Commercializing the Oklahoma City Bombing

Some of you undoubtedly are watching the McVeigh Tapes tonight on MSNBC. They will have a computer generated character, who in their view bears a physical resemblance to Timothy McVeigh, so you have something to look at as they play the audio of tapes made during interviews he granted to the two reporters who wrote the book, American Terrorist.

Since I was one of McVeigh's trial lawyers, I obviously have my own opinions about why he chose to speak to the reporters and what his objectives were -- and how much of what he told them was accurate.

The reason I doubt I'll like Maddow's show is the attempt to politicize it and tie McVeigh to current times and the anti-government feelings some are expressing. There is no connection. And it's long past time to put the conspiracy theories to rest. [More...]

The Clinton Administration unnecessarily politicized the Oklahoma City bombing. On the eve of its first anniversary, Congress passed the dreadful Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. I take a walk back through 1996 here.

McVeigh wasn't in a militia. He didn't have middle-eastern connections. He was obsessed with Waco. He was angry about Ruby Ridge. He was anti-federal government. He had problems adjusting after he returned from the first Iraq war. He liked guns. And no, he didn't know there was a day care facility in the Murrah Building. End of story, really.

In McVeigh's last letter to me, about a month before his execution, he thanked me for setting the record straight on cable news shows and told me to do so any time. I really haven't had much reason to, since his execution. The other day I got a call from Daily Beast political writer John Avlon who asked me for my thoughts for his article today, Today's Holiday of Hate, about April 19th, which is not only the anniversary of the OKC bombing but also of Waco, the execution of Richard Snell and of course, Lexington/Concord. He sums my thoughts up pretty well:

....Timothy McVeigh's one-time defense lawyer, Jeralyn E. Merritt, cautions against making connections today's militia movements and McVeigh, telling me "I don't think there will be a repeat based on the same events or factors that influenced McVeigh. He was pretty unique."

Liberals are shooting themselves in the foot if they think they can may hay with connecting McVeigh to current times. What they will get is more anti-terror laws that we don't need, more government surveillance and less freedom -- and it won't make the country one bit safer.

Our civil liberties must be assiduously protected. Once they start to slip, they go quickly. Once we remove them for one group, it becomes easier to do it for the next group. Once we begin making exceptions for catastrophic events, the exceptions will become the rule.

Feel free to comment on the show, but keep in mind, if you personally attack McVeigh or call him names (as opposed to criticizing what he did or disagreeing with his views, which is allowed) your comment will be deleted. He may have been the most hated man in America, but he was my client. I represented him with pride and dedication. I even liked him. He was articulate, smart and he had a sense of humor.

The Oklahoma City Bombing was a tragic, horrible event. Timothy McVeigh paid dearly for it, as he always knew he would, with his life.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Columbine. As usual, it's being used to press Congress for stricter gun laws.

Anniversaries should be an occasion to reflect on an event. Instead, they are being used to advance particular agendas. That's a shame.

< Monday Afternoon Open Thread | 4/20 Day:Tax and Legalize Marijuana >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Thanks... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:46:09 PM EST
    for this much needed perspective.

    Things are never as simple as our minds would like them to be...the mind will create false connections, patterns, and eventually solutions just to simplify the complex, explain the unexplainable...the results can get real ugly.

    Hats Off To You Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:14:18 PM EST
    And thank you for putting a human face on this story..  

    Totally agree with you Jeralyn (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:02:33 PM EST
    about politicizing anniversaries like this. To me it cheapens the original event and the lives lost when we try to shoehorn it into a mold that fits today's circumstances, and also when we try too hard to see today through a historical analogy. I'd rather look at it on it's own terms.

    I'm glad there are people try to understand people like McVeigh. Writing it off as evil is way too easy.

    last anniversary seems like yesterday and I know I wrote about being in OKC that day so I won't do it again. My overall takeaway from the experience is that hate is not the answer unless we want our whole country to look like Beirut. That was my insight that day and I have not changed my mind.

    I'm as guilty as anyone about excessive rhetoric about people like tea partiers, Reagan, Bush and others I frankly think are idiots, and I have my share of anger. But I agree with presidents past and present that we do have to try to channel it to make a better country and not a worse one.

    What about Joe Stack's IRS plane crash? (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:48:18 PM EST
    By way of comparison, it's interesting that no faction has really taken up the cause of politicizing, or even remembering, Joseph Stack's suicide mission to crash his plane into an Austin IRS building:
    A six-page statement posted on the Web and signed "Joe Stack (1956-2010)" articulated grievances with specific sections of the tax code, corporations, politicians and a local accountant.

    From relatives, friends and neighbors, a portrait of Stack [a computer software engineer] emerged as a man pushed over the brink by retirement dreams deferred through a protracted series of financial setbacks.

    Initially, some progbloggers lumped Stack in with the Tea Partiers - but he wasn't affiliated with them and he didn't fit the 'racist, redneck' profile. In the end, there may have been some uneasy feeling that he was starting to resemble one of 'us', more than 'them'.

    Difference may be the victims (none / 0) (#45)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:00:21 PM EST
    not the perpetrators.  McVeigh killed babies (and a lot of other people).  Stack killed one person -- an elderly person (and an African American, but I think that the difference is ages and number of victims).

    I hope it is not a difference owing to our times; that is, that we have become too accustomed to these attacks in these awful times of ours.


    The comparative lack of coverage on Stack (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:44:02 PM EST
    may have a lot to do with the contents of the final statement he posted on his website. Stack railed against the IRS, but in large measure he also railed against the enabling role of government vis a vis Wall Street/corporate bailouts, the wretched state of health care, the avarice of big pharma and health insurance companies, and the Catholic Church's tax exempt status.
    Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it's time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?  Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country's leaders don't see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies.  Yet, the political "representatives" (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the "terrible health care problem".  It's clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don't get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.
    Stack ended his statement with this unequivocal coup de grâce:
    The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
    The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

    If the press (left, right, or center) had chosen to examine Stack's express motives, nobody would have come out alive.


