The front of Sunday's New York Times will evidently be blessed with "Death Penalty Leaves Boston Unsure of Itself." The paper found the death sentence handed down to convicted Boston Marathon terrorist bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a "blot" on Boston's compassionate liberal reputation, which has rendered the finish line "a place of ambivalence," with no end of self-righteous Bostonian handwringing on the matter.
Seelye had pushed in previous stories the activism of leftist nun Sister Helen Prejean, who lent what Seelye termed "moral authority" toward the defense's plea for leniency for Tsarnaev, who killed four people and wounded hundreds more with pressure cooker bombs set by he and brother Tamerlan at the Boston Marathon finish line. On Sunday Seelye (with reporters Abby Goodnough and Jess Bidgood) did not hide her distaste for Tsarnaev's death sentence.
The Times quoted hordes of previously undiscovered law-and-order liberals who perversely claim to embrace punitive Supermax prisons (which provide long sentences, solitary confinement and other punitive measures reserved for the very worst inmates) as an alternative to the death penalty.
The finish line of the Boston Marathon is a landmark here, a blue and yellow slash across Boylston Street that for more than a century has represented pride and achievement for those who stagger across it in one of the great races of the running world.
But since a federal jury on Friday sentenced the convicted bomber to death, the finish line suddenly seems to be a place of ambivalence. Fresh flowers are accumulating. A sense of sorrow lingers in the air. Sightseers who come to snap a photo feel a little self-conscious. Residents train their gaze on the line, and the conversations turn to death -- and disappointment.