“Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves something beautiful behind.”
On April 15, 2013, during the world famous Boston Marathon, two bombs were detonated ending the life of three unfortunate individuals and injuring approximately another 264 people. While we as a country mourned the loss of life and empathized with the families of those both deceased and injured, the growing desire for retribution began to take hold.
For many, this desire for justice was partially placated as Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) police shot Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the bombing. Tamerlan was pronounced dead after being run over by his brother Dzokhar. Following a historic manhunt, Dzokhar was eventually found and arrested. Justice would be served.
February 2014 will mark the next important chapter as the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing continues to unfold. Attorney General Eric Holder will determine whether or not to pursue capital punishment in the case of Dzokhar Tsarnaev as result of his involvement with the bombings.
For Holder, this will be historic and the most high-profile death penalty decision of his career. Recently, Holder has restated that he is opposed to the death penalty due to his concerns with failures in the legal system.
In this case, the defense team will be lead by Judy Clarke, who is widely known as one of the premier death penalty attorneys in the country. In addition, Massachusetts has not witnessed a state death penalty ruling since 1984. These factors will make it extremely difficult for the prosecution to win a death penalty case regardless of Holder’s decision.
“In this life, when you deny someone an apology, you will remember it at time you beg forgiveness..” – Toba Beta
Capital punishment is widely known to be a hot-button issue in the US. Much of the debate centers around moral and religious arguments but, they remain divided. Those in favor of capital punishment base their beliefs on the following main points: strong crime deterrent eliminates repeat offenses and provides closure to surviving victims and families.
These are all very strong arguments, especially when considering a case such as the Boston bombings. Historically, polls of the country have shown fluid support for the death penalty but in a high profile case such as this when innocent people were harmed and the evidence surrounding the suspects has been made public, many Americans would be in support of capital punishment as they seek closure for the families and the nation as a whole.
Those against the death penalty make the following arguments: weak crime deterrent, risks execution of the innocent and view it as a barbaric practice.
In addition, many against capital punishment believe it is crucial to consider the historic influence of racial, socio-economic, geographic and gender biases contributing to an unjust administration of this form of punishment. These are legitimate arguments against the death penalty and if one were able to ignore the religious and moral arguments, the debate concerning the integrity of the justice system would be enough to spur a dynamic debate.
Either way, Eric Holder has a big decision ahead and the only thing certain is that a nation will continue to be haunted in the aftermath of this tragedy; regardless of the amount of condolence quotes or I’m sorry’s, people will always remember with pain the events of that day.