You Owe Silence to No One: the Boston Women’s March

Inspirational picket signs lined a block of Boylston Street at the end of the Women’s March on Saturday.


As you may have heard on the news, this past Saturday, millions of people in cities, towns, and countries around the globe gathered for the Women’s March, organized to protest the presidency of Donald Trump and the hateful rhetoric that paved his way to power. Although crowd sizes are often difficult to estimate, I have seen from various sources that the overall turnout worldwide was somewhere between 3.3 and 5 million people, whereas Trump’s inauguration only drew a couple hundred thousand at best.

I was at the one in Boston. You would not have been able to keep me away under any circumstances, but the weather could not have been more beautiful. Unseasonably warm (proof, as someone joked, that climate change is real), the overcast gloom gave way to a brilliantly blue sky as we stood on the Boston Common, which quickly became so crowded I could not see an end to the sea of people. The crowd seemed never-ending, full of thoughtful, peaceful dissenters. Many had signs with phrases more clever than I could have devised. There was a stage set up, but it was so far away its speakers cast a distant echo that although audible, revealed a startling truth: they did not plan for this many people. Later news reports said the organizers planned for a crowd size of 25 thousand. We exceeded that by about 100 thousand.

It is difficult to capture in photos the awesome nature of standing in a crowd so large.

When the march started, there were so many people we couldn’t move for well over an hour.

I was with a group of acquaintances. A few of them, complaining about the close quarters and inability to sit down, eventually broke away and tried to exit without getting to the entrance to the march, which went down Beacon and Arlington Streets, looped around a couple blocks of Comm Ave, and ended on Boylston Street. I said goodbye to them and told them I understood, but inwardly, I chuckled. I have become a pro at waiting. A couple hours to reach a march seemed like child’s play. I would have crawled down that street if I had to.

Because of this schism in the group and the sheer packed nature of the crowd, I wound up separated from the one genuine friend I had been with. Due to the number of people in a small area, our cell phones stopped getting reception. Essentially, I was alone, but of course I really wasn’t. For the most part, people were patient and courteous, and we were eager to march and show support. Waiting gave me a chance to reflect. I stared at the sky and thought about why I was there.

I was there for Dzhokhar.

Well, I was there for a lot of people. I was also there for myself. But I was there for Dzhokhar first, and without him I’m not sure I would have gone. Too many times in the past I’ve been afraid to show support for such things, not for fear of retribution, but humiliation. Like a timid student trying to speak up in a silent classroom, I wondered: what if no one listens? What if no one understands? And, much worse, what if no one cares?

This woman was kind enough to let me snap a photo of her in a pink hijab, which many Muslim women wore as a sign of solidarity with the official “pink hat” of the march.

Until recently, I have spent my life struggling with my voice, which is perhaps an unexpected predicament for a writer, but maybe also an essential one: we grapple with the need to communicate, but the inherent act of writing implies we have something important to say. And what if we don’t? What if we fail to connect, and go on suffering silently?

Directly after the bombing and Dzhokhar’s arrest, I struggled with this the worst. Never before had I experienced so many people saying one thing — he’s guilty, he’s a monster, he deserves it — while I thought the opposite. When I tried to say something to the contrary, I was swiftly and profoundly ridiculed. The city became awash in “Boston Strong” paraphernalia, and every time I spied it stickered to a bus or emblazoned on someone’s shirt, the implication was unmistakeable: This is the truth we choose to believe. It’s us or them. Pick your side and choose wisely, because you’re outnumbered. 

So I closed my mouth and kept it shut for two years, until it became unbearable. After the trial, I vowed: never again. But what good was one voice in a void?

At the march, others expressed a resolve I’ve had since Dzhokhar’s trial.

