Abby Ohlheiser of the Atlantic Wire reports:
A police officer who was there the night Dzhokar Tsarnaev was captured has decided to counter the "normalcy" of Rolling Stone's contorversial cover by releasing photos showing the bomber how many would apparently prefer to see him: bloody, covered in dirt, with the red circle of a laser target trained on his forehead. "This guy is evil," Sean Murphy, a tactical officer for the Massachusetts State Police told Boston magazine. "This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."More, from a Boston magazine blog post
Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Massachusetts State Police who has photographed the funerals of many officers killed in the line of duty, is furious with the magazine. Murphy, who also acts a liaison to the families of fallen officers, is so angered by the cover -- which he says is both dangerous and insulting to the victims of the bombings -- that he feels the need to counter the message that it conveys.So what do we get from Murphy? A couple of photos of Tsarnaev, one of which is this (click to enlarge):
... Murphy wants the world to know that the Tsarnaev in the photos he took that night -- defeated and barely alive, with the red dots of sniper rifles lighting up his forehead -- is the real face of terrorism, not the handsome, confident young man shown on the magazine cover.
With all due respect to Sergeant Murphy, who's seen a lot of pain and suffering, I've got to say that this photo is more glamorous than the Rolling Stone cover photo.
You have a #FreeJahar cult that thinks Tsarnaev is a railroaded victim -- and you want to show him slumped and bloodied, brought to heel by the very people the cultists blame? The cult eroticizes Tsarnaev, and you want to show him with his shirt suggestively lifted, posed almost like a Renaissance St. Sebastian, or Jesus in a Pieta? You think that glamorizes him less?
I understand the pain of people who were upset at the Rolling Stone cover, but this isn't the remedy. Rolling Stone tried to make a point about the banality of evil and the fact that overt monstrousness is not a necessary precursor to a monstrous act, and that was lost on a lot of people. But the reality of the situation can't be willed away. A lot of people found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appealing, engaging, and attractive. For people who aren't thinking clearly, that trumps the unspeakable crime he committed. And for other people, it mustn't be acknowledged, because acknowledging it is deemed to be a way of minimizing the horror of the crime.
It isn't. Those of us who defended the cover know what he did. It's so awful that the rest of his life doesn't mitigate it. But trying to figure out how the two parts of his life fit together is a mystery we think is worth examining. It's good to be forearmed with the knowledge that a monster can be someone a lot of people think has bedroom eyes.
UPDATE: I'm informed in comments that Officer Murphy has been relieved of duty.