Tags: Put | McVeigh | Plaque | Good | Use

Put McVeigh Plaque to Good Use

Thursday, 17 May 2001 12:00 AM

There was a plaque prepared that was supposed to be the punctuation piece for the Memorial Park that occupies the space that once housed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

It says, "Timothy McVeigh was executed May 16, 2001."

Don't tell me they're going to throw that plaque away just because the execution was postponed and and make another plaque when the definite date is finally is set. I've got a better idea.

Collectors with big bucks and even bigger egos are known to grow their egos bigger still by reminding the world how many bucks they've got. Do you remember the newly rich host who gave you the "50-cent tour" before dinner and tried to sound measured and casual when he pointed out the authenticated Rembrandt hanging in the den where theretofore you'd seen nothing but "Dogs Playing Poker"? Those types have broadened their lenses to an unbelievably wide angle. Wide, and unbelievably imaginative.

Collectors no longer strive solely for Renaissance paintings and the Hope Diamond. Whosoever can show off one of Willy Mayes's mitts, a broken tee from the golf bag of Tiger Woods at age 14, a lipstick that belonged to Monica Lewinsky, a napkin that Ronald Reagan used as president, Tom Hanks's favorite bowling ball, one of O.J. Simpson's mud cleats, a Florida ballot, a pair of Elvis's sunglasses, a "Star Trek" phaser gun, or an Adolf Hitler watercolor is willing to shell out prodigious sums for the bragging rights attendant thereto.

Are you aware of how many hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid for one American airmail stamp in which the plane was upside down? And that was in the days when under a million was real money!

I say, let's auction off the plaque and give the money to a fund to provide scholarships to children whose tuition would have been paid by those lost to Timothy McVeigh's terrorism.

Can you new breed of collectors imagine owning - not one of 20, one of 15, one of 10, one of five - but the ONE AND ONLY plaque that was struck when the U.S. government and the world thought McVeigh's sentence would be carried out on the originally appointed date: May 16, 2001?

Where shall the bidding begin?

I say, let's take a tip from Dennis Tito, the billionaire who gave the Russians $20 million to take a ride in space. Nice round figure. Start the bidding at $20 million.

Do it on TV, on line, in public. Let us know as each bid is topped by a higher one, and who made it, and something about that bidder and how he earned his money.

Suppose it never moves higher than the opening bid of $20 million. If we can find a money manager who can arrange for 5 percent appreciation a year, that's a million dollars interest annually. That million could send a lot of kids to college while preserving the principle intact.

We can trust radio and TV to lavish publicity upon the process, thereby intensifying the incentive for able players to compete.

Admittedly the commingling of American media frenzy with the utter solemnity of the Oklahoma City tragedy feels uncomfortable; but the execution, when it occurs, is destined to trigger so much media frenzy anyhow that a little side frenzy that manages to raise money for the victims seems to me spiritually and philosophically permissible.

We have nothing against harnessing water power, fossil fuels, solar, wind - the forces of NATURE to energize.

Why not then harness the forces of HUMAN nature to educate?

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There was a plaque prepared that was supposed to be the punctuation piece for the Memorial Park that occupies the space that once housed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It says, Timothy McVeigh was executed May 16, 2001. Don't tell me they're...
Thursday, 17 May 2001 12:00 AM
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