#FreeJahar is trending on Twitter right now. And I want to vomit violently all over my laptop.
Since the identities of the suspected Boston Marathon bombings were revealed last week, many have been quick to jump to the defense of Dzhokhar “Jahar” Tsarnaev, the surviving alleged bomber and UMass student. The 19-year-old has been lauded as a "popular, cool" student who even went out and partied while the city of Boston was mourning Monday's tragedy, and some have led themselves to believe the young man may not be at fault for this and was merely under the spell of his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan, who was killed during the Friday morning police shootout.
I'm the first to admit we don't know the whole story. We never will (especially with Jahar in such grave health conditions), and I'm not going to pretend to understand anything about the Tsarnaev family dynamic (even though Uncle Ruslan is truly great). What I do know, however, is that nothing excuses what he did, not even family loyalty.
Aside from the #FreeJahar hashtag, which is apparently intended to spread the conspiracy theory that the guys were framed, some don't want to see Dzhokhar receive a severe punishment for the attacks. Here are some tweets attesting he was probably corrupted by Tamerlan, whom the media has painted as the more troubled of the two:
One of the boys' cousins echoed a similar sentiment in a comment for the Boston Globe:
“I used to warn Dzhokhar that [Tamerlan] was up to no good. [Tamerlan] was always getting into trouble. He was never happy, never cheering, never smiling. He used to strike his girlfriend. He hurt her a few times. He was not a nice man. I don’t like to speak about him. He caused problems for my family.”
It's easy to assume Tamerlan was the ringleader, and one technically could argue that this never would have happened without the urging of the older brother, but the reality is that Dzhokhar is 19 years old. He's a grown-up, albeit an apparently immature one.
You should know by the time you hit adulthood that it's morally wrong and unforgivable to bomb a city and attempt to kill as many people as possible at once. No matter how strong your family bond may be, you didn't consider the impact you could have on other families when you chose to carry out an unthinkable act of evil in Boston.
If it's true that you were pushed into this by your brother, then hundreds of people are hurt and three are dead because you weren't strong or good enough inside to distinguish between right and wrong. You couldn't think for yourself, and now you're cleaning up after your brother, who no longer has your back. You're in this alone, save for your internet following. You may have fangirls and fanboys on Twitter who argue we have no proof you did this even though it's been all over our TV sets and internet screens for a week, but you get absolutely no sympathy or pass from me. Grow up.