    It's easier to attach a stigma... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by szielinski on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:50:44 AM EST
    ...to Stack and McVeigh than it is to comprehend the social and political conditions which make the appearance of these individuals likely possibilities. The stigma operates as a kind of denial of the real state of things.

    Yes, and in the absence of analysis and (none / 0) (#102)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 02:37:13 PM EST
    critique, the socio-political conditions which produced the problem continue to persist and produce the problem all over again. That paradigm is far more profitable, to those who profit, than altering the status quo.  

    I think you hit it on the head (none / 0) (#47)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:13:17 PM EST
    The fact that only one person was murdered is the primary reason why the press does not link the crimes together.
    And the fact that the person who ran his plane into the building is also dead. There was no trial so there was no publicity.

    Stack's buddy and bandmate (none / 0) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:14:08 PM EST
    interviewed by CNN said he's been fairly inundated with contacts who assume he must share Stack's views and want him to join their anti-government militia, or whatever their group is.

    Media may be treating Stack as the flipped-out unaffiliated character he was, but not so the virulently anti-government types out there.


    The tea partiers are not alone in choosing (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:00:09 AM EST
    to focus on Stack's IRS grievances.

    His compelling condemnation of the unholy alliance between corporations and government is an 'inconvenient truth' for just about everybody.


    Interestingly enough (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Dancing Bear on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:19:22 PM EST
    many of the victims and their survivors did not wish for the Death Penalty. Many did but many did not.

    I guess the thing that hit me the most was a lady saying that ,"he had so much compassion for the people of Wacco and yet none for all the lives he took In Oklahoma". True that.  

    I did think it was worth watching. I had never heard so many things from his perspective and while it doesn't change how I feel about what he did it makes it clear to see why so many things like this happen.

    It is more than just family, War service, obsessive behavior and so forth. It will always be a combination of things that make people do these things. When we figure out one thing something else will happen and for other reasons.

    One of the greatest personal freedoms we have is the right to be safe. Some feel the 2nd Amendment provides that and others like me feel the opposite. Me having a gun may make me safe but you having a gun does not help me sleep at night.
    I am truly put off by people obsessed with weaponry. It's a bit more frightening than somebody collecting kitten figurines(well, maybe).  There is a subculture of people like this and I am very much more scared of them than they should ever be of me. I strongly defend people's right to defend themselves but I despise the worship by some of anything manufactured to kill, maim, or terrorize.

    Despite what he did, why, and anything else anyone may feel, I strongly believe in his right to have you defend him and your obligation to do the very best you could on his behalf. I imagine it is not easy to represent someone who is admitting guilt openly but there have been so many cases where people claimed they did things that they did not. Nothing in this world is ever totally clear and just when we think we figured things out we find that we were completely wrong.

    McVeigh was (none / 0) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:21:00 PM EST
    without a doubt the most universally despised and hated man in America-- and not without reason.

    I can't even begin to express my admiration for people like Jeralyn who take these cases on and fight for them with everything they've got to the bitter end.


    Glad I Missed That (none / 0) (#56)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:06:30 AM EST
    Must have been because I have no TeeVee.

    Really (none / 0) (#59)
    by kaleidescope on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:23:14 AM EST
    I watched most of the program and I didn't really see any attempt to tie McVeigh to the militias or politics of today.  I did miss the first fifteen minutes, though.

    What puzzled me the most is why McVeigh took the license plates off his car and drove down the freeway like that.  That and why he rented the motel room in his own name when he used a fake name to rent the truck.  

    It almost seems like he wanted to be caught.

    The guy from the Southern Poverty Law Center called McVeigh a sociopath, but I think that's really wrong.  McVeigh did what he did because he believed in something and felt he had to act on it. Unlike a sociopath, McVeigh wasn't just seeking thrills or smashing and grabbing something with no conscience or empathy.  That's not how he comes across on the tapes.

    McVeigh's world view wasn't something I share or agree with, but what McVeigh did is similar to what people in the Weather Underground did to when they took action (like blowing up a bathroom at the Pentagon) to try to stop a genocidal war on people of color both here and abroad.  As Mario Savio put it, sometimes the machine gets so odious that you have to lay your body across the gears to try to stop it.    

    Timothy McVeigh seemed to be coming from that direction, not the selfish violent theiving narcissism of a sociopath.  

    It would've been interesting to have taken a closer look at how McVeigh's experiences in battle in Iraq/Kuwait may have affected him psychologically.  Kind of scary for a network to go there, though.

    I can't imagine what it must be like to have a client executed.  For an attorney that has to be the ultimate bummer.


    Osama bin Laden (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:05:51 AM EST
    also claims to be acting from a rational basis- removal of US troops from the middle East, an end to Israel and the restoration of the caliphate it doesn't make his actions to these ends any less sociopathic.

    Well (none / 0) (#113)
    by kaleidescope on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:56:23 PM EST
    You seem to be confusing "sociopath" with "bad" or "reprehensible."  Some of the hallmarks of a psychopath or, as the DSM IV would put it, a person suffering from anti-social personality disorder, is repeated arrests and criminal activity from an early age, inhibited attention span, intolerance of boredom, habitual lying, even when there is no reason to lie.  Inability to have a conscience or empathy.

    McVeigh did not get in trouble as a kid.  He was a straight arrow.  Ditto for his performance in the military.  He was asked to try out for special forces, not something a transparent screw-up like a sociopath is usually offered.  He came up with a sustained plan for visiting old-Testament justice on a government he thought was a bully.  Then he calmly acted on that plan.

    McVeigh came to resent having been used by the U.S. Government to kill and bully other people.  People he had come to see as being just people, just like him.

