It was a little over a month ago that I wrote about the verdict in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial. Yesterday, the jury came back from deliberations and pronounced that the twelve men and women decided he should be put to death for the horrific crimes he committed. He bombed innocent people. He helped kill an MIT police officer.
And now, the twelve ruled: LET HIS GLOBAL BUS PASS BE REVOKED.
I don’t necessarily disagree with the jury. After all, if the death penalty shouldn’t be applied in the case of the Boston Marathon bomber, when should it be applied?
There are those who say that it should never be applied, whether they believe in the concept of turning the other cheek, or whether they believe in some manner of redemption…or perhaps they believe that if even one wrongly accused person is put to death then we as a society are no better than those that we would hold in contempt.
I also don’t necessarily agree with the jury, either.
From the moment he was caught, I wanted him gone. Toss him in the deepest, darkest hole in our Federal penitentiary system, I said. Let him disappear forever where he can’t harm anyone else and he will never again experience the joys of freedom. He was guilty, so much so that even his defense team acknowledged his guilt from the outset and only worked to mitigate its impact by trying to deflect blame onto anyone and everything except for their client.
In that sense, barring some kind of overturning of his conviction on appeal, at least he will be in prison for the rest of his life. He will be off the streets. He won’t get to hang out with his friends in his dorm room or at a restaurant. He committed horrible, senseless, violent acts that are utterly inexcusable, and he should be punished.
I see so much blood lust on my personal Facebook and Twitter feeds; some friends and family seem gleeful at the idea of him being taken out back and put out of our misery. And rarely is it ever that simple. In practical reality, because the verdict of death triggers an automatic appeal, his story will be in the headlines for months and years to come. Of course, there are also the candle-wavers holding virtual vigil for the idea that the death penalty is so wrong that he must be spared from a rather immediate termination and instead have a lengthy life in prison…followed by termination–voluntary or otherwise.
It’s all enough to make you wish people were still posting copious videos of cats playing pianos.
I was chatting with a co-worker yesterday and I mentioned that I knew people who were there on the day of the bombing: people inside The Forum, people at the medical tent, people hovering near the finish line as they cheered on friends and complete strangers. Anyone with a connection to prior Boston Marathons was there in some way, shape, or form that day–even if we weren’t there physically. Yesterday only dredged up some of those feelings, giving neither comfort nor solace. It was only a mile marker in a much longer marathon.
We have such a small time on this Earth, in this universe. We have but years in which to build and enjoy lives of exploration, education, and emotion. We are a blink of an eye in a natural system that tells times in eons and epochs. We are transient. We should never hurry on death and destruction. We should never rejoice in it.
I wish the verdict brought peace, but it doesn’t. It allows twelve people to go back to their lives as they were before, knowing they will never be the same. It allows the rest of us to wait impatiently and uncomfortably for whatever size and manner of shoe is next to drop. This story won’t go away anytime soon. There is no fading into obscurity.
The trauma continues.
The marathon keeps going.
Are we Strong enough for this race?
I sure as hell hope so.