Families of Boston Bombing Victims Respond to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Apology

tsarnaevThe surviving brother who plotted and carried out the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago, 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, finally apologized to the survivors and families of victims yesterday in court. It was a small piece of closure, and yet, there was still something missing from that apology that some present noticed.


Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his crimes. In his five-minute statement he said:

I would like to now apologize to the victims and to the survivors. I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done — irreparable damage. I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on those affected in the bombing and their families. I pray for your healing.

But U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz was not satisfied with this statement. She pointed out, “He didn’t renounce terrorism. He didn’t renounce violence. He didn’t renounce extremism.”

Karen McWatters, who lost a leg in the blast, was also hoping for more. She says a show of remorse from Tsarnaev could prevent another extremist from attacking. "You can save them from these cowardly acts if you really have an ounce of regret or remorse.”

McWatters also said she thought a person who was willing to watch "children play and still chose to leave his weapon of mass destruction behind those children as he walked away ... must not have a soul."  

Patricia Campbell's 29-year-old daughter Krystle was killed in the blast. “The choices you made are despicable and what you did to my daughter is disgusting," Campbell told Tsarnaev. Krystle was also McWatters' best friend.

And Lynn Julian, who suffered brain injury, hearing loss, and post-traumatic stress disorder from the attack, was also disgusted. “The last thing we wanted to hear was about Allah after he changed our lives forever," she said. "I regret having ever wanting to hear him speak because of what he said.”

But another survivor who suffered head trauma, Henry Borgard, felt the sincerity of Tsarnaev's apology. He said that when he made eye contact with Tsarnaev it was not "like looking in the face of a criminal, it was like looking in the face of a boy." He adds, "I was deeply moved that he did that because a statement like that takes courage. I have forgiven him."

Bill Richard, the father of the youngest victim of the blast, 8-year-old Martin Richard, does not want the death penalty for Tsarnaev. But he had some harsh words for the convicted. He said, "He could have stopped his brother, he could have changed his mind." Instead, Tsarnaev chose to "accompany his brother and participate in this hate. That is what makes us different from him."

Tsarnaev has been sentenced to die from lethal injection. But it will be years before that happens. He has 14 days to appeal his sentence -- and much longer to contemplate his crimes.

How does Tsarnaev's apology make you feel? Do you think it was sincere?


Image via New York Daily News

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