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Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Should the world watch?
An internet company says Americans should have the right to watch the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh die by lethal injection.

Entertainment Network Incorporated wants to broadcast the execution live on the internet on a pay-per-view basis.

The US Government says the execution will be relayed on closed circuit television to survivors of the 1995 bombing and victims' relatives but has barred all broadcasts of the event.

ENI are appealing against the decision and David Marshlack, the company's chief executive, said it was every taxpayer's right to see the execution.

Should the execution be broadcast on the internet? Or should only the relatives be permitted to watch? Would you watch?

This debate is now closed. Your reaction:

The American system is far too based on retribution, and as a result has spawned a vindictive, bloodthirsty society. This must stop!
Trevor Owen, Scotland

I'm all in favour of the broadcast of McVeigh's execution. I want to watch it; it will be fun.
Michael, USA

All the stupid things people are thinking about in your countries actually get said here

Jeff, USA
Is America a sick nation? No. Think about this for a second before everyone starts judging 282 million people (sorry too late). People with twisted minds that are into this kind of thing are found everywhere. The notion of executing killers in public has been around a lot longer than we have. What makes the US stick out is its precious "free-speech" attitude that let's virtually ANYBODY suggest ANYTHING. That means all the stupid things people are THINKING about in your countries actually get said here. NOBODY is taking this seriously (except us). The only reason the US government went as far as to comment on the issue was because the lawyers of this fringe organisation (ENI) filed a federal lawsuit to get permission. This webcast couldn't be further from happening. Go to any respectable news site in the US, you won't even find the story. Does the American media have too much time on its hands? Yes. Sick nation? NO.
Jeff, USA

Is it just the case of some person/company trying to be clever and push the borders of media/history - for all the wrong reasons? I don't think watching a guy being killed will help anyone; it's like medieval times.
Rich, Wales

Of course people will watch. We never see death HAPPEN - we see it faked (films) and we see the bodies - Srebrenica, Dachau, the road to Basra. If death IS caught on film - eg JFK's - we all want to see it again, and again, and again. Drive along any motorway: witness the morbid desire of normal people to examine a pile-up on the other carriageway. Death fascinates us - it's a once in a lifetime experience. If you think people will become bored of it, remember - the pornography industry makes billions from depicting a very commonplace activity...
Mike, England

Let me decide what I will or will not watch

Richie, Northern Ireland
There's a lot of talk about how immoral the death penalty is, however the only other option that seems to be offered is that he is allowed to rot in a jail cell with only food and one light bulb - which is more immoral? I would also say that the public have the right to see him put to death. After all America is the land where free speech is held so dearly that people will die to protect that right. Those who find it immoral are not being forced to watch the event after all. Let me decide what I will or will not watch.
Richie, Northern Ireland

If the company offering this as entertainment say any money will go to the victim's families then let them broadcast it. Why not let some good come from such a hideous crime - it would probably be the last thing Timothy would want.
Chris, UK

It should not be broadcast. The truth is that if it is broadcast it will garnish major league ratings. Humans like to think they are high-minded and that we have evolved. We are still essentially a bunch of savages. We like to see accidents, we all watch the guy breaking his leg in football (either variety), we all slow down at accidents on the highway to see what happened. We are curious about death and our own mortality. If someone emailed you the video, you would watch out of a morbid sense of curiosity. Why not if you could watch by yourself and have your own little piece of moral decadence - wouldn't you? Personally I just want to know what he says before he goes. I don't see any way that he could justify his actions.

If one of your 10 (Christian) Commandments says: "I should NOT kill", then why take someone else's life away? Execution is wrong. It is a method of taking someone else's life. Life sentences should be introduced like we do in Europe. Only God can take life away.
Huryo Huryo, UK

Surely knowing he is dead is enough - what does anyone have to gain from actually seeing it happening?
Evonne Gourlay, Scotland

The only ones who have a right to view are the families of the 168 deceased

Neil Halliday, United Kingdom
Entertainment Network Incorporated. Their very name says it all, doesn't it? Of course the execution should not be broadcast. No one is doing this for fun. The only ones who have a right to view are the families of the 168 deceased. In fact, seeing as McVeigh seems rather keen to die for his beliefs, surely the true punishment would be to lock him up for 50 years and leave him to rot.
Neil Halliday, United Kingdom

I don't understand how the US government can claim that it's right to kill someone, but wrong to let people watch.
David Clelland, Scotland

I don't see what relevance broadcasting an execution has to this supposed judicial system. Is it going to make his punishment any sharper? I thought this was supposed to be punishment for the guilty, not quick relief for the bored. We shouldn't be validating his actions with cheap immortality in the media. What's next - a pithy catchphrase before the final gasp? A quick song and dance number before they throw the switch?
Emma, UK

We have sunk to a new low and are teetering on the brink of the lowest circle of Hell. Watching death as entertainment is way beyond mentally sick disgusting.
Adrienne, American in Germany

If you don't want to view the execution then you also have the right to turn the channel