Shortly after the death sentence verdict in May 2015, I went to a writer’s conference. I was still struggling with the emotional aftermath of the experience, trying to get a handle on what I had witnessed and to some degree inherited, as someone who was there and dared to write about it. The accomplished non-fiction writer Richard Hoffman was our writer-in-residence. He wrote a memoir about his experience of sexual abuse that eventually led to the arrest of the perpetrator, who was still preying on boys in his community. At the conference, Hoffman gave an inspiring talk about daring to speak the truth. The line that struck me the most was: “If it’s not petty, you owe silence to no one.”

I truncated the line and taped it to the mirror in my room, so every day when I look at myself, I see it: You owe silence to no oneI have been reading it for a year and a half. I have been steeling myself, and I have been speaking.

As I stood on the Boston Common, I studied the line of old brownstones that have stood there for hundreds of years, witnessing revolutions of days past. As I did, I heard the speakers on the stage (including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey, and Mayor Marty Walsh) espouse the values I’ve been fighting for: embracing immigrants, loving Muslims, fixing our broken criminal justice system, and not keeping quiet. With every cheer that rose in the crowd, I was heartened. They might not specifically have known it, but 125 thousand people were showing support for Dzhokhar. Gone was the us-versus-them mentality in the ham-fisted Boston Strong rhetoric that always rubbed me the wrong way. I felt if I had been able to take the stage and explain what had happened, everyone would be willing to listen. I realized that since I spend so much time staring directly into my city’s darkest days, I had forgotten how beautiful Boston could be.

Many school buses brought in high school students so they could be involved.

If you study events like terrorism or other disasters, you find yourself always considering the worst case scenario. As we stood on the Common, too squished to move, with nary an event coordinator or police officer in sight, I thought of the danger in a crowd this large. A side effect of analyzing case documents and transcripts is that I know a bit too much about the construction of a pressure cooker bomb than most people would be comfortable with, and I thought of how the prosecution harped on the fact that the most damage would be inflicted in a tightly packed area. The event emails advised no one bring backpacks, but the sheer quantity of people ensured that this was not a rule that could possibly be enforced. If ISIS or a disgruntled person had wanted to strike, we were ripe for the picking.

Yet I was not afraid. Whether it was the spirit of the occasion or simple math — we vastly outnumbered any would-be attacker — or both, I’m not entirely sure, but my experience in the largest crowd of my life, with our exit essentially blocked for well over an hour, was not one of fear. I was filled with patience and peace, although jokes were cracked from time to time. Once we made it to the street, the mood lifted to jovial. People were able to march and chant, wave signs and cheer the rest of us on from the sidewalks or buildings. I saw people of all ages, colors, genders, and religions. Workers in trucks honked horns and maids from the Four Seasons waved to us from the hotel windows.

Many people hung out windows or took to the rooftops.

I was inspired. For the first time in nearly four years, I felt like I was with this city instead of against it. While the Trump administration threatens to be an uncertain and tumultuous time, not just in America, but in global history, I am hopeful. Despite Trump’s inaugural address, in which he painted a picture of “American carnage” and burning “inner-cities,” I saw not just my inner city but cities around the nation full of vibrant and diverse people, standing in peaceful resistance to his falsehoods. On Friday, I was most troubled by this line from his speech: “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones. And unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.” I wondered whether those from Muslim countries would look upon that line as disparagingly as I had, with its thinly veiled reference to the “civilized” world as the western and Christian one. The line drawn in the sand seemed grimly clear.

But on Saturday, I saw Muslim women in pink hijabs, marching proudly with their non-Muslim neighbors, who held signs high with a drawing of a woman covering with an American flag. We the people are greater than fear was its caption.

As we marched, Trump addressed the intelligence community at the CIA headquarters and objectively made a fool of himself. He stood in front of a memorial wall honoring agents killed in the line of duty and bragged about the crowd sizes at his inauguration instead of taking pains to mend a massive rift he created himself by complaining that the intelligence community had allowed unverified rumors about his ties with the Russian government leak to the press. According to an article in the New Yorker:

[Ryan] Crocker, who was among the last to see [Robert] Ames and the local C.I.A. team [who were memorialized on the wall] alive in Beirut, was “appalled” by Trump’s comments. “Whatever his intentions, it was horrible,” Crocker, who went on to serve as the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Kuwait, told me. “As he stood there talking about how great Trump is, I kept looking at the wall behind him—as I’m sure everyone in the room was, too. He has no understanding of the world and what is going on. It was really ugly.”

