The Tsarnaev brothers were apparently good boys with no psychiatric or known criminal history and no personal connections to terrorist groups, but they saw innocent suffering of multitudes of people with whom they identified. Tamerlan said he did not feel that he fit in America. That is, after living here for a decade, he felt like an outsider, another suffering Muslim. He and his younger brother were fighters, one a boxer and the other a wrestler. They discovered they could make bombs. It was an instant solution to bring attention to their outrage. They devotedly and thoughtlessly did it for Mom. Tamerlan’s last words were to tell his mother that he loved her. Like the pet cat who brings home the dead mouse to its master, the brothers were misguided in their attempt to please their mother.
Two young brothers who together risked their lives for a cause bigger than themselves, because they could no longer idly stand by as they thought the more mature members of their community were doing. Like kids with a new chemistry set, and without much more thought than that, they pulled off an internationally headline-grabbing heinous prank. Their family and friends had no clue to their sudden act of insanity. Their uncle said it best when he pleaded with Dzhokhar to turn himself in, and denounced him for shaming all of their people. They committed unspeakable crimes. Tamerlan has paid the price for that, and Dzhokhar should, too.
But as Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley said at the Muslim-initiated interfaith service for the bombing and shooting victims, “we must â€¦ promote â€¦ a profound respect for each and every human being made in the image and likeness of God.” We must continue to cultivate the inclusion of all, as is the American tradition, rather than cultivating the hatred of the outcast. We should advise such potential terrorists that they will do their people more harm than good. And online terrorist groups give terrible advice. As the Bible says, there should be one law for the citizen and the stranger alike. Then we will be as one with all our brethren.
It was Muslims in Canada who tipped off the Canadian authorities to a plot by some of their own to derail a train to New York, and it was street vendors in Time Square who alerted police to a smoking abandoned car, which contained a lit car bomb. The perpetrator was a recently naturalized citizen, which means he had lived here for at least five years. One of those vendors was a Senegalese immigrant. Ninety-four percent of Senegalese are Muslim. We have had other mad bombers, serial killers, and mass shooters before. We are now cultivating new homegrown terrorists. They will be hard to spot without the help of all of the public. People like the man in Watertown, who, without a weapon, went into his own backyard and discovered Dzhokhar. A house divided cannot stand. Let’s seek peace rather that another round of revenge.