Trying to Understand what is not Understandable – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – Portrait of a Terrorist

Back to normal:The 19-year-old Chechen terror suspect partied with college friends on Wednesday night and was said to 'look relaxed'.He’s the age of my son.  He was a high school athlete like  my son.  He was enrolled in a good university, lived in a dorm, was a life guard, played soccer with his friends, was describe by a friend to CNN as, “a normal kid, he parties, he sometimes smokes – if you know what I mean. He was as American as I am – he was born and raised here. This kid was a walking angel.”  Former wrestling coach Larry Aaronson told CNN: ‘There was nothing in his character, in his comportment, in his demeanor that said he would be capable of doing this.  He was so grateful to be here, he was so grateful to be at the school. He was so grateful to be accepted. He was pleasant, careful, jovial – there was nothing remotely like this at all. He was a lovely, lovely kid, an outstanding athlete and never a troublemaker. Last time I saw him I spoke to him in the street around Thanksgiving. I asked if he was still wrestling and he said he was burying himself in his studies.’ I read his twitter feed from the last year.  It was full of normal teenage pop culture.  On April 13th, just two days before the Boston Marathon he was joking about Game of Thrones. On April 15th, he walked through a crowd of people, laid a bomb at their feet, and walked away, knowing that people would be dead or seriously injured in minutes.  How could he do that? On the day of the marathon, he tweeted: jahar 1 Did he feel remorseful?  The pictures show him feet away from the little boy he killed.  The eight year old boy he killed!  One of the victims woke up in the hospital and remembered a man looking him straight in the eye before dropping a bag full of explosives at his feet. Later in the day he tweeted to a friend a chilling message, jahar 2 Is he really trying to say that god hates victims of tragedies?  Can he possibly be talking about his victims? A woman who went to his mother’s home salon for facials for many years told us that the family became increasingly religious and that the younger son didn’t believe in 9/11. jahar 7 And one final tweet the day of the marathon.  Perhaps this is an indication that he had been “radicalized” as the media calls it.  Was that what he tweeted about the day of the bombings? jahar 3 The day after the marathon he was back to small talk, tweeting about claritin clear, telling jokes.  But he was scanning twitter for stories about the marathon bombings.  He called out one twitter account for posting a photoshopped picture with a fake story.  He had two words for the photo/story, “fake story”.  His attitude was casual.  We learned that he went back to his dorm room on campus.  Worked out, partied with his soccer friends.  On twitter he posted: jahar 4 Much has been made of two tweets, among the 1,000 on his timeline: jahar 5 Was this a joke?  “things you don’t yell when entering a room?” or some sort of signal that he was part of the plot?  His timeline is full of jokes – most of them about pop culture. This exchange last summer has people talking. jahar 9 But it’s hard to say what the conversation was about – they could have been talking about running the marathon.  And his response was excitement about going to university in the fall.  That doesn’t sound like someone who was planning a bombing as early as last August. How is a young man that seemingly is disinterested in politics, and concerned about world hunger capable of participating in the horror that occurred last Monday? jahar 8 jahar 6 How is a young man like this capable of walking away from the bombings to go back to his dorm room to party with friends?  This makes no sense to me.

I don’t have trouble picturing Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan. as a terrorist.  Disgruntled with the United States.  Never fitting in.  Disappearing for months to be “radicalized.”  Reports are surfacing that he was interviewed by the FBI two years ago over his extremist ties.

His mother knew that the FBI had interviewed him.  She claimed that they “controlled” him.  From the article I linked to above, “The mother of the two suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told RT America on Friday that the FBI had been monitoring her oldest son for being a ‘leader’ in a religious politics movement. In broken English, she claimed ‘he was controlled by the FBI for 3-5 years. They knew what my son was doing. They knew actions, and what sites on the internet he was going. ‘They used to tell me that they were controlling him, he was a serious leader and they were afraid of him.”

Chilling.  Will we be faced of years of conspiracy theories that the FBI was behind this?

But what about this nineteen year old boy who has lived in the US since middle school.  He was not what he appeared to be.  He idolized his radical older brother.  He willingly went to the marathon with a backpack full of bombs.  He dropped the bombs at peoples’ feet and walked away.  He went back to his normal life, and pretended nothing had happened.  He was capable of cold-blooded murder.  I suppose that is all I need to understand – even if it is not understandable.

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About Veena (NMD)

Just a housewife ... who loves this place .... and loves to write ... You can reach me through this email: nomoredrama8@gmail.com. Lynn's Place is in tribute to Housewives blogger Lynn Hudson, who passed away in August of 2012.
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76 Responses to Trying to Understand what is not Understandable – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

  1. Good Morning!

    NMD, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I struggled all day yesterday with the same questions about this young man as I looked at all the pictures of him with that smirk on his face, while reading about what an “angel” he was. How does one young man turn from being an angel to a bomber? I have so many other questions and thoughts that I can not even formulate this morning…so I am bringing over a paragraph from my blog post the other say that sums it up for now:

    “Consider that, this lovely planet that we live on, hanging here in the cosmos, with the perfect mix of air, water, earth and atmosphere just right to support our human minds and bodies…is a gift from the universe just so that we can have life, so that we can live our lives and have our families and realize our passions and our joys and sorrows. Who are we to slap that gift in the face by perpetuating hate and violence on the very landscape of the gift that gives us the life that allows us to make those choices?”

    I hope everyone can find some moments of peace and relief for your Saturday, even in the midst of confusion and anger. Shine your Lovely Light everyone…shine your Light!!

    Blessings and Love to All!
    http://fromthedeskofmardrag.wordpress.com/

  2. cocfarm says:

    I thought this was a good read this morning:
    http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/2013/04/20/10-essential-points/

    Thanks for putting this together nmd. I know I was responsible from sort of hijacking the site yesterday with all things related to the brothers. It was good to be able to turn to a place where we could ‘talk’ in a place of comfort. Thank you so much for that.

    The link I posted is well worth a quick read. I agree with much of it, not sure on others, but it is thoughtful on the topic.

    I don’t think we will ever really understand. I think he was part lemming and part, I don’t know…disturbed? I feel for all of the people who thought they knew him. How confused they must be this morning.

    Thanks to all here. I appreciated the safe haven yesterday.

    • Amalfi says:

      That definitely was worth the read, cocfarm. And NMD.

    • melthehound says:

      Thanks cocfarm… This from that article expresses perfectly why I stayed away from the coverage of this ‘event’.

      Chechnya is a fairly remote region. There are few people on TV with actual expertise about Chechnya. Most of these “instant experts” go to Wikipedia to get their information. Because of the 24-hour news media, we now have created a cult of instant experts who need to be able to fill the airways now about Iraq, now about Afghanistan, now about Chechnya, without necessarily having set foot on these places, knowing their languages, their history, or spoken with their peoples. Complex geo-political realities are collapsed into cliché tropes of “jihad” and “terrorism.” The late Edward Said made this same point 30 years ago for the first time. It is even more true today with social media and the fake experts paraded on Fox and elsewhere.

      Here is one simple revelation: Read the Wikipedia page on Chechnya, and then see how many of its phrases show up in the sound bites of these instant experts.

      • Contessa says:

        Mel, I watched a whole lot of TV last night and I agree with this wholeheartedly. It is a very complex thing, and much to convoluted for in -depth discussion on TV.

        • melthehound says:

          I stopped watching the corporate and profit driven 24 hour news cycle networks (All of them) years ago and even this manhunt couldn’t make me turn it back on. Too many ‘experts’ who wouldn’t know shit if they had a mouthful for me on those networks for my liking… News reporting shouldn’t be for profit. They should just take the word News out of their respective network names and call it what it really is. Entertainment.