While I sometimes criticize US counterterrorism policy, my study into the field has shown me that it is vast, complicated and challenging — so much so that it is easy for even seasoned professionals to make mistakes. That said, I would never disrespect intelligence officers who lost their lives while doing their jobs. My hope, honestly, is to one day meet counterterrorism agencies halfway, to help them implement practices that are more effective and less discriminatory, but that requires years more study. In his appearance to the CIA, Trump’s complete disregard for the difficult nature of the work could not have been more apparent:

John MacGaffin, another thirty-year veteran who rose to become the No. 2 in the C.I.A. directorate for clandestine espionage, said that Trump’s appearance should have been a “slam dunk,” calming deep unease within the intelligence community about the new President. According to MacGaffin, Trump should have talked about the mutual reliance between the White House and the C.I.A. in dealing with global crises and acknowledged those who had given their lives doing just that.

“What self-centered, irrational decision process got him to this travesty?” MacGaffin told me. “Most importantly, how will that process serve us when the issues he must address are dangerous and incredibly complex? This is scary stuff!”

While I agree, I take this as a good sign. This, along with the amazing turnout at the marches, prove that it’s not just one particular special interest group on high alert. I think that on the whole, the American people are awake. They are ready to listen. They are ready to fight. They are not going to be fooled by Bush era excuses that did so much damage the first time around. The wounds are too recent, the lessons too fresh. As an older gentleman jubilantly urged us from the sidelines in the final stretch of the march, “Keep doing this, keep coming out. This is what the sixties was like!”

There have already been some criticisms that the turnout of the Women’s March might be a flash in the pan, a trend that dies out like the Occupy Wall Street protests that fizzled back in 2011. I doubt that. I think this is not a moment, but a movement, as it has been said. We’re mobilizing, united, and speaking out. The marches in Boston and around the world were a demonstration of that. So if you marched, thank you. If you’re reading this, thank you. Never doubt the power of your words, your voice, and your actions.

Some are saying we live in a post-truth world. I say it’s more important than ever.

I would like to think Dzhokhar would have been at the march if he could. Until the day comes that he can walk on his own, I will continue to be there in his stead.

10 thoughts on “You Owe Silence to No One: the Boston Women’s March”

  1. While as a law student I found your discussion of the legal issues of this case very interesting, I am a little concerned for you since you are clearly so emotionally attached to this case. What will you do in the case of all appeals being exhausted, no presidential pardon and he is eventually executed. Despite all the optimism, that IS a very real possibility, particularly with this administration. If I may make a suggestion, I think you should take a step back, for your own emotional well being.

    1. Hi and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. While I appreciate your concern, being open about my feelings in this post was a conscious decision I made, meant to lend a more nuanced context to the situation. Simply put, my involvement in the case does not afford me the luxury of stepping back. It is absolutely my intent to be open about the emotional toll a death sentence takes, not just on the person sentenced but those who care about him or her. If this is difficult for me, one can only imagine the grief and turmoil experienced by Dzhokhar’s family and friends, and the experience must be multiplied by all the prisoners sitting on death row. While the main goal of this blog is informational, giving a glimpse into the humanity behind the circumstances to ask some bigger questions about the cost and necessity of the death penalty is certainly not outside my purview.

      Additionally, I have long found that optimism is a main component to success. Although I’m not a lawyer myself, the legal consultation I’ve received, coupled with the information uncovered in my investigation, has given me real cause to be optimistic about the likelihood that the convictions will be overturned and a new trial ordered. I invite you to read further in the blog if you have not yet already — they are more academic in nature and discuss the evidence in detail to illustrate how I arrived at this opinion. I’m sure you know how glacial the appeal process can be, so it’s entirely possible the current administration might be out of office before the case even reaches the First Circuit. All in all, I have reason to be optimistic, and no great civil rights victory was ever won by their proponents giving up before the fight was over.

