It’s about thirty minutes after 5:00 AM, and I know for certain that when I check this thread again at 7:10 AM, Timothy McVeigh will be dead.
Regardless of who he is and what he’s done, there’s something unnatural about this level of certainty. We know that everyone will die sooner or later, but not when. Some people we know will die within a relatively short time frame, but not the precise moment. And of course, you can say that within a certain period–say, ten minutes–it’s reasonably assured that someone, somewhere will die. Only now, with a scheduled execution beyond all appeal, do all those variables become known.
Here I am sitting at home looking at my watch, knowing exactly who, exactly when, and exactly how another person will die. I share nothing with him except the number of seconds between now and 7:00 AM, as I sit in my living room and he sits in his cell. After 7:00 AM, he and I will share that no longer. I’ll be breathing air he no longer breathes, seeing light he no longer sees, hearing sounds he no longer hears.
All of us share that number of seconds with Timothy McVeigh, until his seconds are yielded up at a prearranged time and place. Then all of us will be bound again by the common breath and pumping blood that he has no longer. One gains some glimmering of understanding why sacrifices have been performed in every society, in every civilization we know of.
I suspect he’s off on a philosophical tangent …some angle on ‘The Meaning of Life’…rather than a reflection of anything to do directly with McVeigh. If that’s the case, I give it about a 1/1,000,000 chance of not being hijacked.
I understand what you’re saying, Zarathustra. It seems weird and unusual to know the exact time that a young healthy man will die.
I don’t like Timothy McVeigh any more than the next person, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of man ruling that another human life should be taken. After all, man taking life is what started this mess. I’m also uncomfortable with the notion that this is justice for the relatives - the ones I’ve seen on TV seem to think that this will help them move on with their lives, but I wonder if they’ve forgotten that once Timothy McVeigh is dead, their loved ones won’t be coming back? I hope this does finally give them the closure they need.
And now he is dead. And I don’t feel any better. I was not affected by the bombing. I lost no loved ones. I understand the pain he caused. Perhaps his death will give some comfort to his victims who lived and the survivors of his victims who died.
I’ve said that I used to be in favour of capital punishment, and that over the years I have become ambivalent and that I lean toward opposing it. Clearly, if anyone deserved to be executed it was McVeigh. Some people “need killing”.
But I can’t help feeling some shame at living in a country that executes people.