Shane, USA
Of course we should allow it. It may be sick to commit such a act but since it is a judicial event that does not involve a minor, then the public has the right to view the execution. But if you don't want to view the execution then you also have the right to turn the channel.
Shane, USA

In a country where schools are no longer safe, but threatened by a possibility of being massacred by a classmate seeking revenge, the last thing we should uphold is an execution made public that supposedly satisfies revenge. The US judicial system is not here for revenge, but justice. To cheapen the deaths of the victims in this way is both immature and damaging for a society that loves to consider itself civilised.
Valerie Terzi, USA

I believe this murderer should be punished publicly because his crimes were so disastrous that they affected the whole nation. Therefore the whole nation should be able to feel closure for the loss these people in Oklahoma City have felt.
Steve, USA

None of those who have lost family or friends will be one whit better off

Nick Gunning, UK
The perfect recipe for making terrorism a success: First kill and maim a large number of people, then wait for the state to create a martyr for the cause, whatever the cause, on public view. Every cock-eyed cause in the history of the world has started with the same process. McVeigh wants his martyrdom to be as public as possible. What both he and the capital punishment lobby believe is that violence and death are legitimate tools in the war of ideas. America's complex divisions and structural problems will gain nothing from McVeigh's death. None of those who have lost family or friends will be one whit better off - only the fanatics in the desert will be reinforced. Better to leave McVeigh to die of old age in prison while his unfashionable cause withers and his continued existence reminds Americans of what happens when your economic and social programmes leave a large section of society feeling alienated and impotent.
Nick Gunning, UK

I would personally love to watch this creep die for killing 160 of us Americans. My sympathy to victims and families.
Shannon Shinke, USA

Absolutely not. It's not entertainment. All the public need to know is that the duties of the state officials have been properly carried out. There is absolutely no benefit in putting this on TV. It's a known fact that the death sentence is no deterrent, so the only reason to broadcast such an event is morbid gratification.
Jez, UK

And countries like America think Saudi Arabia is barbaric in having public executions. At least there it's free!
Henry, UK

If this execution is broadcast, what's to say that future executions won't be?

Drew, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.
I don't think that this execution, or any other, should be televised. The visage of death is supposed to horrify people. If this execution is broadcast, what's to say that future executions won't be? If this is allowed to become the norm, then more people will become insensitive to human suffering and death, and I believe that would be unhealthy for humanity as a whole. Ask combat veterans or police officers about the things they have seen, and you will come to the same conclusion.
Drew, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

Is it not true that the American citizens who believe most strongly in limiting the power of the state, are also the greatest proponents for state executions? Surely this is the ultimate sanction a state can have -- legalised power of life or death of its citizens? It's this kind of hypocrisy makes the public broadcast of this death penalty sentence for entertainment possible in the USA.
Stuart, UK

This is so disgusting! That Internet company should be ashamed of themselves.
Rachael, USA

How barbaric - I'm in favour of the death penalty, but this type of voyeurism is not called for. This is just someone somewhere trying to make a fast buck.
Gordon Rae, Scotland UK

Many of us do not oppose executing an admitted and unremorseful murderer like Timothy McVeigh

Dan Reichart, Chicago, USA
I am seeing a fundamental difference between Europeans opposed to the death penalty and Americans like myself who are generally not in favour of it. Most opponents here are against it because we know there are many flaws in our justice system. Thus, it is possible that someone innocent can be put to death. But unlike our European counterparts (who oppose the death penalty regardless of guilt or innocence), many of us do not oppose executing an admitted and unremorseful murderer like Timothy McVeigh. I do admit though, there is something creepy about wanting to make this execution a pay-per-view event.
Dan Reichart, Chicago, USA

Legalized murder indeed! Those are words crafted by those too weak to see to it that justice is served and killers of the innocent forfeit their lives as just punishment for their crimes. I personally have no desire to watch a lethal injection. A hanging, on the other hand...
Jim Hubbell, Texas

That we're debating whether to broadcast an execution to the general public is definitely a sign of the times that we live in. And the fact that there is a demand for such a televised event only highlights what a by-and-large voyeuristic, made-for-TV society we've become.
Guru S, USA

Never, never, never. It is immoral to kill another human, and obscene to either broadcast it - in whatever medium - or to watch. Are we humans really stooping so low as to ogle the wanton murder of another, regardless of their crime? I am all for severe sentences for criminal acts, including murder, but never the death penalty. Even if the murderer had no right to kill others, that does not give the rest of humanity the right to kill him, nor to treat that 'legalised' murder as a spectator sport. I weep and pray for those states and countries that maintain the death penalty, and I find it sickening that there should be those in the media who feel it is OK to show a man being put to death.
Graham Follett, UK

Does the need for vengeance have to become the ultimate entertainment?

