On May 5, 2001, Gore Vidal announced that he would attend Timothy McVeigh's execution in Indiana and write a piece about it for Vanity Fair. As it turned out, Vidal did not attend the execution because he didn't have enough time to get to the U.S. from Italy after McVeigh - on Friday, June 8 - abruptly ended his appeals, thus allowing the June 11 execution to take place. Most observers thought McVeigh would get a stay as his appeals worked their way through the courts.
For people interested in this issue as it relates to Vidal, I've put together a list of links to stories I've found on the web. Needless to say, if a site takes down its story, then the link will no longer be good.
Vidal and McVeigh made contact after Vidal wrote a piece on the drug war and the loss of freedom in America for Vanity Fair in November 1998. Vidal's post-execution piece on McVeigh - which includes excerpts from their correspondence - appears in the September 2001 issue of the magazine. And Vidal's book on the World Trade Center attack has more material about his relationship with McVeigh.
Many of the stories that appeared about Vidal's involvement with McVeigh has since been take off the internet (as older stories often are). Here, though, are some links to pieces that remain:
The online magazine Salon published this story about Vidal's contact with McVeigh.
Writer Justin Raimondo defends Vidal in an essay on antwar.com.
Here's a reprint of a Washington Post article on the subject.
A story on the BBC's web site depicts an execution chamber along with photos of Vidal and McVeigh.
This report appeared in the Brisith newspaper The Guardian
USA Today published a story on Vidal and McVeigh
The liberal web site Fantastic Forum supports Vidal in his efforts to explain McVeigh (this will open as a PDF file in a new window).
Vidal defends McVeigh at the Edinburgh Book Festival, as reported in The Guardian. Or you can read the actual interview from the festival.
The Russian newspaper Pravda ran this piece in English about Vidal and McVeigh.
This Reuters story shares Vidal's view that McVeigh had help in doing what he did.
In this piece, Vidal casts McVeigh as a hero, the author says, not quite accurately.
On a related matter, here is a list of articles that examine Vidal's views on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.