Why Do I Care Where the Boston Marathon Bomber Is?

The media encampment at Devens, April 26, 2013

I’m not afraid of that boy. (Like Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, I don’t want to give his name any more visibility by typing it here.) I followed the news about him like most everyone else but when I heard that officials transferred him to a federal facility that I drive past every day (unknowingly, until now), it rankled me more than I expected. He’s just a kid. A wounded, misguided, dangerous, vulnerable criminal of a kid. And the cell in which he sits is walking distance from a school where kids like the one everyone thought he was study, work and play every day. One of my children is his age and she is only just beginning to understand what it means to be out in the world, away from family. He could have been at that school, with her. It is possible to imagine things like that now.

In my dreams I picture that boy walking through the woods from the school to his prison and wonder what could have happened along the way that turned him from an assimilated immigrant to a jihadi terrorist. Much as I despise him for what he did, I hope that we are not healing him in that medical prison just so that we can make a martyr of him by putting him to death. If there is no satisfying answer to why he destroyed lives (and there isn’t) then we cannot counterpoint his treachery with treachery of our own. Perhaps it is this near occasion of sin that nags at me.


And ironically, almost at the very moment he arrived, spring decided to come to this part of New England. In the last few days the leaves and the blooms have burst forth, scrambling to cover the gloomy gray and brown of late winter.

SONY DSCOn the morning of April 15, we spotted four fox kits romping outside their den behind out house. We have not seen them since. Last night we heard a fisher cat scream mercilessly outside the same window though which we viewed the foxes. We told ourselves over early coffee that the family must have moved on to larger, safer quarters. As I drove past the prison this morning, there was the CNN truck, lying in wait.  Tonight we will listen, hopeful, for the sound of young foxes, yapping in the dusk.

Note: The blue tee shirts in the header are from Life is Good, and all of the profits from the sale of the Boston shirts go to One Fund Boston.

A happy post script on May 1: The screaming continued and there were multiple voices in the conversation – an internet search turned up evidence that it was the foxes making the racket (it’s common, I guess, for them to mistaken for fishers when they are vocal in this way).

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