    What McVeigh did was very very bad.  It was reprehensible.  It was terrible.  But he wasn't a sociopath and he wasn't a psychopath.

    People can do really horrible things even if they aren't suffering from anti-social personality disorder.  


    Jeralyn- I keep wondering... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Palli on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:04:22 AM EST
    about the differences between the decisions of a Rachel Corrie and a Timothy McVeigh? hows and whys

    Jeralyn (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:01:32 AM EST
    While I respect your service to McVeigh and strongly disagree with the imposition of the death penalty- I have to disagree with your argument that McVeigh's terrorist actions are entirely unrelated to the current anti-government mood, frankly I feel the continual excusing of anti-government terrorism as simply the actions of so many "lone wolves" is reminiscent of the response by many to anti-abortion terrorism and in both cases even if the acts themselves are unconnected the underlying cause and in many cases the underlying agitators are the same.

    McVeigh the individual... (none / 0) (#96)
    by szielinski on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:03:34 AM EST
    ...is not identical to McVeigh the public figure. If he had wanted more control over his image -- which is to say, how he appeared to others -- he could have done much better than deriving an aura constructed from his terrorist act. If McVeigh is the victim of the Rashomon Effect, his deed is the efficient cause of that outcome.

    I recently visited the... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:47:48 AM EST
    Oklahoma City National Memorial.

    It's a very moving experience. The memorial is a very poignant tribute.

    Such a sad story. (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:20:56 PM EST
    I do have a question, and I hope you don't find it disrespectful.
    Do you think there was anything of the so-called "banality of evil" in McVeigh?
    That is, was there something missing in him, or was he a more or less ordinary person who took a terrible wrong turn.

    The banality of evil argument... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by szielinski on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:00:31 PM EST
    ...would not apply to a lonely individual terrorist like McVeigh. His act seemed to be deliberate and defensible if, that is, one accepts the truth of his sense of the world, of his grievances and wishes. Eichmann, on the other hand, the exemplary figure in the "banality of evil" analysis of the Nazi regime, did not directly kill anyone. Rather, he participated in the exercise of command responsibility for an unprecedented killing machine. He was the military equivalent of a middle manager. Yet, he was no human monster as we would normally consider such a person to be. He did not hate the Jews. Nor was he sadistic. Mass murder was not his calling in life as it seemed to be for some Nazis. Eichmann merely followed the orders which were given to him by his superiors. He was, in other words, a law-abiding citizen of his country and, of course, a dutiful soldier.

    Of course, Eichmann's orders were criminal in nature. But he followed his orders because he wanted to escape his fate -- that being a life lived as an ambitious, frustrated, nobody.

    In the end, he was a 'normal person' who just could not distinguish between right and wrong, who lived according to a code of duty and who lived during a time in which the presence of radical evil was normal.

    Eichmann's counterpart in America today: The person who joins the armed forces to get ahead in life and goes on to participate in atrocities; the corporate functionary who suppresses research which would prove unprofitable for the corporation if it became public; the teachers who deny that some high school students mentally torment other students even though they clearly do so; etc.

    McVeigh = an enervated ideologue, an outsider.
    Eichmann = a soulless bureaucrat, an ambitious nobody who took advantage of the opportunities that came his way.


    The Nuremberg Defense (none / 0) (#74)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:27:46 AM EST
    It should be pointed out that in order to declare that defense invalid we had to destroy the government from which those orders originated.

    And therein lies the rub.

    What little soul searching went on after Waco, in the form of official inquiries, ended in exoneration of all the officials involved.

    The gloves were off with new rules of engagement where the BORs took a back seat to the laws of war.

    It's often been noted that activism from the left prevents violence from the right. For the most part the left turned away from Waco lest a stain be cast on their new boy wonder.

    This was not true for the NACDL however. They pushed, published and agitated. And for a while there it looked like they might have some success. All that came crashing down however when Tim lit that fuse.


    Victor's justice (none / 0) (#77)
    by szielinski on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:59:35 AM EST
    It should be pointed out that in order to declare that defense invalid we had to destroy the government from which those orders originated.

    And therein lies the rub.

    So far as I can tell, victor's justice is an oxymoron.

    Curtis LeMay knew this: He expected to be prosecuted for the war crimes he had authorized if the United States were to lose the Pacific War. Naturally, he should have been tried for these crimes even though the United States prevailed in that war.


    I would argue there's (none / 0) (#90)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:07:07 AM EST
    a difference between War Crimes such as Lemay's and Crimes against Humanity ala Eichman's.

    I would reply... (none / 0) (#95)
    by szielinski on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:49:26 AM EST
    ...by asserting that LeMay committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the bombing campaigns he authorized in the Pacific theater during WW II.

    Briefly put, the attack on Japanese civilians amounts to murder (a crime against humanity) and an attack on a protected population (a war crime).

    Thou shall not butcher civilians, although this maxim stands as a platitude today.

    See Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statue of the ICC


    But it was acceptable under (none / 0) (#97)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:58:35 PM EST
    the accepted conduct of war at the time- what differentiates it from the Final Solution is that one is an ultimate break from said norms (even more than Russian depredations on the Eastern Front, the Rape of Nanking, or American Interment).

    Whom did we inter? (none / 0) (#98)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:12:29 PM EST
    Seriously? (none / 0) (#115)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 08:40:23 AM EST
    Japanese Americans ring a bell?  Internment camps all over the West?  

    Anhilating cities... (none / 0) (#100)
    by szielinski on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:39:13 PM EST
    ...along with the civilians who lived in them was acceptable? Do you mean that it was legally acceptable or morally acceptable?

    As a matter of fact, the legal identification of Genocide as a crime required the implementation of the General Assembly Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1951. The Nuremberg Trials, which predated and were a motive for the adoption of the legal niceties which followed, were also an instance of victor's justice.


    the latter (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:24:29 PM EST
    without question. "a more or less ordinary person who took a terrible wrong turn."

