Tag Archives: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The Death Penalty

In May of 1960, I was place in the “Hole” for ten days, at that time they would feed you a bowl of spinach once a day. The “Hole” was in cell house three, which also housed death row. When the guard came to my cell, I refused the spinach. He told me that he bet I’d be eating it by the end of ten days. Directly on the tier above me was death row. One of the prisoners on death row (David F. Early) over-heard my conversation with the guard.

At meal time, David would share his meals with me; he had a string made from his mattress and would lower part of his meal down to me.

On Aug. 12th 1961, David was gassed in the gas chamber.

For those who would cry out, that the death penalty is a deterrent, I would say: we’ve had a few hundred years of this “deterrent” and it doesn’t seem to be working.

My opposition to the death penalty does not come from the kindness or compassion that David showed to me, but rather from the fact that I believed we as a society were more cruel to put a person in a small concrete room and then day after day tell them we were going to kill them.

It seemed to me then as it does now that our crime is far greater than theirs.

It was also a lesson for me about kindness and compassion; it’s possible to find even on death row.

American drone pilots eat massacres like the Boston Marathon for breakfast. Let all bombers share Tsarnaev’s fate.

Wikileaks Collateral MurderShould Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev get the death penalty? Should Aurora’s James Holmes or Charleston’s Dylann Roof? How about American sniper Chris Kyle or the Apache gunship assholes exposed by Wikileaks in “Collateral Murder”? Videos abound of US airstrikes and drone strikes far more deadly and indiscriminate than the Boston Marathon Bombing. I don’t agree with capital punishment, as deterrent or justice, but if cultural arbiters want to cry for the blood of terrorists there are a lot of offenders in line before 21-year-old Tsarnaev. I say let he who has bombed fewer innocent people cast the first stone.

Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of a worse crime than US forces commit overseas?

Dzhokhar TsarnaevDoes the “Boston Marathon Bomber” look like he deserves the death penalty? Funny, you don’t even know what he looks like. US authorities have been meticulous about controlling images of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since the manhunt for the teen and his older brother ended in extrajudicial firing squads which teen Dzhokhar survived. He’s been in custody since then and the only more recent image his captors released was of Dzhokhar giving the finger to a jail cell surveillance camera. This to influence the jury to give the death penalty. Why the embargo on images? Are authorities afraid the public will feel sympathy for the disfigurement Dzhokhar suffered from his fusillade? Where defense attorneys not permitted to submit images of Dzhokhar smiling? Is the image ban in effect a media blackout? Remember how Saddam Hussein’s trial was broadcast without sound? Now US dumb justice has become literally blind, all Star Chambers and spectral evidence.
 
Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of a worse crime than US forces commit overseas? If an American sniper turned in the Tsarnaev brothers headcount, he’d be handed a potato peeler and punished with kitchen duty. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a small fry. US drone pilots eat massacres like the Boston Marathon for breakfast.

Our collective lockdown mentality, lest a siren call lure us to freedom

LOCKDOWN. The term has become ubiquitous, though lifted easily out of context, being self-explanatory. Its predecessor “batten down the hatches” used to be too. Before the advent of recreational sailing it came from a work environment synonymous with incarceration, in the days of debtors prison for penury, before which were slave galleys. As an idiom, batten the hatches still means to fasten things down, brace for difficult weather. “Lockdown” was used this week to describe the city of Boston, as its neighborhood of Watertown was swarmed by militarized police, the residents commanded to “shelter in place”, officers barking at them to stay in your houses, under penalty of being shot, by accident we like to suppose, for their own safety is the implication, or be arrested for obstructing justice. We’ve come to know what lock-down means. It’s a prison term for everyone stuck in their cell, until further notice, sometimes indefinitely. Colorado’s Supermax prison operates in a permanent state of lock-down. Of course in this age of school shootings –another self-defining expression, like “going postal”– lock-downs have become an educational tradition, and isn’t likening schools to prisons forcing an interesting slip into Freudian reality?

