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Marathon Bombings.docx

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FORS 5315
Richard Burgess

Running Header: MARATHON BOMBINGS 1 Boston Marathon Bombings: The Victimization of the United States Audra Hampsch Boston College [Type text] [Type text] [Type text] Abstract “Three deaths and two hundred and forty six injuries” is purely a number. It represents the terror, th chaos, and tragedy that occurred on April 15 , 2013. The crude and senseless violence performed during the Boston Marathon, as well as the events that followed, amount to more than these mere numbers. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are the faces behind these numbers, yet they too amount to more than just murderers. They are radical Islamic terrorists, not interested in targeting a few hundred people, but rather victimizing the United States at large. In this paper, I will explain the actualities of the event, the legal proceedings that followed, the national and international responses, as well as the perpetrators’backgrounds and motives in order to prove that the Boston Marathon Bombings did not aim to wreak havoc on a city, but rather intended to victimize an entire nation. MARATHON BOMBINGS 3 Boston Marathon Bombings: The Victimization of the United States OnApril 15 , 2013—a day commonly known as “Marathon Monday”—two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the race’s finish line on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts. The first bomb detonated at 2:49 p.m., while only thirteen seconds later and two hundred and ten yards down the street, a second bomb exploded. The two weapons ultimately killed three people and injured two hundred and sixty four others, causing extreme blood loss, amputation of limbs, and many more severities. Three days after the initial attack, the FBI released photos of two suspects —“white hat” and “black hat”—who were seen walking near the scene before the explosions. The “white hat” suspect was seen on Lord and Taylor’s video surveillance as dropping a backpack near the scene of the second explosion and fleeing the scene before its detonation. This suspicious act was viable proof that “white hat” and “black hat” were somehow involved in the attack.Authorities released these photos in an effort to “limit the damage by those wrongly targeted by incorrect news reports and social media speculation” (Montgomery). The release of the photos was a turning point in the investigation. Shortly after the photos and video surveillance had been released to the public, the two suspects shot police officer, Sean Collier, multiple times in an attempt to obtain his gun. The officer was simply sitting in his car on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus when the two men confronted him (Feathers). Later, the suspects stole an SUV and retained its owner as hostage. One suspect drove the stolen SUV, while the second followed in his own personal car, a green Honda Civic, which was later abandoned. The Honda, however, was vital in identifying the suspects. When investigators had discovered that the abandoned car was involved in the case, DMV records showed that it belonged to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which they matched to the “white hat” suspect. With this information, they also named Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar’s [Type text] [Type text] [Type text] older brother. While the Tsarnaev brothers stopped at a gas station, the SUV owner escaped hostage by running across the street to another gas station and calling 911. His cell phone, which had been left in the SUV, was used to locate the stolen vehicle and subsequently, the two Marathon Bombing suspects (Harris). Alittle while later, a Watertown police officer identified the stolen SUV and green Honda Civic, which resulted in a vicious gunfight between police officers and the two brothers.An estimated two hundred to three hundred rounds of ammunition were fired, as well as the throwing of a bomb and various grenades (Arsenault, Murphy). During this confrontation, Dzhokhar not only injured himself, but also ran over his brother with the stolen car while escaping the scene. Tamerlan was brought to the hospital where he was pronounced dead due to “gunshot wounds of torso and extremities, blunt trauma to head and torso, and shot by police th then run over and dragged by motor vehicle” (Farberov). The following day,April 19 , thousands of police officers searched for Dzhokhar in a twenty-block area of Watertown.After several hours of urban and suburban lockdown, the search was called off. Soon after, however, a Watertown resident found the injured suspect hiding in a boat in his backyard. He was arrested— without being read his Miranda rights on account of a public safety exception—and taken to the hospital to treat multiple gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs, and hands (Gorman). There were various arguments on how to proceed with the legal dealings of the situation. Some politicians suggested that Tsarnaev be tried as an unlawful enemy combatant, in order to prevent him from obtaining legal counsel. Doing so, however, would have been illegal and could have possibly jeopardized the prosecution. So, the government decided to try him in the federal criminal court system. He was interrogated for sixteen hours, in which he confessed that Tamerlan was the mastermind of the attack, and that it had been inspired by extremist Islamic MARATHON BOMBINGS 5 beliefs as well as the Iraq andAfghanistan wars. Dzhokhar claimed that they were not associated with any external terrorist group, and that they had only learned to build a bomb through an online al-Qaeda affiliated magazine. He also confessed that they had intent to bomb New York nd Times Square. OnApril 22 , however, a judge read Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, and consequently, he stopped communicating with officials. He responded