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Ready for execution, McVeigh says he's sorry for deaths

Oklahoman Published: June 9, 2001
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Defiant to the end, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh says he is sorry 168 people died at his hands, but insists the blame rests on a U.S. government bent on bullying its citizens.

"I am sorry these people had to lose their lives," McVeigh wrote in a series of recent letters to The Buffalo News to be published Sunday, the day before his execution. "But that's the nature of the beast. It's understood going in what the human toll will be."

In the letters to his hometown paper, McVeigh reiterated that what he did was necessary to defend the personal freedom of all Americans and exact revenge for the disastrous government raids at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas.

The bombing, he wrote, was "a legit tactic" in a war against what he considers an out-of-control federal government.

McVeigh is scheduled to die by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Ind. He is responsible for the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil _ the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. His victims included 19 children, who McVeigh has referred to with the military jargon of "collateral damage."

McVeigh, who grew up in nearby Pendleton, N.Y., wrote the News that he might have chosen another tactic for expressing his hatred of the government. He said he sometimes wishes he had carried out a series of assassinations against police and government officials instead.

In the letters, McVeigh insisted he has no fear of his execution. An agnostic, he said he will "improvise, adapt and overcome" if it turns out that there is an afterlife.

"If I am going to hell," he wrote, "I'm gonna have a lot of company."

In the letters to reporters Dan Herbeck and Lou Michel, authors of a book about McVeigh, he said he hopes he will be remembered as a freedom fighter akin to John Brown, the 1800s abolitionist.

Among other topics, McVeigh wrote that:

_He, Terry Nichols, and Michael and Lori Fortier were the only people who had any knowledge of the blast and that he alone had all the pieces of the puzzle.

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