In listening to portions of the Timothy McVeigh tapes there is one thing that is very chilling. I believe he was sane.
Insanity is often seen as the inability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, with no basis in rationality. McVeigh knew exactly what he was doing.
I found it chilling that he had no real guilt over what he had done.
I found it chilling that his only regret was that there was more ‘collateral damage’ than what he was anticipating. The military, at war, speaks of minimizing collateral damage during battles and air strikes. Within the military there is no desire to massacre civilian populations and so there is restraint----and decisions are weighed carefully.
McVeigh found it amusing, very amusing, that he was on the most evil people of the millennium list, just behind Vlad theImpaler who had, in McVeigh’s mind, a cool name, but McVeigh had no idea who he was. (And how evil Vlad was!)
And is ‘oh, children and people die all the time in accidents,’ kind of rationalization for not feeling all that badly about killing so many innocents.
When McVeigh was executed, I happened to be teaching a college course on Ethics and we discussed capital punishment in depth. I am, as most people who know me, opposed to capital punishment; but McVeigh was the poster child for capital punishment. It is difficult to come to any reasonable conclusion that the world would be better if he was still alive in it. Perhaps if a longer life would have given him a sense of guilt or remorse, but I’m doubting this. Sadly.
Timothy McVeigh was a man who grew to hate and that hate drove him to evil. St. Paul wrote that the consequences of sin is death and I strongly believe that the consequence of unrelenting hatred is also death. When hatred, no matter what drives is, is left to do nothing other than grow, then it ends up being completely destructive. And kills.
Timothy McVeigh was a man who became evil and did evil in the name of hate. Let us hope and pray we never encounter another one like him.