The duo I’m calling The Brothers Tsarnaev — Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, the cowardly Boston Marathon terrorist bombers with a penchant for videos on Islamic jihad, who were called “losers” by their own uncle — are finally getting some positive press coverage.
Yesterday the New York Times published a sympathetic puff piece on the brothers which puts their evil deeds in context. In particular, it details how difficult it was for these young men, born and raised in a foreign country, to adjust to life in America. The original title of the article captured this focus perfectly: “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In” (for some reason the Times later changed the title, as Jim Treacher of the Daily Caller caught.)
Here’s a sample:
One was a boxer, one a wrestler. One favored alligator shoes and fancy shirts, the other wore jeans, button-ups and T-shirts.
The younger one — the one their father described as “like an angel” — gathered around him a group of friends so loyal that more than one said they would testify for him, if it came to that.
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A kaleidoscope of images, adjectives and anecdotes tumbled forth on Friday to describe Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the two brothers suspected of carrying out the bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and gravely wounded scores more.
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Dzhokhar, a handsome teenager with a wry yearbook smile, was liked and respected by his classmates at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School . . . .
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A talented wrestler, he was listed as a Greater Boston League Winter All-Star. “He was a smart kid,” said Peter Payack, 63, assistant wrestling coach at the school. In 2011, the year he graduated, was awarded a $2,500 scholarship by the City of Cambridge, an honor granted only 35 to 40 students a year.
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For Tamerlan, life seemed more difficult.
A promising boxer, he fought in the Golden Gloves National Tournament in 2009 . . . .
Anzor Tsarnaev, the brothers’ father, who returned to Russia about a year ago, said in a telephone interview there that his older son was hoping to become an American citizen — Dzhokhar became a naturalized citizen in 2012, but Tamerlan still held a green card — but that a 2009 domestic violence complaint was standing in his way.
“Because of his girlfriend, he hit her lightly, he was locked up for half an hour,” Mr. Tsarnaev said. “There was jealousy there.” Tamerlan later married and had a small child. . . . .
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At the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dzhokhar began to struggle academically. . . .
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San, 22, a former classmate at the university who would identify himself only by his first name, said that Dzhokhar had told him he was having trouble in some courses.
“He was talking about how he wasn’t doing as good as he expected,” San said. “He was a really smart kid, but having a little difficulty in college because going from high school to college is totally different.”
San said that he would be willing to testify on Dzhokhar’s behalf.
“I feel like all of his friends would do that,” he said.
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In Kyrgyzstan, the Tsarnaevs were part of a Chechen diaspora that dates back to 1943, when Stalin deported most Chechens from their homeland over concerns they were collaborating with the invading Nazi Army. Most returned to Chechnya in the 1950s, after the death of Stalin and lifting of the deportation order, but some stayed. The deportation was a searing, and in some cases, radicalizing experience.
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Somebody has to stand up for people who commit terrorist acts in America. Somebody needs to focus on their positive qualities and publish testimonials from their friends. Who better than the New York Times to fulfill that vital task? Reading this sympathetic puff piece on foreign-born, left-wing, Islamic terrorists who killed innocent people in Boston inspired me to go back and read all the sympathetic puff pieces the New York Times published back in 1995 on the American-born, right-wing, Christian terrorist who killed innocent people in Oklahoma City: Timothy McVeigh.
Luckily, all those sympathetic puff pieces on Timothy McVeigh are readily available online, at the New York Times archive.
Oh, wait. I remembered wrong! Apparently the New York Times only does sympathetic puff pieces on foreign-born, left-wing, Islamic terrorists — I haven’t been able to find any on Timothy McVeigh.
