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Bud Welch lost his 23-year-old daughter, Julie Marie Welch, in the Oklahoma City bombing. He offers the following to fellow activists and the media:
To my friends and fellow abolitionists who will be in Terre Haute for the state sanctioned killing of Timothy McVeigh, or at other protests around the country, I want you to know that my prayers are with you. I believe that a statement should be made.
I ask you to be my voice on May 15 and 16, 2001. I urge you to send a clear message to our Government - and to the people of this nation - that what we are embarking on on May 16 is just plain wrong. Our society should not tolerate a government with the power to kill its own citizens. Send that message in whatever way you feel is appropriate, with compassion, with nonviolence, and in peace.
When my daughter, Julie, was killed, I joined a "club" that I wish had no members: The price of admission is too high. I know the pain of losing a loved one because of a senseless act of violence. On May 16, 2001, I will stand with other families who have lost loved ones to unnecessary violence, and I will be with Tim McVeigh's family in spirit as they prepare to be victimized in a political event, staged by the Government of these United States.
The execution of Timothy McVeigh will not bring back Julie or her colleagues, nor will it end the grieving for any one of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Revenge and hate are the reasons 168 people died that day in 1995. I oppose the death penalty absolutely, in all cases, because in all cases it is an act of revenge and hatred. The killing of Timothy McVeigh, who has halted all his appeals, will be an assisted suicide. It will also make him a martyr in the eyes of those who share his beliefs. We should not be surprised if one or more of his supporters tries to avenge our killing McVeigh. We should ask ourselves: How much killing and how much revenge are we prepared to live through?
I fear for our country. We need social change on the death penalty - just as we needed social change in the 1800's with slavery. We moved from abolishing slavery, to granting women the right to vote, to passing civil rights laws. We finally made these necessary social changes and we must take the next step with the death penalty.
To the media, I implore you: Respect everyone who is suffering through this ordeal. Please be fair and accurate in your reporting. And please respect me, the other victims families, the survivors, and Tim's family.