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Time Magazine Writes Why America Needs To Face Personal History Of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, And Knee-Jerk Reaction To Rolling Stone Wrong

July 19, 2013

Given how many people watch FAUX News should have prepared me for the reaction that came this week when Rolling Stone made a journalistic attempt to better understand what makes up the background, and mindset of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.    But it has been encouraging to me that there have been other voices that have risen up, and made the case why it is important to know more about those who get caught up in the radical Islamic thinking.  It also it important to know that Islam, in and of itself, is not to fault for the actions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev anymore than Christianity when distorted should be blamed for someone who kills an abortion doctor.  At the root of each case where zealots bastardize religion I feel it is important to wade into the backgrounds, and try to find out more about why people act as they do.  It is from there that we can find answers.    Of course, deeper understanding of anything is not the strong suit of FAUX News viewers, so it is incumbent upon the rest of us to wade into the matter about why some young men get caught up in radical Islam.

Time made a compelling case for knowing more about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

When we distance ourselves from our shared humanity and treat mass murderers as removed from our daily lives, we don’t have to examine the more prosaic factors that can contribute to the violence in our midst: bad genes, child neglect, untreated mental illness, too-easy access to assault weapons, political and religious indoctrination, and the like. Of course, the great majority of people in depressing circumstances do not become a mass murderer, but few mass murderers don’t have a laundry list of extenuating circumstances or grievances. We can abhor them, but we can’t completely ignore them. 

It shouldn’t be un-American to confront these issues, and defacto censorship –  which is what companies like CVS are doing by refusing to sell the issue – is  actually disrespectful to the victims and their families. To push  the story away is to say that we are unwilling, as a society, to cope with  difficult questions. It’s an admission that we are simply afraid to know too  much, afraid, literally, to see too much. It’s a public declaration that we can  deal with a demon like Osama  Bin Laden, whose middle aged, sickly face was plastered on magazine covers  for years, because he wasn’t actually ‘one of us.’ But to chronicle the life of  a homegrown kid, buffeted by parental abandonment, financial debt, increasing  cultural isolation and despair? That cuts close to the bone.

One Comment
  1. July 19, 2013 3:16 PM

    My only objection is to the “rock star” photo of Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone. I’m afraid it will only glorify him further to people who might want to emulate him. I think the editors could have come up with something a little less glamorous, if you will.

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