Some thoughts about the marathon bombings


It was just one week ago that the Tsarnaev brothers savaged the Boston Marathon with that most cowardly of dastardly acts: an anonymous bombing. Much has happened in the intervening seven days, a lot of which is actually good (that being the way the country came together to support Boston, the way Bostonians rejected the notion that they were victims, the capture of one Tsarnaev and the killing of the other). I’ve had a few thoughts rolling around in my head about this whole affair and I just need to get them out. So if you’re looking for some coherent discussion of this topic, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Anyway, here goes:

1. There are lots of things wrong with the United States, and I’m not shy about pointing them out. But we do welcome immigrants and we do give them a new opportunity… which is exactly what the two bombers had. That’s the sad irony of the whole thing. Both brothers, but especially the younger, had real opportunities to have good lives here.  Heck they DID have good lives here. They, as much as anyone, should have appreciated America. Reading and hearing the paranoid assertions from their parents in Russia (or whichever former republic they are now living in) and their aunt in Canada, it makes me wonder what their upbringing was like. How sad and pathetic to have your greatest aspiration to be to kill people indiscriminately from the shadows of an anonymous bombing.

2. I am not usually moved by mass displays of patriotism, but the scene at Fenway Park on Saturday was remarkable. I think what made it get to me was how genuine and sincere it appeared. The “Boston Strong” thing started almost immediately (and it seemed to me to start with Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox, though that may have just been an illusion of Twitter). And it didn’t feel like just empty sloganeering. There was a true sense of community strength from all corners, and I found that very touching and encouraging.

3. I should not be surprised by this, but nevertheless it still amazes me that the Republican party can almost unilaterally block background checks on firearms purchases based on Constitutionality, but they are the first ones to criticize the FBI for not doing a deeper background check on the older Tsarnaev brother:

Representative Peter King of New York, a Republican member of the House homeland security committee, asked whether the FBI could have done more. “Did they move too quickly by letting this guy off the hook?” said King, quoted in Newsday. “Should they have looked more carefully?”

As bad as the bombings are — and I am in no way arguing that they are not horrible — the bombs killed three people, whereas Adam Lanza killed 27 people in Newtown with firearms. You can not seriously pretend to actually care about the welfare of Americans and block every effort to control who has access to guns. That’s hyper hypocrisy at its Republican best.

4. This is not criticism of the authorities involved, but I find it a curious circumstance that they locked down the community of Watertown all day Friday while they did a pretty intensive search. But it wasn’t until they lifted their “stay indoors at home” order, that the fugitive Tsarnaev brother was finally located — because a man came out of his home and noticed blood on his boat. They probably would have captured that kid much sooner and with a lot less fuss if they hadn’t ordered everyone in doors in the first place. But who knew?


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