u ing attack on cen- figure on the politicalrnright —from Newt Gingrich to thernmembers of National Alliance —in thernweeks after the bombing made clear,rnbut Michel and Ilerbeck provide nornevidence (nor does an’ other reliablernsource that I know of) that tlie perpetratorsrnof the bombing intended it to do so.rnMichel and ficrbeck mention onl’rnbrieflx McVeigh’s insignificant contactsrnwith Andreas Strassmeir and an allegedrn”neo-Nazi” compound at Elohini Cit’,rnOklahoma, as w ell as other efforts b himrnto contact the National Alliance, andrnthey seem to accept at face alnernMcVeigh’s denial of an close connectionrnbetween him and such groups or betweenrnsuch groups and Hie bombing.rnIf the book has one persistent flaw, it isrnthat die auriiors seem to accept as truernwhatever McVeigh told them. GcneralK’rnspeaking, this is not a problem, since thernpurpose of the book is largelv to tell thernstory of the bombing and the bomberrnfrom McVeigh’s point of iew. McX’eighrnnot onl- wanted to get diis out but to discreditrndie conspiratorial account offeredrnbv his former defense lawyer, StephenrnJones, in his own book about Hie boml>rning. McVeigh mav have tried to makernhimself look considerablv better, morernintelligent, more psychologiealK” and socialh’rnnormal, and more attractive inrncharacter and personalit) than he reallvrnwas, and Iris emphahc denial that “Johnrnl^oe 11” ever existed, and his effort to explainrnhis often contradictory behavior byrnclaiming that he realK’ wanted to berncaught so he could defend the bombingrnto the public, arc both o]3en to c|ueshon.rnYet neither Mc’eigh’s character andrnpurposes nor an of die bizarre conspiracvrndieories about the case is the most interestingrnor important aspect of it.rnOf far greater interest, and what arngood inan journalists profess to bernunable to understand, is whv ‘I’imothvrnMcVeigh never expressed anv regret, remorse,rnor guilt about what he did andrnhow his apparent indifference to his actrnof terror coidd coexist with what apparentlyrnwas otherwise a more or less welladjustedrnpersonalitv. Despite cxperiencingrnhis parents’ wrenching divorce as arnchild, McVeigh grew up as not only anrnapparently normal but even likablernvoung man, traits he retained throughoutrnhis life. Despite the claim (made by Hiernmedia from the beginning of the case)rnrtiat he and “John Doe 11” were “whiternsupremacists,” there is no evidence whatsoeverrnthat Mc eigli was even serioushrnprejudiced. It is true Hiat he was a fan ofrnThe Tiiruer Diaries, a violent racialistrnnovel bv National .Mlianec neo-Na/irnWilliam Pierce, and used to give it awavrnto pals in the ,rniy and later at gunrnshows. But what seems to have attractedrnhim to the book is the guerrilla warrnagainst the federal government that thernstorv gloatinglv describes, and only whenrnanother soldier warned him that the bookrnwas “raeisf’ and that he could get in troublernin die .nnv for handing it out did itsrnracial views daw n on McVeigh. Michel’srnand Herbeek’s yolume includes a letterrnto die authors from led Kaczvnski, thern”Unabomber,” who knew MeX’eighrnbriefly when thev served in the samernprison. Kaczvnski, who comes across as arnliberal stuffed shirt, acknow ledges thatrnI saw no indication of [racfst tcndencies|.rnOn theeontrarv,rnI McVeigh was on very friendlyrntenns w idi the ,frican-.mericanrninmates here and 1 never heardrnhim make any remark diat couldrnhave been considered even reniote-rnIv’ racist.rnBodi before and during his service inrnthe Anuv, Me eigh cxpressctl gcncralKrnconinionplace racial beliefs about blacks,rnbut diere is no ev ideiicc at all diat he subscribedrnto any kind of racialist ideology,rnfie seems to have had an affair with TerryrnNichols’ f’ili]5ino wife, and his obsessivernsupport for the victims ot Waco,rninanv of whom were black, would be pcculiarrnin a serious racialist.rnWTiat McN’eigli was serious about wasrnhis hatred of the federal government, andrnit is entirclv fair to call him a libertarian,rnhideed, he voted for the Libertarian J’artvrnpresidential candidate in 1996 beforernhis conviction, and despite his affcehonrnfor the anti-black, anti-Jewish, and jjro-rnNazi ‘I iinier Diaries, his usual rhetoricalrnframework for condemning what he dislikedrnwas “Nazi,” “fascist,” “Oestapolike,”rn”stormtroopers,” etc. ^’et his v iewsrnwere not entirclv consistent, ble lovedrnthe niov ie Contact, based on the late C^aHrnSagan’s sappy seicnee-tiction novel, asrnwell as Star Trek, never grasping diat diernuniversalist ethic and collectivism thatrnboth reflect uiKlerlics die sort of politicalrnsvstein that libertarians despise and resist.rnHis religious beliefs were of litde consequence;rnbronglit u]) a Roman Catholic,rnhe told friends that “science is mv- religion,”rnalthough lie a])i)cars not to havernknown niuel) about science bevond thernart of making bombs. I lis reading—untilrnhe found himself in prison — eonsfsted almostrnentirclv of science fiehon and entirclvrnforgettable political tracts denouncingrnthe federal govcniment. Then hernmoved up to Atlas Shrugged and DoctorrnZliivago. His school performance wasrnnever impressive; in prison, lie gradedrn126 on an 10 test, not a brilliant scorern(Kaezvnski’s lO is 167) but nothing to bernashamed of, either. liis literary tastesrnmav be judged from William l”,riiestrntienlev’s poem bivictus, which he hadrndistributed to w itncsses at his execuhon.rnTimothv Mc’cigli, then, was largelyrnan ordinarv man, and if dierc is nothingrnin his life or background to strike us as remarkable,rnneither is there much to impressrnus as sinister; it is probablv becausernthe conventional psychobabble categoriesrnand odier cliches do not applv to orrnexplain him that most journalists whornhave pondered McVeigh have no cluernwhy he did what he did, much less whyrnhe seemed to tccl no guilt about it.rnMcVeigh was the ]3roduct of a white, f lir-rnIv affluent, working-class social environment;rnwhile his parents divorced, so dornlots of other people whose children dornnot grow up to eonimit terrorist atroeihes.rnMoreover, the idcologv Me’cigli professedrnis one diat most American journalistsrnfind incomprelicnsiblc. CK)Venimcntrnis our friend, isn’t it? i’lie United States isrna democracv, after all. Wliv would anvonernhate the government? Anvone whorndoes hate a democratic governmeitt is oliviouslvrna sociallv maladjusted psyclio])rnatli. Whv would any normal ]5ersonrnworry very inucli about a bunch of religiousrnnuts at Waco or a white racist likernRandv Weaver at Rubv Ridge? .Anyonerneonccrned with th;it sort of diing must bernnuts himselfrnMcVeigh outraged luaiiv ]3cople bvrndescribing the davcare center in tlicrnMurrah Building and the elnldrcurnwhom he killed as “collateral damage,”rnand hv comparing tlie civilians slaughteredrnthere with die fictihous charactersrnsitting at compnter consoles on board diernDcatlistar in Star Wars. The brutalityrnand inscnsihvitv of the remarks contrastrnwidi the McVeigh diat emerges in diisrnbook, and also vvidi die man who wrote arnseries of letters to journalist Phil Bacharacli,rnwho publislied them in the Mayrnissue of l’]scjiiirc. Baeharach concludes.rnIt is bevond nic to reconcile thern’I imothv Me’eigli who murderedrn22/C:HRC:)NICLESrnrnrn