Indicia of things to come that will bother my equilibrium are poking their heads up through the earth and new fallen snow. Here’s a statement I read in the paper on Thursday from the lawyer for Eldo Kim the Harvard student who wasn’t prepared to take an examination so he’s alleged to have sent a bomb threat to the school: “Certainly I’m not saying the government response was unjustified, but it’s important to keep in mind we’re dealing with a 20-year-old man who was under a great deal of pressure.’’
The lawyer is a federal public defender Ian Gold. Now these same lawyers are also representing the 20-year-old Joker Tsarnaev, born on July 22, 1993. How long will it be before they start telling us about how the Joker was under such great pressure?
I suppose they have already made the pitch to Attorney General Eric Holder on behalf of Joker based on his youth. Holder, as you know, is considering whether Joker should face the death penalty for having murdered three people in a terrorist attack and seriously maiming dozens of others.
I hope Holder recognizes that a man of 20 is not a young man for the purposes of making life or death decisions. Next Monday on Cape Cod we will be burying U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Matthew Rodiguez killed in combat operations in Afghanistan. He was 19-years-old.
It wasn’t too long ago we buried another Matthew on the Cape. He was Army Sergeant Matthew Gallagher from Falmouth. He was killed in Iraq. His father Peter was a detective on the Quincy Police Department who worked closely with me in organize crime investigations. Peter made me proud when he told me he had named his son after me.
If Harvard Student Eldo Kim and Joker are considered young men, then I suppose another person in his twenties who committed a dastardly act equivalent to the Joker’s should also be called that. That was Timothy McVeigh who was 26 at the time he acted. Yet, I never heard him referred to as a young man or read any sob stories about his hard luck life.
I hope Eric Holder keeps in mind that we have many patriotic young men who have put on our nation’s uniform and have gone off to foreign lands and lost their lives while serving our country. I hope he keeps in mind that if they are of the age to lose their lives defending freedom; then a man of similar age who engage in a terrorist act that murders peaceful people celebrating Patriot’s Day while watching the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, should likewise have his life put in jeopardy,
On Patriot’s Day we remember the American colonists who died fighting the British at the Battles at Concord and Lexington as well as those in the Sixth Massachusetts Militia killed at the start of the Civil War. Like the young men mentioned above who died in Iraq and Lexington, these young patriotic volunteers sacrificed their lives in the service of our country. It would dishonor all our proud dead to whom we dedicate this day in April to let one who despoiled this remembrance with a premeditated act of horror against the participants not to face the ultimate punishment.
If Timothy McVeigh who committed a terrorist act on the original Patriot’s Day, April 19 in 1995 had to face the death penalty so should Joker Tsarnaev. Their acts were the same: an attack on American civilians with a bomb. That only three died in Boston due to the courageous actions of the first responders and our skilled medical personnel should not inure to the benefit of the terrorist. Those who plant bombs in America should face the same fate as those who stood innocently by while the bombs were planted. Youth should play no role in the decision. There is no reason why AG Eric Holder should not find the decision a slam dunk. He must let a jury decide whether the Joker should suffer the same fate as those he murdered.