Ashley Beniston, UK
For a supposed civilised country America leaves a lot to be desired. Does the need for vengeance have to become the ultimate entertainment?
Ashley Beniston, UK

I personally feel a mixture of things: On the one hand I deplore execution and don't understand how any civilised country can entertain such a "punishment". On the other hand, I am actually curious to see what happens and how it is done. Would I watch myself? No probably not, but I do feel that if McVeigh's execution isn't broadcast, it's only a matter of time before someone else's is. It does reflect badly on the state of American society though, in more ways than one!
Iain Alexander, UK

In the US, when there is an execution, there is always a huge crescendo leading up to the event, but the day after, the execution is largely forgotten. People move on and the media for once find no point in running the story much further. The execution of McVeigh should be viewed only by the family and a few officials. To show it live on television would by no means provide any "closure" to America. The sole motive for broadcasting the execution is sick entertainment; a ratings boost for the networks. Unlike every other execution, they'll be able to show this one over and over and over, and people will watch. In turn, it will incite a greater level of rage in underground anti-government organisations who already see McVeigh as a martyred patriot. To broadcast his execution will elevate him in their minds to something of a martyred god, making those people a far greater threat than ever before. Then again, the media want this, don't they? It gives them more blood and agony to broadcast.
Ryan Corcoran, Austin, TX, US

The death penalty is barbaric

Amanda Bradley, Seattle, USA
Having recently watched a documentary on television covering the last weeks of a death row inmate's life, seeing his distraught and innocent family trying to deal with their imminent loss. Seeing the last minute denial of a pardon. All of these images gave me insight into how terrible and barbaric the death penalty really is. It also makes me realise that the final act of putting someone to sleep is actually less tragic than what goes on behind the scenes in the days leading up to it. My thoughts are with Tim McViegh's father. This man must be in great pain.
Amanda Bradley, Seattle, USA

The worst thing the US government has been doing for years, is murder. The death penalty is no way to bring justice to a human. Once this man is dead, his troubles are over. He should be sent to prison room with nothing except food and a single light bulb. The sick thing in all this is that the media want to broadcast it. Now, the only reason they would broadcast it, is because they know it will entertain people, and people who watch, will be entertained by a real murder. If children saw this, they would remember murder as being entertaining, which is why they have a high murder rate.
John, UK

I don't think the execution should be televised because that is exactly what McVeigh wants. He has had enough attention already. We should focus our energy on the victims' families. He should die in seclusion.
Erik Goodell, U.S.A.

We glorify murder through movies

No, the viewing is for those that need closure. What a sick society this world is that we have murderers like McVeigh and we glorify murder through movies.

Where has the morality in human behaviour gone in this world? Are we trying to popularise and glorify a criminal's mindframe and mindset. Isn't this the height of pathos that even the public wants to be a part of this saga.
Sean D'Souza, USA

Criminals should be punished in public

Sajjad Khan, USA
The objective of punishment should be that the criminal should pay for what he did and others should learn while looking at him being punished. By doing so, a person will think at least twice before placing a bomb or killing anyone. Criminals should be punished in public. Seeing is believing. If we see only one execution in our life, then we'll never think of murdering any one.
Sajjad Khan, USA

Only in America could they extend 'rights' to the level of watching an execution on TV. No doubt this will give the media great debates with opinions by all manner of experts, social, religious and self-appointed. By all means televise it, you don't have to watch.
Peter Goff, UK

America is one of only a few countries in the world to still carry out a death sentance. Incarceration for the rest of my life in solitary would be my idea of hell, killing someone is quick (although not painless). The death penalty does not act as a deterent or this bombing would not have happened. The UK ended public executions over 100 years ago, using technology to watch some die is sick and deeply wrong. What will we learn from the first web broadcast of an execution?
Jonathan, UK

Media attention should be avoided

Paul B, UK
People like McVeigh not only cease to serve a positive roll on society, but actually have a severe negative and destructive influence on it. Because of this, I feel there is no real point in supporting and sustaining his life, therefore removing him completely from the world around us seems the natural thing to do. However, this can have an effect on certain people, possibly creating a hero out of a monster, For this reason I believe that any media attention should be avoided from the actual sentencing down to the punishment.
Paul B, UK

A lethal injection is what your vet gives your beloved and dying family pet to avoid suffering. Timothy McVeigh should live and suffer - he deserves a life that would discourage others from following his example.
Mary McEleney, Ireland

I can't believe that any person would want to watch another human die! No matter how bad that person is. Are we so desensitised that this kind of behaviour is now normal? The thought of purposely watching a person die turns my stomach. I say "NO" to televising McVeigh's execution!
Lori, Canada

Let the world watch - not with hate in its heart, nor pity, nor to learn, but to understand

Simon Cameron, UK
It is not deterrence for which the death penalty exists. Nor vengeance, nor to teach a lesson. It is justice. It is the justice that if we are going to do something so unspeakably contemptible as to remove the life of an innocent, society must know the value of that life and the price that must be paid for it. Not an eye for an eye, but life for life. While we can and must personally forgive this man and pray for God to have mercy on his soul, society must be inflexible in applying the only justice that is appropriate to the atrociousness of his crime. If, following his death, it was to be found that an accused was not after all guilty, would not his compensation from God for this error be correspondingly enormous in the afterlife? Without question it would be. Let the world watch - not with hate in its heart, nor pity, nor to learn, but to understand. It is wrong to kill the innocent but it is right to kill the killer.
Simon Cameron, UK

Since I don't even believe in the death penalty in the first place, I think it would be very immoral and wrong to broadcast such an event.
Joseph Rust, United States

What will Timothy McVeigh's death by lethal injection prove?

