In the first few days after the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, I didn't think too much about who might have been responsible. My thoughts were with the victims, and it's not like whoever did it would have some justifiable, defensible reason for their crime anyway. Terrorists never do. But when I saw this photo obtained by the FBI of what appears to be 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (otherwise known as Suspect #2) smiling and standing just a few feet away from 8-year-old Martin Richard, who would be killed moments later, and his 7-year-old sister Jane, who would lose a leg in the explosion, I realized something: At no point did I consider, even for a second, that a mother could have been behind this twisted plot.
Only someone consumed with hatred and ignorance -- someone incomprehensibly self-absorbed and completely devoid of compassion -- could walk past the children he was about to kill and laugh. No woman with children of her own could ever do the same.
As a mom, it's almost impossible to look at this picture of little Martin, standing with his feet on the bottom of the metal barricade to get a better view (something we've all seen our own kids do), without breaking down. He had his whole life ahead of him ... he was there to hug his father, of all things, for god's sake. Then, to see that smiling face under the white baseball cap carrying his nefarious backpack in the immediate background ... I don't know about you, but my first reaction was rage. Absolute rage.
My rage didn't last long, though -- it faded fast, dissolving into sorrow. Because in the end, Tsarnaev isn't worth my anger, but Martin is worth mourning.
How do you feel when you look at this picture?
Image via FBI