As my family and I were watching the terror of the Boston bombings and the subsequent manhunt for the one living suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, unfold on television, I kept hearing the same thing over and over again:
“He was a sweet guy,” “He was a lovely, lovely kid,” “He was a wonderful kid… he was never in trouble.”
While I understand the importance of painting a picture of who the suspect was pre-attack, it’s dangerous to associate him with these positive adjectives. Take my dad, for example. He inadvertently began calling Tsarnaev “the nice one,” before I had to remind him that someone who could even fathom attempting mass murder couldn’t be all that “nice.”
Of course he immediately corrected himself, but it’s clear that that’s the association that is in our heads now; an association that could, possibly, be ingrained in history.
If we keep thinking of him as a great guy that was simply manipulated by his big, bad older brother, we are going down a slippery slope.
Now, it very well may be that he was coerced into this horrifying act by his older brother, but that still does not mean that he was innocent in all of this. He could have turned his brother in to the police, or, at the very least, refused to participate. But the fact is that he shared the same ideology as his brother, and as such he is equally guilty.
It is time to stop judging Tsarnaev by his past: now, we should only look at him as one of the men who is responsible, and who always will be responsible, for the brutal killings of at least four innocent people, including a 8-year-old child and a police officer (a crime punishable by death), for the loss of limbs for thirteen more innocent bystanders, and for the injuries of more than 100 others. Let’s not forget who he truly is.