Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Guilty Verdict

On April 15, 2013 everybody knows what happened at the Boston Marathon finish line. Everybody saw the pictures, the videos, the 24 hour media coverage.

My friends and I were seniors in college in Boston, getting ready to graduate and take the next steps in our lives. Marathon Monday is a holiday in Boston- schools are closed, day drinking occurs, and everybody goes down to the Marathon finish line to watch the runners finish the race. As seniors, my friends and I spent a few days trying to figure out what to do on that day off- Go to the marathon finish line, or go out to a bar, or both?

One of my friends had never been to the finish line before; I had been my freshman year and was open to going back. That same friend spent the night before out drinking and was hungover. I suggested going to Jerry Remy’s and grabbing a drink later in the morning (typical college behavior) and then figuring out a game plan. She agreed. We met there, started drinking and decided to meet another friend and move to another bar- one right across the street. We never made it to the finish line.

After our second round, the three of us received news alerts that an explosion happened at the finish line. Our first thought was a transformer blew, second thought, fireworks. The notion of a terror attack never crossed our minds, not until the third news alert. By that time, we were full of anxiety- the room seemed quiet and loud at the same time, it seemed extremely big but claustrophobically small. Somebody asked the bartender to change the channel to the news- she did. My friends and I got up and walked out of the door.

Outside, the weather was perfect for April. A little chilly, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to run a race, day drink and just enjoy time with family and friends. Groups of people walked by us, smiling, laughing and cluelessly drunk. It was surreal; they had no idea what had just happened only 1 mile away. Walking down the street was like a dream- I knew a bit of what happened, my friends knew exactly what I did, these people had no idea. I had to restrain myself and act like a normal human, at least until I got to my friend’s apartment.

The short walk to her apartment was the most paranoid walk of my entire life. I kept looking around, expecting something, anything to happen. Nothing did. Then came the sirens. So many sirens.

Once at her apartment, each of us set out and call our parents, friends, and family to let them know we were okay and safe. The news was turned on, phone service was nearly turned off because of the mass influx of people attempting to make contact with their loved ones. The three of us were glued to the television, slowly learning bits and pieces of information, the sounds of the television broken only by ambulance sirens.

The television ended up being shut off after a few hours, and our other friend left. I hunkered in and stayed with my other friend for the night. Neither of us got much sleep. At around 2 or 3 AM, I remember putting the television back on for no other reason than just to know more information. My friend came out of her room and we just sat there in silence- For us there was nothing else to talk about than what happened. She made plans to go back to her parents house, lots of my friends did. The bombers were still at-large, people were fleeing the city.

I didn’t feel right going to my parents house. They couldn’t do anything, going home wouldn’t make me feel safer. I walked back to my Chinatown apartment, passing by the Prudential Center. The city was silent. Police tape was hung up and created a huge crime scene area, bomb sniffing dogs were everywhere, so were the military style tanks.

The manhunt lasted 4 long days. I tried not to leave my apartment. Instead, I made camp on my futon and watched the 24 hour news cycle for as long as I could until I needed sleep. With no rumors of sightings and various calls of bomb threats on other buildings, I felt paranoid. On day 4 I debated on going home to my parents house which was 60 miles away, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the city. Later that evening, the news everybody had been patiently waiting for- Suspect #2 was captured! He was hiding just outside the police search field, inside of a plastic wrapped boat in Watertown. Scribbled on the wall of the boat was his manifesto, which was punctured in some spots by streaks of his blood and bullet holes. Suspect #1 had been killed during a police shootout in Watertown and he was allegedly run over by his brother suspect #2.

Fast forward to April 8, 2015- only seven days shy of the two year anniversary of the Boston Bombing. Dzhokhar Tasarnaev was found guilty of all thirty counts- seventeen of which make him eligible for the death penalty. Even though Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty, this case is being tried in federal court and therefore allows a punishment of death. On April 21, 2015, the sentencing phase of the trial begins and the same jury that gave us the guilty verdict will hold the Boston Bomber’s life in their hands.

Personally, I do not want him to be sentenced to death- Dzhokhar wrote in his boatside manifesto that he was jealous of his brother Tamerlan for becoming a martyr and dying for what he believed in. While it is impossible to know what the jury will do, any choice that they make will be made with the utmost competence based off of the evidence and arguments presented by both sides.

It feels good to finally say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev- convicted Boston Bomber.

Proud to be Boston

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