      Thanks again for reading, and I hope you find the blog helpful.

  2. Hi Heather. Although we differ greatly in our opinion of the new President, when it comes to Dzhokhar, we are in agreement. Call me jaded, but I always take it with a grain of salt when a total stranger expresses “concern” for my emotional well-being. Your response to Ring, whoever that is, is perfect. This self-professed law student claims to have read the legal arguments on your blog already and found them “interesting.” I find that response weak at best. You are doing a great job of exposing the obvious reasons why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, innocent and wrongly convicted, not only deserves but will likely get, a new trial someday. I am more than convinced that he will be exonerated as a result of that trial and I have no intention of taking a step back for my emotional well-being either. We all know the emotional pain we are exposing ourselves to by caring about this young man. Keep up the good work you and your father are doing on Dzhokhar’s behalf.

    1. Hi Lynne, thanks for the comment. I am so grateful to have such supportive and caring readers, especially ones who are willing to engage with me civilly even when we might not be totally in agreement about everything. 🙂

      I do try to fairly moderate comments, approving everything regardless of opinion as long as they are not blatantly argumentative or chiefly inflammatory in nature. So the previous commenter is certainly entitled to his/her stance, though mine differs. Regardless, resolve and optimism is needed in this line of work, so I am heartened to hear that you and I share the same mettle. Thank you again for your solidarity and support. Stay tuned. 🙂

      1. Hi Heather, I just wanted to first of all, thank you so much of the civility of your response, especially in the face of people who refuse to be civil. It really is refreshing in today’s polarized climate.

        Second of all, I wanted to clear up some things that might have been misconstrued. I was not criticizing you for being optimistic. I was cautioning against getting your hopes up so high in this case and being consumed by it. That’s very easy to do in a death penalty case and even some lawyers find themselves burned out in this field of work. It becomes necessary for many people to emotionally detach in these types of cases. That’s why I suggested taking a step if it becomes too much. Sure it’s within the realm of possibility that the death sentence could be dropped (although in my mind, not very likely), but there really is no certainty in the appeals process, glacial as it may be. We must always be open to all the possibilities. I know it’s an old cliche, but it really rings true especially in this case, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
        And above all, make sure that you are taking care of yourself!

        Thank you again for the blog, I’ve enjoyed reading it and I look forward to your next post.

      2. Hi Ring, thanks so much for your nuanced reply. I understand your point of view much better now and I appreciate your kind thoughts. There was a time when I was considering law school myself but came to the conclusion that I was undoubtedly bound to become too emotionally attached, so it’s probably for the better that I’m a scholar interested in law, not a practicing lawyer. 🙂 I do my best to balance everything out, but I’m going to stick by my stance that some emotional attachment is to the advantage of an activist. I’ve always been more struck by humanity than by theory (aided by a copious arts-based education before I settled on the more academic pursuits of the last few years). This case may be won on legal merit, but the social change demanded by what befell Dzhokhar requires a certain level of empathy, and that’s the area I excel at the most. So long story short — thanks, but I’m okay. 🙂

        If you don’t mind my asking, why do you think the appeal won’t be successful? I think I’ve uncovered numerous legal issues that can be challenged at every level, and have found legal opinions that back that up. I’m open and interested to opposing viewpoints, as reasoned debate is the key to any solution, despite what the current state of politics seems to imply. Thanks again!

  3. Hi Heather thanks so much for *your* reply! I actually agree that yes, being passionate certainly helps whatever social movement or change you’re pushing for. I think it’s easier for me to get caught up in the theory/academic/technical side of things that it’s easier to forget the humanity sometimes so it’s actually very good of you to remind the rest of us of that.

