Letters on: "Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh: the making of a mass murderer"
25 April 2001
The following are some of the letters we received in response to the article on Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh posted on the WSWS on April 19.
Dear David Walsh,
Little can be added to your analysis of the McVeigh tragedy. Well done!
Perhaps you could have mentioned the culture of violence and unrestrained consumption emanating from Hollywood and other mind-polluting centers of mass “entertainment” in the USA and slowly spreading to, and taking root in, other parts of the world. This culture accounts for a great deal of irrational crime in the USA and elsewhere. But it also accounts for the emergence of opposite and equally reactionary criminal forces such as that which spawned McVeigh, but also the fanatical Taliban, etc., in various parts of the world.
But this is exactly what G.W. Bush and his ilk want: They want the oligarchs to retain and expand their power by keeping the working classes—at home and abroad—busy with the elementary struggle for survival at the basic level. And the best way of doing this is by stoking up the arms race again—any pretext being justifiable. This way the countless billions the state collects in taxes that could be redistributed wisely to create a better world will be automatically eaten up by the military-industrial complex.
G.W. Bush hasn't been in office 100 days yet, and he has already managed to raise international tension quite substantially. If he goes on at this rate he is likely to need that missile defense shield of his by the end of his term. By the way, I suspect that G.W. Bush isn't as dumb as he appears. Now that the “Evil Empire” is gone, his aim is to create a worthy replacement, knowing that the best way to keep his country in line is by producing an external threat, real or imagined. His analysts told him that in its day, Vietnam didn't measure up to that role, and the experiment misfired. Cuba isn't big enough to fill the shoes either. So he is working on China—with good results.
So as things are developing, there are likely to be less McVeighs and more bin Ladens in the Bush II era. I don't know which is better.
19 April 2001
My politics are more civil libertarian than Marxist or socialist, but I appreciate the insights a Marxist perspective can have in highlighting certain truths. David Walsh's piece on McVeigh is another excellent example of this. I grew up not far from Lockport in the decade before McVeigh and what is most striking about Walsh's analysis is his description of the role Harrison Radiator plays in the life of that town. Harrison Radiator is to Lockport as Kodak is to Rochester. Both have been on a downward spiral for some years now. Its influence on everyone in Lockport cannot be overestimated. Faith in the “system” tends to crumble when a company like Harrison Radiator declines and people like McVeigh with extremist tendencies will look for enemies wherever they are easiest to find. In the culture of Western New York, for many the likely targets at such a time are not the powerful corporations, but the weak of the same social level who are considered somehow to be a cause of the problem (working women, blacks, etc.) McVeigh truly was a despicable coward. These fundamental facts have been all but ignored in all the stories I have seen lately or in the past on McVeigh. (Although Joyce Carol Oates, who grew up near Lockport, wrote a short article in the New Yorker right after the bombing that offered some similar insights.)
19 April 2001
There's an excellent book by investigative journalist Joel Dyer called Harvest of Rage that outlines the origins of the Oklahoma City bombing. It's the only thing I've seen besides your site that actually traces and investigates the social roots and meaning of that fateful but often ignored 1995 wakeup call. The book is no political tract, although it could easily have become a one. I think that citizens yearning for meaningful examinations of where and how the McVeigh bombing evolved will find it, coupled with your analysis, invaluable.
19 April 2001
Great article on the Militia Movement, giving it the historicized context it deserves. It might be fruitful to investigate the effect on the development of that crazed fascist movement that Henry Ford I had with his Dearborn Independent newspaper and sale of his Jew-hating book ( The International Jew ...) on the Third Reich. He published long ago, but the movement echoes his bull-headed racist agenda across the decades. Do those groups read him still? I bet they do. I would research it, but grad school still calls.
19 April 2001