Having the families of the OK City bombing victims watch McVeigh's execution...

…is just plain sick, sick, sick.

Agree or disagree?

Um… What if they want to watch?

No, no, no…I’m not talking about MAKING them watch. I’m not even necessarily talking about LETTING them watch. I’m just saying that the whole drooling, bloodthirsty REVENGE aspect of it makes me physically ill.

Maybe the heading ought to read “The idea of the OK City bombing victims watching McVeigh’s execution”…?

Well, they did have to see their loved ones dead bodies, so why can’t they see his?

What’s wrong with their desire for revenge? I’d say that their rabid hatred for McVeigh is perfectly reasonable given the grief that he has caused.


While I personally find the idea of watching an execution distasteful, and am mildly opposed to the death penalty in general, I’m not going to condemn the victims of something worse than I have ever experienced for wanting revenge. Revenge is a natural human desire. In the movies, we cheer for those who manage to take revenge on others by hunting them down and killing them. Hell, look at Hamlet. It’s a tragedy where the main character’s hamartia is that he is indecisive in seeking his revenge. People who are wronged want revenge. Whether or not it is right to seek it, the desire is far from bloodthirsty and sickening, but rather commonplace and understandable.

What’s the objectionable thing about vengeance?

I think the whole idea that makes people uncomfortable with wanting revenge is the whole perceieved irrationality of it. We like to think of ourselves as intelligent, rational creatures, but we can’t quite fathom why we would make such an effort to punish others when we don’t really see it serving any purpose.

Of course, some punishment serves as containment, prevention, or rehabilitation. But a lot of it just takes the form of revenge. Look at the death penalty- it’s been proven that, in states such as texas, the crime rate hasn’t decreased because of it. It’s also more expensive to execute someone than to let them rot in jail for the rest of their life. Then why do we continue with it? Do we just enjoy killing people as a vengeful measure? It serves no purpose- it’s irrational- but we do it anyway.

If the family wants to watch, then let them. It might be irrational but, like waterj said… it’s perfectly natural.



Nobody seems to be uncomfortable with the perceived irrationality of love. Despite falling head over heels in love we still think of ourselves as intelligent rational creatures. But when it comes to the emotion of hate people seem to think that it is somehow wrong.

I may have a different view on emotions then a lot of people. I don’t view any emotion as being rational or irrational. I simply view emotions as an indicator of how one is doing according to their own system of values.


I’d argue that it at least serves as prevention. And personally I think taking a pound of flesh sometimes serves its own purpose, justice. The punishment should fit the crime and sometimes that’s the taking of a human life.


Who cares about the cost? But just to go along I wonder if it would end up being cheaper then life without parole. Remember those lifers will be getting old and need specialized medical care when they’re in their 70’s and 80’s.


Sure it serves a purpose. It provides the ultimate penalty for what most people consider the ultimate crime.

I still don’t understand why it is irrational. It seems perfectly reasonable for someone to wish vengence on those who did them so much wrong.


Seriously: I’m about as anti-DP as it gets, but if you’re going to go through with the entire debacle anyway, and if a family member of a victim thinks that watching this well-organized killing is going to help him, I don’t see why not.

This is one of those issues where you really don’t know what you would want until you were faced with the horrible decision.
Personally, I am also “mildly” opposed to the death penalty. I say mildly for a couple of reasons.

[1] If someone killed a family member of mine, I know my immediate urge would be to hunt them down and return the favor.

[2] If the murderer was captured, I would want him to die.

I think those are irrational and bad decisions. In my world view, it is always preferable to let forgiveness be the ultimate solution. If you carry around this huge burden of anger and a wish to get vengence, you are really just hurting yourself.


I also recognize that in the moment of grief, it can be impossible to reach a point of forgiveness and let go of your hate. Vengence seems so much easier and more fulfilling. So I understand having the death penalty to allow the families of victims to get their empty vengence, and move on towards letting go of the pain.

I see the murderer as having forfeited his right to life if it helps the victims he left behind heal.


I know not everyone has the same thought process as me (example: democrats), so maybe there are people out there that would find a certain peace in the knowledge that the murderer was put to death.

Who am I to deny them this release?


Do you remember the bombing? Do you remember that bloody baby? What if that was your bloody baby? What if you were like thousands of people from Oklahoma (and from across the country) that volunteered and helped recover the limbs and and other pieces from the site? When you walk downtown look at a building and try to imagine that it isn’t there because of an act of violence.

These people may well be sick but that is because they are a product of their environment. I feel that they are entitled to emotions.
Plus there are nutjobs who don’t even think man landed on the moon. I’ll bet that even if all the familes get to watch there will be other nutjobs in a few years who will claim that McVeigh wasn’t killed but was rescued by a paramilitary group months before the execution and a different guy was killed bla bla bla.

So let them watch. I doubt it will give any of them peace.

First of all, Kyomara, your clarification doesn’t change my mind. Mainly because I don’t think it’s “sick, sick, sick” to want revenge. It’s a natural human emotion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d wager a lot of people might be gung-ho about seeing it, but as soon as the actual death comes, they might find it to be a much more profound experience than they bargained for. But if that’s what they wanted, they have to live with that.

And as a slight hijack, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to really justify the death penalty if for revenge alone. It’s been proven that it costs more to fry someone (considering the appeals involved) than it does for 60 years in prison without parole, and it is an undeniable fact that innocent people are killed (well, undeniable to everyone except for Dubya, apparently), and it is also an undeniable fact that human biases and financial clout are deciding who lives and who dies, and I don’t think anyone thinks that lady justice would dig that if she took off the blindfold.

