After the penalty phase of the Boston bomber trial
When I got off the plane in Boston in 2012, I had no idea what to expect. I was searching for answers to questions about my family’s past on the east coast and my recently found love for the city of Boston. With scheduled trips to Fenway, the Freedom Trail, TD Garden and Sullivan’s Tap, I made sure to leave plenty of time to just hit the streets and explore whatever it is that Boston is. What I had forgotten in the hustle and bustle of early morning regional air travel included the running of the Boston Marathon that was taking place on the streets that day of my arrival. Traveling light, I only had a backpack and what I could carry for the quick trip. I rode the T downtown, started to walk toward the finish line and watch the glory and satisfaction of a FINISH by the runners and the cheers and happiness on those friends and family waiting for them with open arms.
There were thousands of people on the streets, from volunteers to fans, runners to police officers, medics to tourists and many, many more doing their part to put on this spectacular event. I left the finish line and headed over to Cheers to have a congratulatory beer “for being in Boston” sitting next to, quite possibly, the incarnation of “Norm”, who bought me the round and asked about my trip as we chatted away like long lost friends from years ago. Upon leaving Cheers, I headed up those familiar stairs toward the street and back toward my borrowed home for the few days i would be in town. Folks were still running and finishing the race in mid-afternoon temps around 80 degrees, but there were still thousands of people there to cheer them on as they fought off the pain and struggle and fulfilled their destiny of being a Boston Marathon finisher. It couldn’t have been more inspiring and led to a great few days of my own, chasing dreams like I was Ray Consuela, Terrence Mann or a young Moonlight Graham(it is my only trip to Beantown).
2013 was a completely different story. After the terrorist cowards set down the bombs, they walked away and tried to devastate a city that has historically been beaten and battered but strong-willed and determined. These unworldly acts of evil killed 3 people and injured 160, but caused pain and suffering in the hearts of millions near and faraway alike. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on newscasts that day as the repetitive nature of the 24-hour news cycle looped, replayed and tele-strated the explosion. As the curfew was put in place and the manhunt for those responsible took place, I was, as many were, angry and vengeful for the capture and killing of the responsible party. When the scene played out and #1 was killed, a bit of relief arose for the safety of the people of Boston. Later, when law enforcement surrounded the boat for the eventual capture of #2, relief again.
The Rolling Stone cover and story that drew so much attention and ire from those believing it showed #2 in a lighter, glamorous pose, that it was a must-buy, must-read edition. It should have been written. It should be read. If not for the additional information you may learn, but possibly seeing just the slightest degree of another’s (the writer) point-of-view. I can’t say whether that article changed my opinion any, but it was a great read.
When news came out last week that #2 was sentenced to death by lethal injection after having been previously convicted, I had absolutely no reaction but relief again. Whether or not to take the life of a terrorist, murderer, rapist or anyone for that matter, is something that I hope never to be a part of. That is the job of the Creator, whomever it is you believe it to Be. What the verdict and sentence told me was that the city of Boston and the American people can move on and hopefully not have to relive the events of that day, but celebrate the inspiration and overcoming of the tragedies that occurred to all those individuals and the masses alike. I may not be local to Boston, but we’re all #BostonStrong. Like Big Papi said after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series, “this is our f___in’ city!”