I would have quite a few things to say to this man. While I do not live in Boston, and thankfully do not know anyone who does and therefore I was not personally affected by this tragedy, I still feel unbelievable amounts of sadness for all of those involved. And yes, that includes Dzhokhar and his family. No matter which way I look at this situation, I feel tears in my eyes and hurt in my heart.
So much hurt in my heart.
On Friday, as I watched the “manhunt” unfold on television, I also watched a little of bit of who Dzhokhar is (or was) unfold. I think the most telling statement came from his uncle, the brother of his father, when he said, “Dzhokhar, if you are alive, please turn yourself in to the police and ask for forgiveness.” I was standing in front of the television, gaping at this desperate man while he plead for his nephew to do the right thing. It was then that I realized, and prayed, that Dzhokhar would surrender to the authorities and would ask for forgiveness.
My hope and prayer was not that he would commit suicide because he wasn’t “man” enough to face the consequences of his actions (like I feel so many do). My prayer was not that he would be killed in a firefight as his brother was the night before. My prayer was not that he would be found dead somewhere. In fact, it was nowhere close to that.
While the rest of the world was cheering, and the people of Boston danced through the streets when he was finally captured, all I could say out loud was, “Oh, thank you God that he is still alive.” (And great that they found him, of course.)
Yes. You read that right. And no, I am not supporting what he has done by any stretch. If Dzhokhar had died, we would be left with absolutely no answers. There would be no one here to tell us perhaps why these brothers did this. There would be no real conclusion to this horrible story. His family would have to bury two children (as if one is not enough already) and live the rest of their lives knowing two of their children went down the way they did. The Tsarnaev family would have no peace and neither would the families of any of the deceased or injured victims.
If Dzhokhar died, that would have been it for him.
And that is so, so incredibly sad to me.
According to what I’ve watched/seen/read over the last few days, Dzhokhar and his family came to the United States in the early 2000s, perhaps to get away from a life that was so full of violence, fear, and terror. And ironically, those three things were exactly what they both brought to America one week ago by their own choices and actions. They came here to have a better life (most likely) and what they ended up with was not that, despite the seemingly “good” track they were on for so many years.
I have been trying to give Dzhokhar the benefit of the doubt and believe that he was in fact coerced into this entire thing by his older brother. A huge part of me believes that is exactly what happened specifically because he just does not fit the profile of someone who would be capable of doing something like this. He was popular, charismatic, funny, social, and smart. He wasn’t like his brother who has been reported as quiet, estranged, deeply religious, and a loner. His brother appears to fit the profile of these types of people — similar to other recent mass murders such as Adam Lanza, Cho Seung-Hui, Eric Harris, and Dylan Kleblod. I’ve yet to hear any person who knew Dzhokhar say that they now, in hindsight, can see him doing something like this. That’s because no one can believe that he could do something like this. I absolutely support the notion that his brother brainwashed him, forced him, whatever you want to call it — to carry out this horrendous act with him. However, Dzhokhar has a brain of his own and has his own free will, and he chose to not do the right thing, despite perhaps being told otherwise. I wish so badly he had turned his back from it, but he didn’t, and still hasn’t, and that is so unfortunate.
He could have said no if his brother was trying to talk him into doing this for whatever sick reason he had in his head. He could have planted that bomb, walked away, and turned himself in. He could have surrendered to cops when they spent an entire day searching for him. He could have done so many things differently, but he didn’t, and therefore he does need to be held accountable for his chosen actions.
He is so, so young. I think about myself at age 19 and how incredibly stupid I was and the ridiculous things that I did. (And didn’t do.) Things I thought were right certainly were not right. I was still so naive about the world and yet frankly thought I had already been through so much. But now I realize that I still do have so much to learn. And I feel like Dzhokhar is in that stage of life of doing stupid things and making stupid choices. His stupid choices and decisions were more extreme than those that most 19 year olds make (obviously) and have far more repercussions. He is obviously a smart person and had a lot going for him.
Now, the best I can hope for him is that he is not executed.
Yes, you read that right. I pray that he is not executed because I do not believe that will solve anything in this case. An eye for an eye, yes, but I truly believe the person who deserved to die as a result of this entire thing has already died. And that is Tamerlan. Unfortunately as I type this, though, news is breaking that he may incur the death penalty for his charge of “using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.”
What he did was so, so wrong. But my heart hurts so much for this kid. Because I pray that he can be spared from death so he can turn his life around. I pray that he will come to know the Truth. I pray that the Lord will work in his heart. I pray that he will repent from his actions and ask not only those he harmed for forgiveness, but ask God for His forgiveness. Because the Lord will and already has forgiven Dzhokhar.
The bottom line is, Dzhokhar, if I could talk to you, I would tell you that I will be praying for you. The Lord created you in His image and He loves you so, so much. I pray that you will come to know His love and you will repent because you have been spared by an all-knowing Father. The Lord could have chosen to allow you to die (if you did in fact attempt to take your own life on that boat), but he didn’t. He spared your life and I pray that you know that. He spared you for a reason and I hope you come to know Him and seek forgiveness for your actions.
Until then, I’ll be praying for you.
“Hey unfaithful, hey ungraceful, hey unloving. I will love you.” [underOATH]