APRIL 19, 1995, another date which will live in infamy.
The first was the murder of Americans by foreigners, by outsiders.
The second was the day Timothy McVeigh, an American, an insider, parked a truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and fled for his life, while the explosives he detonated took the lives of 168 people. Sixteen of the dead, children, McVeigh called "collateral damage."
He was to have died as his punishment for those crimes on May 16. Because 3,135 pieces of evidence were withheld - either through deliberation or stupidity - Attorney General John Ashcroft, a strong proponent of the death penalty, with the direction of President George W. Bush, a strong proponent of the death penalty, ordered a stay of execution.
Writing for U.S. News and World Report, Mike Tharp and Chitra Ragavan state, "For its part, the FBI points to 30,000 witness statements, 136 million telephone entries, 100,000 photographs, hundreds of video and audio tapes, and 1 billion total records, all of which ... pointed conclusively to McVeigh."
MCVEIGH'S APPOINTMENT with eternity is now scheduled for June 11. While we wait for him to pay the full price for his deeds, we are given time to consider many things about this crime. Among them are irony, retribution, and punishment.
David M. Shribman writing in The Boston Globe says the temporary stay of execution "means that the government, and McVeigh, and all of us have a moment to contemplate just what the civics-class discussions about the rights of an individual mean in real life; just how strong are the restraints of the law; just what, ultimately, justice means in a nation founded on the rights of the individual."
The stay of execution is richly ironic. McVeigh respected no one's rights, certainly not the rights of those whose lives he took. The government of our nation, a government McVeigh despises, is, out of respect of his rights, now saving his life. At least for 30 more days - 30 days longer than he, because of his crimes, has a right to live.
Shribman says, " It is this pause, this irony, this humble bow to the rights of the reviled, that more than anything else shows us, and Timothy McVeigh, just how wrong he was."
WHEN TIMOTHY McVeigh dies by lethal injection it will be retribution. Death penalty opponents will, incorrectly, call it revenge. Revenge, the Lord God Almighty said, is reserved for God and God alone. Retribution he placed in our hands and gave the outline for the procedure in his Word.
Timothy McVeigh confessed to his crime. The evidence was overwhelming. The penalty for his crimes is his death.
Will the death of the murderer bring back the dead?
Will the death of the murderer make him a martyr?
Not to those sane people among us who recognize McVeigh is not someone to be honored, but a cold-blooded thug who killed without remorse. The nuts who are like him have already canonized the coward who planted a bomb and walked away, to have it detonate once he reached safety.
Will the death of the murderer bring " closure?"
Yes, according to God's Word.
Will the death of the murderer be a just punishment?
Yes, according to God's Word.
WHEN A MAN deliberately, willfully, willingly, causes the death of another human being, the murderer shall be executed. "Thou shalt not kill" means " thou shalt not murder" and according to God's Word, murder demands the death penalty. God understood the difference between murder and the death penalty. The Hebrews to whom he gave his law understood the difference. It is only we sophisticated, learned, modern Americans who cannot understand it.
God's Word is clear. "A killer may be put to death only if he is a murderer (allowing for the difference between premeditated murder and accidentally causing another's death). And there must be witnesses. No one may be put to death with only one witness. A murderer should die. Don't take money to spare his life. He must be put to death. Don't let murder spoil your land. There is only one way to remove the sin of killing an innocent person. The murderer must be put to death." (See Numbers 35:30-33).
TIMOTHY MCVEIGH has spoiled our land. The open wound still festers. To remove the sin of 168 innocent deaths, the murderer must be put to death. In declaring a sentence of death, the government of the United States has followed the letter of God's law. When that sentence is executed, we will have put a period to the letter.
The author is a local free-lance writer.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org