Home > Liberty Under Attack > [Tru Blu Tuesday] What Dzokhar Tsarnaev Deserves

[Tru Blu Tuesday] What Dzokhar Tsarnaev Deserves

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

 – Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

     When two explosions rocked the country last week on April 15th in Boston, we were sent spiraling into sadness and anger. It is to be expected that a nation so heartbroken would respond with passion, and so it should. However, in our passion we must not forget the qualities which made us great. One of those qualities, as etched in the Constitution over and over again, is the defense of the minority – the smallest minority of all being the individual. This concept oozes from such clauses as the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the protection from unlawful search and seizure, and the right to due process of law. These rights are not limited to the pure among us. They are not set aside for only the good citizens. They are for everyone.


          Yes, that includes the devil himself, should he ever show his unsightly face in this country. Today nineteen year old Dzokhar Tsarnaev wears the devil’s mask. In this past week he has become the face that so many now instantly recognize and despise. Yet despite the awful crime with which he has been held suspect, this young man is still under the protection of the supreme law of the land.

     What protections are those? The Fifth Amendment for your review (emphasis added):

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

And the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Because Tsarnaev is, in fact, a citizen of these united States, he has every claim to these clauses. Furthermore, until he is proven guilty through due process, he is to be presumed innocent. As difficult as that may be, considering the aforementioned passion behind this case, he is still entitled to them. This entails that he be read his Miranda rights, be provided legal defense, tried before a jury of his peers and provided every other accommodation required by the Constitution.

     Why should we do this? Why give a person, someone suspected of the most atrocious of crimes, the protection of law? Because in protecting him, we protect ourselves. If we cut down the laws, as William Roper would have done, in order to get after the devil, we will have nothing with which to protect ourselves when he turns back towards us. “But I haven’t done anything wrong” you might say. Oh? But how would we know that without the law to determine justice? When there is no respect for law and order, the line between right and wrong is virtually erased and the good among us are no more innocent than the evil. Under such a horrid circumstance, we are all Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev derserves what we all deserve. The right to due process of law.


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