A message from Timothy McVeigh to his victims.
This recording is from the interviews Lou Michel conducted with
him in prison to write American Terrorist.
I had no hesitation to look right at them and listen to their
story, but I‘d like to say to them, I‘ve heard your story many times
before. The specific details may be unique, but the truth is, you‘re
not the first mother to lose a kid. You‘re not the first grandparent to
lose a granddaughter or a grandson. I‘ll use the phrase, and it sounds
cold, but I‘m sorry, I‘m going to use it, because it‘s the truth—get
Timothy “Tim” McVeigh, was an American terrorist who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured over 800. It was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in United States history.
McVeigh, a militia movement sympathizer and Persian Gulf War veteran, sought revenge against the federal government for their handling of the Waco Siege, which ended in the deaths of 76 people exactly two years prior to the bombing, as well as for the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992. McVeigh hoped to inspire a revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government. He was convicted of eleven federal offenses and sentenced to death. His execution took place on June 11, 2001 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana.
While incarcerated, Timothy McVeigh had the Federal Bureau of Prisons register # 12076-064. Mcveigh’s death sentence was delayed pending an appeal. One of his appeals for certiorari, taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, was denied on March 8, 1999. McVeigh’s request for a nationally televised execution was also denied. McVeigh and Nichols were housed in “Bomber’s Row”, the same cell block as Ted Kaczynski, Luis Felipe and Ramzi Yousef. On January 16, 2001 the Federal Bureau of Prisons set May 16, 2001 as McVeigh’s execution date. McVeigh stated that his only regret was not completely leveling the federal building. McVeigh chose William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” as his final statement. However, just before the execution, when he was asked if he had a final statement, he declined. Jay Sawyer, relative of one of the victims, noted, “Without saying a word, he got the final word.” Larry Whicher, whose brother died in the attack, described McVeigh as having “a totally expressionless, blank stare. He had a look of defiance and that if he could, he’d do it all over again.”
McVeigh was executed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. on June 11, 2001, at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, the first federal prisoner to be executed by the United States federal government since Victor Feguer was executed in Iowa on March 15, 1963.
“I believe Timothy McVeigh’s role in the Oklahoma City bombing was a very minor one. A member of the conspiracy? Yes. The leader? No. The financier? No. The organizer? No. Timothy McVeigh saw his role as the cover for everybody else, to be the person to fall on the sword. It served deep-seated emotional needs that he had, and it furthered the role of the conspiracy.”
An apparent quote of Stephen Jones, Tim’s attorney.
Timothy McVeigh, to most is considered a monster. What most are not aware though, is that Timothy is no more of a monster than the American government. McVeigh hints that some of his motives were instances where the government took the lives of innocent people in such situations as the Waco Siege and Ruby Ridge, which he claims outraged him. Seemingly a case of revenge, since there is no consequence for the government for killing 1,000s of innocent people a year. It is justified when they do it, but when he does it he is a “monster” and “evil”. He even talked about how ironic it was that he received many metals while in the Gulf War for heroism, basically for killing people, and now he was to be executed for doing the same thing. ”I went over there hyped up, just like everyone else. What I experienced, though, was an entirely different ballgame. And being face-to-face close with these people in personal contact, you realize they’re just people like you.”He commented about serving in the Gulf War. The matter of the fact is that Timothy drove down to Texas to watch the Waco Siege happen, and whatever it is that he saw, enraged him enough to want to bomb a building.
Timothy McVeigh’s thoughts on his death sentence, or in his words
“state-assisted suicide.” These excerpts are from the book American
Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing by Lou Michel
and Dan Herbeck.
For a man entering a super-secure prison to await the death penalty, McVeigh seemed markedly, almost wilfully, unconcerned. Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me,
he thought, recalling the line from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” On a
personal level, McVeigh would welcome death; it would be his crowning
achievement. The government he reflected, would be doing him a favor,
ending a long march that had turned hollow in the final years. His
execution would be a relief.
glad to leave this fucked-up world,” he said. “Truth is, I determined
mostly through my travels that this world just doesn’t hold anything for
me.” But as the weeks rolled by, the isolated hours he spent in the
four-cell special disciplinary unit at Supermax provided time for
self-examination, and he would come to realize that he was not
immediately suicidal. “I figure, why not take a few years in retirement.
Sit in my cell; write letters, make peace with everyone. What does that
make the death penalty, if that’s what it is?” In McVeigh’s opinion, it
was nothing more than state-assisted suicide. “I knew I wanted this
before it happened. I knew my objective was a state-assisted suicide and
when it happens, it’s in your face, motherfuckers. You just did
something you’re trying to say should be illegal for medical personnel.”
McVeigh, Kaczynski preferred the idea of execution to life in prison.
But when Kaczynski made his preference public, McVeigh thought his
fellow prisoner had made a big mistake—particularly since Kaczynski was
seeking a retrial. “Ted messed up,” he said. “They’re not going to want
to seek death now because they know he’s being tortured with life… They
won’t give the opportunity for the death penalty again, either with a
federal retrial or a state trial. If one is serious about it, you should
never show your hand.”
wanted to find a way to tell Fortier that he wasn’t upset at him for
testifying. He figured that Fortier might be blaming himself for
McVeigh’s receiving the death penalty, and he wanted to tell him that it
was his own doing. But in the end McVeigh couldn’t bring himself to
speak so openly about his carefully calculated plan to have the
government execute him. He feared that by making it known he had sought
“a deluxe suicide-by-cop package” it might somehow hurt his chances of
realizing it. McVeigh could only hope that his easygoing manner would
let Fortier know he did not hate him.
The day I photographed McVeigh left me even more baffled and saddened. I
found him to be intelligent and upbeat and he seemed utterly
remorseless. I’ve long been an opponent of the death penalty, but I shed
no tears for Timothy McVeigh when he was executed in 2001.