Monday, April 22, 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs Was an Equal Partner, Not a Little Brother Led Astray

This is now the narrative of the Marathon bombers: Older brother Tamerlan struggled to adjust in America, didn't make many friends, kept to himself, was a serious person, and eventually became a radicalized jihadist. Younger brother Dzhokhar's personality and experience was the opposite  He was easygoing, described as something of a class clown, captain of the wrestling team, scholarship winner, went to parties, smoked weed. The narrative being built in the media is that socially awkward Tamerlan led friendly Dzhokhar down a path toward evil. Tamerlan led the way and influenced his younger brother to follow.

Fuck that. Even if it were true, that's just as bad, if not worse.

I have an older brother, and I love him, but if he ever hinted at killing innocent people, I wouldn't tag along. I'd do everything I could to convince him to rethink such a crazy idea, and stop him if he didn't. Dzhokhar was either too much of a pussy to do this, or he was an equal partner in the plot.

Back when they were known as Suspect #1 (Black Hat) and Suspect #2 (White Hate), you can see from their body language how different the brothers' personalities were.

Tamerlan is serious, like he's on a mission. He's hidden his face with sunglasses and a hat to make him almost unidentifiable. Dzhokhar is casual, carrying an explosive packed with shrapnel by just one strap of his backpack. His hat backwards, his face visible (why didn't Tamerlan exert that alleged control he had over Dzhokhar and make him cover his face?). Dzhokhar looks nonchalant as he's about to commit murder. He struts. He's quite happy with what he's about to do.

And they both watched the bombs go off. They didn't leave, they stayed to watch what they were doing, watch the carnage, watch the death, and enjoy it. And then they strolled away.

Dzhokhar's behavior after the Marathon doesn't suggest that he's some kind of lackey, just doing what big brother says. He seems relaxed, completely fine with what he had done. Regret free. Guilt free. They didn't try to get out of town. He even attended classes at UMass-Dartmouth during the week. On Thursday, the day before the FBI released pictures of him as a suspect, he tweeted:

He shows no remorse for what he did or fear he'll be caught for it. They had 72 hours to get out of town, maybe go to Canada, maybe go to Russia. Instead, they hung around Cambridge. Relaxing.

Dzhokhar might have been a friendly, outgoing guy. He apparently brought that carefree attitude to how he viewed human life. He didn't care about it. His carefree demeanor is more like a sociopath than someone with a domineering big brother. He wasn't an innocent young man corrupted by the "influence exerted" (a phrase I'm tired of hearing) on him by his older brother. This was an equal partnership. He was INSPIRED by radicalism. He loved what he was doing and why. Leading up to the Marathon, he was quite proud of what he and his brother were scheming.

Five weeks before the bombing:

Not "rebels," but "rebel." He enjoyed the role of rebel that he was assuming.

A week before the bombing:

These are tweets written in the days that these two built their bombs, wired triggering devices, stuffed pressure cookers with nails and ball-bearings. They likely tested them, and decided where/when to drop them, as these tweets went out.

We've heard a great deal about Tamerlan's politics, but none about Dzhokhar's. The portrait being painted of Dzhokhar is that he didn't have any political opinions whatsoever. At least none that are apparent on the surface. When in fact, it seems like he had some very bizarre ones.

That's an interesting political opinion. Doesn't seem easygoing at all.

On his Vkontakte page (Russian version of Facebook), he shared two videos on April 9th, less than a week before the Marathon. Here's one, which on his page had Russian (or possibly Chechen) subtitles instead of English. It's very graphic, very emotional.

The other video is a 4 minute clip from a TV show of a blind boy being interviewed. I can't understand what that videos is actually about (it's in Arabic, with Russian subtitles). At the very least Dzhokhar seems to be very emotionally invested in events in the Islamic world. Six days later he left a bomb on Boylston Street.

What disturbs and perturbs me about that Syrian video of bodies and crying mourners is that he seems so sympathetic to the suffering of these people, then he decides to make other innocent people suffer and go through the same horrible experience. What a hypocrite. What a fraud. This guy is an asshole. He sees no value in human life, particularly non-Muslim human life. He wanted us to die because of his political motives. He was angry and decided to resolve that anger by stuffing a pressure cooker with nails and ball-bearings that would shred flesh, shatter bones, and tear through arteries. How selfish can you get? He was upset, so strangers had to suffer for it.

He wasn't led astray by Tamerlan. Dzhokhar proudly went down that path with his brother, as equals, with his hat backwards, head held high, and a douchey carefree look on his face.