I did find these pieces on him published in the month after the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing, which for some reason didn’t focus on McVeigh’s positive qualities. The New York Times did focus quite a bit on McVeigh’s negative qualities, for example:
1. Neighbors viewed him as a “surly loner” and belligerent trailer trash (for color, it made sure to mention his pregnant live-in girlfriend);
2. He’s regarded by defense lawyers as a “pariah” who’s worse than Hitler;
3. He was a racist Army sergeant who abused black subordinates and used the term “nigger”;
4. He’s a conspiracy nut obsessed with stopping the federal government from enslaving Americans.
Here are a few snippets, with links to the full articles. Sorry I couldn’t find any of those sympathetic puff pieces I seem to have misremembered — silly me, thinking the New York Times is the “paper of record” advocating neutrally on behalf of all those who commit terrorist acts in America.
Timothy J. McVeigh liked to wear camouflage Army fatigue pants tucked into black combat boots, drink beer, play acid-rock music real loud and drive fast. But above all, he liked to shoot guns.
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[R]esidents of the trailer park remembered Mr. McVeigh as a surly loner who spoke little, lived with a pregnant girlfriend who spoke even less, and belligerently rebuffed any attempts to make him turn down his music or clean up the piles of beer cans around the yellow trailer he rented for five months until he was asked to leave last June.
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It is one of the oldest conundrums of the law: Must a lawyer, should a lawyer, represent the most detested of pariahs? But seldom has the issue played out with more force than in the question of representation for Timothy J. McVeigh, the suspect arrested in connection with the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
“I’ve said to many people, the acid test of a criminal defense lawyer is could you represent Hitler or Adolph Eichmann?” said Allen M. Smallwood, a defense lawyer in Tulsa, Okla. “And, yes, I could have. But the publicity and the downside to my life personally would be far, far greater in representing McVeigh than Hitler.”
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William Kunstler and his associate, Ronald L. Kuby, are perhaps the best-known defenders of pariah clients, but they only take clients from the political left or members of minorities who, they feel, can be made to represent social issues.
“We don’t represent right-wing murderers,” Mr. Kuby said.
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“A Life of Solitude and Obsessions“ (5/4/1995)
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[Interviews with dozens of people who knew him before, during and after his military service from 1988 to the end of 1991 have begun to shape a clearer picture of Mr. McVeigh, who by all accounts was obsessed with guns, apparently disliked black people, and embraced the solitude of his pillow night after night.
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The interviews . . . detail a strange and uncommunicative personality who gave dirty assignments to black subordinates, who spoke of blacks as inferior and used the term “nigger” in unguarded moments, who kept a dozen guns hidden in his house and car and cleaned and fired them regularly, who subscribed to survivalist magazines and other right-wing literature and often seemed coldly robotic.
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[A]cquaintances say the Army’s place was gradually taken in his obsessive mind by a growing belief — shared by thousands in paramilitary groups and by many opponents of gun control across the country — that the Federal Government was conspiring to disarm and enslave the American people, and might have to be stopped by patriots using any means necessary.
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Sergeant Witcher said he and Sergeant McVeigh sometimes had quiet conversations. “He was a very racist person,” Sergeant Witcher said. “He had very strong views against, like, political things, like that.”
How did he regard black people? “I think inferior,” Sergeant Witcher said. “Not as smart as us, I guess.”
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Since his arrest in the Oklahoma City bombing three weeks ago, Timothy J. McVeigh has continued to express antipathy to the Federal Government . . . .
In addition, say several people who have talked with him, he has continued to discuss the 1993 fire at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex., an episode that the authorities believe may have motivated the Oklahoma City bombers. And he has spoken of the significance of April 19 — the date not only of the Waco fire but also, two years later, of the Oklahoma City bombing and, more than two centuries earlier, of the first shots fired in the American Revolution.
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[T]hose who have talked with him said he also seemed to be motivated by a philosophy broader than Waco. They said he appeared angry at the Government because in his view it had created a climate in which abortion is legal, family values have disintegrated, working-class men cannot find jobs, taxes are high and spent on the wrong programs, and the right to own guns is threatened. One person said Mr. McVeigh had talked of “how this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”
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