OKC Victim's Father Becomes Death Penalty Opponent

Tuesday is the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. 168 people died. Over 500 were injured. Meet Budd Welch, father of Julie Welch, who lost her life that day:

Emmett "Bud" Welch, 65, whose daughter, Julie Marie, died in the blast, has found his own way to deal with the pain. The bombing turned Welch, a former gas station owner, into an international crusader against the death penalty and human rights violations.

Welch has spoken about human rights in London, Rome, Kenya and dozens of other places all over the world. "For 11 months after the bombing, I dealt with my situation by drinking. I'd go to the bomb site two or three times a day, with my head splitting from a hangover," Welch said. "Finally, one day, I said, "What are you doing to change your life?'

"I remembered how Julie was so adamantly opposed to the death penalty. She felt so strongly, she started an Amnesty International chapter in her high school at age 16."

Welch opposed the death penalty, too. He decided that the best way to honor his daughter was to tell the world some of the things she would have said. Welch's crusade has upset some people in Oklahoma City, who believed that both McVeigh and co-conspirator Terry Nichols deserved the ultimate punishment.

"I forgave Tim McVeigh before he died," Welch said. "I don't think everyone has to forgive, but if you are able to do it, the feeling you get in your heart is tremendous. I am at peace."

< Ode to an Outlaw Biker | Blogiversary: Atrios Turns Three >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: OKC Victim's Father Becomes Death Penalty Oppo (none / 0) (#1)
    by demohypocrates on Sun Apr 17, 2005 at 07:48:13 PM EST
    Good for him. I am an admitted right-wing poster here, but the death penalty is wrong. To my righty friends, admit it, it accomplishes nothing.

    The state death penalty is pointless.

    Glad he has found a way to deal with his loss and grief. And it's a fitting tribute to his daughter's memory. That was a scary event. My wife was working in a federal building back in those days. I didn't care much for the idea of targeting federal workers.

    How much is you child's or Wife's or Mom's life worth? First I applaud Mr Welch for his position. I have noticed one of the side effects of the Death Penalty is the Bidding war by familys of the victims. If someone commits a vicious murder why should the family have to proove the Value of their loved one? Is my mom's life not worth the ultimate retribution? Yet my neighbor's husband's life does? Why should his family be rewarded with the knowledge their father is more Valuble than my Mom. I think the unentended consequences of the death penalty are more harmful to the victims than the Murderer. I think we have found ourselves in a sorry situation of being forced to really put a value life. I come from the school where ALL our lives have equal value and a pathetic filthy drunken junkie's life is of no less Value than the Popes, the President, the king, and my Mom's.

    Hey, Ed. Retribution? Ultimate retribution? It's called the justice system. It's about justice. I have also heard it called Corrections. The word Rehabilitation occasionally surfaces. I guess we could shift to Department of Retributions, but I am not sure why we would? One more time - the justice system represents the state, the public at large, against potential and suspected wrong-doers. The victim and their families can be represented directly by counsel in civil actions. Even there, I don't think retribution is going to have any legs.

    Hey angel You like to parse words. "It's called the justice system. It's about justice." Ok let's try this. On Saturday a man wlks out of a Bank and kills a Cop. On Monday a man walks out of a bank a Kills your Mother. If the Policemans Killer deserves the Death penalty why doesn't your Mom's murderer deserve it too? Is This justice. Wouldn't you agree that in effect the JUSTICE System is saying to you YOUR MOM'S LIFE is NOT WORTH as much to our Society as a policemans. You say "Tomato" I say "Tomaatoe" You say "Justice" I say "Retribution"

    Angel You did make an excellent point there. Kodos

    What ever happened to those Middle Easteners riding with Tim McV? Can the average American tell the difference between someone from the M.E. an India/Pakistani, tall Latino or light skinned Brazilian?

    I've known about Bud Welch for many years. The fact that he's doing what he's doing isn't driven just by his daughter's opposition to the death penalty. In more than one interview, he indicated that he did not believe that the federal government should, in essence, make a martyr of Timothy McVeigh by killing him. Bud Welch is proof that not everyone who loses a loved one in an act of violence wants eye-for-an-eye justice the right continual tries to convince us they do. He's always had my respect for speaking against the grain, and for memorializing his daughter by carrying on her fight.