I should preface what I’m about to say by noting that I’m not a conspiracy theorist… at least when it comes to last week’s bombing in Boston. I suspect it’s probably the case, given what I’ve read thus far, that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev carried out the attack that cost three individuals, one of whom was just eight years old, their lives, and wounded over 100 others. Between the surveillance footage that shows men who appear to be the brothers leaving backpacks at the bomb site, and the statements of the man whose car they hijacked a few days later, who claims that they confessed everything to him, I don’t imagine it’s likely that we’ve got the wrong guys. And, if I’d harbored any lingering doubts, I suspect they would have evaporated a few nights ago when, after throwing bombs at the Boston police officers pursuing them, Tamerlan charged the officers wearing a suicide vest. With all of that said, though, I find it absolutely amazing that, over this weekend, I’ve heard so many state that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was taken into custody after the death of his brother, isn’t deserving of even the most basic rights afforded us by the constitution. From arguing that he shouldn’t be read his Miranda rights, to saying that he should be spirited away to Gitmo without a trial, like an enemy combatant, I’ve heard it all this weekend. I’ve even heard people suggest the he should be summarily executed.
As terrible as last week’s Boston bombing was, this is what’s been keeping me up… this realization that people don’t seem to care about the rights that our ancestors fought so hard to secure, not just for those who were likely innocent, but for all people. Maybe it’s the fear that comes as a byproduct of terrorism. Maybe we’re so terrified that we just don’t care. Or maybe this is what happens in a society that’s come to accept that, with increasing frequency, we send weaponized Predator drones into other countries, to wipe out whole families on our behalf. Or, maybe it’s a function of today’s technology. Maybe, if we’d had cellphone video of Timothy McVeigh walking away from the truck he’d loaded with explosives, we would have been demanding his head on a platter as well. Regardless of why it’s happening, my sense is that we’re not going to move beyond it anytime soon. In fact, I suspect we’re going to start seeing more of it… God help us all.