Is Boston Strong enough for what’s next?

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.

It took almost two years to get here (and still Boston Strong)

After weeks of hearing witness testimony, seeing horrific photos and physical evidence, and visiting the boat where he holed up during the latter portion of the manhunt in Watertown, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s jury has found him guilty on all 30 counts related to the Boston Marathon Bombing of 2013.

It’s been almost two years.

I still remember the day vividly, how I was in a conference room at work with a co-worker when frantic texts started pouring into my phone, a friend checking on me and asking if I was at the Boston Marathon. I had no idea why the concern until she told me there had been explosions. My blood ran cold.

My co-worker and I immediately stopped working and started pounding away at our laptops, trying to get any kind of news we could find that would tell us what had happened. I was panic-checking Twitter constantly, because I had friends working and hanging out at or near the finish line and I was terrified they would number among the dead and injured.

In the days that followed, the world became very strange. Boston became the Hub of the Universe for others, with reporters and federal agents flooding the city and surrounding suburbs. Work was stopped for many on the fateful day the Tsarnaevs went on the run in earnest, as Cambridge and Watertown were on lockdown. No one was to go anywhere. DH and I worked from home, checking the news websites, checking Twitter, hoping for news.

And then it happened: one brother dead, one captured. The stories that emerged of their attempt to escape are nearly as horrifying as the bombing that started all this madness: one brother running over the other with a car as he desperately tried to get away from law enforcement, and an MIT Police Officer, Sean Collier, shot dead.

It makes me sick thinking of it still.

The Boston Marathon is a symbol of hope. It’s the hope that you can be and do more than the average human should. It’s the hope that we can persevere in the face of pain, frustration, hills, and our own limitations as people.

We can’t and won’t let anyone tarnish our hope with their evil. The Boston Marathon will continue, and the route from Hopkinton to Boston will remain as storied and hallowed as it ever was.

And as for Tsarnaev, the guilty verdict was necessary and proper. He admitted to the bombing, and his lawyers were positioning their messages only so they could help him avoid the death penalty. He can be put to death or allowed to rot in the deepest, darkest hole in our Federal penitentiary system–either will suit him just fine. Nothing will bring back the four lives lost, the hundreds of limbs ripped from bodies, the peace of mind in the souls of those terrorized that fateful day.

He can now become a footnote in the annals of history.

The Boston Marathon will run on, and all those amazing runners and wheelchair racers will continue to be the symbols of hope they’ve been for decades. We will always be Boston Strong. Period.