Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev is a Kyrgyzstani-American of Chechen descent who is rotting in prison after being convicted of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Three people died and as many as 280 were injured. Tsarnaev's older brother Tamerlan was killed while attempting to elude capture.

Like most Americans, I will never forget this day. It was my wife's 45th birthday and we were returning home from her birthday lunch in Providence when the news broke on the radio during the Red Sox game. We knew it was terrorism from the first report, but never suspected that one of the men responsible was enrolled at UMass Dartmouth with my son, or that he was rooming with friends off Shawmut Avenue, or that his backpack with vital evidence would be found at our landfill.

Tsarnaev received fan mail from young people, mainly young girls, as he sat in prison awaiting trial. I remember thinking how bizarre it was that people could worship a young man accused of mass murder. He hadn't been convicted yet, so I guess perhaps they were giving him the benefit of the doubt.

As Tsarnaev sits on death row, there are still some who believe him to be a victim in all of this. A case in point is the man who ran in the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on the Cape over the weekend, wearing a tee shirt with the handwritten words "Save Tsarnaev" scrawled across the back. Believe me, the irony of that was not lost on race participants.

We may never know who this Tsarnaev fan is and perhaps that's best. His actions were no doubt rude and insensitive. It's funny that the American way of life that the Tsarnaev brothers rebelled against protects this man's right to wear that shirt in public.

How is that for the ultimate in irony?

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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