22 April 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the maternal instinct

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lies in a Boston hospital recovering from gunshot wounds he sustained while fleeing police. Having followed the case rather closely, I think he clearly appears to be guilty. The video footage distinctly shows him leaving a bulky backpack on the sidewalk just minutes before it exploded. Nevertheless, I keep running into women - most of them middle-aged and older - who refuse to believe that Dzokhar could have willingly participated in the crime.

"He's a cutie," I keep hearing. And since he's so cute, and was popular in his social circles, he must have been somehow led astray in a weak moment by his less sympathetic older brother, they say. Maybe the brother drugged him. They see Dzokhar as a victim. This group includes one woman - a Fox News follower - who usually presumes guilt in high-profile murder cases, and calls for the death penalty in all cases.

But it's different with Dzhokhar. They're coddling him because his cuteness seems to bring out a protective maternal instint. And that protective maternal instinct can fuel denial.

Yes, Dzhokar is a nice-looking young man. But if he did commit the crimes he's accused of, he needs to be held accountable via a fair trial in federal court. And let's hope that the maternal groupies stay off that jury, to ensure true fairness.

And then may the evidence lead to an accurate verdict either way.

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