American Terrorist by Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck – A Review

mugshot of timothy mcveigh

Timothy McVeigh has a lot in common with Charles Manson. They both believed themselves to be the saviors of humanity. They both hated authority and the government, and resented the power that they exerted over them. They both claimed to be taking innocent lives because they were provoked, and that their actions were justified. Charles Manson and his Family killed seven people in the Tate-LaBianca murders.
Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, including 19 children of which 15 were attending daycare at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. As well as three pregnant women, and 99 federal workers.
I do not mean to compare these two individuals and see who is more deranged, I only mean to show the complete disregard for human life that they shared, and how Timothy McVeigh’s detachment from his actions cause the deaths of twenty four times the amount of innocent lives than Charles Manson’s.
And for that reason he terrifies me. He terrifies me more than Charles Manson ever could. Because if you watch interviews with Charles Manson today, you can see that he may be losing his mind finally. But if you watch interviews with McVeigh before his execution, you would not know that you were seeing a murderer on the screen. He had no remorse, not a second thought for the lives that he took. And even less for the lives that he ruined, the family and friends of the victims, as well as the entire city of Oklahoma City.
The authors of this book, Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, had unparralled access to McVeigh in the aftermath of the bombing, as well as with his family. Lou Michel was one of four personal witnesses selected by McVeigh to be present for his execution.
But it was not just the access that allowed these two authors to write such a powerful and accurate detailing of the life and death of the worst terrorist to come from the United States. They are incredible reporters that put in the work that is necessary to paint an entire picture of this complex and far-ranging tradgedy. It is impossible to talk about Timothy McVeigh without also talking about the siege at Waco, Texas between the F. B. I. and the Branch Davidians, or the Ruby Ridge standoff between the F. B. I. and Randy Weaver and his family.
This is a book that is as well written as it is difficult to read, but it does serve to detail how a sociopath is formed. And for that reason it is worth the time.
Puck from Venus, until next time.


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