to questions by nodding his head, thus, was declared lucid and mentally competent. He is currently being represented by the Federal Public Defender’s office (Serrano). At the preliminary hearing, Tsarnaev was accused of thirty federal charges, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction, malicious destruction of property resulting in death, and sixteen others.At his July 10 arraignment, Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to all thirty charges, including rd the murder of MIT police officer.At Dzhokhar’s September 23 status hearing, his lawyers requested additional time to arrange their defense. On October 2 , too, they requested that Tsarnaev’s special administrative measures in jail be lifted because he no longer poses a future threat. These SAMs restrict his communication with family members, and make it difficult for his lawyers to contact him. The status of their request is still pending.Afuture trial date has yet to be released.According to The Christian Science Monitor, Dzhokhar will be sentenced to the death penalty if found guilty (Jacobsen). Jeff Bauman—a victim of the attack who lost both his legs—provided the FBI with an initial lead to their suspect immediately after regaining consciousness in the hospital following the attack. Bauman, who was standing next to the bomb during the explosion, recounted that he had seen a man place a backpack beside him nearly two and a half minutes before the attack. His note read, “Bag, saw the guy, he looked right at me” (Loder). In reviewing surveillance, investigators reported two suspicious people—“black hat” and “white hat”—who acted [Type text] [Type text] [Type text] differently during the explosion: they remained at the scene to watch the aftermath, instead of fleeing like most other spectators (Smith).Also, after collecting evidence from the weapons— and similarly reconstructing the bombs from the attack—investigators declared that two pressure-cooker, homemade bombs had been used (Bennett). Later, after Dzhokhar had been identified, there was evidence of him purchasing fireworks from a store in New Hampshire. FBI recovered several emptied fireworks in a landfill near the UMass Dartmouth campus, where Dzhokhar attended school (Heinis). Amidst the overflowing evidence, however, investigators found complications in the case. Police officers had withheld reading Dzhokhar his Miranda rights upon his arrest on account of invoking the public safety exception. The Miranda rights are warnings given by police to criminal suspects during their custody before they are interrogated in order to “preserve the admissibility of their statements against them in criminal proceedings” (Los Angeles Times). According to the rule, a person has the right to remain silent, and anything they say will be used against them in court. They also have the right to access an attorney, and if they cannot afford one, another will be provided for them at no cost (Stigall). The public safety exception evoked by police officers onApril 19 allowed the Miranda rights to be withheld at the time of arrest if circumstances were threatening to public safety. For example, if the suspect was carrying a weapon. Dzhokhar, however, was unarmed in the boat at the time of his arrest, yet his Miranda warning was still omitted until after his initial interrogation. This particular public safety exception resulted in skepticism and doubts about whether or not Dzhokhar’s statements made at his initial sixteen-hour interrogation would be accepted as evidence. Before being read his Miranda rights, Tsarnaev not only gave authorities a significant amount of detailed information, but he also blatantly confessed to having a role in the Marathon Bombings.After they were read MARATHON BOMBINGS 7 to him, however, he stopped talking completely.According to The Huffington Post, “withholding a criminal suspect’s Miranda rights becomes a legal issue only if authorities try to use what they learned during the questioning” (Sherman). The admissibility of Dzhokhar’s initial confession is still being debated for the case as it depends on the exactitude of the public safety exception enacted at the time of his arrest. Shortly after the tragedy there were both national and international responses offering support to the runners, victims, families, and the city of Boston in general. The Navy sent in one of their bomb-disposal units to help with the investigation, while the MassachusettsArmy National Guard sent in people to aid victims of the explosions (Levs). The FederalAviation Administration “restricted airspace over Boston and issued a temporary ground stop for Boston Logan’s InternationalAirport” (FAA). TheAmerican Red Cross began helping family and friends obtain information about runners and casualties. Google Person Finder also activated their “disaster service under Boston Marathon Explosions” in order for people to log public information about missing persons (Google). The following organizations were involved in the manhunt for Dzhokhar on April 19 : the FBI, the Bureau ofAlcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Guard, the Boston and Watertown Police departments, and the Massachusetts State Police. The amount of forces used during this search constituted the “the first major field test of the interagency task forces created th in the wake of the September 11 attacks” (Dahl). Only one week after the attack, organizations such as The One Fund Boston as well as many other online corporations raised over two million dollars for the victims, their families, and th others affected by the bombings.Also, a Boston Strong Concert was held on May 30 in support of the One Fund. Boston sports teams dedicated games in honor of the victims, as seen by the [Type text] [Type text] [Type text] Red Sox’s World Series celebration parade on the Boston Marathon finish line on November 2 . nd The New England Patriots honored the attack’s f
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