    I can not agree with that (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:02:02 PM EST
    Anyone who can do what McVeigh did is not an ordinary person. The acts are evil and can only be committed by a person who is not ordinary.

    Has it occured to you (none / 0) (#11)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:14:24 PM EST
    that's what ordinary people do every day when they take roles as soldiers?

    McVeigh of course (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:17:18 PM EST
    was a decorated soldier.

    The military can be a haven for lost (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:15:48 AM EST
    people.  It can provide a clear framework to structure a life around and it provides an often pretty clear system of reward and punishment.  He was an exceptional soldier too.  But nobody brags about kill shots from a tank on soldiers standing out in the open like that unless they have a sociopathic streak. He was smart enough to be bothered by it though and claim he fired in self defense, but it wasn't that sort of a hero shot.  Disarming another tank, which he did as well, was a much fairer fight but he didn't talk about that shot.  He was much more fascinated with making someone's head simply disappear.  As John Bradshaw has said though, the most exceptional kid in the room is often one of the most sickest.  He works so hard to be pleasing because he finds himself so worthless.

    the military is not exactly a rehabilitative "haven" for "lost souls" as you've suggested. In fact, it would appear to be a distinctly exacerbating environment for many, irrespective of whether they have a "sociopathic streak" going in.

    Of course, most recently, we have the horrific evidence of the Wikileaks video, showing the U.S. military, from an Apache helicopter, remorselessly slaughtering civilians in Iraq in 2007 -- including [two children], a Reuters photojournalist and his driver. Greenwald has written at length on all manner of atrocities and abuse in the 'war on terror'. He, and others, (like Jeremy Scahill and Scott Horton) have demonstrated that such acts are neither particularly rare, nor wildly outside the norm, as in this Greenwald article Iraq slaughter not an aberration:

    A major reason there are hundreds of thousands of dead innocent civilians in Iraq, and thousands more in Afghanistan, is because this is what we do... That's why it's repulsive to watch people -- including some "liberals" -- attack WikiLeaks for slandering The Troops, or complain that objections to these actions unfairly disparage the military because "our guys are the good guys" and they act differently "99.99999999% of the time." That is blatantly false. Just as was true of the deceitful attempt to depict the Abu Ghraib abusers as rogue "bad apples" once their conduct was exposed with photographs (when the reality was they were acting in complete consistency with authorized government policy)...

    I shudder to think what is depicted in the torture photos Obama is still withholding from public view.


    I did not suggest that it is (none / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:11:54 AM EST
    a rehabilitative haven at all. You put extra words in my post.  If you have a difficult time structuring a life and you don't mind using someone elses structure or it provides you a measure of relief, the military can become a sort of haven.  The military is chock full of people who crave little else but structure.  McVeigh always loved weapons too, long before joining the military.  There were many things that are components to the military environment that he seemed to crave or was fascinated with before he even became a member.  But I have known a few people who in my opinion are dangerous personalities and were before they joined the military and the military enhanced that but provided the structure to allow them to take part in a society and be socially included.  What happens though to such people once that structure and society is removed?  Sometimes the military gives dangerous people a place to not be noticed too.  The current war situations though sort of shook more than a few of them out of the woodwork and many were let go. I know one them personally and helped his wife leave him and move hundreds of miles away with two kids when he went to Iraq that first year.  Strangely enough he was also a tank gunner and he also was fascinated with taking photos of dead people and even went out of his way on his down time to collect photos of the dead and other personal things he found on bodies like fillings.  When he got home though for his leave, he had done a few things in the war zone that made his superiors and those who had to live in a tank with him during that year's time skin literally crawl and he was "let go".  Blackwater hired more than their fair share of such military personalities too who when they had to function in a war zone for a long period of time let certain "aspects" of themselves free.  

    By the way (none / 0) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:28:51 AM EST
    The Wiki leaks footage was a police action and if someone was running around shooting at people and packing an rpg in a neighborhood in America, lethal deadly force would be used too.  I take it that the reporters were coming from the perspective that those they were with were part of a "war", even though by that time Iraq had a government in place and had established sovereignty.  If that is where they were coming from, then they were embedded...who gets mad about embedded reporters being killed in the war that they embedded themselves into?  Come on man.  And nobody ever said Abu Ghraib was legal around here, and let us remember what administration did this okay?  Soldiers have choice though, the Abu Ghraib soldiers were chosen because it was believed by military intelligence that they were woefully unaware of that and also mostly not even mature adults...being lead by a very sadistic older man.

    Leaving Abu Ghraib out (none / 0) (#83)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:22:53 AM EST
    and I don't disagree with you about AG until you start to bring politics into it and don't mention that the Army was investigating long before the NYT's stories....

    Thank you for pointing out what should be understood by everyone.


    There were several investigations (none / 0) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:51:28 AM EST
    done.  Only the latter one was honest or even cared to get to the bottom of things. Let us not forget who got fired right out of the gate Jim and why she was fired.

    But we do have our agreements (none / 0) (#87)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:00:02 AM EST
    don't we? :)

    Yes but I am the (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:19:27 AM EST
    evil anti tax payer paid for vacation person.

    Let us never forget that.


    (Sorry couldn't resist the humor. Let's don't go off topic any further.)


    I was just having coffee with my (none / 0) (#84)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:49:03 AM EST
    husband and talking about this, and he brought up something very important that Jeralyn also points out....this was a propaganda piece.  I know what McVeigh had to say about the headshot thing, but I have no idea how he felt about any other action he preformed during the Gulf War.  I hear the blurbs that those who created the program want me to hear.

    not the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:46:42 PM EST
    at all.

