June 11, 2001: Timothy McVeigh died today, defiant even as the lethal drugs entered his body. He was responsible for the murder of 168 people, including 33 children. Since his act of terrorism, the militia movement that he believed would rise up in open defiance as a result of his act has instead faded away.
Mr. McVeigh said at one point that his was an act of vengance against the federal government. The government, acting on behalf of the dead, the injured and the grief- stricken survivors, has now taken its vengance upon Mr. McVeigh.
Even the foreign press, which is wont to portray the U.S. as a land of barbarians because of this country’s use of the death penalty, has not been particularly critical of its application in this case.
What we have seen is an unholy dance of vengance between a brutal, misguided man and a horrified nation and its government.
Forgotten in all this have been the words of St. Paul in Romans 12: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
Being an agnostic, perhaps Mr. McVeigh never read these words, or if he did, found them of no consequence. Certainly, he substituted his own arrogance for the will of God.
In fact, the word of God, and the message of God never entered into it, not into any of it, from the moment Mr. McVeigh decided to do his evil, until the United States of America took his life.
Perhaps there will come a time when government, also, gives the right of vengance to God. But standing before such a horrendous crime, not many of us would be emotionally able to refrain from doing to this man what he did to his innocent victims.
Our country proclaims, ‘In God We Trust.’ But not enough to grant him the right to extract vengance for us in such an appalling case. Not now, at least, not yet.
–Anonymous at Request of the Author
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