Justice was served last week at the federal courthouse when the surviving Boston Marathon bomber was convicted of murdering our young neighbor, Martin Richard, and three other people — and maiming scores more— on Patriots Day in 2013. The outcome was never in doubt, but the punishment remains an open question for the jurors who sat through the harrowing weeks of testimony from survivors and law enforcement officers.
The killer – whose name we will not elevate by printing it – could be sentenced to live out his miserable life in a jail cell. That would be fine. Or, the jury could decide to execute this terrorist, just as another home-grown bomber, who killed innocent kids and office workers in Oklahoma City 20 years ago, was put down in our name.
Honestly, that would be fine, too.
The fanatics who seek martyrs to further fuel acts of terror have them in ample supply already. There’s no question of the evil nature of the act or the culpability of the criminal himself. The perpetrators of the atrocity deserve an ignominious end – and whether that comes in the form of a speeding car driven by a brother, a lethal injection, or a life spent withering away in isolation – is immaterial. We trust that the jury that represents us in this case will make the right call.
Either way, this murderer is already dead to us.
Boston is moving on. And that doesn’t mean we’ll forgive or forget.
As was made clear this week, the victims of the bombing are front-and-center as we remember their very personal loss and recall our own secondary grief – all of it still very raw and real. We celebrate the resiliency of our friends and neighbors who lived through the horrors of those moments near the finish line. We seek to honor the law enforcement professionals whose quick work led to the capture of the terrorists. And we marvel at the skill and resolve of the medical professionals – and the volunteer first-responders – who saved so many lives among the injured.
Mostly, we find solace in the smiles and spirit of the youngest among us. We are buoyed by the Richard family of Dorchester, who continue to represent our community in the finest possible light with a characteristic dignity and grace, as they did on Wednesday morning and at the splendid Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway on Monday.
These are the people we choose to think of and remember on the second anniversary of that awful week in April.