Respect wishes of Boston Marathon bombing victims
A Boston Marathon bombing victim’s parents are attempting to change the defendant’s possible death penalty charge into a life sentence.
According to CNN, Bill and Denise Richard — whose 8-year-old son, Martin, was killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings — are pleading with officials to remove the choice of death penalty toward the defendant.
“Our family has grieved, buried our young son, battled injuries and endured numerous surgeries-all while trying to rebuild lives that will never be the same,” said the Richards in a piece they wrote for The Boston Globe.
According to CNN, Martin was the youngest individual killed when a pair of bombs went off within 12 seconds of each other on April 15, 2013 at the finish line for the Boston Marathon. A pair of brothers — Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — were declared suspects in this heinous crime. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with the police a few days following the attack, and Dzhokhar was found guilty of all 30 counts against him on April 8.
According to CNN, a prosecutor said the Tsarnaev brothers carried out this attack to “punish Americans and send a message to the holy warriors of radical Islam to rise up.”
CNN also said an overwhelming amount of evidence was shown in the courtroom. Tsarnaev was seen at a Whole Foods buying milk and later seen going to college campus gym after the horrific event.
Tsarnaev’s complete and obvious lack of remorse for his and his brother’s actions is clear in the surveillance photos. Any individual who carries out an attack as terrible as the Boston Marathon bombings and then goes to the gym as if nothing terrible has occurred is clearly an individual who deserves no sympathy and needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
That being said, the requests of Bill and Denise should be taken into account. They, along with the family members of other victims, should ultimately be given the decision as to whether the defendant receives the death penalty or life in prison. The jury is basing their verdict on courtroom evidence, while the Richards are basing their decision on the fact that they suffered through it.
“We were there. We lived it,” they said in their letter to The Boston Globe. “The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter and stole part of our soul.”
The Richards continued to aim their plea toward the Justice Department. They asked them to close the case.
“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to an appeal,” they said in The Boston Globe.
The Richards then added they “know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives. We hope our two remaining children do not have to grow up with the lingering, painful reminder of what the defendant took from them, which years of appeals would undoubtedly bring.”
When an event as terrible as the Boston Marathon bombings occur, society’s immediate response is to punish the individual or individuals responsible. However, in attempting to punish the perpetrators, the most important individuals are forgotten — the victims.
It is understandable that we want to see Tsarnaev punished in a manner that complements his crime. We fail to realize that in attempting to pass a death penalty charge, the individuals who were directly affected by the attacks will have to bring back painful memories.
At this point, we need to not look at what we want but respect the choices of those directly affected — such as the Richards family.
According to CNN, Bill and Denise are making it clear that they are only “speaking for themselves.”
“We believe that now is the time to turn the page, end the anguish, and look toward a better future — for us, for Boston, and for the country.”
Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]