I, like many of you, have been closely following the tragic loss of life in Boston and the manhunt which followed. As I write this article, the bombers have been stopped — one killed and the other in police custody and indicted by the Federal government. The debate amongst the pundits is whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be considered an “enemy combatant.” As such, he would not be entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution and could be held for questioning.
While I find Tsarnaev’s cowardly acts of violence senseless and deserving of the harshest punishment that State or Federal law can impose, I do not feel that he is deserving of the moniker of “enemy combatant” and, thus, lose the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Every day I see murderers, drug dealers, child molesters, and rapists being processed through the court system. As vile as these “humans” are, they are entitled to the same protections under the U.S. Constitution as the heroes who fight every day for our freedoms and way of life.
What Tsarnaev and his brother did is more atrocious than just about any crime I can think of. They killed innocent women and children, maimed and injured over a hundred people, shut down a major U.S. city and struck fear in the hearts of many Americans who followed the events as they unfolded. Does part of me want the “guys in the black hoods and black helicopters” to swoop down upon Tsarnaev, cart him off to a small, dank cell and brutally extract information from him so that the next act of terror is thwarted — YES!! I do. But then the lawyer in me makes me take a step back.
America is hated by many groups, not because of what war we are engaged in, not because of whom we ally ourselves with in the geo-political arena, but they hate on a more banal level. They hate us because of who we are as a people and what we as a country stand for. They hate us for the very freedoms which I am advocating on behalf of Tsarnaev to keep him from being dragged off to a cell never to be seen or heard from again. It is ironic that the freedoms, laws and Constitution that he hates so much are the very same freedoms and laws which will protect Tsarnaev’s rights and liberties. I am proud of our laws, freedoms and criminal justice system. I trust the system to seek justice for those who were harmed and exact punishment upon those who are responsible. We are a system of rules and laws; it is the foundation of the freedoms we enjoy, the basis for the jealousy that we evoke from the groups who hate us. To deny Tsarnaev those rights is giving in to his and other terrorists’ way of thinking. The mere act of giving him a fair trial, with competent legal counsel and a swift and unfettered access to the court system, is a slap in the face to all those who hate us and want to destroy our way of life. To the heroes of our country, the soldiers, police, firefighters and teachers who every day protect and promote the American way of life for me and my children, I thank you.