gratitude-a-thon day 605: we got it wrong


I was in the car listening to Magic 106.7, when I heard the mild voice of the DJ saying that Dhohkar Tsarnaev had been sentenced to death. My mouth opened into an oversized O (why do we do that when we’re surprised, I wonder). I switched over to NPR, and looked around to see if other drivers were reacting, but then thought better of it, and kept my eyes on the road (but my mouth stayed open, I just closed it like a an half hour ago).

I don’t believe in the death penalty. I always say that if someone killed my family or friends, I might feel differently, but I don’t think so.

What Tsarnaev did is unspeakable.

It was brutal, inhuman, and grotesque. I am sickened by his actions, overwhelmed with sadness and grief for the people who were directly affected, and gave lives, and limbs. But we are not a state that believes in killing our criminals. Who were these jurors? Were they, as they were supposed to be, “a jury of your peers.” Doesn’t that mean a cross section of people? Just the idea that you had to believe in the death penalty to be on the jury seems wrong to me.

Also, by the way, the death penalty is not legal in Massachusetts, The case shouldn’t have been tried here. And what about the Richards family, who so poignantly and clearly asked that the death penalty not be the verdict, so that they could begin to heal. Shouldn’t the primary concern be for the survivors of this brutal crime?

I feel all sorts of emotions about this verdict. And I’ll be honest, I think about what that boy must be feeling. I have a boy similar in age. Whether he goes to that max security prison in Colorado, where he’ll be in solitary for 23 1 /2 hours a day, or given a lethal injection, his life is over.

The idea that the appeals process will keep this case in the news, not allowing the survivors to get away from the names and images of April 15, 2013,  unless they move to a remote island in the middle of the middle of nowhere, is not right. It’s just not right. Life in prison would have meant an occasional mention, but this, this will be an ongoing marathon of images and discussions.

It’s wrong. I think we got it wrong. And as wrong as what happened was and will always be, is as wrong as this verdict.

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