The Useless Death of McVeigh
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) 2001 by RDFollendoreIII
My last entry was in April and that has been a long time. I have since been back to Memphis where I stayed for two months. I have had time for a lot of thinking.
During part of this period the execution of Mr. McVeigh has weighed heavily on everyone's minds. Many people wanted it to just be over, so they turned off the subject. I felt the same. But now that it is all over with, let me add my two cents. Mr. McVeigh held to his conviction that he was a "professional soldier" to the bitter end. OK we may can give credit to the degree credit is due for that. In many circles, unwavering decisive perseverance is considered a great attribute. But the problem this man had was far deeper, and when you think more about the problem it goes far deeper for us as well.
McVeigh was a man that was unable to come to terms with his personal rational errors in judgment. What he thought was logical for him was irrational for humanity and he took action based on that logic. Even assuming for a moment that what he did was a military action by a citizen and not murder, it was far more than an error for McVeigh to have assumed that he could make a singular positive difference by committing an act of war on the United States Federal Government. This Federal Government we have today is of course far too large and complex for that. Apparently McVeigh could not distinguish an individual from an entity. In other words, he did not recognize that a Government just isn't a singular thing that has the propensity to learn from mistakes the way that people do. In his mind he extended a metaphor and simply made it into a horrible reality for us all.
There is certainly both great good and great bad that coexists in our centralized form of Government today and it is the same throughout the World. Good and bad people work in every large organization and this proud country of America is no different. We shape and bend the rules according to our own mixed metaphor for life. There are good people doing bad things and there are bad people doing good things. Maybe the most intellectually interesting part of this story is that McVeigh was a clear individual example of that.
McVeigh become what he hated most through a circular argument of his own composition. He became a murderer of the innocent because he said the Government murdered the innocent. He stated he hated the unilateral actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge but decided through some strange reasoning that by emulating their stupidity he would right a wrong by dong wrong. Ultimately he maintained he was a patriot by committing a military act of treason and terrorism. I am sure it is odd to others that I feel that this is exactly why I believe that he should not have been executed. You see, the moment that Tim killed those people, he became something more than a citizen. Tim McVeigh became a living monument to senseless brutality and as a Nation we desperately need to understand this.
It may be true that in retrospect, for the average American citizen there appears to be no reason for the FBI to have participated in and contributed to the death of those people at Ruby Ridge and Waco. The Federal Government certainly seemed to have had exceptionally poor judgment and their leaders appeared to be disorganized zealots. That much has been apparent to all Americans, including McVeigh. Moreover, the same kind of disorganization and failure to manage groups and the failure of leaders to make correct decisions in a coordinated manner went into the decisions that killed our Challenger astronauts. Don't get this point wrong. People that participate in Government failures are not necessarily independently evil like McVeigh. People try to do the right thing and people fail. That is not what is being discussed. But what McVeigh effectively demonstrated was that a single zealot within any organization, even with fairly benign resources, can become the cause of such organized failures.
The reason I can say this is that it is obvious that had things gone differently for McVeigh in the Army, he might have been in the Ruby Ridge and Waco situations as part of the FBI. For instance, if things were different for him in Special Forces training, McVeigh could have be in the shoes of that FBI sniper that pulled the trigger on an unarmed woman and child, or he could have been the person that initiated the standoff and subsequent fire in the compound in Waco. In effect, he could have been the cause of the problem that he said was the reason for his bombing the Okalahoma City Government building. That too is a circular rational self fulfilling argument and I think that may be the underlying truth.
When the American Government killed McVeigh, they killed the living proof that they and we are each and all fallible. We don't like to hear or think about that. We would like to ignore the fact that the World is full of McVeighs. People like to think they are the center of the universe and that everything rests on their decisions to make or break the world. Americans are taught this myth from birth, as a part of our preparation for establishing our work ethic and as part of our society. It is therefore probably inevitable that there will be another Ruby Ridge and another Waco. Challenger disasters can and will happen because organizations of people have complex interactions and dependencies that can cause great concentrations of power to be delivered for short moments into the hands of a few who, for one reason or another are not able to handle it.
In my personal opinion, McVeigh should not have been put to death. He served too great a resource to the American people as a clear example of what true modern evil can be about. When he was alive, Tim represented a new age Charlie Manson capable of mass destruction. Beyond the fact that he was a human being and therefore should have been given life to feel the kind of remorse that he should have felt, Tim was also a scientific specimen that could be studied. As a human race, we can not possibly fix what is wrong if we do not study the problems we have found in the necessary detail. This was a man that literally willed himself to die with his eyes wide open. There should now be no doubt now that Tim told the truth as he knew it, but therein is the root of a problem we all must now face without a means of test and evaluation. Tim was our standard for a new caliber of evil. Our Government chose a punitive solution it calls justice over good Science.
I think Tim proved he was indeed a stone cold "professional" killer acting on what he sincerely felt was good intentions to the exclusion of humanity and one thing is certain. Yes there are more McVeighs out there. We certainly should not forget the good "Sergeant" McVeigh and what he became. His existence is now a monument to the fact that our modern world exists on a razors edge. That is the real fear that our Government tried to kill by killing McVeigh. One thing is certain, we all still have a lot to learn from good and bad, including people like McVeigh, and there are two ways to do that; the easy way and the hard way.
In the immortal words of a Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump;
"That is all I have to say about that subject."
Note: Having said what I had to say back then, it should be pointed out that there is a striking physical and psychological relationships between the Okalahoma City bombing and the September 11th terrorism events. Is America learning from events or are we simply reacting?
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved