Tsarnaev’s humanity: neglected by America or neglected by self?

By Amanda Cundari
April 25, 2013

The capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last week ended the city of Boston’s nightmare.  Yet, investigators are still trying to figure out a dozen of unanswered questions: Among them, what were the suspects’ motives?  Did the brothers act alone?  Why was an innocent MIT police officer killed?

There are still many questions that may remain unanswered.  But one burning question in particular remains a mystery: How did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, better known as Jahar (@J_tsar), go from being a normal kid to a suspected terrorist?  This one especially relates to our age group: friends of Jahar have expressed their disbelief that he had a role in the tragedy on Twitter with hashtags like #FreeJahar and #TroyCrossleyTruth.

How do you draw the line between a radicalized psycho and an ill-advised teenager?  Of course, we are not condoning the awful acts of the bombing, which killed three, one an eight-year-old child, and injured over one hundred.

But the question still remains, how did Jahar go from being a normal teenager, tweeting Kendrick Lamar and Eminem lyrics, to now a murderer? If Jahar is proven guilty after his trial, then we can no doubt understand that most of the influence seems to have been from his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

We know that Tamerlan Tsarnaev went to Russia in the beginning of the year 2012 for six months.  Whether or not Tamerlan was learning to make explosive devices from Chechen rebels is still unclear.  We also know from Tamerlan’s aunt that he became increasingly religious before the trip. Unfortunately his suspected motives may never be truly understood as Tamerlan was killed after an encounter with police.  But what we can understand is that Jahar was a teenager who obviously was influenced by his older brother.  Was he wholly manipulated or could he had said “no.”  Did he think it was right or did he know it was wrong?

A second group of questions involve trying to understand why this incident had such a hold on the nation. Was it because of the heavy concentration of thousands of people with cell phone cameras, or because so many of our age group are into exercise and health, that an attack on the Boston Marathon seems like an attack on us?

A third question is, what happened to our interest in the Newtown shooting? Do people know that an expanded background check that is supported by the vast majority of Americans was voted down in the Senate last week? What has happened to our intense interest in gun violence?

According to CNN, Jahar is still being hospitalized and is communicating to investigators through writing and nodding.  Yet another huge skepticism surrounding this entire case is the poor reporting.  Yes, many news outlets did some great reporting but top news outlets such as CNN have been reporting false statements, in a rush to be number one.

Many of Jahar’s friends on Twitter strongly showed their disgust with false media coverage.

Part of this case is media and technologically driven, which in a way doesn’t necessarily have to be such a bad thing.  We caught one suspect due to all this technology, through cell phones and security cameras.  Even the role of social media in today’s culture was more eminent then ever.  Wherever you were Friday you were being updated with a smart phone, radio or television.  These updates came from others smart phones, YouTube videos of the shootout, and message boards of the police radio broadcast.  The news was immediate and in the palm of our hands and the humanity of Jahar completely pushed aside.

The eight-year old child’s parents may feel some closure knowing their child’s murderer has been caught.  The city of Boston may feel some sense of peace knowing their city stays strong and comes together through rough times.  America may feel some sense of unity after catching the suspect.

But the rest lies in Jahar’s hands, in his trial.  Why did he do it?  When did he go from being a normal kid to a suspected murderer?  Why did he tweet that very day of the bombing, “Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people”?  Did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev kill his own humanity?

Amanda Cundari

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