It was 10 PM last night by the time the TV declared Jokhar Tsarnaev "in custody". Even here,130 miles north of Boston, the relief was obvious. Must have been enormously greater in Watertown. The TV showed people dancing in the streets, waving American flags, and singing the national anthem.
Since he was taken alive, we will be able to ask him a few questions. The number one question is how, after living in this country for ten years, getting a top flight education, having friends, winning awards, could he turn on us to maim and murder innocent strangers with bombs. This act is abominable by anyone's standards. Doing it after ten years living among us in Cambridge makes it treacherous as well as horrible.
Was it Islamist propaganda? mental illness? some affront offered him or his family? Influence of some Svengali like religious figure? Just asking him to tell us why ought to be instructive.
Did anyone ever teach the brothers that murdering innocent strangers is horrible? Where does their family stand on murder? Do Cambridge schools teach ethics? I haven't heard any Muslim clerics condemning the bombings yet. Did the brothers attend a mosque? If so, what is taught there?
There are plenty of clerics and websites preaching hate and violence. Freedom of speech means we cannot censor them. But we could identify them, make them known as bad websites and bad people, have the IRS audit them, have the police tail their cars and ticket them, put them on no fly lists, get really difficult about visas and passports, check their immigration status, get difficult about credit ratings and credit cards.
The FBI needs to let us know why they fingered the brothers. Although the brother's drastic resistance to arrest makes them look all kinds of guilty, we need to know that there was good reason to pursue them in the first place. Does FBI have photos of them carrying suspicious packages? Leaving black back packs at the explosion sites? Stashing pressure cookers in public trash cans? If so, let's see them. It is important to convince everyone, at home and abroad, that we got the right guys. The court that counts is the court of public opinion.
I wonder how so many of the Tsarnaev family immigrated from Chechnya. There is mother, father, and three children in Cambridge, an uncle and cousins in Maryland, an aunt in Toronto. That's a lot of family members to get out of Russia, across the Atlantic, and into the US and Canada. Where did the money come from? Did they all get green cards?
At least we made it plain that if you mess with Americans we will get you. We never give up. Took us ten years to get Bin Ladin, but we got him. We got the Tsarnaev brothers inside of a week. Not a bad statement to make to the world.