    As for your question, I think I should probably backtrack and tell you how I first into this case of Dzhokhar in order to fully explain why I came to the opinion that I did. I myself made the huge mistake of becoming too emotionally attached to this case and I think that it really hurt me. While I never personally lived in Boston, I have some cousins that do and I have frequently visited over the years. I remember when the bombing first happened, I was glued to the news. It was very strange because I’ve never felt anything emotionally for anyone who has been convicted of a serious crime like this before, but I felt a strong sense of sympathy for Dzhokhar. I remember being relieved when they caught him alive and thought that it would all be over. My uncle (who like your father is a retired defense attorney) told me that in his opinion, the best solution for Dzhokhar would be to to make some sort of plea deal with the federal prosecutors. He felt that going to trial would be an absolute disaster for him.

    I hoped that some deal would be reached, but I must confess that I got into things in my own life and so I pretty much forgot about him in the two year interim. When I did hear that the trial was happening, I was absolutely horrified. A great feeling of dread had come over me because I knew where this would lead. It became clear to me from his rulings, that the judge in this case, O’Toole, was simply acting as the third arm of the prosecution. But the fact that the First Circuit Court of Appeals also denied his change of venue request indicates to me that they are also part of this so called “Boston Strong” sentiment. I developed a strong sense of fatalism about this case and so by the time May 15, 2015 rolled around, I was very hurt by it, but I can’t really say that I was surprised. This is the ONLY verdict that could be reached in Boston.

    Given that American culture is individualistic in the extreme, I think that most people don’t really understand the concept of collective trauma. This wasn’t just one or even a few individuals who were traumatized by the bombing. In a sense, every single resident of Boston was his victim, whether they were there at the marathon or not. Everyone was affected by the martial law that was briefly enacted. Every single person in Boston was affected by this. This is a trauma that everyone was personally affected by. The judge, the jurors, anybody employed in any way by the legal system over there was a part of it. The First Circuit itself was a part of it! Dzhokhar was judged not by a “jury of his peers,” but by a jury of his victims.

    I know that there was some poll claiming that the “majority” of Bostonians didn’t want him executed, but to be perfectly honest with you and with all due respect, I think that that is complete and total bs. I have never in my life seen a community so come together in their hatred of a single individual. I would be willing to bet my life that if you took Dzhokhar and dropped him in the middle of Boston that the people would literally tear him apart. And I don’t have to tell you this! You live there, you got to see it all firsthand! To me, “Boston Strong” can be summed up succinctly in the actions of Carlos Arredondo, who when the death verdict came out, walked out with a huge “Boston Strong” banner. I believe you had a photograph of this on your own blog.

    Did you ever watch Mel Gibson’s Jesus movie? I know it’s pretty old, but there’s a scene in there where the Roman guy, Pontius Pilate, is trying to be fair and reasonable, but it doesn’t matter because the will of the people is too strong. That to me, sums up this whole circus pretty well also.

    You ask me why I don’t think that the appeals will be successful. I think that because this case showed me that legal cases can sometimes be ruled, not by logic and facts, but by emotion. It showed me how strong the will of the people really can be. How strong this “Boston Strong” sentiment really is. I say that because, as I’m sure you’re already well aware, the First Circuit Court of Appeals is also located in Boston. I say that because with the exception of Judge Juan R. Torruella, it seems clear to me that the rest of the judges there also share in this “Boston Strong” sentiment. Their actions certainly point in that direction. Also the fact that Torruella is originally from Puerto Rico may be a large factor why he isn’t infected by this sentiment. But sadly, he is only one man and is clearly outnumbered.

    As to the Supreme Court of the US. I have been told that it is NOT the role of the Supreme Court to right the wrongs of the lower courts. They are a policy court which means that they will only take the cases which they think they can use to make broad, national policies. So my hopes for the Supreme Court actually taking his case in the first place are extremely low. It’s a fact that they simply reject most cases out of hand. I guess then that that leaves habeas corpus, but sadly Bill Clinton gutted that with his AEDPA.
    The main overriding sentiment that I have gotten from people who practice law is this, that it is possible that the death sentence could be dropped, but that there are no guarantees in the appeals process. They have all taken a “wait and see” approach to it.

