The McVeigh Execution on Hold
"The latest FBI caper is a Keystone Kops fiasco. If the FBI were a business, those responsible would be fired on the spot." PAT OLIVER Boca Raton, Fla.
What is the problem with the FBI? The discovery of missing files and the consequent delay in the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh [NATION, May 21] are a disgusting injustice to the victims, their families and the American people. Law-enforcement officials have made mistakes resulting in public embarrassment over recent years, but for the highest crime-fighting federal agency to bungle such a crucial case is an atrocity. There is no doubt that McVeigh committed this crime and deserves to die. The information in the newly found files is inconsequential. STEPHANIE ROUSSEL Walker, La.
Botched the big case? No, the FBI solved it. Remember? There were no eyewitnesses; the evidence was just a huge pile of rubble. Somehow the FBI managed to identify and capture the killer. It was one of the greatest accomplishments of police work in history, but you totally ignored this in your story. DAVID GORDON Northboro, Mass.
None of us who oppose the death penalty want McVeigh as our poster boy. But capital punishment is helping him get what he most desires: public attention. If we had simply locked him up and thrown away the key, he wouldn't be back on the cover of TIME. And feeding him prison food for the rest of his life could hardly be more costly than paying for his lawyers to go through still more thousands of pages of documents. CARRIE NIELSEN Stanford, Calif.
Legal analyst Greta Van Susteren praised the Justice Department for coming clean about the FBI's discovery of 3,135 previously overlooked documents concerning the bombing investigation. She applauded Attorney General John Ashcroft's quick action in coming forward and postponing the execution. But instead of commending the FBI's attempts to save its own skin (the documents would have shown up eventually), we should encourage the agency to prove McVeigh wrong in his deep hatred of the Federal Government. The more we let government responsibility slide, the more room we are giving for individuals like McVeigh to rant. JULI SCHERMERHORN Union Springs, N.Y.
You quoted President Bush's statement that McVeigh "is lucky to be in America...a country who will bend over backwards to make sure that his constitutional rights are guaranteed." But in many of the world's developed countries, there is no capital punishment. Unless McVeigh lived in one of the rogue states we in the U.S. deplore, he would not be facing a state-ordered execution! How is he "lucky to be in America"? (THE REV.) JAMES WOOD Bohemia, N.Y.
--Many of you voiced strong objections to TIME's putting McVeigh's face on our cover. "When I pulled the magazine out of the mail, I was outraged and even nauseated," wrote a woman from Dallas. "How much more attention does this killer deserve?" asked an Orange, Calif., woman. "Your cover should have shown his victims' families, with the headline AGONY PROLONGED!" There were other suggestions for the cover, including photos of the 168 bombing victims, the FBI documents or even a blank page. An Arizona man showed special creativity: "Instead of glorifying the poster boy for all the wackos of the world, a better cover would have shown FBI Director Louis Freeh with egg on his face."