March 11, 2022 | OPINION | By Karly Hamilton | Illustration by Iris Guo
Marathon Monday was always cause for excitement growing up in Boston. I have distinct memories of warm years where the marathon marked the beginning of spring and other times where it was pouring rain and I had to stand under a tent to watch runners go by. One aspect remained constant—the energy and joy that surrounded the event.
I remember searching for familiar faces in the crowd of runners, often in the form of teachers and family friends. This is part of why it was such a shock to hear about the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013; many Bostonians knew participants, if they were not themselves.
In the aftermath of the bombing, which was orchestrated by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan, the Greater Boston area went into lockdown. At the time, I lived close to the marathon route, and my town was included in the lockdown. I recall sitting in the living room watching the news to see when the perpetrators would be caught.
In the manhunt of the brothers, Tamerlan was killed by law enforcement. However, local police apprehended Dzhokhar alive, and he is currently in Colorado’s supermax prison.
Over the past few weeks, the surviving perpetrator has been a topic of conversation because the Supreme Court reviewed his case and reinstated the death sentence for it. When Tsarnaev was first convicted, he was sentenced to death, which was reversed in 2020 when a federal appeals court ruled that there were errors in the original trial due to the publicity of Tsarnaev’s actions.
However, the Supreme Court recently voted 6-3 along party lines to reinstate the death sentence for Tsarnaev. While this decision has sparked varied responses, I am pleased with the Court’s ruling.
Two people were killed and hundreds were injured due to the bombs, and that does not include the hundreds, if not thousands, of other individuals impacted by the attack. I do not think anyone who causes that much harm deserves to live.
Tsarnaev’s death sentence was reversed in 2020 because the appeals court ruled that evidence proving Dzhokhar was influenced by his older brother was not properly considered in the trial. Regardless, Tsarnaev still had to decide to assist his brother. That choice is inexcusable, no matter what influences the perpetrator might have had.
Due to his actions, Tsarnaev will spend the remainder of his life in prison, whether he is executed or remains in prison until his natural death. Since he is bound to spend his last days in prison one way or another, I do not see the logic in supporting Tsarnaev’s continued life.
Tsarnaev intentionally caused harm to hundreds of people, and he deserves to face the same fate as his brother—death. He killed, injured, and permanently altered the lives of many people, turning what has always been a joyous occasion into a day of somber remembrance.
In the time since the bombing, Bostonians and the plethora of people that travel to Boston for the marathon have restored much of the joy that surrounds the event. If anything, the outpouring of support brought a new sense of shared community to the event. Nevertheless, the tragic events of 2013’s Marathon Monday will not be forgotten.