McVeigh on bookshelves

Tuesday, April 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A book based on interviews with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh arrived in Tulsa bookstores Monday. "American Terrorist," written by two Buffalo newspaper reporters, went on sale Tuesday.

KOTV's Glenda Silvey talked with local stores about their plans for handling the controversial book. Timothy McVeigh had no editorial control over the 75 hours of interviews reporters used for "American Terrorist", and reportedly hasn't read it. Many don't think anyone should read some of the chilling facts included.

Tulsa bookseller Steve Sundry says there's been little customer interest. Manager of Steve's Sundry, Joanie Stephenson says, "If it goes over any at all, it will be in the next couple of weeks, and then I think it will die down." Among the revelations in the book, McVeigh encountered a red light after igniting the fuse on a five-minute detonator as he approached the Murrah Building, and called it "the longest stop light of my life." He was relieved to find no cars parked in front, because had there been, he was willing to crash the truck into the building, dying in the process.

Novel Idea owner Scott Perry didn't want to stock "American Terrorist" because one of his reps lost her husband in the bombing. "It’s a very personal thing to be carrying it. But I believe books should be in the stores. We get calls regularly not to carry Harry Potter, we get more calls not to carry Harry Potter than this book." A customer, Judi Cox says she won't read the book. "I just don't think I want to read it after having watched it and read everything in the newspapers and so much when it happened. I just don't think I would want to read that again."

Another bookstore customer, Marilyn Duck says, "I probably would like to read this book, because there are still so many things I don't understand." Marilyn Duck believes many people want answers, just as they did in the Kennedy assassination, but she empathizes with those who shun it." The pain from what happened was just so deep that people aren't necessarily there are some things it's hard to be rational about." And this tragedy is surely one of them, especially in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial has refused any donation from proceeds of "American Terrorist." Director Kari Watkins said today any book about the life or philosophy of Timothy McVeigh is inconsistent with the Memorial's mission, to honor the victims, and spread a message of non-violence.