The courts won, but not justice
by Marshall Frank
McVeigh - 4; U.S. - 0. So, who won in the end? Justice? Not in my eye.
If you think justice was served, think for a moment about the way so many of us have had to do away with our loved ones. Twice in my life I’ve sadly put a dog or cat to sleep by a routine we refer to as “euthanasia.” Webster defines it as “easy killing” or “mercy killing.” A simple injection, then a sleeping peace; an ultimate act of love.
On the 19th of April, 1995, Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 people and left thousands more in misery. And for that, we euthanized him.
And not before he was provided six years of a continual and complete national forum to espouse his distorted rationale of hate to millions of Americans. Everything he wanted, he got. Even death.
We gave it all to him.
Not only that, as he was being readied for his so-called “execution,” his cause was ever-sweetened as the fabled Federal Bureau of Investigation was being unearthed as a bumbling bureaucracy that had deliberately withheld over 3,000 pages of documents pertaining to his case. Was McVeigh right all along? Was the FBI not being held properly accountable for killing an unarmed mother holding her baby at Ruby Ridge? Was the FBI not being held properly accountable for lying about using incendiary devices at Waco? And what about the FBI scandal where reams of incorrect court testimony were discovered due to flawed science at the FBI laboratory? And what should we make of Robert Hanssen, top counterintelligence agent who, as it turns out, was a better agent for the Russian government?
Today, as we speak, 449 firearms and 184 laptop computers are deemed missing from inventory from the halls of the Justice Department, some containing sensitive information.
The beat goes on.
Ask most any local police agency about sharing in law enforcement efforts with the mythical FBI. I’m one retired police commander who can tell you they have a hard and fast policy — garner information, give none. All that movie and television hype about cops all riding in the same calvary is a lot of bunk.
In 1980, the Metro-Dade Police Department in Miami was caught in the windstorm of a massive corruption investigation conducted by the FBI. As they caught a number of crooked cops in illegal activity, they tried desperately for one year to nail a high ranking commander.
That was me.
The allegations ranged from drug dealing, to street rip-offs, grand theft and raking overtime. Two years later, one agent came to my office to apologize. It had nearly wrecked my career.
I often wonder why the FBI is called upon to give lectures on crime and to teach homicide investigation, when, in fact, they rarely if ever investigate murders. Ninety-nine percent are handled by state and local police.
It’s all image based on the foundation laid by J. Edgar and his secret society and the image he successfully sculpted for the American people.
Meanwhile, that image is crumbling, and Timothy McVeigh would be laughing in his grave if he had one. He set out to punish the government with his 7,000-pound bomb, and he succeeded. He wanted to use his newfound public notoriety as a national stage to impart his propaganda, and he succeeded. He wanted to unveil government law enforcement agencies as inept and dishonest. In his mind, he succeeded.
And, with his final words, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul,” he went to his death unafraid, content that he had accomplished his mission. Again, he succeeded in making the death penalty bittersweet for all those who awaited vindication.
I would rather have given each family member of a victim at least one hour a week to confront McVeigh face-to-face ... every week for the rest of his life until he was an old man.
Ironically, there are 168 hours in a single week, the same number of people killed at Oklahoma City, just enough time to keep him busy 24 hours a day, for life, sentenced to peer into the eyes and listen to the sufferings of every wife, husband, mother, father, brother, sister, friend and associate of those who perished at the hands of this demented rebel. At the very least, have his life waste away within a steel six by nine cell for the next 50 years, enough time to think about his deed, over and over and over and ....
But, no. We, the American people, are so caught up on the death penalty as the ultimate vengeance that we fail to understand that there are more horrid punishments out there. It sure isn’t euthanasia.
Doggone, if he wasn’t right again. Make that McVeigh - 5; U.S. - 0.
©2002 Marshall Frank
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