    Disagree. We sanitize what happens in war. (none / 0) (#32)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:57:20 PM EST
    Do you mean (none / 0) (#14)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:25:40 PM EST
    Do you mean killing innocent people including children. (The fact he did not know about the day care center is  irrelevant in my mind. He still planned on killing innocent people)

    The fact is what McVeigh did was not done during war. He planned on killing a number of innocent people that was not threat to him or to others. And for a man to do what he did can not be committed by an ordinary man. And history should remember him as such.


    What about the man who dropped (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:32:13 PM EST
    the bomb on Nagasaki?
    He knew he would be killing thousands of innocent people. Does that mean he was a monster?
    The fact McVeigh was a soldier must be relevant. He was already trained to devalue human life.

    We were at war (none / 0) (#21)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:38:17 PM EST
    We were at war when we dropped the bomb at Nafasaki.

    And do you think the mindset which (none / 0) (#31)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:56:24 PM EST
    allows a person to be a mass killer suddenly ends when the war is over?
    Don't forget, since WWII the military has refined its psychological methods of turning ordinary people into efficient killers.
    Morally, the issue is similar to one of the problems with torture: the people who are hired to torture will become psychologically damaged and dangerous;  likewise, trained killers in the military are different from you and me.

    A damndable broad brush ya' got there (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:06:05 PM EST
    ya think.
    When we sit on our couches let slip the dogs do you think we have any responsibility? Does that make us different?

    I think people facing and dealing (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:30:01 AM EST
    with war become changed.  There is no doubt about it.  For instance, much of what supports this family is the fact that we broke Iraq and now it is no longer a stable society with a stable rule of law upholding a social fabric that people can hope to get their basic needs met in and then self actualize.  And so much trauma came from breaking it and is still taking place because of that.  If you want to watch my husband's head spin around like he's possessed just show him Hannity preaching to his Tim McVeigh wannabes.  It can change everyone though in utterly profound ways and in my opinion just simply does straight across the board.  I spend a lot of time crying or I won't make it through this.  The kids cry, my husband cries.  It made me mad to cry so much at first, mad because of the lies....but I processed that the best I could as horrible as it was and it was horrible.  And we still cry a lot in the house but it is different now.  I won't make it if I'm not free to cry though, and I cry at the drop of hat right now too at times but these are painful times.

    You guys take care of one another (none / 0) (#70)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:43:57 AM EST
    this war was not of your making.
    I find it very hypocritical for the citizens of a democracy to detach themselves from the actions of our soldiers. The shame at the loss of humanity should be all our cross to bear. This notion  
    .... trained killers in the military are different from you and me.
    seems a complete abdication of our moral responsibility. How so are they different? They are doing a job we pay them to do, under the rules we set, with the tools we provide.

    You damned right we sanitize it. Were the terrible reality brought home we might be forced to rethink our role in it and take responsibility for our actions or lack thereof.


    Yeah, if it wasn't sanitized (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:21:29 AM EST
    Iraq would have never happened.  And even if it had, after there were no WMDs the cries and screams from my own country would have been deafening and George Bush certainly would have never been given his Haiti job.  Look at everything that man did, but because he stole an election once I must shower him with honors after he showered the world with horror?

    Though quite possibly... (none / 0) (#82)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:17:52 AM EST
    in McVeigh's mind, this was also an act of war, no different than dropping bombs over civilian populations in Japan.  He was at war with the government, thus making his deplorable actions "acceptable" or "justified".

    Sorry (none / 0) (#112)
    by christinep on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:22:53 PM EST
    I'm reading this a bit late, observed. But, yoiks, what a nerve so much of it strikes. I too respect Jeralyn for her service as a defense attorney in this situation. Yet...I also remember, as a federal attorney for most of my career, the abject fear of being in a federal buidling at my office in Denver during that era. (Oh, it wasn't just me...most of us felt that unusual stirring of "is the building going to blow"; and, there were plenty of evacuations in the weeks that followed that April day.) My office building was catty-corner to the Denver federal building in which the trial was held. On two occasions, I stood in line pre-dawn to have a seat in the courtroom; on other occasions, I--along with a number of others--stood in line to hold places for the relatives of victims and other survivors. You speak of Nagasaki. Well, this was supposedly peacetime in the US...and, for me, the personal difference is the personal conversations with some of those survivors. One of my closest friends was tasked to represent the 10th Circuit in surveying the damage at the Okla. City Judge Murrah Federal Bldg.--and, I remember those conversations with her as well. And, when I heard the guilty verdict standing on the corner across from the Denver Federal Bldg., I applauded. That was my recollection then; and, that is my reaction now. Timothy McVeigh took a deliberate action knowingly causing the death of 168 people as a civilian in the US. There may be all kinds of reasons. From an historical perspective, those reasons may be interesting (even compelling); from a human perspective who still cries with those left behind, it was cruel & calculated murder. So, finally, it is about personal responsibility.

    he may have been normal (none / 0) (#20)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:38:13 PM EST
    at one time, but what he did was evil.  It all depends on your interpretation of the word.

    Not entirely true (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:21:32 AM EST
    My spouse says that you can never tell how a mission will go but it is a mission and you don't just sit down and cry in the middle of it.  You have to wait until you get home or back to your plywood sleeping box to cry, and then you cry.  I don't think Tim cried too much.

    It's not my forte (none / 0) (#71)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:08:11 AM EST
    but I read that once that the collateral damage in Kosovo was similar to the levels from carpet bombing in WWII. Seems even though our munitions were much more accurate the equations used for acceptable losses from collateral damage had not changed.

    What is the percentage (none / 0) (#72)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 06:59:49 AM EST
    Of soldiers who come back from war and plot and devise to commit mass murder?  This wasn't a case of someone who snapped and in a fit of rage killed people.  This was an intricate plan to kill as many people as possible. Waco was just an excuse.

