A Charlestown resident is organizing a protest against Rolling Stone magazine’s decision to put Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of their latest edition.
After hearing about the magazine’s plans, local resident George Aaron Cuddy created a social media event called “Sunday Burning Sunday” and is asking people to “buy a copy of the Rolling Stone issue with Tsarnaev on the cover, burn it, take a photo and post it here [on Facebook] or on Twitter (@SunBurningSun).”
The cover photo is tied to an article in the magazine's August edition about the life of the alleged bomber, contributing editor Janet Reitman said on Rolling Stone's Facebook page.
Tsarnaev, 19, pleaded not guilty on July 10 to 30 charges related to the bombing, including murder and using weapons of mass destruction.
A member of the Boston Athletic Association, Cuddy said he was at the Copley Square VIP tent when the blasts occurred on April 15.
"The part I played that day after the explosions was minimal—just comforted a few people—but I witnessed the carnage and the exemplary performance of the medical personnel and volunteers who rushed into harm's way to save so many lives. My emotional reaction to this is so visceral, and to think that a publication would exploit the barbarity of a murderer by concocting a scheme like this (terrorist as rock star) is despicable," Cuddy told Patch.
He said he understands that people might disagree with his idea, saying that buying issues would just benefit Rolling Stone and inadvertently encourage the magazine's use of Tsarnaev's image.
"That may be true. What's most important to me, however, is that the issues are off of the shelves so that victims, their families and all others who have been affected will not have to be force-fed a viewing of this insidious being," Cuddy said.
Though he said he is not usually in favor of book burning, Cuddy said he thought burning the magazine and posting photos of it would have a "cathartic effect" for him and possibly others.
"The Boston Fire Department cannot sanction a controlled burning of this sort, obviously, so it makes sense for it to grow into a nationwide—if not worldwide— action by individuals," he said. "I believe word will spread quite rapidly, via social media this week, about this event."
Some people have already shown support for Cuddy’s cause via Facebook and Twitter, while others say they do not want to buy the
magazine—even to burn it—because it supports Rolling Stone’s decision.
"Can't buy a copy or contribute to making them think they are relevant. ... They knew what they were doing with that cover," one person commented on Facebook.
Cuddy said Sunday Burning Sunday is a personal effort and has no endorsement from the BAA or any other marathon-related charity or group.
At least two businesses—CVS Pharmacy and Roche Bros.—have announced they will not be selling the magazine in deference to the bombing victims.
Several Boston politicians have also spoken out about the issue.