Gore Vidal and Tim McVeigh

Kevin Robert Dean qualiall_2 at yahoo.com
Sun May 6 08:01:49 PDT 2001

Well I definately don't agree with the good Sister here that we should be televising executions...With the popularity of reality shows, I'm sure it will make things worse for advocates of death penalty abolition. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010505/ts/mcveigh_reaction_dc.html 'Dead Man Walking' Nun Condemns McVeigh Execution

By Nancy Mayfield

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Reuters) - The nun who wrote the book ''Dead Man Walking'' about counseling a death row inmate said on Saturday the upcoming execution of Timothy McVeigh would extend ''the cycle of violence,'' while author Gore Vidal confirmed he would attend the execution at McVeigh's request.

The 75-year-old Vidal, whose novels including ``Burr'' and ''Lincoln,'' said in an interview published on Saturday in The Daily Oklahoman that he had agreed to attend as one of three witnesses allotted to McVeigh. He said McVeigh contacted him from prison in 1998 and the two had been corresponding since.

McVeigh, 33, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 a.m. CDT (8 a.m. EDT) on May 16 at a federal prison in Terre Haute for detonating a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The blast killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

McVeigh has said that he built the bomb, has expressed no remorse and has called the deaths of 19 children in the blast ''collateral damage.'' His execution will be the first carried out by the federal government since 1963.

Roman Catholic Sister Helen Prejean, whose book ``Dead Man Walking'' was made into a 1995 movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, condemned McVeigh's pending execution, but said she believed if the United States was going to impose capital punishment, it should do so publicly.

``People who stand up for justice do it because of the integrity of it,'' she said, adding she had not had direct contact with McVeigh. ``Where are we as a people if we keep continuing the cycle of violence?''

Prejean said she was glad McVeigh's execution would be televised to some of the victims' families on closed-circuit television. There are about 1,500 survivors and family members of the victims, while about 300 have asked to view the execution.

But the 63-year-old nun told a news conference in Terre Haute she would like to see that action taken further.

``I believe all executions should be public,'' Prejean said. As long as the public is shielded from the act, it will be harder to abolish the death penalty.

Vidal told the Oklahoman he and McVeigh seemed to have similar views about the government's handling of the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas, in 1993, and an earlier shooting incident involving the FBI and the family of fugitive Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

He expressed reservations about attending the execution, saying he was ``not morbid'' and did not ``want to watch an execution.'' The novelist, whose grandfather was one of Oklahoma's first two senators, also expressed horror at McVeigh's bombing of the Murrah building.

``These are my people,'' he said, referring to his connections to Oklahoma through his grandfather, Thomas Gore. ''I'm not about to see my people murdered by anybody. They were random innocents.''

(Additional reporting by Sue Schwendener, Marcus Kabel)

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