek moral support from Exodus 20 (literally, “Thou shalt not murder”). But they refuse to cite Exodus 21 (“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.”). Such selective readings reflect nothing more than the modern intelligentsia’s flabby-minded moral confusion.

A majority of Americans support capital punishment and have duly inscribed it in their laws. Those laws must be enforced. McVeigh’s crime is more serious than even the worst of the serial-murder cases that have afflicted this country. He committed an act of domestic terrorism, an irrational act of war against our government and the people who comprise it. Deliberately, coldly, he blew up a building full of innocent Americans. Children lost their mothers and fathers. Parents lost their children.

These human losses, replayed for the jury, often moved many in the courtroom to tears - but not McVeigh. To note that he is human, as his mother did, is not a defense. Hitler was human. And McVeigh’s bland face is the face of evil, unmasked. Justice is, in essence, reprisal. And justice requires that he die.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see “Catering to vengeance is beneath our dignity”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board

For opposing view, see “Catering to vengeance is beneath our dignity”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board


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