Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

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.


Don Quixote said...

Yeah. It's really weird. Perhaps--prosecutorial zeal aside--it's just too big an opportunity for the media to turn aside, and there's pressure all around to produce a big show? Maybe prosecutors wanting to be in the limelight? Seems like Marshall McLuhan's statement back in the 60s that politics and show business had melded just becomes truer and truer.

kathy a. said...

There is no point. This is pointless. Incarcerating him for life without parole not only does the job, but it does it less expensively -- and does not keep everyone affected reliving it again and again as the appeals go on. (As they will, and must. That's the due process that we all believe in.)

Don Quixote said...

Well, there's certainly no GOOD point. But how many of the decisions our government makes have healthy motivations?