News Release

After McVeigh Execution: Feel Any Better Now?


Professor of sociology and criminology at Mount Holyoke College, Moran is currently working on a book about the death penalty. He has testified at dozens of death penalty sentencing hearings. Moran said today: “McVeigh was unapologetic because, like many murderers, he viewed his killing as evening the score. The death penalty is generally not a deterrent, but in the case of a McVeigh, it’s almost an encouragement; it has enhanced his status as a martyr. Most murderers believe in an eye for an eye, which is the mindset we adopt when we invoke the death penalty…. With the talk of the need for ‘closure,’ vengeance has become a legitimate goal of punishment and revenge a central focus of the debate on capital punishment. This is not just about McVeigh, or about the victims, it’s about our values as a society. People were shocked when McVeigh called children he killed in the Oklahoma City bombing ‘collateral damage’ — but he got that term from the Gulf War, in which he fought. We trained him to kill.”

A lawyer for the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project, which monitors all federal death penalty cases, Bruck has specialized in capital cases since 1980. He has successfully argued against the death penalty in four cases before the United States Supreme Court. Bruck helped obtain a life sentence for Susan Smith after she was convicted of drowning her two small children.
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Director of Critical Resistance, a national organization opposing the expansion of the prison-industrial complex, Braz said today: “It is ironic that when you have so many people questioning the death penalty — with innocent people who have spent years on death row being found not guilty, with revelations of inadequate legal representation, with the Republican governor of Illinois placing a moratorium on executions — the federal government has moved to have its first execution in nearly 40 years. While states usually restrict the death penalty to murder cases, the federal death penalty is very expansive — it can be used for drug charges and treason.”
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For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167