Students have always inferred they were inmates. Without looking it up, I’m now certain the expression “matriculation” was abandoned for its unfortunate implication of being compulsory. Before the middle class, vocational training was worse than mandatory, it was an inevitability. If of course a luxury –how far we’ve come. But our labor saving inventions weren’t meant to save our labor, that profit went to the hoarders of what we produced: produce, became grain, now money. With the means of production owned by the land owner, the rest of us are laborers once again. Underemployed, idled, in the lull of post industrialism, we’re put into lockdown.

And we accept it. Now we’re speaking of building walls to control immigration which means a macro lockdown. We’re prisoners of nation states and we’re breeding children in captivity who can never live Born Free outside zoos.

Boston accepted its lockdown. The media is reporting Bostonians are now catching their breath as if the restriction was some collective girdle. How long would the lockdown have seemed justified? I was rather hoping if the lockdown had extended, that Occupy Boston would have rallied to march on Watertown, to reject the premise that a manhunt for a solitary teen of dubious menace would justify unqualified home invasions without search warrants. I’m rather confident, had Watertown been a submunicipality of Denver, that the infamous cop-baiters of Occupy Denver would have flown their colors in the officers’ faces.

The police were hunting a fugitive teen accused of planting a crude bomb at the Boston Marathon. He’d fled a firefight with police after a car chase said to have involved pipe bombs and grenades, but whose? The suspect was armed and dangerous, but was he? The police also warned that he’d be booby-trapping the neighborhood. They searched houses not just to locate the fugitive, but to check that he hadn’t rigged unsuspecting houses. When he was finally caught there was no mention of his being armed. Perhaps that’s why they couldn’t immolate him like the usual felon, because his hiding place was fiberglass and the imaging devices gave away the fact that he was absolutely defenseless. What may have saved Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was perhaps less the virtual Cop Watch of oversight on police scanners broadcast over the internet, but that the young man sought refuge in a boat.

You might quarrel with my nautical analogy, there are perhaps less archaic idioms than “batten down the hatches”, but specifically it means to seal the hull, batten in this case being a verb referring to a tool for reefing the sail, and see, none of this translates anymore. As we lose the middle class, we lose our sailing terms, just as the working class has lost its fisheries. Hatch is still relevant to aircraft and spaceships, which the common urchin might still know virtually, but for how long prison ship Spaceship Earth?

Odysseus had his men lash (See?) him to the mast so he could resist the Sirens’ call that lured sailors to their doom. Literally battening him in lockdown, because beyond here lie dragons, sea monster mermaids who would waylay the course of Western Civilization, which now seems the better idea.

Teen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is diminishing excuse for Boston police state tyranny

We pick up yesterday’s story with Watertown and Boston under lockdown, it’s a prison term go figure, while paramilitary police conduct door to door warrantless searches to find an immigrant teen, college wrestler Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, said to be armed and extremely dangerous, who fled from last night’s firefight with the police which left his older brother Tamerlan alive then dead. The two brothers are said by police to be suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, said to have killed an MIT campus officer, said to have lobbed grenades during a car chase, yet law enforcement spokesmen are not saying how 19-yr old Dzhokhar escaped the ten minute shootout. Now they’re treating him like Rambo. What, did he leap away wearing a bandolier loaded with pressure cookers? Won’t somebody cry BULLSHIT!?

Won’t some lawyer please jump on this menacing language coming from the Boston Police, quoted in the Boston Globe:

“This kid is obviously going down fighting,” the official said. “You can rest assured the cops are looking for a fight right now.”

Being raised in the Chechen war zone may give Dzhokhar an edge in evading the militarized joint forces pursuing him, but the profile emerging as reporters hound his relatives and friends hardly describes how and why he could be expected to pose further threat, he didn’t kill the driver whose car they highjacked, he didn’t shoot up the marathon or the 7-11.

Police are now admitting themselves into houses to check for booby-traps as if their evadee is a Johnny Poison-Appleseed with an unlimited cache of ordnance he can draw from like in a video game. At best their scared teen is bleeding to death in some corner, a fate for which Chechnya was excellent training. Otherwise this manhunt is a highly inappropriate pretext for normalizing police state tyranny.

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