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McVeigh: Heroic Martyr to...What Again???

The Intellectual Fraudulence of A Murderer

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, June 13, 2001.

Sorry I missed last week. New studio probs. It was nice to see the spike in website hits, though, so thank you. The execution of Timothy McVeigh, a topic and person of whom all are sick and tired, has set off the usual verbal conflicts, and I think before memory is buried that we should actually define a few terms here. The press uses the term 'terrorist' badly, just as it does 'activist', and we need, from now on, to be accurately specific. There should be distinctions between genuine heroes, like the kid in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square, and a mere activist chanting in the safety of Seattle streets under the impression he knows what police brutality and fascism are. A terrorist inspires terror by attacking the theoretically innocent as a political statement and suggests it could happen again if things don't go his way. As a rule, he plans to escape to do it again. He physically risks very little, based on the very few that get caught. Of those discovered who survive their own bomb incompetence, most are only captured by betrayal or their imp of the perverse. In any case, McVeigh, the Unabomber, the Trade Center bombers, the turkeys who bomb discotheques and fruit stalls, these are terrorists.

Contrary to the media template, men who bomb U. S. destroyers in hostile waters or Marine barracks in hostile lands are not terrorists: they are declaring war, and they risk and usually receive death for their actions. They have the decency, if that is the word, to attack the symbols of power, those that could - and generally should - have defended themselves. They don't pointlessly kill teenagers drunk and dancing, or children and the elderly. I have some respect for those who would attack a despised foreign military on their land, even when I do not agree in any way with their goals, professed or actual. Fighting to the last drop is easy; it's the first that's difficult to wring out, and these guys at least did that. They are not terrorists, they are soldiers as much as the Japanese airmen bombing Pearl Harbor. McVeigh did none of that. He didn't confront the Federal Government, he killed Bailey. He bombed a Federal Office building in Oklahoma City in a plan that left ample room for escape. He professed he didn't know that there was a day care there. If he was telling the truth, he was, contrary to the current media template, socially ignorant, dense, an idiot. He would have known, I would bet, if a Randy Weaver or another militia hero was reporting in to a Federal Office that day and at risk. McVeigh didn't care, and in illustrative example that betrayed more than he realized, he chose as his epitaph a poem considered icky in its adolescent melodrama even in the latter stages of Victorian England. To the perpetual adolescent, it's only about him. But more importantly, what does such an event prove? That if the Federal government - in its stupidity - kills women and children for no clear rationale in future Wacos and Ruby Ridges that an underground element will kill even more innocent women and children in retaliation? Was it really so improbable to McVeigh that the American people would, almost to a man, loath the action? Even the otherwise divided but surviving Branch Davidians are united that McVeigh did nothing to further their cause, and wish they hadn't been washed with his act. If the followers of David Koresh, who provided McVeigh's supposed rationalization for murder, rather predictably condemn his act, can he or his supposed fans still claim that as an excuse? Did McVeigh actually know what the Davidians were, or their history? Or was he just trying to strike out at authority? Why, for example, would it not have been more telling, more impressive, more appropriate, perhaps, to directly attack an FBI assemblage, or an ATF office, or assassinate Federal Marshals just as Weaver's wife was shot by high powered rifle while holding an infant? Because he might get killed, shot, hurt. In the face of that, I don't buy the media's presentation of McVeigh's as a stoic hero in the face of death, staring resolutely into the camera from his gurney. He had no choice at that point. When he had choice, we should recall, he planned to be far from danger. He faced no pain, no conscious trauma. He died, but what, in fact, was the content of his life anyway? Friends? Women? A discernible future? Apparently not enough to keep him wanting more, because he was, leaving Oklahoma, pulled over by mere police for an improbable violation that betrays bad preparation, one that suggests a willingness to test fate.

I don't believe he cared, or that he had much of a beef with the government, or that he was else but a lonely, frustrated guy with no future he could imagine and like. The government, for militia types, serves in the role of Satan - as opposed to Lucifer - in their lives, much as a parent or nuclear weaponry does for others.