The Boston Globe’s exhaustive investigation of the alleged Marathon bombers, “The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev,” doesn’t break a lot of new ground. Tamerlan may have been crazy, hearing voices for years, a problem his mother decides to treat with religion instead of psychiatry. And maybe he didn’t meet with any terrorists or political figures when he went back to his homeland. Jahar may have been more Tamerlan’s “coequal” in the bombing conspiracy, rather than the object of his big brother’s manipulation.
It doesn’t shed new light on the triple-murder in Waltham. Nor does it answer most of the questions I and others have raised about the shootout in Watertown, the lockdown or the apprehension of Jahar.
What the Globe story – almost a book, really, with photos and videos included – does is provide context. Like the Rolling Stone piece on Jahar and most of the other journalistic investigations of the Tsarnaevs, it paints a picture of a family of losers. The Tsarnaevs failed at just about everything they tried, including the pointless attack at the Marathon finish line.
The investigation also raises the question Rob has pointed out here often. This wasn’t the act of a terrorist organization at war with the U.S. It was a mass murder, no different from Newtown, or Columbine, or the Colorado movie theater, or Tucson. Every mass murder comes from one or more warped minds, but just because this family is Muslim doesn’t mean they should be treated like al Qaida. State murder charges would make more sense than federal “weapons of mass destruction” charges.