By Christopher B. Daly
Here’s my two cents:
As a native of Boston and someone who has cheered at many Boston marathons over the years, I say we should give Dzhokar Tsarnaev a fair trial, which begins with reading him his Miranda rights as soon as he is lucid. To do anything less means that we are falling apart as a society.
The bombing of the marathon was a horrible crime — a violent assault on the persons of those killed and maimed and an assault on civilization itself and all its hard-won gains.
If we in Boston are as wonderful and as “strong” as we have been telling ourselves this week, then we can really do no less that to follow our own laws. We have to acknowledge that, as far as we know, Tsarnaev is a U.S. citizen who committed a crime on American soil. Therefore, he should be tried in a regular criminal court. We should not sink to his level, which was sheer barbarism. Nor should we pretend that he was some kind of soldier. We are not at war, and our courts are open and functioning. (To call him an “enemy combatant” is ridiculous: he was not wearing anyone’s uniform, and he was not following orders. He was part of a fantasy, not an army.)
I will grant that he appears to be a rotten bastard who did not deserve the blessings of living here, but that doesn’t mean we have to panic and throw out some of our highest achievements. We should use this occasion to remind ourselves who we really are — and to let freedom ring, from Cambridge to the Caucuses. All the angry young men in the world should see that we actually are fair, that we follow the rule of law, and that (by the way) if they mess with us, we will defend ourselves — by following the rule of law.
In other words, we should give him a fair trial — not for his sake, but for ours.
That would be Boston strong.
4 responses to “Give the Marathon bomber a fair trial”
Shouldn’t that last sentence read: “That would be ++wicked++ Boston strong”?
I agree but I think the way journalists asked “Was he read his Miranda rights?” was almost insulting. I think they asked it because you have to in this country. But I would think that telling someone who’s lost pints of blood and can’t speak anyway that he has the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer etcalmost trivializes those rights. And when the police have just lost one of their own, another is in hospital, a kid, a foreign student and a young woman are dead and scores have lost limbs — asking if the guy responsible was read his rights? I dunno. Seems not right. But let’s go ahead, read ’em to him and then try him and show him how this democracy thing works.
I posed this elsewhere, but it likely needs to be here as well.
It’s a major misconception that all arrested people must be read their Miranda rights immediately upon arrest. US citizens can be detained and arrested without being “Mirandized” if prosecutors don’t intend to use anything the detained person says in the case they bring him or her. If they’re asking Tsarnev about what he might know about other people involved, or who his brother knew, prosecutors probably won’t even add those conspiracy charges to the already long list he faces. Once they start asking about the bombs that he allegedly planted, or his possible role in the death of the MIT police officer, then he’ll need to have his Miranda rights read.
Aside from that, I completely agree that we need to follow due process in this case to demonstrate that the system works, as much for our sake as for his. I’d also add the world at large to that mix, as we can’t just say we believe in freedom, we need to show it.
Point taken. I would just say we need to manifest fairness at every step.
So much for “innocent until proven guilty.” You seem to be saying, “Let’s give this obviously guilty person a fair trial.” Do Americans even know what a fair trial is? Do journalists know what skeptical reporting is? Does every journalist in America assume someone is guilty because the government and its law enforcement officers say he is? If everyone has made up their minds, why bother going through the charade of having a trial at all?