A recent poll conducted by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team, part of an effort to force a change of venue for his trial, found that a majority of Bostonians—58 percent—are already convinced the accused Marathon bomber is “definitely guilty.”
That may be persuasive to the presiding judge. But what’s perhaps more interesting is that the poll found a sizable number of Boston residents—42 percent—are still “unsure,” indicating that even the population with the closest proximity to the April 15, 2013, act of terrorism still harbor doubts about the “official” version of events.
Without seeing the evidence the government claims to have of the younger Tsarnaev’s guilt, and due to many anomalies and lingering questions about the bombing and its aftermath, we’re siding with the 42 percent who just aren’t sure yet.
Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe recently expressed surprise about the poll’s results in a column in which he wrote: “Call me Pollyanna, but I’m shocked they were able to find the 42 percent who don’t think he’s guilty.” While Family of Secrets Best Price: $1.93 Buy New $8.85 (as of 05:45 EST - Details) people answering that they’re unsure about Tsarnaev’s guilt isn’t the same as thinking he’s innocent, it does reflect a substantial feeling that the jury is still out in many Bostonians’ minds.
Cullen’s surprise makes sense when one considers the nature of the event, with its gut-wrenching imagery and suspenseful days-long manhunt. After an experience like that, it’s understandable that Bostonians would want someone to hang.
And from the beginning, law-enforcement along with the vast majority of the media have implied that the evidence against Tsarnaev is so airtight, and that his guilt is so self-evident, that it’s bordering on the absurd to assert some things in the official version may not be exactly as we’ve been told.
You Can’t Fool All the People All the Time
The problem, as 42 percent of Bostonians apparently recognize, is that nobody has seen any evidence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s involvement in the actual bombing. It appears to many that there is likely more to this story than the simplistic, “self-radicalized lone wolves” yarn being spun by law enforcement and the mainstream media.
It does appear that these brothers were somehow involved in the violence. However, serious doubts remain with the government’s version of events.
We’ve been told that the brothers:
• Built, placed and detonated the “highly sophisticated” bombs
• Killed Officer Sean Collier execution-style
• Hijacked a Chinese national who made a daring escape
• Set off a chase that culminated in the Watertown shootout, the death of Tamerlan, and the subsequent capture of Dzhokhar in a dry-docked boat
Most importantly, we’ve been told they did all of this alone.
We’ve also been informed that neither the FBI nor any other federal agencies had any contact with the brothers—directly or indirectly—after the agency closed its investigation into Tamerlan and his mother in 2011.
In the absence so far of hard evidence implicating the brothers as the sole perpetrators, many Bostonians appear to have kept an open mind.
In this, they may have been influenced by their familiarity with the FBI’s history of covering up embarrassing relationships to bad guys, like the one local agents had with the murderous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger—not to mention the Bureau’s less-than-stellar record of transparency regarding major events like 9/11. And that doesn’t even take into account some of the geopolitical and national security implications swirling around the case.
In other words—many reasonable doubts still exist.