June Ho, Malaysia
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. What will Timothy McVeigh's death by lethal injection prove? I agree he has to be punished. What are the motives for his punishment? Death is a very easy way out for him. The American people who lost their loved ones have to live with their feelings of loss. Timothy? He just needs to say goodbye and that's it. He does not care what will happen to him after his physical body ceases to function. It seems he will be given a good deal. If Timothy dies from the lethal injection, will this stop all the gun shootings in the schools, terrorist attacks on buildings and people, mass suicide because of an individual's beliefs, issuing of guns to whoever can afford it, violent attacks by white policeman and what have you? What are our true motives when we punish someone? Is it vengeance or is it a form of lesson? A lesson which will change this person or cause him/her to repent and forever turn away from works of evil, which means we give him/her a chance to continue to live his/her life.
June Ho, Malaysia

I think the execution should be on Pay-Per-View and have all the proceeds go to the survivors and the victims' families.
The Weasel, USA

I would certainly not watch the execution. On the contrary I am of the opinion that instead of putting him to death he should be put into prison for life so that he can repent for his sins.
Divyesh M.,

Rather un-PC I know and Amnesty Int'l who I admire wouldn't let it happen, but my theory on modern punishment (which would ideally apply to McVeigh) is as follows. Victorian prisons were actually a rather technological approach to criminals - the ability to build large prisons was efficiency itself and a world away from the inhuman conditions of the medieval dungeon. We are still maintaining this particular penal model in the third millennium when we should, in fact, take advantage of the technological advancements we have made with virtual reality or drugs to REALLY deprive people of their liberty, protect society etc etc. Death is too easy (clearly) and also too finite - stick some hallucinatory drugs inside them and put them on a drip.
Matt, UK

Timothy McVeigh is committing government-assisted suicide

Linda Ward Selbie, Canada
Timothy McVeigh is committing government-assisted suicide. He is in control of the media-inspired frenzy, hungry for sensationalism through violence. Americans are so revengeful that they haven't grasped that the most painful penalty they could inflict on this despicable character would be to lock him away for life, rotting in obscurity. The upcoming circus sideshow will only turn yet another disgruntled domestic terrorist into a folk hero. Shame on America for engaging in barbaric acts that stem from their addiction to guns. I am suggesting that since they have decided to murder McVeigh on television, then they should decapitate him. It would make for much more exciting viewing.
Linda Ward Selbie, Canada

A disgusting crime was committed but I cannot see the legitimacy of such a public execution. I do believe that we still live in a civilised community.
Alan, Dubai, UAE

What is in the public interest, and what interests the public, are not one and the same. Broadcasting an act, which in itself has so clearly failed as a deterrent, panders to the very lowest of human achievement. The first word in the name of the company that wants public broadcast rights (Entertainment) says it all. If McVeigh is to be truly punished, let him be denied the notoriety he so obviously seeks.
Daniel Coughlan, UK

Remember the film the Running Man? Well it smacks of this idea. The next thing we will see is some sort of weekly soap where innocents shall be put to death for our entertainment. No, it shouldn't be shown and in my eyes America is becoming a sick nation.
Paul Mason, United Kingdom

If you don't want to watch it then don't

Jen, USA
It would be one thing if we were forced to watch the execution, as was the case in medieval times, and are still required to do in parts of the world. I think if the crime was committed against our entire country, it should be allowed to be viewed by the entire country. If you don't want to watch it then don't.
Jen, USA

The web site would not be making any money from this broadcast. A small charge by credit card is being made to verify age and any profits made are being donated to victim charities. Why not let his execution do some good?
Robert Nice, USA ex UK

McVeigh wants his execution broadcast so that he can, in his eyes, martyr himself to a cause. Why give this killer a new forum? And as far as the death penalty itself, critics from countries that just passed legalised euthanasia don't have a leg to stand on. It's okay to take the life of an elderly person who can't live without a respirator, but it's not all right to take the life of a killer who called the death of toddlers "collateral damage"?
Shaun S, USA

If a country has the death penalty, they should see it through right to the act

Ben, UK
I don't think I'd watch, in fact I think the idea is fairly revolting, and until recently I'd have said that that means a broadcast shouldn't happen. Having read a very good article on the matter, I recently changed my mind. If a country has the death penalty, they should see it through right to the act - we shouldn't have punishments which are swept under the carpet for whatever reason - if it's disgusting, and not fit to be seen on TV, don't have the punishment in the first place. I think all but the most bloodthirsty would be shocked with how it actually happened - the idea that people simply fall asleep quietly and quickly is an invention of the media to make the whole thing a little more bearable.
Ben, UK

