I didn’t write a haiku twenty years ago today. Absent that, I’ll write about something that happened yesterday — the sentencing of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We know it happened because news reporters who were there told us it happened. But, even though people across the country saw television footage of the explosions of the bombs Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan left on the sidewalk at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, the hunt for them and the arrest of Dzhokhar (Tsarnaev was killed), the only people who could watch his trial were those inside the courtroom. Neither could the vast majority of the public witness his sentencing, which included him speak. It was the first time he had spoken publicly.
While reports of his statement said he had apologized to surviving victims and relatives of victims who didn’t survive, at least one survivor who was in the courtroom, said she didn’t buy it. She is quoted saying he lacked sincerity and wasn’t remorseful.
But we’ll never know. One report said he shed tears. A survivor said she could tell by Dzhokhar’s eyes that he didn’t mean it.
The point is, doesn’t it seem only right that the conclusion of a terrible tragedy that held the country in its grip and that so many people had been able to follow on their television sets should have been able to see and hear the surviving perpetrator of the horrible crime that killed three people and injured 264 others speak about his feelings when he was sentenced to death? Shouldn’t we have been able to determine for ourselves whether or not we thought he was really remorseful?
This is a prime example of why the public deserves to have camera coverage of significant trials.