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Eric Rudolph: Hero or Villian?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I personally think he needs be put to death

MURPHY, N.C. (June 1) - Local boy misunderstood or a lone nut bent on murder.

Depending on who you talk to in the mountains of western North Carolina, Eric Robert Rudolph -- until this weekend the nation's most wanted fugitive -- could have been either.

Rudolph, accused of murdering two people and injuring more than 100 in a string of bombings in the southeastern United States, including the 1996 Olympic Park blast, was captured in the tiny hamlet of Murphy, North Carolina, after nearly five years on the run.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which deployed several hundred agents, bloodhounds and helicopters in a vain search for the Army veteran and ardent survivalist, was elated at Rudolph's arrest while scavenging outside a supermarket dumpster.

Many residents and visitors in Murphy have applauded Rudolph's capture and tried to distance the town from his actions and beliefs.

Authorities believe Rudolph is a white supremacist who began his bombing spree out of an all-consuming hatred for foreigners, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters.

In addition to being accused of planting a bomb that killed one person at the Atlanta Olympics, he also is a suspect in the 1997 bombing of an abortion clinic and gay nightclub in the Atlanta area and a 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama that killed an off-duty police officer.

Although a trial is likely months away, some people in Murphy were openly calling for the death penalty if Rudolph is found guilty.

"Justice should take its course and if he is guilty that's what he deserves," said Umberto Micheletti, an Atlanta resident in Murphy, holding a T-shirt commemorating Rudolph's capture.

But some people in this deeply religious and isolated region, which has a history of anti-government views, expressed a different, more sympathetic view of the famous fugitive.

"I think a lot of people in the mountains share his belief and feel that he's been hounded enough," said James Johnson, who lives about 30 minutes north of Murphy. Johnson noted that "Run Rudolph Run" T-shirts were a hot selling item in Murphy when Rudolph vanished in 1998.

The undercurrent of sympathy generated by the way he outsmarted the FBI manhunt for years has made Rudolph something of an outlaw legend in these parts, not too far removed from Jesse James or John Dillinger.

Many with ties to Murphy believe that locals either helped Rudolph or at the very least refrained from informing on him during his time on the run.

At the time of his arrest, Rudolph was sporting clean clothes, short hair, and a couple of days worth of stubble on his face -- hardly the unkempt appearance of a person who had been living in the woods and foraging for berries, game and fish.

"He looked pretty healthy and clean-cut to me, so I think it's likely he had some help," said Rick Ramsey, a former resident of Murphy who said he thought the people in these remote areas might have shared more in common with Rudolph than they did with the government agencies that were tracking him.

"They would not necessarily help him but I don't think they would necessarily have turned him in either," Ramsey said.

Federal agents have declined to say if they are investigating any local residents on suspicion of assisting Rudolph during his years on the run.

06/01/03 17:58 ET
post #2 of 10
I live not far from where all this is happening - I find it silly that they are making him a hero - he is the opposite.
I am glad that he has finally been caught - I cant believe they were waiting in town here just to try and get a glimpse of him going to the federal courthouse. They have made too much of a fuss over him.

He is a nut. Period. Im just glad this is all over. Now the victims can get closure.

I believe that he was helped by some of the locals. How else can he look this healthy after living 5 years in the bush?
post #3 of 10
He's a cold-blooded murderer. Its a miracle that more people weren't killed, by his bombs. FRY HIM!
post #4 of 10
I think bombing of innocent people is wrong, so please don't think I am condoning it in any way. I know he is a white supremecist, and a religious fanatic. When he was younger, his girlfriend aborted his child, and apparently it drove him over the edge. That being the case, I can see someone in his frame of mind going after the abortion clinics, and with his religious beliefs, going after homosexuals, but why the Olympics? That really does not make sense.
post #5 of 10
I definately don't think that he is a hero - the exact opposite in fact. No matter your background, you have no right to take, or attempt to take another's life. That being said, I also don't feel that he should get the death penalty, as it is not something I believe in. I realize that most people feel that the death penalty is an excellent arm of justice, but in my mind more death should not be the answer.
post #6 of 10
Even if you disagree with the practice of abortion (and I do). Randolph is a killer and needs to be punished. There is no excuse for the taking of lives. He deserves the death penalty. In no way is he a hero, he is just an ordinary murderer.
post #7 of 10
Some of his bombs were deliberately set to harm law enforcement and emergency personnel, responding to the first explosion. How does THAT tie into his anti-abortion stance?

Another bombing was at a lesbian bar. Its is obvious that this jerk has a hatred of women.
post #8 of 10
Definitely a villian - I have absolutely no sympathy for his terrorist tactics.
post #9 of 10
He's no hero. I just hope that he doesn't get a lighter sentence because he pleads insanity.
post #10 of 10
I hope the "legend" of Rudolph is squelched. I'd hate to see him go down in the history books as a "hero" when he's just a deranged lunatic. This wouldn't be the first time that happened.
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