Tag Archives: marathon

The Cinch Review

Questions Avoided and Answers Evaded

Boston marathon bombings - avoided questions and evaded answers
I don’t personally watch very much television, and essentially zero television news. Like many others these days, I suppose, I largely read about the news that interests me on the internet. Yesterday was an exception, albeit that the television news broadcasts I was watching came via the internet, consisting of local Boston coverage of the pursuit of the marathon bomber(s). The tone of what I was watching fairly shocked me, the more so as the day went on. I know that political correctness is a very powerful force, but I would have thought that given the gravity and drama of what was going down, it would be superseded by a more fundamental journalistic drive to get at the truth. In this I was naïve.

The syndrome at work was epitomized by an interview I saw take place with some casual friends of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at UMass Dartmouth. They regularly played soccer with him, and, as with seemingly the great majority of his acquaintances, they had only benign things to say about him. The reporter interviewing them (I think it was WBZ but I couldn’t swear) was naturally enough trying to dig up anything that might have indicated that the younger Tsarnaev was capable of setting bombs to kill random innocent people. She was coming up empty in terms of his general demeanor. People seemed to find him likeable, if quiet. So, she asked: “Did he ever talk about politics?” She got a negative response. The interview went on a little bit, and then she asked the same question: “Did he ever talk about politics to you?” The same answer came back: no, he did not seem very concerned about political issues. The interview continued, with more on his general behavior and school-related activities. Then (as I recall it) she asked yet another time: “Did he ever talk about politics?” It got the same answer from his soccer-playing acquaintances as before: no, he did not. Asking the same question three times seemed kind of silly, but the really crowningly-silly thing was the avoidance of asking a fairly similar question that surely was crying out to be asked, given the circumstances. That would have been: “Did he ever talk about religion, about Islam?” Despite the knowledge at this point that he was a Muslim from Chechnya, where an Islamist insurgency has been active for years, and despite the knowledge already being disseminated elsewhere regarding various internet postings by him and his older brother indicating their favor for extreme Islamic ideas, a simple question to his friends about whether he discussed religion with them was seemingly off-limits. I have no idea what their answer would have been—whether he kept that aspect of himself private or not—but surely the question begged to be asked. Asking about “politics” over and over again was, I think, the reporter’s attempt to ask it without actually using the relevant word, as if some kind of crime would be committed by the mere suggestion from her that religious ideas might possibly have played a role in the violent terroristic actions of two young Muslim men. Continue reading Questions Avoided and Answers Evaded

The Cinch Review

Mayhem in Watertown and Boston

Mayhem in Watertown and BostonJust a couple of thoughts this morning as the breaking news from Boston continues to break with regard to the hunt for the April 15th marathon bombers:

The story of the pursuit of the two (who’ve been identified as Chechens, and Islamists by ideology, although apparently living in the U.S. since childhood) through the streets of Watertown sounds like something from a TV show like “24.” The most mind-boggling thing of all is that one of the terrorists succeeded in escaping, despite being pursued by every law enforcement resource that could be thrown at him. This happens on TV and in the movies all the time; you just don’t seriously expect it to happen in real life.

With the lock-down in Watertown, adjacent towns and cities (and indeed almost the entire Greater Boston area, the last time I heard) one can only imagine how anxious many people in the area feel. Women living alone, elderly people, parents with young children and indeed everybody. They’ve been told there is an armed terrorist killer on the loose, and advised not to leave their homes. Well, what do you do if he comes to your door or window? By the time you called the police and they arrived, you and your family could be dead as dead can be. Or, at the least, hostages. (And it is obviously highly likely that the fugitive is in someone’s home keeping any occupants as hostages right at this moment.) It does seem to yours truly that this is a time when the only possible source of any peace of mind would be the Second Amendment. But not too many people in those neighborhoods would be owners of firearms.

Here’s praying for a conclusion to this drama without further injury and loss of life, and also a prayer for those who have already been injured or who have lost loved ones. Continue reading Mayhem in Watertown and Boston

The Cinch Review

Carnage at the Boston Marathon

Three people dead, at this point, after the bombings in Boston yesterday, and over one hundred and seventy people injured, many seriously and with lost limbs. IEDs on the streets of an American city, targeting the most helpless in their moment of innocent joy.

Maybe you’re like me and you went to bed last night thinking: Well, there’s a lot of rumors and speculation flying around, but by morning things will have been pulled together and we’ll have a clear idea of what this was about. The big surprise today is that this is not the case. There is only a “person of interest,” a young Saudi, who’s apartment has been searched but apparently has not been arrested. We have become accustomed, in the wake of jihad attacks across the world, to know almost immediately who was responsible (at least in general terms) because the perpetrators very much want everyone to know who committed the carnage and why. So either this is the work of one or more jihadis who are for some reason not following the script, or it is the work of some monster or monsters with a different kind of motivation.

The thought that people capable of such despicable evil may still be at large and planning more such acts is no doubt giving the investigators a radical sense of urgency. And here’s to their quick success.