Experiencing the Victim-Offender Relationship
This chapter examines how it is to experience the victim–offender relationship, and particularly how Timothy McVeigh entailed feelings of helplessness and passivity. It describes McVeigh, the principal suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing, as an unwelcome, even toxic, intrusion into the lives of survivors and family members. It considers the criminal impact and personal impact of an offender's presence in a victim's life and argues that all participants who were aware of McVeigh's toxic presence, including victims, experienced both a criminal impact and a personal impact. It also discusses participants' personal impressions of McVeigh, the emotional consequences of McVeigh's toxic presence, and the unwelcome presence of Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, the two other suspected offenders in the Oklahoma City bombing. Finally, it suggests that recovering one's identity and restoring one's dignity meant ejecting McVeigh and reasserting self-control.
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