letters | the marathon bombing: accountability in the aftermath

We’re defined by our actions, not by how the camera captures us

State Police Sergeant Sean P. Murphy faced a disciplinary hearing over the release of photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/file

State Police Sergeant Sean P. Murphy faced a disciplinary hearing over the release of photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

People are defined by their behaviors, not by glamorizing or demonizing photos of them. State Police Sergeant Sean P. Murphy, who released photos showing the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, doesn’t get it. Rolling Stone magazine does (“Ouster unlikely for leaking of photos,” Page A1, July 24).

The magazine’s article was well worth reading, and its cover headline was apt: “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.” The point of the cover photo, as I saw it, was that the commission of monstrous acts cannot be predicted simply through outward appearances. The decision by stores in Boston not to sell the magazine prevented many from considering the article’s important psychological and social content.


The facts are that Tsarnaev was well liked in school, a captain of his wrestling team, and a member of the National Honor Society, and he looked great in some photos. So what? He is defined by the evil behaviors of which he is accused. The much more important question posed by Rolling Stone is: How was he radicalized?

In my opinion, an acknowledgement by Murphy that he made a mistake would be a better defense than portraying his behavior, as some have, as courageous and honorable.

Tom Larkin


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