Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The Tsarnaev trial
As my 4 1/2 long-time readers know, I lived in Boston for some 25 years. I moved away to deepest Connecticut just about a year before the marathon bombing. It deeply affected me, of course, because the bombing tore at the very heart of a community to which I still felt deeply attached. If you're going to commit a terrorist act in Boston, the marathon is probably your best target.
It isn't just a sporting event. It isn't even principally a sporting event. That's just an excuse. It's really Boston's one special day, like July 4 for the United States, your wedding anniversary for your marriage, Christmas for Christians. (I guess it would have to be Darwin Day for me but we don't really have anything comparable.) It's a holiday in exactly one city, and people head downtown by the millions to stand together in a completely muddled mix of every ethnicity and class and cheer on everybody, the leaders and the sorriest stragglers. You can't drive either, you have to take the T.
Those guys lived in Cambridge, which is essentially part of Boston, and they knew what they were doing. Was it as evil as invading Iraq? Well, it was evil on a far smaller scale but it was all the evil within their power to achieve. But I do have to ask, what is the point of the trial?
Tsarnaev's lawyers offered to plead guilty, which would mean maybe 60 years or more locked in a cage by himself for a now young man, who would only leave feet first. Once he disappeared into federal Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado (presumably) he would be forgotten.
Is that insufficient vengeance and insufficient demonstration of society's repugnance? Apparently, because now the Department of Justice is going to give him several weeks on the front page, an elaborate public presentation of his life and character, and should he actually receive the death penalty, reappearance on the front page from time to time over many years as his appeals wind through the courts. All this for the chance to snuff him in 10 years or so. To what purpose? Beats me.