Friday, April 10, 2015

Boston strong: My thoughts on the Boston Marathon bombing verdict

Two years ago this month, Squawker Jon and I were at Citi Field to see Matt Harvey vs. Stephen Strasburg face off (read Jon's recap here.) During the game, the ballpark was abuzz not just by Harvey dominating the game, but by the news that the second Boston Marathon suspect had been caught. We chanted "USA! USA!" along with the crowd over the news.

The Mets' PA system played Boston-themed songs between innings, which I was fine with but I drew the line at the "Sweet Caroline" singalong! Here's a clip from of the reactions around MLB ballparks to the news:

At that game, Mets fans also chanted "Harvey's better" after he beat Strasburg. Two years later, in his first MLB game after Tommy John surgery, Harvey beat Strabsurg again, and Mets fans in Washington got to chant "Harvey's better" one more time.

And two years later, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect caught that night, was found guilty of all 30 charges against him related to his part in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Despite my hatred for the Red Sox and the Patriots, I am totally Boston strong when it comes to this issue. The one time in my life I ever cheered for David Ortiz was when he gave the "this is our bleeping city" speech.

Also, the summer after the 2013 marathon, I got into running, so I feel even more solidarity on this. I never experienced road races before this bombing, so I am only used to the security measures in place now at New York Road Runners races and elsewhere -- the clear bags for personal possessions, the barriers at the finish line, etc. Jon was waiting for me at the end of a Central Park road race, and when he went to talk to me, security kept him away. That is the world we live in, thanks to this terrorist's mayhem.

And I am very much in favor of Tsaranev paying the ultimate price -- the death penalty -- for his monstrous act. After moving to the U.S. when he was a child, the murderer and his family received six figures worth of public assistance. And this is how he repaid the country and city that gave him all that, and let him become a U.S. citizen. He killed four and maimed over 250 people, and he needs to pay for what he did.

I really don't care whether his older brother did more planning or not. Dzhokhar is just as guilty, in my mind. They say that with Columbine, one of the killers was more of the mastermind than the other. But they both fully participated in mass murder, so they were both equally culpable.

Some well-meaning people say that keeping Dzhokhar alive, with the knowledge of what he did, is more punishment. I completely disagree. Somebody with a conscience may be burdened by this horrific acts. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a sociopath. Not only did he plant a bomb at the marathon site where he knew little children were -- look at this photo of where he was in relation to the Richard family, but 23 minutes after the bombing, the biggest thought in his mind was not the magnitude of the Boston Marathon bombing, but what type of milk to buy at Whole Foods. Watch this video and tell me that this is somebody who would care about the suffering he caused.

I believe the death penalty should be reserved for truly monstrous acts, and I think what Tsaranev did at the Boston Marathon fits the bill. Also, if he lives, not only will he be in protective custody, but he will have his Free Jahar groupies as comfort to send him money and presents and treat him like a rock star. That can't be allowed to happen.

In closing, let me tip my Yankee cap to the people of Boston, and send my best wishes to those still suffering aftereffects from the bombing. As a Red Sox fan told me earlier this week, "Let's hope the only violence our cities see is the Sox and Yanks battling on the field!"

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