Locals react to execution | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Locals react to execution

Susan Wood

Oklahoma City is miles away from Lake Tahoe, but the bombing that devastated the heartland town touched the basin’s residents in different ways.

Psychologist Anita Spencer’s patients have discussed the incident in dealing with their own sense of grief in their lives.

Grief patterns vary for most, but many experience denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance, the Truckee therapist said.

Spencer predicts the victims’ families may move to another stage of grief from Timothy McVeigh’s execution, but she doubts they’ll have closure even after the death of the government’s suspect.

“For a lot of people, they’ll think, ‘I’m going to feel better,’ and I just don’t think they’ll get that,” Spencer said. “Vengeance doesn’t bring a loved one back.”

The worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil shook the nation, Spencer said, making people feel especially vulnerable because the suspects were Americans.

“We look at the enemy, and he’s us,” she said.

How to deal with that “enemy” is another troubling issue, splitting the country into two camps: those who support the death penalty and those who oppose it.

“The death penalty is something we’re very much against,” said Patience Wenck, the Unitarian Church board president. “We don’t kill people because we don’t want them to kill people.”

Wenck feels executions like McVeigh’s Monday sends the wrong message to the rest of the world. Tom and Arlene Robbins of San Francisco – both death penalty opponents – share Wenck’s views.

“I don’t think he should have played God, and I don’t think we should either,” Arlene said, as the couple entered the Albertsons off U.S. Highway 50.

To others, the punishment fit the crime.

“Yes, I have no hesitation. He did something so devastating. He had no remorse, and that’s what upset me,” South Lake Tahoe resident Shelby Cecchettini said, loading her groceries in her vehicle.

Other people have conflicting thoughts on whether capital punishment is the answer.

“I don’t know. As a Christian, I’m torn because I don’t think we should seek revenge,” Linda Stroot said in the U.S. Post Office parking lot. On the other hand, the South Shore resident believes a criminal act such as this should warrant severe punishment.

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