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Kevin Cullen

The difference between us and them

Protesters gathered Monday outside the Graham, Putnam, and Mahoney Funeral Parlors, where the body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was being held.Elise Amendola/AP

There were, in the days ­after the Patriots Day bombs, some profound ­moments, none more so than what unfolded in the chaos on Dexter Avenue in Watertown.

One of the bombers was down, felled by a great ­Watertown cop named Jeff Pugliese and mangled by his own moronic little brother, who ran him over in his haste to escape.

The gunfire over, Dan Linskey, chief of the Boston Police Department, had to make a decision: he saw a wounded Transit Police officer, Dic Donohue, down and his first ­instinct was to run toward him.

But seeing that Donohue was surrounded by cops who were working feverishly to save him, Linskey ran toward a terrific gang unit cop name Jared Gero, who was holding the handcuffed, fallen bomber.


“Be careful, Jared!” Linskey yelled. “He might be loaded!”

Together, they stripped the mortally wounded bomber, looking for an explosive device. They found none.

It was at that moment that Linskey reached for his belt.

Now, in many places in this world, someone in Linskey’s position would have pulled something else from the belt that held his holster. But Linskey pulled out his radio and called for an ambulance.

He tried to save the life of a man believed to have killed a beautiful little boy named Martin Richard, a lovely young woman named Krystle Campbell, and a ­delightful Chinese graduate student named Lu Lingzi. He tried to save the life of a man suspected of maiming scores of people at the Boston Marathon. He tried to save the life of a man he believed had killed a wonderful cop named Sean Collier. He tried to save the life of a man who, had he lived, would have stood in court and spewed some vile drivel about how the America that gave him sanctuary is a godless place of infidels, victimizing the dead and the wounded all over again.


A few days after Dan Linskey tried to save the life of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, I asked him why.

“Because that’s the difference between us and them,” he told me.

Compare the heroic actions of Dan ­Linskey and all the first responders and medical people to the shameful posturing of those yahoos in Worcester pretending that whatever happens to the body of ­Tamerlan Tsarnaev matters.

If you stood outside the funeral home of that poor undertaker who was trying to do the right thing, if you held a stupid handmade sign, if you wrapped yourself in an American flag and yelled nonsense into a TV camera, congratulations, because you did what Tamerlan Tsarnaev wanted.

If you are obsessed with the mortal ­remains of a despicable sociopath, congratulations, because you are keeping him relevant.

If you have verbally abused a Muslim ­because the bombers were Muslim, congratulations, because you have done what the bombers wanted.

If you are that guy in my hometown, Malden, who screamed at Heba Abolaban, a Palestinian woman wearing a head scarf, calling her a terrorist, congratulations, ­because you did exactly what the bombers hoped you’d do.

Abolaban is a doctor who has helped more Americans than the moron who abused her ever will. She said the Malden police officers who responded were gentle and kind, and I’m not surprised, because Malden Police Chief Kevin Molis is a good guy whose cops know whose side to be on. She appreciated that the mayor, Gary Christenson, called her.


If you are one of those drunken slobs who attacked Algerian-born student Amine Hadjeres outside a Back Bay restaurant last Saturday, I’m glad Amine popped you in the mouth. He’s a better American than you racist clowns ever will be.

Forget Tsarnaev. Stop doing his bidding.

And take comfort: He now knows there are no virgins in hell, much less 72 of them.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeCullen.