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McVeigh Test for Abolitionists
Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2001

By Shelagh Simmons

At a time when support for the death penalty has declined in the United States, Timothy James McVeigh poses perhaps the greatest challenge yet for the abolitionist movement. He has admitted planting the bomb that left 168 people dead in the Alfred P Murrah federal building, Oklahoma City. He has shown no remorse. And he has referred to the 19 children killed as "collateral damage".

Even some opponents of capital punishment say they could make an exception for McVeigh. And among the relatives who lost loved ones in the atrocity, there is disagreement. Some want him dead, believing it will bring what is often promised but rarely delivered - "closure". Some want him to live in the hope he may repent. But others want him spared simply because they do not believe in judicial killing. More

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