not in our stars, but in ourselves
Our long national nightmare, etc., etc., I don’t know. Yesterday, the Dzokhar Tsarnaev trial began, and I don’t know. I just don’t know. His defense team opened with “yeah, he did it,” so who knows what they’re angling for. Not me. He’ll be put to death, or he’ll rot in prison. I am against the death penalty, in principle and in this specific case, so I suppose I have an opinion on how I’d like this trial to go; but really, I’m finding it hard to feel anything. I don’t mean that in a callous way. I mean that I feel the way your ears ring after an explosion. (So to speak.) I just can’t really feel anger, sadness, righteousness, pride – nothing. It’s all just tinnitus.
The testimony has been brutal and heartrending, both yesterday and today. It’s graphic, violent stuff; I won’t bother linking to any stories about it, because I just don’t think I can handle reading that much about limbs being blown off and first responders slipping in pools of blood. How lucky for me, that I can choose to find it too upsetting even to imagine; and there are hundreds of people who can’t do anything but imagine, and re-live, and go through it all again. No one said life was fair.
I wasn’t there when the bombs went off. I know people who were. My boyfriend – who was not my boyfriend at the time – works on Boylston Street. He was there, just a block or so away from the second bomb. Some of my friends were there that day, and had just moved from the finish line about fifteen minutes before the first bomb. They’re all fine, thankfully, but I know it sticks in my mind that they were so close, that there was nothing all that special or different about any of them to spare their lives and limbs but not others’. It seems surreal. This is my hometown, a peaceful little city of grumps. The entire premise of this state was founded on being left alone: our ancestors were sick of the jerks in England, so they went sailing. In Boston, that “get away from me” mentality is concentrated. Some of the best schools are here, and the smartest people, and the most fiercely loyal townies – and the message to outsiders is always, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off if they can’t handle it. And it’s just surreal that something this horrible, this gruesome, happened in our city of contented grumps.
The final chase through Watertown, on April 19th, was an additionally surreal touch. Watertown was where I lived from birth to the age of five. It’s not a big place, though it is quite nice. Since our family moved when I was very young, I don’t remember it all that clearly, but it’s always been a place that I knew was mine once. Seeing tanks rolling through residential streets, a stone’s throw away from my old street, was like some sort of glitch in the matrix. How was this nightmare logic real? How was this happening?
As for Tsarnaev himself: I don’t think there’s any excuse for him, but I also doubt very much that he was the instigator. I think he went along with what his big brother planned, and now the full extent of the public’s wrath – and some form of life-altering or -ending punishment – will fall on his head only. It’s hard to get a sense of what he’s like, since he has been stone-silent since his arrest; the press around here likes to report that he seems “bored” by the whole trial, and maybe that’s true. He might be just a shitty little early 20something. He might be scared out of his wits. He might be furious with his brother. I don’t know. We may never know. Even if he doesn’t get the death penalty, he’s not terribly likely to talk, I don’t think.
Where am I going with this. I don’t know.
The trauma for the survivors is surely beyond all possible imagining. The press and the jurors, too, are probably experiencing some pretty intense trauma – just listening to these horror stories. Perhaps that will help us all – whether we were there or not – to continue to heal and to move on: if we share the load, as it were, and we all help each other to manage the pain. Or perhaps it will just infect us all. I tend to be pessimistic about crowds, but miracles occasionally happen. So I hear, anyway.
In closing – for my own sanity, really, because I would like to stop thinking about the carnage itself – I would like to point out that the organizers of the Boston 2024 campaign have cited the “voluntary” lockdown that took hold in Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown while police were hunting the Tsarnaev brothers as a selling point for the I.O.C. to consider. May I say, from the bottom of my heart: fuck you. Fuck you with a goddamn knife. You do NOT get to use that as a bargaining chip. I sincerely hope every single one of your cocks falls off and/or vaginas dry out and seal shut. To try to force something on us that NO ONE wants, by crowing about how nice and obedient we all were during a completely unprecedented event, is absolutely history’s greatest dick move. The following people should all either recant their Olympic aspirations and apologize to the city – or be publicly shamed and privately humiliated until the end of their days:
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY ENGAGEMENT COMMITTEE Co-Chairs:
GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH COMMITTEE Co-Chairs:
INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE Co-Chairs:
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MARKETING COMMITTEE Co-Chairs:
OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC MOVEMENT COMMITTEE Co-chairs:
FUNDRAISING AND FINANCE COMMITTEE Co-Chairs:
MASTER PLANNING COMMITTEE Co-Chairs:
LEGAL COMMITTEE Chair:
To each of them, I extend the heartiest of middle fingers. You don’t get to abuse our pain like that. Fuck you all.