Boston Bombers Profile: Millennials, But Not Representative Of a Generation
The two suspects in the Boston bombing, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were 19 and 26 years old, respectively. But it doesn't seem to be anything about the millennial generation that made them lash out at our country so violently.
Let's review what we know about the suspects. Their profiles are shockingly different for two brothers. Tamerlan, the 26-year-old shot and killed on Thursday, was
a burnout "loser" former boxer, arrested for battery after assaulting his girlfriend. Dzhokhar was a popular and talented athlete and star student, awarded a scholarship from the city of Cambridge and attending Dartmouth. The same uncle that said Tamerlan deserved his death expressed shock that Dzhokhar was involved.
Tamerlan has an online history of an affiliaition with Islamic extremism and Chechen nationalism. That being said, there is no evidence to suggest he was a part of any wider movement; he seems to have been self-radicalized and acting independently.
Dzhokhar, the 19-year-old captured Friday night after being wounded, also has an Internet history suggesting Islamic sympathies, but nothing out of the ordinary for a young member of the Chechen diaspora.
Considering their backgrounds, on-line footprints, and family testimony, it can probably be assumed that Tamerlan was the driving force of the violence. The fact that Tamerlan was shot in a firefight with police with a bomb strapped to his chest, while Dzhokhar was captured while curled up hiding in a boat, certainly backs that up.
So, does this all point to some disturbing trend in our generation? After all, millennials have grown up in a post-9/11 world. In our lifetimes, U.S. influence has expanded abroad, terrorism and fear have dominated foreign policy and war, and security has pervaded our lives.
I don't think so. Young males have always been especially vulnerable to extremism, crime, and violence, regardless of generation. No, it seems that Tamerlan's actions are the result of an unfortunate combination of extreme ideology mixed with a violent predisposition, lack of sympathy for American culture and policy, and young blood.
Still, this will all become much clearer in the next several weeks as the motives of the bombers are clarified and Dzhokhar is interrogated. Dzhokhar's level of involvement in the plot, and motives for being a part of it, will be of particular interest.
In the meantime, let us honor the deaths and injuries of so many in Boston not by calling for more blood. Instead, let's honor them by being grateful for what we have, living up to our American ideals, and giving this kid a fair trial and civilized punishment.