    • Rebecca says:

      There are some pretty big inconsistencies in this story,

      The uncle who claims to have not had contact with his nephews “stated that this atrocity had nothing to do with being Chechen or Islam,” If he doesn’t speak to them, how would he know?

      “Dzhokhar did not get to hear his Miranda rights” – he wasn’t arrested, he was taken in for questioning. What is said at the police station is not public knowledge (yet). In questioning a person of interest in regard to a matter of public safety, Miranda Rights don’t apply. Think of it this way, you witness a horrible hit and run, when a policeman asks you what happened, do you asked to be read your Miranda Rights before answering a question? NO.

      The white privilege paragraph is missing the point. We try so hard to stop pointing out people’s race in our everyday lives and then each of these journalists continues to point out what color the suspect and victims are. Hate is hate. It is colorless and raceless.

      • melthehound says:

        “The white privilege paragraph is missing the point. We try so hard to stop pointing out people’s race in our everyday lives and then each of these journalists continues to point out what color the suspect and victims are. Hate is hate. It is colorless and raceless.”

        Well said.

    • lizzle says:

      Loved the article COC and I loved your article NMD. I don’t think beer pong and smoking weed is a part of the laws of Islam. Even though he attended mosque… he doesn’t sound too religious. I was listening to an expert on radicalization. Usually it is an older person or the internet that will radicalize someone. I think the internet radicalized the older brother… and the older brother radicalized the younger one. Sometimes I think violent extremists are just violent people that hide behind their ideals. I also think violent people are angry people. There is something that happened to the older one to make him angry. This something isn’t a religion or an ideal… it was an experience that he had. Getting into boxing was a positive way to deal with the anger… too bad that didn’t help stop this tragedy. The younger one didn’t seem like he was angry from what everyone who knew him stated. I can’t figure him out. Maybe he had a hard time adjusting to university and his brother was there for him… filling his head with radical ideals and eventually ideas. Maybe the younger one was able to shift his focus from his own life to something he felt he had power over and could control. Disclaimer: I am an expert in nothing… so this is all just baseless speculation. Why? is the big question for me.

  3. LaineyLainey says:

    NMD, your son is 19? With my young adult children…it is difficult not to ignore our “mom hearts” when we see how young these guys are (or “were” in the case of his brother)…so hard to wrap our minds around how anyone, much less a young man enjoying the freedoms and opportunities of our great nation, could be capable of hurting, killing, maiming the innocent. It is un- understandable. I cannot understand this. I keep wondering WHO financed them? They just couldn’t have been acting alone. How did they come to possess all of those weapons? Is it that easy to have firearms and explosives…I thought I heard they had hand grenades? I just think that there are powerful people who used these young men and they’re sitting back, fat and happy, while this plays out. When the dust settles, I fear they’ll (the secret rich people) find two other suckers and hit our country again. I do not think these Boston bombers acted alone. What do you guys think? Perhaps you’ve all already discussed this…if so, that’s ok, I’ve only been able to read the blog intermittently.

    • Orson says:

      LL, I think these 2 men acted alone. i certainly don’t believe for a minute there is some secret Chechnyan conspiracy to terrorize the USA. Against Russia? Sure, but not us. There was and still is a HUGE amount of rumors, misinformation (both deliberate and accidental) and speculation circulating on the internet and social media about this event. I’m pretty confident that when it’s all sorted out, those in a position to separate fact from fiction will issue an official statement. I don’t much like talking about explosive devices on the internet, but information is out there and improvised explosive devices are not hard to make using materials that are easy to get.

      FDR once said “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” Well, I have no desire to step on anyone’s 1st Amendment rights, but at this stage I try to ignore rumormongering and avoid doing it myself. I understand the panic and stuff, but now that one of the doers is dead and the other is in custody, I recommend everyone not directly involved in the investigation just stop, take a couple of long, slow, deep breaths, and relax. Give your loved ones a hug or a call. And it’d be great if the 24 hour news cycle people would stop filling airtime with talking heads who really don’t know anything themselves.

      But that’s just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

      • melthehound says:

        +100

      • LaineyLainey says:

        Perhaps my fear. Paranoia? Stems from watching too much “Homeland”? I want to understand it. I want to make it understandable, maybe. If I thought that someone else thought of it, recruited them, backed them financially,…for some reason, that would be easier for me to understand.

        • Orson says:

          We all want to understand it, dear. But I think we need more reliable information before we can begin to understand it.

          • LaineyLainey says:

            Did you just “Yolanda Foster” me? “Dear?” jk You are correct, of course. I’ve been reading very little and mostly “learning” from soundbites which aren’t, of course, a reliable way to gather information.

        • TexasTart says:

          I think all that needs to be understood is that evil comes in many forms.

      • Boobah says:

        Really terrific post, Orson.

      • Rebecca says:

        Amen, Orson.

    • TexasTart says:

      Lainey, I am just popping in and out of here, myself. Hope you are or have enjoyed your daughter visiting!
      First of all, I don’t know for fact, at least I did not hear from officials whether or not they possesed guns or grenades. So let’s address what the officials did say about hand held explosives were tossed at the officers. By logic of what their marathon bombs were – homemade – I assumed such hand held explosives were homemade as well.

      I don’t know if they acted alone, but my guess is it’s more likely they did because they didn’t have a plan for after the bombs went off. I don’t think they even had anyone knowledgeable to advise them. Why risk staying in town? Why is it they hijack a vehicle and use the person’s ATM card to get money? (Cameras at all ATMs) Why draw attention to yourself (the hijacking) when the officials didn’t even know your name yet? As I understood, the officials did not have a name until they collected the first brother. Why not just quietly leave town?

      They were not funded. There was no need for wealth to inflict death, pain and fear. All of the items to build explosives are readily available at retail stores and collectively inexpensive.

      • LaineyLainey says:

        TT – yes, I see what you’re saying. There was no apparent exit plan. On a happier note: It has been great having LaineyGirl home. If you have the patience and interest….please read my comment above about her recent show at U.T….it’s kinda cool!!!

        LaineyBoy and LaineyGirl will both be home tomorrow at the same time. Family day!!

        • TexasTart says:

          Yes, but primarily how inexpensive and readily available their weapons were to build.

          Woo Hoo! to the whole family is together! Happy for you! Enjoy! 😀

          • LaineyLainey says:

            Yes, also a very good point; because that’s part of what had me thinking they had help (the acquisition of weapons). I’m so glad I posted my thoughts/fears today, It helps to hear ya’lls well thought out and well informed opinions about all of this.

  4. skogsstig says:

    NMD, mardrag and cocfarm – I can’t thank you enough for these thoughtful responses to the tragedy in Boston.
    Boston is where I lived and worked for 50 years….my heart aches, but I’m also intensely proud of of all those in greater Boston who have responded to the unspeakable with such courage and compassion.

    • Groan. I forgot to change my handle again.

      • LaineyLainey says:

        pastBostonian rolls off the tongue a little easier than skogsstig! 🙂 This whole thing must have hit you very hard.

        • Yeah – this handle is a bit easier on English speakers. 😉 And I didn’t proofread too well, either. Boston was my home for 40 -forty – years, not 50. (I’m old, but not that old.) Hit the wrong key… Thanks, Lainey. ♥

  5. Contessa says:

    NMD, Thank you for writing another lovely piece. This one stands alone as it is about real life, real feeling, real emotions and a young man who somewhere in the course of his life took a very tragic turn to evil-terrorism.

    I was not on the blog last night or during the day as I couldn’t leave my TV, somehow I kknew they would find him and I waited all day for that to happen. It wasn’t from some kind of profound feeling I just deduced he was on foot and from what was said about the gunfight with the police from the previous night, I felt he was hurt and would get weak and tired. I am very happy they found him alive and hopefully he will get well and we will have some answers as to WHY? Everyone on the news is saying he is a follower to the older brother, but I say how can you tweet nonsense etc., the day after killing 3 people, maiming and hurting so many others. Yes he followed, but the potential for evil and terrorism is there deep in his heart. There are so many unanswered questions; it takes some serious knowledge to set off 2 bombs almost simultaneously, get hold of grenades, incendiary devices, and guns (not that difficult on the gun part). I truly believe the older brother was trained by some radical group on his last trip back to his parents, as this did not happen overnight.

    I also hope there are no repurcussions to true Muslims who do not preach violence…we need to be careful about labelling religions and nationalities. I felt very badly for the one Uncle who denounced this vermin, his family life will change forever. I also read that one of the sisters married a man who is not a muslim and the older brother would not speak to them (according to her husband). The parents of these boys sound delusional, and it would have been better for them not to answer any questions…they don’t seem able to face the truth. However I am not a parent and should not criticize as I believe most parents would die for their children.

    In the end I feel joy for the people who can now walk freely in Boston, grief for those who died and their families, and tremendous sadness for those who are injured and their lives forever changed by these two mad men. My continued prayers go out to all.

    • Contessa says:

      One of the points I missed above is I don’t think this is some sort of Chechyen form of terrorism. I think the older brother was simply cray, cray. Yes I do believe he trained somewhere, with the understanding of working for a group in his homeland, and not for bombing in the US. It will be interesting to see how this develops. I have no interest in laying blame, I just want to know the everlasting answer to WHY? The news agencies, or as our Dear Jeff pointed out the Entertainment channels are rushing to judgment and we have tons of talking heads that don’t know their A$$ from a whole in the ground. I don’t want to see one nationality or religion blamed for this…the Muslim Group in Boston closed down their place of worship until further notice. I have no doubt they are scared of some kind of retribution and I pray that does not happen. The investigation going forward is going to be very tedious and who knows if we will ever know the truth, I hope we do. I also don’t want to jump all over the FBI, but they did get a warning on the older brother, and I would like to know more about that. However I guess you can’t do anything about someone that has not committed a crime? But you can take away their green card if they are hinky in some way. We don’t know for sure who the other country is that brought the older brother to the FBI’s attention, but it does sound like Russia.

  6. Powell says:

    Hello everyone. I hope you’re feeling better after yesterday’s events. I know I am. Boston, Jules & OMIB, finally you could breath & get a descent night sleep. BPD, FBI & other 1st responders were top notch. I’m proud so I know you are as well.

    Well you groovy people enjoy the sun today. Have a great.day.

  7. LaineyLainey says:

    Chismosa, I just saw your message from two days ago: “LAINEY if you’re out there: DANIEL DANIEL DANIEL tonight!!!! 2 hours, can’t wait! Watching later but can’t wait”

    I was not around that night because I was at a Fashion Show at the University of Texas. My daughter was walking that night for a designer named “Bri Johnson” – (Bri Johnson was on America’s Next top Model college edition- she’s the girl who when she got eliminated she said “you can kiss my black ass!”) She’s actually super funny and she was cute and funny on the show….I think she might have been a little too irreverent for Ms. Tyra …when they were introducing themselves on ANTM college edition she said she had ADD or something like that. But anyway, she’s an aspiring designer (a student at UT) and a working model here in Austin. She was voted one of the top 3 student designers at their show on Thursday. So that was cool.

