The young man, bleeding and injured, crawled into a boat to hide.  Bleeding, and hunted.  The sirens, the flashing lights in the darkness.  Soon there would be helicopters, perhaps dogs.  They would probably shoot to kill when they found him.

He was only a teenager, but now he was a killer.  He had no right to expect mercy — he had shown none.

He had believed a lie, believed that it justified the killing, the hatred.  He didn’t believe that lie now, not really, or he wouldn’t be hiding.

His brother, Tamerlan, had run towards the police, giving him a chance, but he was wounded, and he just couldn’t go far.  He knew his brother was probably dead.  The two of them had killed, and were trying to kill again, and if the police hadn’t got Tamerlan, he’d have exploded the bomb on his chest.  His brother was gone.  It was just him now.

Maybe Tamerlan really had believed the lies.  Maybe that was why he’d done it — or maybe Tamerlan just wanted to give his brother a chance by drawing their fire.  He would never know now.  But Tamerlan had run towards them, and he had run away.

There was little hope for escape.  This boat would work for a while, but they were hunting.  Eventually, hunger, thirst, or his wounds would drive him out from cover, even if they didn’t find him here.  He might try to get away when darkness came again, if his injuries let him, but he had no car, no help, no friends.  Everyone would be alert, the police would still be everywhere.  They would get him.

How many lives had he destroyed, how many marred?  How many families would never be the same?  But had he counted his own life in the toll?  He was popular, a successful wrestler, he had won a scholarship.  Here he was, a certified lifeguard, bleeding under a boat cover, waiting for them to find him because instead of saving lives, he had taken lives.

He wasn’t a martyr — martyrs don’t attack the innocent, don’t kill little boys, and then run and hide.  He didn’t have the courage of his “convictions” any longer, or he wouldn’t be hiding.  He wasn’t a martyr, but he was a victim — a victim of his own wickedness in following those lies, lies that weren’t doing him any good now.

Did he still think he believed them, or did he finally see the lies for what they were as he hid there in the boat, waiting for the police to come, wondering if police dogs would smell his blood and track him, waiting for he knew not what?  Did he realise that the very fact he was hiding showed that he knew, deep inside, the lies had failed him?

The police had broadcast his name.  His father, far away, claimed he had been framed, his uncle said he was a loser.  Former classmates were talking about him.  All the world was talking about him, but he didn’t know.  He was utterly alone, alone with himself, alone with his conscience, alone with the tatters of a life that he himself had torn to shreds by his own evil actions.

He’d heard the broadcasts, the calls for the death penalty for the bombers.  He couldn’t blame them for that, if he was honest.  There was no real hope.  He might be injured but he could still shoot.  That was all he had left.

Any hopes of doing anything good with his life, any friends he’d made, any happiness, it was all gone.  Any good he had done in the past, any friendship he had showed, would always be marred in the eyes of those who knew him.  They would always wonder, now, if he’d ever been a friend or if he had just been using them all along.

He would never have a family and children.  His parents would go through the rest of their life without their sons.  He had brought shame on everyone.

Everything in his life had gone to ashes.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death….


Thus is it ever with sin, the destroyer.  Few lives are mutilated in exactly the same way sin shattered Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but sin’s destructive work is all around.  Addiction, pornography, drunkenness, dishonesty, promiscuity, pride, and bitterness, these all wreck families and crush lives as surely, if not as swiftly, as violence.

Sin is a killer, enslaving people, driving them to ruin themselves.  Among its weapons are violence, hatred, despair, disease, resentment, and so many others, all of which are simply different ways of rejecting God’s plan and God’s safeguards.  Sin lures people through pleasure, greed, and pride into lives dedicated to their own self-destruction and the destruction of others.

So often, once a person follows that path, he is trapped, hopeless, waiting for death, as surely as that youth was trapped and hopeless in that boat.  Death may not seem as imminent for others as it did for him, but there is no way out.  It would take a miracle….

II Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Revelation 21:5

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

God does not promise to remove all of this life’s consequences of our sin, but He promises, to those who turn to Him, to remake us with a new heart, a new hope, and a new future.  And He promises an eternal future when His work of renewing all things is complete and there is no more death, no more sorrow, no more weeping.

Jesus Christ died to pay the price for all that sin, for all that despair, to set the captives free.  He rose from the dead, and the victory is His — and ours, if we turn to Him to be set free from sin’s slavery.

I Corinthians 15:3-4

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

If you will believe that Christ died for your sins, you don’t have to be trapped, and hopeless.  You don’t have to simply be waiting to die alone.  You don’t have to live for destruction, and face the eternal Judge in terror, rather than in joy.  You don’t have to live out, and die in, a lie.

Romans 6:6

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.


How long had he been there in the boat?  It was getting on towards dark — but there was a helicopter overhead.  Then, he heard them.  They had found him.  He had known it would almost certainly come to that.

He still had his gun.  That was all his own evil choices had left to him — a trigger.  Nothing to build, nothing of good, nothing to hope.  Just destruction.  Everything else, everything but destruction, was in ashes.

Sin was heavy on his heart as his finger grew heavy on the trigger.  The path he had chosen was his master now.  He would keep following it, he would pull that trigger.


I John 2:1

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
This entry was posted in Thoughts on the News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Trapped

  1. angusmackillop says:

    Well and thoughtfully written, Pastor Jon.
    Sadly, your words become all the more poignant when read against the possibly that the whole sad affair was a false flag operation.
    Blessings, Angus

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Angus. I didn’t try to define what lies he believed, because we still don’t know (if we ever will) what he thought his purposes were. I have no reason to assume it was or wasn’t a false flag, and no real way to assess it. I’ll never know all the evidence, and never be responsible for assessing it, and for that I’m thankful.

      Whoever he thought he was working for, it was the evil one, and he probably didn’t fully understand that. From a spiritual perspective, any sin is almost always a false flag.

  2. Ruth Gleason says:

    So many unanswered questions, but as you say, we are not responsible for assessing this whole event. So interesting that no effective way of escape was planned. And such a dead end road after the cause of so much evil.

  3. Tazzy says:

    I was coming back home from a trip when this was all unfolding. I live in Boston. Listening to MSNBC radio in the car and I said to myself…I dont’ think he wants to die now. But sooo much had gone wrong already. Even though he caused all that destruction…I felt for him at that moment when they were looking for him. Just him. Knowing his brother was gone and he was alone now to think for himself. “I don’t think he wants to die now.”
    Be Blessed Jon

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thanks, Tazzy. I don’t think he wanted to die. Yet, they think the wound to his mouth and throat was self-inflicted (I didn’t know that when I wrote the post, but I wondered).

      It is a great tragedy when someone wants to kill himself. It is even more when someone who doesn’t want to tries to do so because he is trapped — when he pulls the trigger because he thinks he has to.

      And it isn’t that he doesn’t deserve to die. He does. But it is still a tragedy.

      When will we learn what a deadly enemy sin can be?

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