If McVeigh has no right to live, then he should certainly have no right to choose whether or not his execution is televised. I was living in the Oklahoma City area on April 19th, 1995. I volunteered at blood drives, and handed out water to rescue workers. I witnessed the implosion of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and smelled the air that reeked of the tragedy yet, under NO circumstance would I watch this execution. I agree that Timothy McVeigh should die as a result of his actions, but to allow him to make a mockery of our country by turning this into a media event is absurd. I think that the victim's families should have a right to choose whether they want to view or not, but no means should this become a public spectacle.
Shelley, US

I suppose bombing and mass destruction are horrendous crimes, unless you call it war. Then you can kill all you want. For example what was the point of the Nagasaki bombing? Didn't Hiroshima make the point? Could it possible be that the bomb that killed thousands of people was dropped not to end the war, which was already over after Hiroshima, but to demonstrate US power? Of course this couldn't be murder, because as we all know that second bomb was justified. Yeah, right!
Lance, UK

A criminal, murderer and terrorist must be killed in same way as he or she killed innocent people and it should telecast on all TV channels so that no other person dares to do any act of terror. This is the only way to stop crime - look at the example of Saudi Arabia which has an amazingly low crime rate and literally zero AIDS cases.
Perwez Akhter, USA

We are all voyeurs. If public hanging were bought back - the crowds would be enormous. If gladiator contests were bought back, the ratings would go through the roof. Don't fool yourselves, underneath the thin veneer of civilisation, we are still barbarians!
Tim Abernethy, England

How can people be in favour of execution, yet not be in favour of having it televised, especially when McVeigh has agreed to it? Execution is a horrible, ugly thing, and those who support it (as well as those who do not) should have the right to know exactly what they are looking at, and that it isn't completely pretty.
Cathy, USA

I would watch if the punishment fit the crime. But his victims died by truck-bomb while he will merely be put to sleep like an old dog.
T.J. Cassidy, U.S.A.

Anyone who supports the death penalty but doesn't think that the execution should be shown on television is guilty of sticking their head in the sand. All supporters should feel obligated to watch and then reconsider whether they still believe that the death penalty is a humane way of punishing a fellow human being.
Simon, UK

Let him die in solitude, unwatched and without fanfare

Clive, Oklahoma City, USA
My state has suffered enough from this fiend McVeigh. He destroyed the lives of hundreds of people and maimed hundreds more. My city will never been the same again. Let him die in solitude, unwatched and without fanfare, just like so many citizens of this great city did at his evil hand.
Clive, Oklahoma City, USA

Outrageous. What is the U.S thinking??
Jennie Arnold, UK

The crime committed by McVeigh is barbaric and hence he should have been publicly hanged or shot. This would have served as an example for people who think blowing up hundreds of people is justified to make a socio-political or personal point. There is no harm in screening his execution, however it should be nationally televised and no party should financially benefit from it.
Suhail Shaikh, USA

I would not watch the execution broadcast as it could make a martyr of a vicious murdering terrorist who has no remorse for his crimes. I do feel that in addition to the survivors and victims families being allowed to watch, that they should permit the rescuers who were at the Murrah Building to watch. It might bring them a certain sense of closure. I have met a number of the rescuers who were there that day. I know of at least one who has recurrent nightmares about dead babies. If watching the execution would help these people, it should be allowed.
David O'Connor, USA

I have mixed feelings about the death penalty. Although I agree that the system cannot support all the criminals, who are we to terminate a life? Is it up to us? I think he should spend the rest of his life in jail, forgotten and alone...
Grace V., Portugal

Why are such technologically advanced societies so Neanderthal in their tastes?

Melissa, USA
I agree that it is macabre, sick and twisted. The Internet companies are only interested in making money, not in the "ethics" of the situation. I am totally disgusted with this abhorrent trend including "reality TV", where even more sick and twisted people get off on watching relationships break up (Temptation Island) or people being pushed to the limit (Boot Camp). Why are such technologically advanced societies so Neanderthal in their tastes? (And that's an insult to Neanderthals; I apologize).
Melissa, USA

We punish criminals only because they endanger the community. We shouldn't enjoy their punishment though. I am absolutely against showing it on TV or Internet.

One must remember that it was McVeigh's request that his execution be public. He stopped the appeals process and apparently wants to get his death done with as quickly as possible to facilitate his being crowned as a martyr by anti-government radicals; his death being televised would further cement his place in their hearts. It would be a grave mistake to do anything more than allow those wishing closure to view his execution - although I doubt that it will help ease the pain of their losses.
Corri Russell, USA

As a taxpayer, I'd rather see him executed then have to pay for him to live the rest of his life in a Federal prison somewhere. By that I mean I don't want my money going to feed, clothe and house the man that slaughtered more than 180 innocent people.
Scott Blake, U.S.

I'm just worried it might attract the wrong crowd. The next Timothy McVeighs. I don't think anyone needs to see what has to be done. Show us the black smoke and we'll be off.
Patrick, Canada

Isn't it about time we stopped this barbaric practice?