    I’ve been wanting to share this with you guys,…hopefully, I will make a long story short. OK, so after the show, we met with our daughter to go out to dinner. We had heard that Daniel Esquivel was going to be there. I had begged her to please try to get a pic with him if she saw him. Her first words when she saw me…”mom, I’m sorry, I didn’t see Daniel!!!” I looked into the crowd and there was Daniel walking out with a little group of people. He walked right up to us and I spoke to him (while his little group rolled their eyes)…I stuck my hand out and introduced myself and told him that we were big fans of his and how he represented etc …he was so gracious and kind. He gave me a hug and thanked me for saying that and said he really appreciated that viewers were reaching out to him in such a positive way. He then turned and told my daughter that she had done a wonderful job on the runway!!!! I got a pic of him with my daughter!!! someone from his group said “We’re going to lose our reservation!!” and I said, “Oh my, I’m so sorry for interrupting your evening…but thanks for talking to us!” and he turned to me and said for me to send him a private message on FB and that after May 11, he would have more personal time and that he would like to meet me for coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What you say??????? Daniel and Lainey having coffeee in May!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Should I message him on May 12 at 12:01 a.m.??? LOL!!

  8. AZGirl says:

    Thank you NMD. That was really well written. Hopefully we will get some answers soon.

  9. AZGirl says:

    Oh I forgot one more thing. The mother’s reaction to all of this is really bizarre. She accuses the FBI of controlling her son and admits that he was involved in some radical religious group. So this is the FBI’s fault? But no tears for the death of the oldest? No concern about the youngest and whether he will survive?

    • Just Wondering in Jersey says:

      People are just so strange. (The mother, not you AZ.)

    • melthehound says:

      How long do you think it will be before this ‘mother’ is shopping a book deal?

      • Contessa says:

        There or here? This lovely woman also has a record for shoplifting at Lord and Taylor to the tune of $1500.00 – saw the record online.

        • melthehound says:

          Probably both, Contessa. I’ll bet people crawl out of the woodwork to make offers. The cynic in me says there is already a movie of the week or three in progress too.

        • AZGirl says:

          The common thread between mother and son’s. No respect for the freedom given them here in the US. Explains why the uncle is so ashamed.

    • Orson says:

      I’ve met/known several folks who’ve moved to the US of A from Soviet block countries. It’s not uncommon for immigrants who came from a former Soviet nation to blame vaguely defined Government forces for their misfortunes.

  10. LaineyLainey says:

    bizarre

  11. Jill...no not THAT Jill says:

    Just popping on for a quick hello from Virginia…the generosity of you people just amazes me. I can not find the words to let you know how much me and my family appreciate all you gave us. Thank you a million times. My heart is full-the support from EVERY ONE OF YOU warms my heart like you wouldn’t believe!!! THANK YOU ALL!!!!!

  12. TexasTart says:

    I don’t know why I am compelled to even post this one, but I was beside myself at how stupid the man was that lived in the house where the suspect hid (in the boat.)

    So you are in lock-down in your house ALL day and watching TV and physically seeing the police presence…you are adjacent to the area that was searched door-to-door. You KNOW what the danger is and why. The officials say you can go outside, but proceed with caution as there is still an armed and dangerous man on the loose. So you go outside and see that the cover on the boat is catching some air (lifting in the wind) and upon closer inspection you find the tie down was cut (not torn but clean cut) and there is evidence of blood. What do you do?

    Go to the house and call 911, right?! There is still law enforcement nearby. No, this man got a step ladder takes it to the boat to be able to lift the boat cover to see. He witnesses more blood and a person covered in blood…at least backs out and then goes to call 911.

    This was second hand information; it was relayed by the mans’ son in a news interview last night on TV. The son did say his parents were following TV coverage and relayed the order of events after the lockdown was lifted and his parents went outside.
    Astonishingly stupid – and lucky, wouldn’t you say?!

  13. jezzibel says:

    One of my earliest memories is of watching my mom check her car for a car bomb from our balcony in Greece after a night of anti-American protests. Being targeted for the simple fact of being an American in a foreign country is a reality I grew up with. I was in high school here in the USA when the Oklahoma city bombing occurred and I remember telling my mom, rather nonchalantly, that this will happen again , after 9/11 and Boston I wish I had been so very wrong, but this is the world we live in and that wanton destruction that for a long time seemed to be confined to the rest of the world, has come to our glittering shores and shining cities.

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