So you’re left with revenge. My name is My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Which is fine, really. I am all for revenge as a motive. If anyone killed someone I loved I, someone who is more of a pacifist than anything else, would want to kill the person. With my bare hands, even.

But don’t tell me it’s about saving money, because it’s not. And don’t tell me it’s about detering others, because even the staunchest death penalty fans have long since stopped pounding that particular pulpit. And don’t you ever say it’s fair, because we all know only uneducated, poor, male minorities are likely to die in this manner for the same crimes that people who are not any or a bunch of those things will not get the chair for.

Tell me it’s about revenge, and I’ll agree with your position. And for that reason, I consider myself pro-death penalty in theory, though in practice, I don’t think we can ever get it right.

Is the OP saying that victims’ families watching the McVeigh execution is worse than other families watching other executions? Several states permit this, including Oklahoma.

I personally don’t care if the surviving families of the Oklahoma City bombing want to see McVeigh’s execution or not – in my book, it’s pretty gross, but if they want to feed their desire for vengeance (while clothing it in nicer words like “closure” or “justice”), that’s their business.

What I want to know is, how many of those wanna-see lookieloos are also self-professed “devout Christians,” who value sanctity of life, blah blah blah? {I]That* appeals to my sense of irony for some reason…

Yes, the desire for revenge is perfectly natural and human. So are sexual desire, anger, hunger, jealousy, etc. All of these are emotions that we suppress on a regular basis in order to live peacefully with each other. Furthermore, unless suppressed to some extent, some of these emotions can lead to one human being hurting another.

We don’t live in a fantasy world. I realize these things happen. I also understand (as much as I can as an unconcerned party) the desire for vengeance felt by the families of the victims. But I don’t see how giving in to that desire is any better than T. McVeigh giving into his own anger and blowing up that building.

To be honest, I am stuck somewhere in the middle on this issue myself. But my gut reaction is that there is something really evil about answering needless death with more needless death, even if it is the death of a mass murderer. And to make a spectacle out of that in order to cater to bloodthirst is all the more repellant.

I guess what I would like to see are an evil person on one side and a whole lot of good peop;le who have been hurt on the other side. But the way things are now, the “good” folks are really only looking slightly better than the bad guy. I just see wild animals drooling and snapping on both sides. And that’s sick.

To me. Maybe I’m crazy. (And having I know the next post is going to say “Yes, Kyomara, you are crazy.”:rolleyes:)

However…delphica said:

…and this is probably more meaningful to this discussion than any other post on the board (includung my own). Kind of spoils all the fun of the debate, to be honest, but whatever. This could be interesting anyway.

Also…I know this thread will come dangerously close to becoming a Death Penalty debate, but DON’T GIVE IN. If your post is more than 25% death penalty debate, please start another thread. Because fascinating as that debate is, it has been done to death already.

boy, that’s the last time I try to put a :rolleyes: in parentheses. I’ll never get these smiley things…

You said it all, we supress these emotions in order to live peacefully togeter. Giving in to revenge in this case will hurt no one.

McVeigh killed people when he “gave in”, these families will hurt no one if they watch his execution.

I may find bestiality repellant but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
And Kyomara, you’re crazy :slight_smile:


All emotions need to be examined and suppressed from time to time. In fact I’m hard pressed to think of many emotions that might not lead to the harming of another human being if not kept in check.


How is it the same? In a literal sense they both desire the death of a human being. But how are they on the same moral plane?


What’s evil about it?


I don’t understand why the good people are looking as bad as he did. He murdered people who did him no harm. If and when the state executes Tim McVeigh they will be doing nothing wrong or immoral. I don’t see how you can even put them close to McVeigh.

To me. Maybe I’m crazy. (And having I know the next post is going to say “Yes, Kyomara, you are crazy.”:rolleyes:)

Well I hope I met the criteria. If not you may beat me with a wet noodle until I’m red.


MusicJunkie said:


In the same vein, MGibson said:



I guess it just seems like more death piled on death to me and I don’t see how that could be a good thing. And to have the families watching like bloodthirsty hounds is just worse. McVeigh “gave in,” and now the whole country has “given in” in exactly the same way. I feel that forgiveness is nobler than revenge. Of course I’m living in a fantasy world, but can’t I find anyone out there who at least agrees with the ideal?

Who does it hurt? It’s just more BAD all over. More death for everyone involved. More bad things for the victims, their families, and the whole country in general. Justice and healing aren’t as simple as killing the guy and watching him die.

Anyway…that’s just like, my opinion.

And as for:

ooooooo…tres kinky, Marc. But only if your good. I’ll be over here wetting my linguine just in case.


I guess it just seems like more death piled on death to me and I don’t see how that could be a good thing.


I don’t think it is a good thing either. I don’t have a cavalier attitude regarding the death of human beings. In all cases it is a very serious and sad matter. Even if the person deserves to be put to death.


I don’t think the whole nation, or those who support his execution, have given in to anything. He is guilty of murder so killing him is ok. I agree that it is sad and unpleasant but I can find no wrong in executing him. So far as forgiveness goes I think there are some wrongs that cannot be forgiven. Even if he apologized it wouldn’t be enough.


You’re right it isn’t as simple as watching him die. I’m currently awaiting the state of Texas to execute someone who murdered a friend of mine a few years ago. His death won’t make me feel better, it won’t bring my friend back, and it won’t make it any easier to sleep at night. I’ve accepted and gotten over the death of my friend. But all that said it will bring me a small amount of satisfaction after this man is dead. Am I sick and barbaric?

Just make sure it is a spaghetti noodle and not one of those thick ones. Those smart.