The images are seared into our memories. So, too, is the extraordinary government response: an American city totally locked down while armored vehicles, helicopters, and police in full combat gear patrolled the streets of greater Boston.
Four days after the bombing, the Tsarnaevs were cornered and there was a gun battle. In the end, one young man was dead, and his younger brother badly injured.
We were told that law enforcement had identified the perpetrators, who had acted entirely on their own. The surviving brother was eventually put on trial, convicted, and sentenced to death.
At the trial, his government-appointed counsel stated that he was guilty, and he himself admitted his guilt, and said that he was sorry. But that is all he said. To this day he has never explained how he and his brother ever became terrorists.
He couldn’t tell us if he wanted to. Since his arrest he’s been held under unusual Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), which prevent him from communicating with the outside world. Strikingly, SAMs have also been imposed on his attorneys. The government maintains that SAMs are necessary to prevent prisoners from inciting others to commit acts of terrorism.