Boston Marathon, one year later

As is all over the news, today marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings near the finish line by two brothers with presumed terrorist motives.

The Boston Globe has a short article about the brief ceremony held earlier today at the spots where each of the two explosions occurred.  The brother and sister of slain 8-year-old Martin Richard laid a wreath at the site of the first explosion, and a second wreath was placed down the street at the site of the second.  Two police officers will stand on guard with each wreath all day.

Meanwhile, CNN has an article update on the status of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as he awaits trial in November.

As events unfolded last year and the public was introduced to conflicting accounts of who Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was, I wrote a blog post that examined the troubling cloud of ambiguity that surrounded him.  Part of what drew me was the stunned disbelief expressed by people who knew him that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could possibly have been involved in such a terrible act.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to the campus of the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth after the Boston Marathon bombings. He attended classes and went to a party.

“He was just relaxed,” the unnamed witness said. Tsarnaev led such a typical student life after the bombing that even after his photo was released as a suspect, some who knew him didn’t make the connection. “We made a joke like—that could be Dzhokhar,” said a 22-year-old resident assistant at the dorms where Tsarnaev lived. “But then we thought it just couldn’t be him. Dzhokhar? Never.”

According to an article in yesterday’s Chronicle of Higher Education, the UMass–Dartmouth campus was evacuated as a precaution once it became clear that Tsarnaev was a suspect, and his dorm room was searched for possible bombs. A young woman who lived in that dorm expressed the same confusion as others when interviewed. So many of the terrible things that happen, from terrorist attacks to mass-shootings by social outcasts, are connected with people who appear to have a screw loose, she said. In the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, she was at a loss for an explanation:

You usually get an indication of somebody you shouldn’t be around. Now that that is shattered, what do you do? Am I supposed to start worrying about going to school? Am I supposed to stop going to college?

If you’re interested in reading more, you can find my post from last year here: “The banality of evil (Boston Marathon bombing).”

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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