At long last, the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is well and truly underway, with opening statements having begun Wednesday morning. It's yet another high-profile court proceeding, and there are a lot of people watching in anticipation — people with a very personal stake in the outcome. The grisly April 2013 attack that the surviving Tsarnaev brother stands trial for left a trail of injury and destruction in its wake, foremost represented by the victims and their families. For example: Boston bombing amputee Marc Fucarile, who's attending the trial after catching a bus to the courtroom Wednesday morning.
As reported by The New York Times, Fucarile wasn't alone in arriving outside the court. In fact, he was just one of a number of bombing victims who're in attendance — two buses full of people arrived at the Boston federal courthouse preceding opening statements, including Heather Abbott, who completed the famed race one year after the attack badly damaged her left leg. While everyone may have their own reasons for following the trial, for an actual victim the motivation seems obvious enough — many of the people injured in the attack want to see justice done, whatever form that ends up taking.
Fucarile's story has long been one of the most public to emerge from the bombing, by virtue of the fact that he's been candid with the media since that fateful day. When two pressure-cooker bombs ripped off near the finish line of the marathon nearly two years ago, Fucarile suffered massive damage to his right leg, ultimately resulting in an amputation. "Daunting" doesn't quite cover the medical process he endured afterwards, as detailed by the Boston Globe last year — he says he had to undergo a staggering 20 or so surgeries, and over 50 outpatient procedures.
He reportedly didn't take pain medication throughout his recovery, either, telling the Globe that he didn't "like the way it makes me feel," and that the pain helped remind him he was alive.
Given that somewhat dramatic statement — that confronting the pain grounded him in the reality of his survival — it shouldn't come as much surprise that Fucarile was in attendance. He's proven to be a strenuous, vocal advocate for himself, his fellow victims, and an opponent of the people who think they made it all up (seriously).
While heading to watch Tsarnaev's pretrial proceedings in December, Fucarile was faced with a small group of "Free Jahar" supporters, a group that believes in Tsarnaev's innocence — despite the fact that his own attorneys admit he committed the crime, and are only arguing intent. While opinions on the part of the pro-Tsarnaev fringe aren't uniform, there are many who insist, beyond all reason, that the people injured in the attacks weren't hurt at all, but were merely "crisis actors." So when Fucarile held his prosthetic leg aloft for the protesters to see, it was a simple yet moving act of defiance.
Everyone is bound to process and interpret such destabilizing, traumatic events differently. And in Fucarile's case the bombing's left him desiring vengeance against Tsarnaev — he wants the death penalty. The trial is expected to span several months, so it'll yet be a while before we know what fate Tsarnaev will face. But this much is clear: Fucarile, and fellow victims like him will be waiting and watching.