The father of the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects immigrated to Cambridge approximately 10 years ago and, according to his brother, recently returned to Russia. His youngest son Dzhokhar, still at large somewhere in Boston, is only 19 years old.
Today the communities of greater Boston are in “lockdown.” Tamerlan, the elder of the two suspects, was declared dead last night of multiple gunshot wounds in the same hospital where eleven victims of the bombings are still receiving treatment. As I listen to the interviews with the suspects’ aunt and uncle, who are clearly in shock that anyone related to them was involved in the tragedy and trauma of the last few days, I can’t help but speculate what the parents of these two young men must be feeling. I can only imagine that they are in another kind of “lockdown” as they wait for news about the apprehension of their child.
It appears that Dzhokhar tweeted this quote from a Jay Z song only a few hours after he allegedly planted one of the two bombs: “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people.” There have been other stories that in the days following the bombings Dzhokhar returned to the University of Massachusetts campus in Dartmouth, where he was a student, spoke with friends and carried on “like a normal kid.”
How does it feel to be a parent of a son or daughter who commits such atrocious acts of hate and violence? Surely they are consumed by horror and disbelief as they wonder how their child’s heart and mind could be filled by such an ocean of darkness?
Today, and every day since the Boston Marathon, my thoughts also turn to the parents of the victims. If it is any consolation, the parents of little eight-year-old Martin Richard knew what was in their son’s heart. Just before he died, Martin made a banner with this message: “No more hurting people. Peace.”