Boston Blowup

Rarely has anybody deserved the death penalty more than the Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” said President Trump in a recent tweet. “So many lives lost and ruined.” And yet, “the appellate court tossed out the death sentence,” and “it is ridiculous that this process is taking so long!” Hard to deny that the president has a point or two.

Dzhokhar and brother Tamerlan planted bombs along the Boston Marathon route, and the April 15, 2013 blasts killed three people, including Krystle Campbell, 29. The victim’s mother Patricia Campbell told reporters, “I just don’t understand it. It’s just terrible that he’s allowed to live his life. It’s unfair.” 

Consider also April Haslet, who lost a leg in the attack and outside the court encountered supporters of the convicted terrorist. 

“Fuck you!” said Haslet, as she flashed half a peace sign. The bomb victim also had words for the court. “I would like to make something crystal fucking clear to the ‘defense’ and the press who is hounding my family and me this week. Make no mistake. I will testify again in a heartbeat.” 

Tsarnaev gets to keep on living because the jury selection process allegedly was unfair, but there was more to it. 

“Since the first trial,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement, “we have always known that the perpetrator of that horrific violence would never leave the four corners of a prison cell.” Looks like it was a done deal from the start—small comfort to the victims. In response, President Trump should take action in another case that is taking far too long. 

In 2013, the same year as the Boston Marathon bombing, a jihadist U.S. Army major was sentenced to death for his attack at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. The Army psychiatrist, a self-described “soldier of Allah,” gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers, including Private Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant. The Fort Hood shooter wounded more than 40 others, chasing them down and shooting them in the back. 

This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, but then-President Barack Obama called it “workplace violence.” Victims included African Americans but the president did not call the shooter a racist. One year later, Obama declined to meet with Sergeant Alonzo Lunsford, who took seven bullets from the murderous major. The terrorist mass murderer was sentenced to death in 2013 but the sentence was never carried out. 

Rarely has anybody deserved the death penalty more than Nidal Hasan. President Trump, commander in chief of U.S. armed forces, should give the order now.  A firing squad would be appropriate, and volunteers would line up. In his White House press conference, the president can recall the Fort Hood attack for those who forgot or never knew about it in the first place. In similar style, some details of the Boston Marathon bombers have also been overlooked.  

The Tsarnaev brothers are Chechens. In 2011, Russian authorities warned the FBI about their connections to Islamic militants. The brothers duly entered the United States and the rest, as they say, is history. The Boston victims could be forgiven for believing the Tsarnaevs should never have been allowed entry in the first place. Their case offers other lessons for law enforcement.

On December 2, 2015, Islamic terrorists gunned down 14 people at an office party in San Bernardino, California. As noted in “Bringing Calm to Chaos: A Police Foundation Review of the San Bernardino Terrorist Attacks,” local police gave chase as the terrorists continued firing from their SUV. Police shooters hit the male Islamist 25 times and the female 13 times, all without injury to innocent civilians. Inside the SUV, police found more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and the trigger apparatus to detonate secondary devices at the county building where the attack took place. The couple’s other targets included schools and freeways. 

Had the terrorists survived and stood trial in California courts, they would have had a good chance of getting off on some technicality. If the mass murderers did get the death penalty, it would never be carried out. Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 imposed a moratorium on the death penalty and reprieved 737 convicted murderers currently on California’s death row, including child killers and serial killers. By the governor’s standards, Islamic terrorist mass murderers would be no problem.  

In San Bernardino, police were right to take down the two terrorists, and in future attacks police everywhere would do well to follow suit. It’s a job social workers just won’t do, and as April Haslet said, “make no mistake.” Taking out terrorists on location will save lives and prevent judicial atrocities like the one now taking place in Boston. 

About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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