Miranda-RightsHow I feel right now is that I do not want the police to read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights. No, I want them to use whatever means necessary to get information from this kid who (allegedly) helped kill three people and injure 170. And not just a few scratches, badly injured — like, Jeff Bauman had legs on Monday, and now he doesn’t.

I don’t like this feeling — the longing for revenge. It doesn’t feel civilized or reasonable. And it’s dangerous. To not give 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev due process further opens the door to the brutality we condemn in others (although, believe me, I’m not naive — I know we do our share of waterboarding). And that’s the whole American gig, isn’t it? Innocent until proven guilty, right to a fair trial, you don’t have to talk if talking will incriminate you. It’s why people want to come here.

But I am so angry at the hypocrisy of these kinds of (suspected) criminals. Dzhokhar came to the U.S. in 2002, seeking asylum. He received a $2,500 scholarship by the city of Cambridge in 2011. He became a citizen in September 2012. He benefited from the opportunity this country offers. Then he exploded bombs over a bunch of his fellow Americans.

Not cool.

Yet Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should hear his rights. He should be assigned a defense attorney. It’s even right that he’s getting medical care for his wounds — wounds sustained in a firefight with the cops that ended with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, dead. Dammit, even if in this moment I want us to hurt this kid back, if we do, our American experiment — freedom of the individual — will be further degraded.

It’s hard to stop a violent cycle with oneself — to be an instrument of peace in a time of war, to sow love when hatred grows like a weed. The good and bad news is that what happened last Monday in Boston gives me yet another chance to try to keep my heart soft rather than further hardening it. To feel the grief of lives lost and bodies damaged and the fear of more violence but to somehow also remain open to compassion for this boy, a young person who has acted very, very, very unskillfully. To grieve for him, too.

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About Kate

Things are weird in the wide world -- and like everyone else, most days I'm used to it. But to shake things up for myself, I like to notice and write about stuff that strikes me as both beautiful and strange, fascinating and repulsive, sweet and sour -- like how the steamy, stinky air that comes up from the BART vents at 16th Street Mission reminds me of being twenty-two, apparently immortal, and in love.

2 responses »

  1. I have the same ambivalence that you talked about. And then I see his face and am struck with how young he is. The descriptions of him from his friends mirror the authentic with the apparent insanity of his brother. This stuff is going on all over the world. Young people taken from their youth, demented into ideologies that teach hate and destruction. It makes me pray and meditate even more, as pithy as it sounds – somehow it drops me into a softer place where I can pray for everyone.

  2. Kate says:

    I know. He is a child…which makes me feel more shame and sadness at the revenge feelings I have. I guess it all makes me so…angry! Looking for that softer place you mention.

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