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Blame the bombers, and nothing else

Posted: April 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.

We are fortunate that the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt rendered both radicalized 26-year-old Tamarlan Tsarnaev and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokar no longer any threat.

This is not just another recent event that gives us pause and a chance to reflect. The Boston Marathon bombing on April 15 merges several of our hottest political debates into one event: immigration reform, gun control and terrorism.

While the younger of the two terrorists is a U.S. citizen, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa expressed his concerns that the older terrorist had a legally obtained green card.

“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” he said.

If Republicans like Grassley really believe that one hateful act casts darkness on all immigrants and the whole system, we have a problem with those who would opt to re-elect him for another term.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York rightfully said, “Assumptions shouldn’t be made about the motivation behind the attacks in Boston” and that the other senators shouldn’t “try to conflate those events with this (immigration) legislation.”

Schumer further remarked that if we attempt to adjust national policy to every event, our government would never make any progress at all.

I fully agree with Senator Schumer. It’s hard to blame having a green card as the cause of Tamarlan’s outrageous acts.

The Boston Globe reports Tamarlan was married to an American citizen, has a U.S.-born child and had lived here under asylum for around 10 years.

One could just as easily blame being married, having a child, or being here on asylum as the motivations for terror.

While there is nothing wrong with attempting to manage weapons sales, and even if we exercise our right to require background checks for those who wish to purchase weapons, legislation cannot prevent hate. As far as gun control, no background check, restriction on assault weapons, or gun clip capacity limitations would have mattered in preventing the Marathon blasts.

Even if we want to outlaw pressure-cookers, like the ones used to create the explosion at the Marathon’s finish line, we are bound to suffer events like this because destructive devices can be created out of almost anything.

To blame one faith or one nationality of origin for all terrorism is as bigoted an approach as one might take. To blame all Muslims or all of Chechen descents would be to ignore the uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers who said his nephews were “losers” and they had shamed their family and insulted their Chechen heritage.

Ruslan Tsarni added that he respects and loves “this country which gives a chance to everyone else to be treated as a human being.”

We can’t identify green-card holders or foreign visitors who might hate this country, we can’t legislate against making improvised explosive devices, and we can’t blame any faith or nationality as the reason for motivating an act of terror.

Should we use the example of Adam Lanza, who massacred 26 innocent lives at the Newtown Elementary School last December, to confine and hold any white male who likes video games and has a fascination with guns?

Ought we to focus on black former police officers like Christopher Dorner as potential perpetrators of cop assassination? Do we suspect all Muslims who arrive at our shores to make a better life as terrorists?

The common denominator that all three events — the Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown massacre and the personal war on police by Dorner — is that they all were acts of aggression based on hate and rage.

Just like drug use, which is never resolved by the use of more drugs, the solution to an internal craving like rage and hate is internal and cannot be remedied by external means.

I propose mitigating hatred and rage requires a new approach. Starting with pre-schoolers and throughout public school, for all new parents, and all new arrivals to our shores, education and techniques regarding mature and selfless thinking, using meditation to quiet the mind, and introducing a new culture of caring will make more impact than any law or policy.


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