Mark Clift, UK
Just because 70% of people in the US support the death penalty doesn't mean that it's right. Isn't it about time we stopped this barbaric practice? I have lost a friend in a bomb blast myself but would get no satisfaction in seeing the person responsible put to death. How would you feel if your brother was executed to discover years later they were innocent?
Mark Clift, UK

I don't know what all the fuss is about. It's going to be broadcast on the Internet and unless you log on to the website you won't be seeing it. In this situation we all have a choice to either log in or not.
Frances, UK

Go for it, make the pictures available to the public, bring out their lowest instincts, just do it. After a couple of executions, the sight of someone dying through a "simple lethal injection" will not be sufficient anymore. Not enough blood, not enough action. The public will ask to be allowed to see hangings and deaths in the electric chair, which are so much more gruesome and spectacular. It might even go wrong, picture that, what a audience puller, here's something to talk about the next day in the office; "Oh, you haven't seen this one? Don't worry, it's saved on my hard disc, I'll mail it to you", and before you know it, we'll be back to the middle ages, with public executions, but 21st century ones mind you, with a few sound and light effects. The killer as a superstar... No, seriously, they have lost it completely!
Alexis U., Brussels, Belgium

It does seem strange to me that a society where death is so taboo, and where the word is avoided by all sorts of euphemisms like 'passed away', there is a clamour to see an execution live on the net. And I certainly do not think this should be at the request of the murderer. He needs to be thinking hard about what is going to happen next.
Ken Beach, Germany

This whole thing is testament to justice and we should be happy it's being served

Karl, South Africa
We all love vengeful justice. Did we not love the justice in the Count of Monte Cristo and The Outlaw Josie Wales? This whole thing is testament to justice and we should be happy it's being served.
Karl, South Africa

Many people in support of the death penalty never really think about the issue, but sadly many have and still come to support it. I think this is one thing that, no matter how popular it is or becomes, it just shouldn't be. God forbid my convictions were put to the test, but more death can't be the answer. I would be for televising or webcasting the execution if I didn't know so many people would relish it. There are some things you don't give people on a platter. I want it broadcast for all those who support this punishment, and I want it kept private because of those same people.
Richard Compton, USA

Revenge is such a Christian emotion, isn't it? Baying for someone's blood and the right for it to be taken seems eminently civilised, particularly if they are guilty of an atrocity. Nothing wrong with watching the Christians being thrown to the lions, eh? Communities have the right to decide on murder as a punishment, but please don't mention your God and civilisation in the same breath. The taking of someone's life without their permission IS murder, whatever the justification. If you can't face up to that, your society shouldn't be permitting it.
Duncan Rogerson, US,UK

Hey! What's on TV tonight? Great! An execution! Get out the popcorn and beers and let's have a ball. This is obscene. Capital punishment is obscene and degrading for all involved.
Paul Bridle, United Kingdom

McVeigh is already considered a martyr by many for his beliefs. Why reinforce this fact by allowing a network broadcast?
Andy, United States

I agree with the majority of the comments made in this discussion. However, I am surprised at how many have reacted to the prospect of people wanting to watch the execution. The point is that there are lots of people that would like to watch it and they would watch it regardless of the crime, country, race, creed, gender, innocent or guilty. I am not one of those people, but it's worth pointing out that they are a large minority. Let's also not forget the number of public executions that go on all the time outside the USA - less people complain about these so why the big fuss now.
Tim, UK

The "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" brigade may feel better after they have had their "fix" of revenge on the 16th May. They might even get a bigger dosage if they watch Mc Veigh's execution on TV. But in a year or two, will the pain of loss of their loved ones be any less?
Nigel Baldwin, UK

The man did an evil, terrible thing. Nothing can bring back those he took way. However the question over whether the world should watch is just one more variable in one more American tragedy. America does not want to admit it but she is in love with violence. One more school shooting? Roll out the politicians and let them mouth some more vague statements designed to satisfy everyone and no one at the same time. One more workplace murder? The same story - empty, hypocritical, quasi-religious rhetoric from yet another mealy-mouthed politician. The truth of the matter is plain to all. Whether America chooses to see it is another matter altogether.

People have the right to watch anything but that doesn't make it right to do so

Gus McGhee, Scotland
People have the right to watch anything but that doesn't make it right to do so. Maybe televised executions, blood and all, would convince Americans what a barbaric act it is. Statistics show that capital punishment is not a deterrent anyway.
Gus McGhee, Scotland

This presupposes there to be a deterrent effect in broadcasting an execution. Historical evidence from the days when public hangings in Britain were common suggests that, on the contrary, this gruesome event incited more violence among bloodthirsty spectators than it ever deterred - hence the end of the public gallows. When will we ever learn that violence breeds violence?
Andy Millward, UK

If it would deter one more murderer from committing this monstrous act then yes perhaps it would not be a bad idea, unfortunately I doubt it would have that effect. Do we really want gladiatorial rituals via our PC monitors? Personally I do not. In the 21st century I hope we are civilised enough not to require this type of "entertainment".
Judith Broadhead, England

I do not support execution but if you are do it properly, hang, draw and quarter him in front of a live audience - the notion that lethal injection is civilised because it is painless is absolutely ludicrous. Yes show the execution live let people know what execution is - barbaric and useless, the death of McVeigh will not bring one relative back and I doubt whether it'll make anyone feel any better!
M.P.Marshall, UK

