UPDATED: America is looking for closure on the Marathon Bombing as one of the suspects dies in a flurry of gunfire and bombs and the other continued eluding police into the next day. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ages 19 an 26 respectively, were legal immigrants who came from the Russian Federation.
As America hunts for the people behind the Marathon Bombing, what we really want is closure, and to know what went wrong.
UPDATED: While anyone who carefully observed the Facebook page and Twitter account of the older brother, Tamerlan, might have suspected he was a radical Islamist nationalist, nobody who knew the brothers suspected they would try to murder people at the Boston Marathon.
The key question, of course, is WHY? And along with this question, partisans are seeking to see how they can exploit this event to further their agenda. On the left, for instance, everything from the sequester to the NRA is being cited as a reason for this event. On the right, there are already calls to “re-examine” immigration policy and the typical anti-Muslim rhetoric picked up as soon as the suspects were identified as “Muslims.”
For the family of the suspects, there has been a mixed reaction. One uncle angrily condemned the two men and denounced them for “shaming” their family and Checnya in general. An aunt railed against the media about a “conspiracy” to blame her nephews asking “who benefits from blaming this on these men, you do the math”, intimating that those who might use this event to come against Muslims might be behind it. Meanwhile, the father of the two men took a middle road, suspecting that this could be a conspiracy, but asking the remaining suspect to turn himself in and then “we can find out where the truth lies.”
Civil liberties advocates fear that every event like this frightens enough people to empower government to impose new restrictions in the name of security. A common theme among those who want to reduce civil liberties is “the Constitution isn’t a suicide pact”, while civil liberties advocates believe that the loss of civil liberties is actually more in keeping with the goal of the terrorists.
It is generally suspected that the attackers were Muslims, however this is still being investigated.
The nature of this attack has puzzled experts, combining elements of both domestic and foreign terrorism. Some experts have stated their suspicions of domestice terrorism, even blaming “the right wing”, while others say it must be Jihadist in its origins.
UPDATE: The fact that the suspects lived in the US for over ten years, the younger brother being a naturalized US citizen as of September 11, 2012, but lived for a time in a region just north of Afghanistan, might account for the “signature” of this attack.
Speculation often leads to generalizations and now that the identity of the suspects is known, there is generalization about Muslims and Chechnyans, and members of both communities are feeling nervous now about fall-out they might face for a crime they had nothing to do with. This same kind of feeling is shared, for instance, by gun-owners whom the left have demonized over the murderous rampages that occurred in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut. Like gun-owners, immigrants from Chechnya and Muslims might face demonization, this time from the right, because of the murderous deeds of these two men.
On a local note, a source involved in national security contacted us and revealed a “growing concern” over renegade acts by “lone wolfs.” In our area, according to the source, our gas wells would be “an item of interest” and, while we face no direct threat “being vigilant about the safety of those sights” is “a good idea”. The likelihood of a real threat emerging, however, is very slim and, aside from the vigilance of people who live near gas wells against any suspicious activity, our region has no known “activity” and is generally seen as too far off the beaten path to be targeted.
Other areas, however, are more on alert, especially cities, which have beefed up security and their police presence all around the country, even around the world in some cases.
Closure for many means justice: making those who did the deed AND those who indirectly helped or encouraged the attackers pay a price for their crimes. Trying to find out if the suspects are part of a larger group, for instance, is one of the key questions. Barring a connection between the suspects and a clearly defined entity we can “punish” people are tempted to make those generalizations that breed bigotry and hate, or demonization of groups or opponents you don’t like- this is the reason why some blame gun owners and the NRA for murderous rampages by lone psychopaths who illegally obtain weapons, UPDATE- and this is the reason why Chechnyans and Muslims face a backlash after the Marathon bombing.
In the end, it may be Al Qaeda inspired, but obtaining closure at the cost of demonizing Muslims and Chechnyans, while tempting, is unlikely, according to experts, to lead anything other than the radicalization of members of those communities who might otherwise have not been radicalized.
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