    McVeigh may have been "likable" but then again, Hitler was charismatic and people liked him too. Sociopaths can also be "likable" - it doesn't mean they can't be evil as well.  I don't understand why we feel the need to make excuses for people who do horrible things.


    Agree, although I didn't expect (none / 0) (#99)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:14:43 PM EST
    your comment to be visible this long.

    Kudos Jeralyn on such a thoughtful and (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:36:44 PM EST
    insightful post.

    Can you tell us whether McVeigh said anything about how he viewed the Iraq War (Desert Storm?) or how he thought it had affected him? Was there any talk of PTSD for instance?


    Thank you. (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:29:37 PM EST
    Emulation (none / 0) (#7)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:54:20 PM EST
    I've often thought that might be his point.

    Thanks for the point of view (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:42:50 PM EST
    Would you say that there is any relation at all to the anti-government philosophy that appears to animate some Tea Partiers with the movement which McVeigh appeared to have sympathy for back in the 90s?

    I think I agree with you in thaat it really doesn't.

    The Tea Parties are a concoction. Say what you will about McVeigh, he was no one's creation.

    One other question, what of the others involved in OKC? What of their views?  

    Mirror this exact comment (none / 0) (#42)
    by abdiel on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:18:20 PM EST
    it perfectly sums up my opinion as well.

    Well said, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:43:09 PM EST
    and bravo.  I think you're totally right.

    In the few videos we had of him, I also found him very likable, and obviously bright and thoughtful, and I honestly found that difficult to absorb.  There's no end to the mysteries of the human heart, I guess, when someone like that could do what he did.

    On the other hand (none / 0) (#9)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:06:24 PM EST
    That could only be a mask of McVeigh. It is possible for a person to commit evil acts but still put on a persona of  being a decent person. IOW, it could be just an act.

    masks... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by ahazydelirium on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:43:31 PM EST
    that's all we are as human beings: a collection of personae. we perform different roles in different situations; these roles have their own functions, and they are not always complementary. to speak of some intrinsic human identity is fundamentally essentialist and ignores the complexity of human desire, personality and motivation. it's easy to call mcveigh an evil man, but doing so only shuts down any critical analysis of the figure and the things that led up to his evil act. notice, one can call the act evil while still acknowledging that mcveigh was a full-fledged, feeling, thinking human being. to say he is evil means we don't have to discuss (for example) the role that military conditioning and wartime realities had in his actions or the lack of proper health care post-duty.

    Please note (none / 0) (#17)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:34:38 PM EST
    I did not say he gave the impression of being a "decent person."  He gave the impression of being what he was, an intelligent, likable human being.  (So did Ted Bundy, rather notoriously, btw.)

    IOW, McVeigh was not some hopeless loser, like for instance, the Unabomber, or less dramatically Nidal Hasan.  He was a bright, sociable and capable person, and yet he did this horrible thing and was apparently proud of it to the very end.

    There's a lot we could learn about what goes wrong in the human mind by studying folks like McVeigh, but we can't do that because he was put to death.  Just one more reason to oppose the death penalty, IMO.


    Fair point (none / 0) (#24)
    by nyjets on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:43:52 PM EST
    Fair point on what you said. From that point of view, you do make a valid point. (Honestly, him dying in prison may have been a better outcome than death penalty. That is  valid point.)
    That being said,  I do not think we can learn anything from someone like McVeigh . IMO, we have the ability to choose to do good or evil. If we choose to do good, we are a good person. If we choose to do evil, we are evil. McVeigh choose to do evil.

    (And before anyone comments on it, I do agree that no one is 100 percent good or 100 percent evil. Most good people have an evil side and most evil people have a good side.However, I do think that whatever side is larger determines what a person is.)


    Um, hokay (none / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:59:58 PM EST
    I almost envy you the simplicity of your worldview.

    The Unabomber (none / 0) (#91)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:15:22 AM EST
    was a brilliant man who suffered a pyschological deterioration after participating in a series of experiments at Harvard- McVeigh was sociopath before he ever left the service- he reminds one of Calley or a Whitman.

    Funny how our school district ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by magster on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:24:57 PM EST
    ... set aside today and tomorrow for "teacher conferences".  

    Been watching during halftime (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:28:53 PM EST
    And this strikes me as false advertising by Maddow.

    This is a few snippets of McVeigh talking and a bunch of "To Catch A Killer" like recreations and talk.

    I hope the rest of the show is better than this.

    I thought it was going to bother me (none / 0) (#41)
    by Kimberley on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:17:25 PM EST
    More than it has. It's been a while and the time line was a little fuzzy for me.

    Overall, I think it's been a responsible and interesting presentation. A society determined not to see more of this can probably glean something about prevention from this.


    an unanswerable question (none / 0) (#18)
    by desmoinesdem on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:36:03 PM EST
    but I'll ask it anyway. Do you think if Waco hadn't happened, he would have become obsessed with some other event he considered an atrocity committed by the federal government?

    In other words, was Waco an event that just confirmed feelings he already had about the government? Or was he kind of drifting, trying to make sense of the world, when Waco happened and turned the government into enemy number one for him?

    what I was thinking (none / 0) (#23)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:43:46 PM EST
    Yes, if you have a back ground in psychology it seems almost obvious.  He was a mass murder waiting to happen.
    This is one of those things I blame the radical right for, turning WACO in to a political tool.  IF McVeigh had understood the truth, that they WACO residents always intended to die in a fire and they themselves set it, he would have had to find another reason to hate the government.  

    your comment is false (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:54:09 PM EST
    in every way.

    How so (none / 0) (#92)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:16:51 AM EST
    are you arguing that Waco was a government murder or that Mcveigh wasn't influence by it or what?

