I wish someone would write an article stating exactly what evidence proves the guilt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev beyond a reasonable doubt so I can stop doubting. I wish someone would post the photo or the video that clearly shows him doing what he has been accused and convicted of doing. I wish someone would produce the proverbial smoking gun. So far, it’s only been false advertising.
And articles like this one by Seth Stevenson, for Slade just add fuel to the fire:
“I did find some of the jury’s reasoning, as recorded on the verdict form, baffling. Only three out of twelve jurors agreed with the defense team’s contention that Tsarnaev would not have committed any of his crimes if not for the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. That’s nuts. Tamerlan was clearly in the driver’s seat, in my view.” (Mine too, so far so good.) “Without Tamerlan, I think Dzhokhar is three bong hits deep and playing Xbox this afternoon.” (OK, right again.) “Likewise, only five jurors agreed that Tamerlan had become radicalized first and then encouraged his younger brother. Again, I’m not sure what trial the rest were watching – to me, the evidence was clear that, however radical Dzhokhar eventually became, Tamerlan was the one who arrived there first.” (Again, a statement I agree with wholeheartedly.)
This writer’s observations that the trial should never have been held in Boston and the fact that the jury convicted due to feeling the pressure to quench a regional thirst for vengeance resonated with me as well.
Then it went south:
“I don’t quite know where to place Tsarnaev in the taxonomy of monsters… This was a tragically misguided political statement from a 19-year-old idiot. Several months of planning and a week of mayhem from a dorm-room jihadi.”
“Several months of planning?” Fingerprint evidence and a search of his dorm room provided no evidence that Dzhokhar had anything to do with the planning, even after the items removed from his dorm room by misguided friends were recovered.
“A political statement from a 19-year-old idiot.” Apparently, the author believes Dzhokhar wrote and espoused the ideology in the boat note. Despite the fact that, on the odd occasion, a friend or teacher may have been able to drag an opinion out of him, Dzhokhar seems to have held his few political opinions only casually. Albeit he did not deny them, he showed no desire to share them, much less force them on others.
My reaction to the Slate article was nothing compared to what I felt upon reading a blog post by Margo Schulter for Death Penalty Focus. The last sentence of the article is great: “Let the killing of subdued prisoners be a trademark of tyrants & terrorists as opposed to responsible governments.”
That, it turned out, was the best line. Here’s more:
“To overcome the reluctance of the jurors to kill a teenager who had no previous criminal record and since his arrest had been a peaceful prisoner…” There’s more to that sentence but I can’t stop thinking about this description of Dzhokhar. How people don’t feel compelled to want rehabilitation for this boy is just beyond me. In my mind he is a prime candidate.
I was hoping Ms. Schulter would not only protest the death penalty, but that she would cry out against life without the possibility of parole as well, especially since Dzhokhar is “a teenager who had no previous criminal record and since his arrest had been a peaceful prisoner…”
I guess the subtitles of the various sections of the article should have been a clue. Section 1 was titled “Cruel and unusual punishment – for the jurors.” Section 2, “Cruel and unusual punishment – for the victims.” The title of Section 3 was not “Cruel and unusual punishment – for the convicted” as I had hoped.
No, this article protests the death penalty but that’s where the empathy ends:
“The appeals process is expensive and cruel to the surviving family members.”
“Although the wishes of the Richard family were not followed, President Obama could step in and end their ordeal of being trapped in years of appeals and publicity for Tsarnaev.”
“…The President has the power to modify a death sentence to life on any terms. Within the limits of the Eighth Amendment, it appears that President Obama has virtually unlimited discretion in setting the terms of the LWOP sentence that would replace the death penalty.”
“Also, federal funds saved by not pursuing years of appeals…”
I was so aghast at these statements I could hardly contain my emotion. Where is the America I knew and loved and grew up pledging allegiance to?
I know it still exists. But now I think it’s called Canada.
Maybe it would help if we all remembered to pray The Prayer of St. Francis once in awhile:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to