    So to summarize, everything that I saw play out in this trial and the little time that I spent in Boston, killed most of my optimism. I don’t know if “Boston Strong” is a hurdle that can be overcome.Now to be perfectly clear here, these are just my own feelings and I could certainly be wrong! And with all of that being said let me also make clear that I absolutely do agree with you about the various legal problems and inherent unfairness in this case. I just don’t think that the ones in power will be able to see it.

    Hope that answers your question and I’m sorry for the excessive length of my response!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story with me. I am always curious about where my readers first heard about the case and that their opinions on it are, especially since according to my site stats I have far more readers than commenters. Maybe I should put up a poll sometime, I don’t know. 🙂

      As for your story, it sounds like we have remarkably similar experiences about the case with a few small exceptions. My living IN Boston never allowed me to forget about it because, as you rightly describe, the “Boston Strong” sentiment altered the city to such a degree that the reminders were everywhere. You are absolutely right that Dzhokhar was not tried by a jury of peers, but victims, and Judge O’Toole’s rulings become more and more egregious the more I research the case.

      We only disagree in a few places. First, I agree with you that a guilty plea was probably the most standard outcome in the pre-trial phase. I also thought that a guilty plea would probably be entered and then — and I admit to dreading this, wanting the case to go to trial just for my own peace of mind — we would never know what truly happened or how Dzhokhar became involved. So when it went to trial I was also worried, but I thought: at least we’ll get the truth. Of course, that’s not what we got at all, but without the trial, I would not have the resources I do now to contest what went on. Also, perhaps you know this already, but it bears repeating that Dzhokhar did TRY to plead guilty. The trial was by no means a long shot that he insisted on. The prosecutors refused to take the death penalty off the table even with a guilty plea, and they also took a letter of apology that Dzhokhar wrote and had it filed under seal so that the defense could not use it as a mitigating factor in the penalty phase to prove remorse. This was brought up on the record by Judy Clarke, I believe at the sentencing hearing, so that it could be preserved for the appeal.

      Next, the likelihood of SCOTUS to take up the case. I’ve seen from several legal sources that the issues present in this case make it an attractive case for the Supreme Court, particularly in matters where it refers to the death penalty. (The ACLU certainly seemed interested at the time of the trial, and in recent appellate filings I saw the name of the head of the ACLU of Massachusetts included in a memo, so they might very well be planning to get involved.) Also, the death penalty is already legally on thin ice, as you probably know, and I believe it was Ruth Bader Ginsberg who said in a dissent back in 2015 (in Glossip v. Gross, to be exact) that the time was coming to consider the constitutionality of the death penalty itself. So it’s entirely possible it might be off the table before Dzhokhar’s appeal even comes up — or his could be the defining case. My dad has said either is possible. However, I don’t know much about habeas or AEDPA, so that is something I would like to bring up with him and get his opinion. He’s been adamant about the possibilities for the case on appeal, however, since before the trial was even over. In fact, he was the one to push this opinion — I was terrified all was already lost, not having the legal understanding I do now. (He was also the one to suggest a duress defense to me, only weeks after Dzhokhar’s arrest.) My dad is not a reckless optimist, quite the opposite in fact. So when he expresses optimism for the appeal, I have to put faith into that opinion.

      Finally, I disagree somewhat about your view on the “Boston Strong” sentiment. To start, I must counter your opinion that the “majority of the city didn’t want the death penalty” statistic was false. I was here when it happened — right near the finish line as the verdict was announced, in fact — and there was no mass celebrating. No one I encountered face-to-face afterward expressed satisfaction by it. Other than my own (admittedly distraught) reaction, even people who had no strong opinions either way expressed an uneasy feeling, that it did seem like overkill. If anything, it was the narrative in the press that made it seem like some big victory. The disconnect between what I was experiencing and what was being reported at that time still fills me with a surreal feeling.

