An American Tale, Marathon Style

Last year, two Russian immigrants, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, detonated two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (Spare me the need for “allegedly”; while this is a law blog, it’s not a courtroom. Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t apply here.) They killed three people – Lingzu Lu, Krystle Campbell, and Martin Richard – before going on a crime spree that included killing Sean Collier and almost killing Dic Donohue.

That year, and this year as well, the women’s wheelchair race was won by another Russian immigrant, Tatyana McFaddenMcFadden’s parents adopted her from a Russian orphanage when she was a child; she was born with spina bifida and has always been paralysed from the waist down.  That America can turn an abandoned child like Tatyana McFadden into a Boston Marathon champion speaks volumes about this country.

At the finish line, McFadden gave her golden crown of laurels to another immigrant, Carlos Arredondo. Arredondo was born in Costa Rica and became famous when he saved Jeff Bauman’s life at the Marathon finish line last year.

There was more good news and joy for Americans at this year’s Marathon: for the first time since 1983, an American man took home the men’s open crown.  But Meb Keflezighi is also an immigrant: he was born in Eritrea.

I’m proud that champions and heroes want to come to America, and that this country enables people like Tatyana McFadden to do great things. McFadden, Arredondo, and Keflezighi underscore how rotten the Tsarnaev brothers are: it’s not an immigrant thing, but a psychopath thing, that caused them to kill people who were watching a sport.  And, stating the obvious, it’s not wrong of us to want more Tatyana McFaddens and fewer Tsarnaev brothers in this great country.

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