by Robert A. Waters
At the Boston terror trial, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorney admitted his client set off the pressure cooker bombs that killed three people and injured hundreds more. But just wait, the lawyer said, my client had a reason.
Before we get an explanation, however, a parade of victims file into court to recount the horror of that afternoon.
One fine spring day, while people are having fun in arguably the country’s most iconic city, a deafening blast rocks the landscape. Then another. In the courtroom, photos and videos show excruciating scenes of mutilation, blood (real blood, not movie blood), evisceration. Jurors gasp when they hear the explosions, but after the smoke clears, there’s more—whimpers drifting into the sad sky mixed with shrieks that must confound the heavens.
In court, wounded souls drag prosthetic limbs to the stand and tell their stories, trying to make sense of the senseless. A father describes how he had to make a decision: should he tend to his mangled son whose light was already flickering, or should he help his daughter whose leg had been blown to smithereens?
There’s the cop who administered CPR to a woman whose lower body had been blown off. “From the waist down,” he said, “it’s really tough to describe. It was complete mutilation.” As strangers worked to save her life, the woman mouthed to a friend that her legs hurt. Seconds later, her hand went limp.
Then there was the graduate student who traveled seven thousand miles only to die on a bloody foreign street.
While viewing destruction on an unimaginable scale, the gallery of spectators wept. But somewhere out there, in the midst of death, the lawyer says there’s a reason. After jurors hear Tsarnaev’s motive, they’ll want to let him live out his life.
The prosecutor informed jurors that the bomb was “designed to tear people apart and create a bloody spectacle.” That’s obvious.
I can’t wait to hear Tsarnaev’s explanation.