      On top of that, recently I’ve seen evidence in the city that that overall “Boston Strong” attitude is fading. The bombing was almost four years ago now, and the shift of the presidency to the Republican administration has brought out the vehement liberal feelings that I first became familiar with when I moved here during the Bush years. That’s the main reason I wanted to write a post about the Women’s March, to illustrate the change I sense in the air. Also, if you read my latest post about White House adviser Sebastian Gorka and his connection to the case, I think that’s also more evidence the tide is turning. I’ve never seen so much pro-Muslim sentiment in this city as I have the last few months. I’m hoping I can catch that wave and ride it, if you get my meaning. The time might be coming where more people are willing to listen about the tale of a young Muslim man facing terrorism charges being persecuted to further a ham-fisted government agenda. Already the U.S. Attorney’s office appears to be distancing themselves from the ultra-right wing figure they used to manufacture the case, likely out of fear for how it will reflect on them politically.

      How will this translate to the appeal process? Time will tell, but I think that the only thing to do is keep speaking, and keep getting louder about what happened and what can be done about it. I have always felt that no matter the opposition nor the cost, I owe Dzhokhar that much. I was the one who chose to walk into the room to see the truth. Walking away quietly afterward always felt to me like being complicit in murder.

      1. Thank you so much for your response! I really did learn a lot from it!

        First of all, I am VERY happy to hear that people weren’t celebrating in the streets of Boston over his death sentence. Like I said, I don’t live there so all of my information comes second hand. I got this impression from what I saw of my cousins and their friends (which admittedly was very brief), from what I saw on social media and of course the news media made it sound like some sort of sick celebration. That picture that I mentioned before, of Carlos Arredondo holding up the Boston Strong banner, made me feel a strong sense of resentment for a while.

        As to your other points, I will have to bow to your father’s knowledge on this, as I am sure he is far more knowledgeable than me on this subject than me. I admit that part of my feeling toward this case is not really based in any facts or logic, but simply a strong sense of fatalism that I developed right around the time his trial started and it was to be held in Boston. I don’t think I’ve ever really been able to shake that. Again, it’s just an emotional thing, not really any concrete thing. I would really like it if you could ask your father about the AEDPA (it stands for Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996), if you have time of course! Personally I think it is one of the greatest injustices of our legal system, but I would love to hear his take on it.

        I am also very happy to hear about the pro-Muslim sentiment in the city and really hope that you are right about it having implications for Dzhokhar’s case as well. I am ecstatic over the truth of Sebastian Gorka coming to light! Hopefully this also has implications for the case.

        Perhaps Donald Trump being elected was actually a good thing in that his extreme positions will make people go in the opposite direction? It could be just a shot in the dark, but who knows what the future holds.

        Finally I wanted to say that I really admire your sense of justice and the fact that you are actually doing something about it. Thank you again for not only this blog, but being so open and responsive to your readers.

      2. You’re very welcome! Thanks for being so open and insightful with your own experience. I hope I’ve been able to combat some of your fatalism (I know what that feels like, and it took me a long time to get over it myself). Dzhokhar and others in similar situations need smart and thoughtful people like you in their corner. I hope you’ll stick around and keep joining in the conversation as I go. As the saying goes, I’ve not yet begun to fight. 🙂 I hope what you describe will be the outcome of the Trump administration, as well. It definitely seems like the pendulum is poised to swing back, so to speak. The more people to push it along, the better.

        I’ll be sure to run your question about the AEDPA by my dad and see what he says. If it’s a compelling enough discussion, I might try to see if I can record it for a future podcast. I’m trying to put the best reader inquiries into the podcast so that hopefully a wider audience will be able to benefit from them. We’ll see, since I’m still not so confident in my podcasting skills, though, haha.

        Anyway, thanks again! Stay tuned.

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