    Wrong in every way... (none / 0) (#114)
    by Rojas on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 07:06:52 AM EST
    I suspect you'll simply dismiss them as OJ jurors but TeresaInPa's predicate statement has been tested.
    IF McVeigh had understood the truth, that they WACO residents always intended to die in a fire and they themselves set it

    The surviving Davidians were indicted on a federal conspiracy to murder federal officers charge. The elements of the government's theory at that trial were as Teresa suggested with the addition of the acquisition of weapons as furtherance of that conspiracy.

    The conspiracy charge was soundly rejected. In fact they rejected "Aiding and Abetting Unknown Principals and Each Other in the Murder of Federal Officers"
    They did find five of the defendants guilty of "Aiding and Abetting Unknown Principals and Each Other in the lesser included offense of Voluntary Manslaughter of Federal officers"

    So Teresa's theory was tried, tested and rejected.

    But more to the point about McVeigh and his motivations, the jury also found seven of the defendants guilty of the offense of "Using or Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to the  Commission of a Crime of Violence, as alleged in Count Three of the Indictment"  

    The problem with this and perhaps one of the attorneys can explain it better but count 3 per the jury instructions was only in relation to count 1 which was the conspiracy to murder charge.  At the bench conference there was a discussion of the inconsistent verdict. The trial judge announced that it would have to be set aside.

    "THE COURT: The guilty finding as to Count Three will have to be set aside, because, of necessity, the jury could not find a Defendant guilty of that offense without first having found that Defendant guilty of the Conspiracy offense alleged in Count one, and the jury found all Defendants not guilty of that offense. So, that portion of the verdict simply cannot stand. There seemed to be no point in asking the jury to retire and reconsider it, because the only decision they could have made was to change that finding to not guilty, so the Court will set that finding aside."

    The government appealed and the Judge changed his mind. Judge Walter Smith decided that by a "preponderance of the evidence" there was in fact a conspiracy to murder federal officers and not only did the defendants carry a weapon but that weapon was a enhanced weapon and sentenced the defendants to 40yrs.

    Perhaps Jeralyn will speak to it but I'm pretty sure this enraged McVeigh. It may have been the tipping point. I have no idea. I know the assassination of Smith was one acts he considered in lieu of the bombing.


    I suppose it wasn't obvious (none / 0) (#30)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:56:12 PM EST
    but there wasn't allot of dying going down there on until the feds showed up?
    Are you familiar with Dr. Alan Stone's point of view? He has a degree or two as well...

    In brief, what is Stone's POV? (none / 0) (#67)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 02:30:24 AM EST
    In brief (none / 0) (#69)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 03:25:13 AM EST
    Those on the outside controlled the events, not the besieged. The tactical team steamrolled the negotiators.
    Best and brightest had the correct tools and called the situation accurately. They were upstaged by the militarists within FBI. His term is "action imperative" sociologist talk for dogs of war.
    Closed ranks after the fact. Impotent investigations due to political malfeasance.

    He gives a pretty good synopsis in a review of Waco the Rules of Engagement.
    Sifting Waco's Ashes


    That sounds about right. (none / 0) (#101)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 02:29:46 PM EST
    I think (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:52:14 PM EST
    He began turning against the government when he left the army. He had a really difficult time adjusting and I think, as you put it, "he [was] kind of drifting, trying to make sense of the world, when Waco happened and turned the government into enemy number one for him?"  

    Don't you think that with (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:00:38 PM EST
    Iraq and Afghanistan and the multiple deployments that we are at a higher risk of another ex-soldier not getting proper care and doing something equally as horrifying?

    If we connect Oklahoma with anything current it should be the way we treat our soldiers upon return.


    my cousin is a physician with the VA (none / 0) (#40)
    by pitachips on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:15:01 PM EST
    an internist, not in psychology/psychiatry, but whenever we talk about her work she brings this up constantly.

    I think he was hunting for Wacos (none / 0) (#60)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:24:25 AM EST
    It is too bad we had to give him such a good one though.

    another question (none / 0) (#22)
    by desmoinesdem on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:39:16 PM EST
    I was living abroad at the time and didn't follow his case closely. What was he trying to achieve by bombing this building? Was he trying to harm ATF and FBI agents--did he wrongly think they would be hurt by his bomb? Or did he think his act would spark some kind of broader uprising because of the media attention?  

    Obviously bringing down a building in Oklahoma City isn't going to topple the federal government, but did he believe that it would? Or was it just a revenge thing--they did wrong at Waco, he was going to burn down their building?

    The fact that he didn't know about the day care center doesn't change much for me.

    the day care center (none / 0) (#25)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:45:30 PM EST
    I wonder if he regretted his act when he found out that he had murdered and maimed all those children.

    Well said (none / 0) (#37)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:04:52 PM EST
    Thank you for such a thoughtful post. This type of well-reasoned analysis is why I love reading this blog.

    Indiana prosecutor of McVeigh (none / 0) (#43)
    by jharp on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:40:11 PM EST
    For Jeralyn. I thought you'd be interested.

    Indiana lawyer Who Prosecuted Oklahoma City Bomber Reflects


    Sorry, not interested at all (none / 0) (#62)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:28:57 AM EST
    Heard more than enough from them during the trial.

    poll on that site (none / 0) (#68)
    by rghojai on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 03:06:00 AM EST

    Do you trust the government?

    Yes, I do.      365      8%
    No, I don't.     4011     85%
    I don't know.     321     7%

    I voted "No, I don't."


    Maddow Show Did Not Politicize McVeigh (none / 0) (#46)
    by john horse on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:12:32 PM EST
    The reason I doubt I'll like Maddow's show is the attempt to politicize it and tie McVeigh to current times and the anti-government feelings some are expressing. There is no connection. And it's long past time to put the conspiracy theories to rest.

    Thanks for you thoughtful comments.

    Based on what I saw, I don't see where Maddow attempted to "politicize" McVeigh.  I think they have made an honest effort to try to understand McVeigh.  

