On April 15, 2013, the city of Boston was shaken in an unimaginable way. Terrorists set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, a time honored tradition that marks the celebration of Patriots Day: the start of the American Revolution back in 1775. What was supposed to be a day of merriment, enjoying the bright spring sun, celebrating athletic ability, and having a good beer with friends(for those of legal age), became a day of terror, fear, shock, and death. At 2:49 pm, two bombs went off at the finish line of the marathon on Boylston Street. The winner of the race had crossed the finish line two hours before, but there were still thousands of runners yet to complete the race. Three people died, 264 others were injured requiring treatment at 27 different area hospitals, with at least a dozen amputations among the given treatments. The city of Boston was gripped by a powerful sense of fear and apprehension for that week. I was a freshman at BU at the time, and we all were stunned. The professors didn’t quite know how to address it, the other students and the faculty were all in a little bit of a daze. No one knew how to handle it that well. However, the week was not done throwing us curveballs. The weirdest events of the week were on that Thursday night and that Friday morning. I went to bed hearing of a shooting at MIT on Thursday night. I woke up early Friday morning hearing reports of a citywide lockdown and a manhunt that took the whole day before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding under an overturned boat in Watertown, MA. Classes were canceled, and campus felt strangely quiet. After Tsarnaev was captured, the city erupted in praise and jubilation that the terrorist who had bombed our city was attacked.
I’m reminded of this story today because Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges that were made against him today in connection to the Boston Marathon Bombing. It is a day of satisfaction that he was rightfully found guilty of his actions. Now the next phase of this whole ordeal is the sentencing. 17 of the charges that he was convicted of are federal charges that carry a potential death penalty. The question facing the court now is whether to execute him, or to put him in prison for the rest of his life. My initial reaction for most cases would be life inprisonment. I have a deep seeded philosophical problem with the death penalty. I have a problem with taking another human being’s life, regardless of who’s life it is that’s being taken. I do understand why it is a consideration in this case and in justice systems in general. I understand why it is logically deserved in many respects. Because of that, I have to spend some more time thinking of whether the death penalty is the correct punishment in this case.
I don’t particularly like thinking about this sort of thing. People were killed and maimed because of this man and his brother. A city was psychologically damaged because of their actions. It isn’t a good thing that he is being punished, because it means that something terrible was done in the first place. It is reassuring that the justice system works to find people guilty who are actually guilty. It is reassuring that the victims of the bombing and their families have the justice they deserve. The sentencing is another question that remains to be answered. But today, justice was served. It is not a happy thing that justice was needed. But today, a criminal was found rightly guilty. I’m pleased that justice was properly served today.