Under normal circumstances, it is easy to argue the death penalty.
We all know how easily our legal system can be manipulated by lawyers; how incriminating evidence can find its way to a jury while contrary evidence is hidden, or vice-versa; how the players in any case can work their own agenda instead of the agenda of truth; how the average juror's emotions can be played like a violin.
Because of black holes in our legal system, many perhaps countless innocent people have been sentenced to prison, to death row, to death.
But even when justice miraculously manages to prevail despite these courtroom machinations, and genuine, remorseless, real-McCoy killers are hooked up to their state's death contraption of choice, one still can't help but wonder if the ancient philosophy of "an eye for an eye" is all that wise; if it makes as little common sense as hollering, "Let's murder the murderers!"
None of these arguments, however, can be comfortably applied to Timothy McVeigh.
Yes, his trial was subject to the old, familiar manipulations, and yes, evidence was withheld by no less than the FBI. But far outweighing the conclusions of the court was McVeigh's own post-conviction conclusion that the 19 children he murdered in the worst act of terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil were "collateral damage" to his warped cause.
In other words, folks, he only meant to murder the 149 adults who died April 19, 1995. This is not someone who is likely to be happily rehabilitated by a lengthy prison term.
McVeigh's is not a case of "an eye for an eye." It is a case of an eye for 168 eyes ... and the eyes of all their families ... all their friends ... all their loved ones ... and all those who pray that everyone in this grief-stricken mass finds something resembling closure Monday, when McVeigh exhales his final breath.