    Regarding McVeigh and anti-government groups, don't you think that McVeigh shared a common philosophy  with some right wing militia groups?  There are conspiracy theories and there are conspiracy theories on steroids like the Turner Diaries.  

    I agree with you that the Clinton administration did politicize McVeigh in seeking the death penalty and passing the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, but don't you think that the Clinton administration practiced much more restraint than the Bush administrations erosion of civil liberties after 9/11?  The Clinton administration may have passed a bad law but, at least, they still respected the rule of law.  

    If Maddow didn't politicize this (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:17:47 PM EST
    it's the first thing she's ever not politicized-- including the words "and" and "the," if I may coopt Mary McCarthy's criticism of Lillian Helman.

    Honestly, unless you read Somerby once in a while, you may not realize how thoroughly and constantly Maddow lies.

    I'm a gay-friendly lefty female, and I'd love to be a Maddow fan, but she has the honesty of a left version of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.


    they've been politicizing it all week (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:42:43 AM EST
    in ads (as have journalists) and here's Maddow on her show making the connections yet again. I suspect this is all about ratings.

    It's always` (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:07:50 AM EST
    all about ratings.

    I watched it (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:55:54 PM EST
    I learned some facts that I did not know.  I did not like the fake footage....that is all works of fiction and I didn't care for any of it and that was when it became extremely clear that this "special" had an agenda.  I came away understanding that he didn't want to be here and designed his own murder by government that was then carried out.  I did almost cry though when the woman who lost the two grandsons called him Tim, just plain Tim....like he was a human being, because he was.  I don't expect anyone who lost someone to get to such a place, but it said a lot about her humanity that she did and she spoke about how Tim had really hurt them all.

    Great post (none / 0) (#76)
    by Slado on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:58:18 AM EST

    Hats off to Jeralyn (none / 0) (#86)
    by ricosuave on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:51:31 AM EST
    I want to add to the comments here praising Jeralyn for having the courage to take this case back then.  I am not a lawyer, but I still believe that in defending his rights at the trial, you defended all of our rights.  Once our country was done trying to blame this on foreigners, McVeigh became the most reviled person in the country.  It would have been easy to pass it up or to let someone else worry about it.

    it was quite a big deal back then (none / 0) (#119)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:27:00 AM EST
    I gave up my practice for a year and a half to be on the defense team. I was concerned about my son, then in high school He had no objection but I ended up putting him on the defense team as a gofer, working for Stephen Jones at their office after school. He got to meet McVeigh, understand he is a human being just like the rest of us, and be, as I put it, in the front row of history. He had his own court pass, he assembled exhibits, delivered discovery, sat in on strataegy meetings and was in the courtroom with us for the verdicts.  I paid his salary so the Government didn't have to, and it was a tremendous experience for him. Plus, since we were both on the defense team, we could talk about the case without violating the attorney client privilege. No wonder that when he got to NYU for college, he volunteered as an intern for the Innocence Project. It was a case of a lifetime, and I'm thankful I had the opportunity to participate.

    Deletet Comment (none / 0) (#104)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 02:55:09 PM EST
    Gotta keep up to catch the who and what..  

    Looks like mine was. (none / 0) (#106)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:56:35 PM EST

    Civil Liberties (none / 0) (#108)
    by dutchfox on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 06:29:40 PM EST
    "Our civil liberties must be assiduously protected. Once they start to slip, they go quickly..."

    Of course they already have, if you read Greenwald, Chomsky... and Jeralyn Merritt's Talk Left with any regularity.

    Great post. Thanks.

    I have come to realize some people, (none / 0) (#109)
    by oculus on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 06:30:12 PM EST
    fprtunately not many, seem to be borderline personality disorder and w/o conscience.  I have no idea if this applied to the subject of this post.  

    No Idea? (none / 0) (#110)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 06:45:13 PM EST
    I guess that is the way innuendo works. When confronted, the usual response is:

    I have no idea if this applied to the subject of this post.


    An innuendo is, according to the Advanced Oxford Learner's Dictionary, "an indirect remark about somebody or something, usually suggesting something bad, mean or rude; the use of remarks like this: innuendoes about her private life or The song is full of sexual innuendo." The word is often used to express disapproval.[1]

    An innuendo is a baseless invention of thoughts or ideas. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense, the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent.

    Jeralyn- I keep wondering... (none / 0) (#111)
    by Palli on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:19:42 PM EST
    What are your thoughts about the differences between committed individuals like Timothy McVeigh and Rachel Corrie?  

    What intervention (and when) can you imagine would have helped Tim McVeigh direct his committed actions in other, more productive ways.  

    I am against the death penalty is terrible because it denies the opportunity of change on the part of the criminal, the self-awareness of one's acts may alter over time.

    Perhaps if the Government (none / 0) (#118)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:20:46 AM EST
    hadn't acted as they did in Waco, and before that at Ruby Ridge, the mindset would never have occurred in the first place.

    Commercializing the Oklahoma City Bombing (none / 0) (#116)
    by mjbarkl on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 06:28:38 PM EST
    Jeralyn, what is your opinion on the McVeigh Biography "American Terrorist"?

    Best wishes,  --Mike

    too many to put in a public blog comment (none / 0) (#117)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:19:14 AM EST
    thanks for asking though. I consider myself still bound by the attorney client privilege and only discuss certain things, usually to set the record straight, which he always appreciated.

    McVeigh & American Terrorist bio (none / 0) (#120)
    by mjbarkl on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 04:08:38 PM EST
    Fair enough.  Thanks.

    btw, your comment over on the other page reminded me that I believe in and want the following so I added it to my platform:

    --  Guarantee adequate treatment, general education, and vocational programs to persons in government custody, at all levels and stages of Federal, State, or Local incarceration

    Best wishes,  --Mike