McVeigh should not receive a platform from which to increase his visibility. It is already unfortunate that his name is better known than those of his victims. If the families really want to watch, that is their choice, but I do not want to see this thing turned into some sort of ghoulish spectacle, we already have so many strange voyeuristic forms of "entertainment". I don't understand the fascination with such things myself. For the record, the US stopped public hangings in the early 20th century to stop the violence that followed these public events. I doubt that this would ensue from a televised execution of the sanitised sort, but don't see this as an excuse to make it a form of entertainment.
George Milton, USA and Italy

It will present Mr McVeigh with a forum in which to showcase himself and his dangerous views
Shantanu Thakur, USA

In response to Neil, and our other friends from the UK, it is not so much that the US has a right to commit murder, than the fact that Mr McVeigh has forfeited his right to life by murdering dozens of innocent people. With crimes of this magnitude, justice demands that his life be taken away from him. I do not believe, however, that this should be televised. It will present Mr McVeigh with a forum in which to showcase himself and his dangerous views.
Shantanu Thakur, USA

There are no benefits in showing an execution in public. If there was, hanging people in public would have still been around...
Shervan, Iran

In my personal opinion, putting someone to 'sleep' is brutish. Besides that, it is cruel to make someone count his days and it is even more fiendish to have millions watching a person being sent 'away'.
Steven Mun, Malaysia

By giving him justice we give due value to the victims of his crime

Ralph, USA

No. We need to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Justice requires he be executed for his crime, but we need to respect his humanity and treat him with dignity but surely carry out the just penalty for his act. By giving him justice we give due value to the victims of his crime, and we send him on to the true court of justice before his Creator.
Ralph, USA

While McVeigh may be guilty, many of those who die each year in US prisons are innocent. Many are stitched up by the police or abandoned by their lawyers. Some are framed. Are we seriously thinking of paying to watch people be executed when there is a hefty suspicion that many have done nothing wrong?
Mark Mcfarland, Hong Kong

Seems a lot of people missed some key points in news stories posted right on this site.

1. The guy is going to die. Nobody is forced to watch it but it will happen anyway.
2. The private web company has stated profits will go to victims families.
3. The victims' families are already going to watch the execution on closed circuit TV.
Don Youdale, Canada

Should I drag out some knitting?

Elizabeth, Canada

Is this the 21st century? It seems to me we are at times stuck in the bygone era of public hangings and guillotines. Should I drag out some knitting?
Elizabeth, Canada

It's absolutely sickening that this man who is responsible for the untimely death of so many innocent people should have a say on anything regarding his most deserved execution. The media has been giving him too much attention and now we have to deal with whether his execution should be broadcast or not. Give him what he deserves: an execution without fanfare or attention.
Rick Lemus, California, USA

Of course the US courts should allow it; with the single stipulation that the CEO of Entertainment Network star in the dress rehearsal.
Jamie Pearson, Dominican Republic/ UK

Sell tickets, it would be a bestseller.
Richie, USA

I'm not sure how much more base we can get

Gary Dale, England

With so much violence on our screens (large and small) depicting murders and so on, it doesn't surprise me that someone somewhere wants to give us the real thing.... for a fee, of course. I'm not sure how much more base we can get without returning fully to mediaeval standards.
Gary Dale, England

I like to think I am a civilised person, but if my wife or child had been killed in the bombing, I would RELISH watching him die, and give a big "Yeeha!" when he was dead. As somebody who did not lose a family member there, I have no desire to watch his death.
Peter Bradford, USA/ via Sevenoaks

A note to Rob: Actually, support for the death penalty is around 70% in the United States, with opposition around 25%. Therefore people in the US DO overwhelmingly support the death penalty. It is not generally considered to be "state-sanctioned murder" as some argue, and thus its existence is clearly in line with popular opinion.
Owen Courreges, Texas, USA

I wouldn't consider it adequate for the Government of the United States to help a convicted murderer achieve "celebrity" status by allowing the execution to be broadcast. He should be disposed off in the same manner as waste is.
Guadalupe Lindo, El Salvador

I believe that there needs to be a limit when it comes to public executions

Kyle M. Tate, Texas, USA

While I fully support the use of the death penalty (my home state of Texas leads the entire world just about), I believe that there needs to be a limit when it comes to public executions. A century ago, we used to have public hangings, and it was a big event with parties and other types of entertainment. In this day and age, and considering the possible reaction to it from people who have never witnessed a public execution (like in the Middle East), I would recommended against it.
Kyle M. Tate, Texas, USA

Just imagine that your father/ brother/ son was McVeigh and was going to be executed next month. Would you want it to be televised? Bill McVeigh ISN'T the guilty one and yet he has to be punished knowing his son will die on May 16th. At least give him the peace to know it's happening in private!
Ed Parrett, France/ UK

Timothy McVeigh, you are the weakest link. Goodbye!
Roy, USA

Only the relatives should be allowed to witness the execution

Di Stewart, USA

Only the relatives should be allowed to witness the execution and I am adamant that pay per view on the entertainment channel should not be an option. We have become a society which views death as entertainment because of the poor quality of movies and TV programmes. Enough is enough. Execution is not legalised murder, it's just too bad we did away with torture. . . but that's another topic for discussion.
Di Stewart, USA

