The Widow and The Paparazzi

8cfc6e3e1c1fb4ddeb0aef891a02fbd3,37,1widowKatherine Russell, widow of Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, has become the subject of media attention as the public searches for answers to last week’s events in Boston. As she faces this scrutiny, we should ask whether her privacy is being violated and if so, in what ways. In my mind, we should look at two things. The first deals with photographs. Once she was identified as Tsarnaev’s wife, the media seemed to descend on her Cambridge home making it difficult for her to go anywhere without cameras in tow (see the photographs above courtesy of Polish website and

Then there are the profiles on her. The Daily News reported that she “became pregnant in her senior year and dropped out of college.” Meanwhile on the Huffington Post we learned that Russell “was a talented artist, a good student who grew up Christian, the daughter of a suburban doctor.” The article went on to name her father and mother and provided additional information on them gathered from their Facebook profiles.

Is all this necessary? When it comes to the public wanting to learn what motivated the horrific bombings in Boston, it seems that the personal lives of one woman and her family are expendable. All news reports claim that Russell was completely shocked by the events that took place. If she was in all reality an innocent bystander, shouldn’t she be entitled to some measure of privacy? Must we know about her upbringing and the lives of her parents? The way that Russell has been probed seems to have made her into yet another victim.

Is this level of scrutiny ever justified? That depends. If on the other hand, Russell had been named by authorities as a “person of interest” in the case, then it would seem that she could expect at least some amount of media scrutiny. Absent that, we should wonder about the necessity to enter this woman’s life and to expose her and her family to even more grief than what they’ve already been exposed to at the hands of her deceased husband.

Thanks to BagNewsNotes for their reporting on this case.


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