April 23, 2013

Saturday, all six newspapers this writer receives led with the capture of Dzhokhar. “Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston,” ran the Times banner.

TV and print media are still consumed with the brothers, their motives, their travel history, their Chechen background, their Islamic beliefs. And Washington is in a ferocious debate over whether Dzhokhar should be interrogated at length or read his Miranda rights.

Each side of the gun control and immigration debates claims the marathon massacre and its aftermath validates their position.

On April 15, the day the Tsarnaevs set off the pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street, there were 40 bombings and shootings across Iraq that took the lives of 75 and wounded 350. No one in the outside world knows the names of those who set off these bombs, and no one cares. And Baghdad was not locked down.

How, then, when these brothers are now as well-known as Timothy McVeigh, if not Osama bin Laden, and they committed an atrocity that mesmerized America for a week, and they forced a lockdown of one of our greatest cities, can it be said that they failed—as terrorists?

Worse may be yet to come.

For, just as some of the perpetrators of the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown massacres found inspiration and exemplars in mass murderers before them, so the Brothers Tsarnaev may have shown the way for those who hate us to go out in their own special blaze of glory.

All true Americans were with the people of Boston last week. Yet there are individuals to whom these brothers are heroes. Lest we forget. Millions across the Muslim world still believe bin Laden struck a blow for them when he sent those planes into the World Trade Center.

Al-Qaida has been growing and gaining recruits since 9/11.

Yet, while Osama targeted the symbols of U.S. economic, military and political power—the Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, the Capitol—the Tsarnaevs hit a “soft target.” They went after innocent people engaged in the purely innocent activity of competing in and watching a sports event.

And from the weapons and bombs they were carrying Thursday night, they were prepared to keep on killing, until killed themselves.

Suicide-seekers going after soft targets such as ballgames, concerts, malls, parades or school events is something other nations have known but we have largely avoided. Our luck may have run out.

Let us pray the Boston Marathon massacre is not the new paradigm for the sick souls within.


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