The state-sanctioned murder of a fellow human being, guilty or not, is a sickening idea. The thought that some people, let's say millions, want to tune in, turn on as that plunger is pressed, and then casually turn over to Ally McBeal is a sad reflection of the changing trends in 'entertainment'. Despite this, if Mr McVeigh so desires, then it should be broadcast. If people want to pay to view, let them. It's their money to throw away after all.
Steve Coleman, Czech Republic

I agree with McVeigh: we taxpayers have the right to observe the workings of our government. If it's OK with McVeigh, then US citizens have the right to watch the execution. What should really be put to death here is secret government.
Trafe Brokaw, USA

Are they classing this as entertainment?


I see the name of the company planning the pay-per-view have the word 'Entertainment' in their title. Are they classing this as entertainment? You would have to be mighty sick in the head to be entertained by state-sponsored murder.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If the guilty killed someone close to me I would like a front row seat.
Craig Karp, Texas, USA

In response to Mark K, it is not true that the death penalty enjoys overwhelming support in the US. Almost 40% of Americans are against the death penalty and the numbers are growing to include more and more each year who wish to end capital punishment.
Rob, USA

One of the reasons the Vietnam conflict was so unpopular in the US is because for the first time, television allowed the American public to see exactly what was involved. Until that point most people were swept along by the drum banging, jingoistic propaganda that was traditional during wartime. Once they actually saw their children killing and being killed, they took a very different view of war. So who knows, maybe McVeigh's execution should be televised. Perhaps when we see a human being murdered in our own living rooms we'll begin to question the process of killing people to punish them for killing people.
Andrew Smith, US/ ex UK

I do find it a bit odd that a private company should make a profit out of screening it

Dave Tankard, UK

I don't see why it shouldn't be available for public viewing. However, I do find it a bit odd that a private company should make a profit out of screening it. If it must be pay-per-view the money could be made available to the families of the victims, or to an appropriate charitable trust.
Dave Tankard, UK

No, for the simple reason that monsters like him must be kept from people's memories.
UE, Nigeria

Executions should never be televised. The death penalty is legalised murder and should be abolished.
Michael Downey, USA

I would have no desire to watch, but if people feel it is appropriate to watch justice meted out then I don't see why they shouldn't. The families of his victims in particular may want to help lay their own ghosts to rest by seeing the killer of their loved ones executed himself.
John B, UK

What is this world coming to?

Sharon B, UK

Just as I would not wish to stand by and watch innocent people being killed in a bomb blast nor would I wish to sit and watch a guilty man die by lethal injection. Considering the bomber is adamant to be put be death - seeing himself as some form of martyr - surely putting his death on the web for the world to see would be pandering to his whims. Not to mention that above all the entire question of making executions public for anyone, adult or child, to log onto on the web is so macabre it's sick. What is this world coming to?
Sharon B, UK

If 'snuff' movies are illegal - so should this be. Only weird and twisted people would want to see someone killed.
John Millikin, UK

Whilst we are at it let's bring back gladiator events and stake burnings!
Marc, UK

Maybe if people were obliged to watch it, fewer would vote in favour of capital punishment. I would expect and hope that in an allegedly civilised and quite religious country, watching a man being put to death should put a few folk off their dinner.
Robin Michaels, UK

Just think of the sponsorship and advertising opportunities...
Mick, UK

Although I am strongly against the death penalty myself, I feel that the execution should be broadcast if the condemned man wishes it to

Mark, UK

Although I am strongly against the death penalty myself, I feel that the execution should be broadcast if the condemned man wishes it to. Where a nation supports the death penalty (and it has overwhelming support in the US) then I think that the people have a right to see what goes on in the execution chamber. Maybe then this would bring home to them that the death penalty can never hope to be clinical, quick, painless and 'civilised'.
Mark, UK

No, I would not watch anyone's execution regardless of the crime. That someone actually wants to sell such a "product" (what else can I call it - it's obscene whatever name it's given) shows just how sick and greedy the world has become.
Sandy McTaggart, Zimbabwe

Maybe we could have a lottery draw on who gets the press the button as well ... I'd definitely enter that.
Martin, England

He watched people dying on TV after his bomb - so why not?
Jazza, UK

It is safe to say that a company trying to make a fast buck should get chucked out on their butts

Nathan, USA

Since the courts have already stated that the press (who have explicit constitutional protection) cannot do so, it is safe to say that a company trying to make a fast buck should get chucked out on their butts.
Nathan, USA

Clement T Chiwaya, Malawian in the US

I know he did a terrible thing, but would anyone in their right minds want to watch it?
Sarah, Scotland

If a 'civilised' government has the "right" to legally commit murder, then its people should have the "right" to witness it. It doesn't stop me from thinking that both are abhorrent though, and the internet company's motives are dubious, to say the least.
Neil O'Connor, UK

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12 Apr 01 | Americas
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