Did anti-immigrant policies help create a terrorist in Boston?

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder Boston Marathon bombing suspect who died shortly after being captured, was an American immigrant, born in Soviet Russia, pursuing his dream of becoming a professional boxer, and a US citizen.

His dreams were shot down just before Tamerlan’s life took a darker course, ending days after he and his brother Dzhokhar allegedly tried to set off four homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon, injuring 264 and killing 3.

This story isn’t about making excuses for terrorists.  It’s about noting a simple, and interesting, fact – that Tamerlan Tsarnaev (allegedly) veered towards terrorism after his American boxing-dream was shattered by the simple fact that he’s an immigrant, and not an US citizen.

Tamerlan’s goal was to make the US Olympic boxing team, which he believed would open the door to his becoming a naturalized US citizen.  It didn’t happen.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Boston Marathon bombing Suspect #1

I’ve searched through a large number of stories about this, and they’re all somewhat incomplete, include the NYT’s. What we know is that Tamerlan wanted to become a professional boxer and an American citizen, and in his mind one would help lead to the other.

His plan: To qualify for the US Olympic Team, which he felt would help him become a naturalized citizen (though it’s not entirely clearly how, or why, he thought qualifying for the team would aid his naturalization).

But things never got that far.  While winning two regional boxing championships in New England, Tamerlan’s first try at the national Golden Gloves title (which doesn’t assure qualifying for the Olympics, but certainly helps a lot) failed when he lost in the first round, unfairly many thought.

Tamerlan’s plan was to come back the next year, after winning New England again.  But an angry competitor complained to the boxing authority about his taunting of a competitor, and at the same time the Golden Gloves changed its eligibility rules, banning legal permanent residents from competing – Tamerlan was out, and his boxing dream over.

This happened in 2010.

In 2011, Tamerlan reportedly became a radical.

In 2013, he allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.

As you can imagine, the far-right Republican base is already up-in-arms over the Times story. How dare the NYT’s report the facts! Especially facts that might, in the eyes of the far right, detract from their preferred “the Koran made him do it” narrative.

Nothing in this new potential narrative detracts from the old. Lots of people lose sports tournaments, and lots don’t make the Olympic team. And most of them don’t turn into terrorists. For whatever reason, Tamerlan appeared to turn more religiously radical, and shortly thereafter, the theory goes, he became a terrorist.

Whether or not anti-immigrant policies helped radicalize Tamerlan, we’ll never know. But it’s certainly fair, and just as necessary, to find out why the Boston Marathon bombing happened, and what would radicalize someone to the point of wanting to kill innocent people.

We do ourselves no favors by refusing to explore every reasonable possibility, even if it means the truth might not end up buttressing our preferred narrative.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • mirror

    Your pal above, whom you supported, said it very clearly, “You know what, I don’t care.” This thread is riddled with comments saying “I don’t care about all the details of why it happened, only the factors that agree with what makes me comfortable or gives me an emotional thrill.” Clearly there was a long series of events that led up to the day this guy coaxed his brother to go out and kill people with him. You want to cherry pick and oddly use it as a platform to lecture about what a cool leftist you are. John seemed to be mainly pointing out a potential irony in the story, which was jumped on as a suggestion that evil should be excused.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Maybe it’s my generation, but those of us on the genuine left have been outraged for nearly a half century now and are quite professional and exacting in that execution. Further, we were raised to question authority and to hell with political correctness.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We are learning from Russian ‘listening’ that Momma terrorist was keen on jihad

  • arleeda

    Wasn’t the reason he was refused citizenship because he had a felony conviction? I read somewhere on the Web that he was convicted of beating his wife, although that may not be true

  • Mike Meyer

    True, WE only use oil as a reason to bomb and maim, mostly. Misha may well be Gen. Vasilli Varenstof’s driver, (WE got Bin Laden’s) for all WE know.

  • Mike Meyer

    Hey, maybe OUR new state religion could have a FANATICAL CULT side called The Blowbacks, the kind that just begs retribution?

  • Sweetie

    So why is it that there are Christian nations where gay people have a lot more equality? There isn’t even one Islamic city that I know of where gay people can legally marry each other or adopt children.

    Being tolerated isn’t enough, especially when the legal code gives way to vigilantism. I am well aware of Christianity missionary work being used as a vehicle for spreading homophobia. That’s happening right now in Uganda and elsewhere. But, that still doesn’t create an Islamic equivalent of Reform Judaism or an Islamic equivalent of liberal Christianity.

  • Sweetie

    Slavery shows the limitations of contact making people less bigoted.

  • dula

    Sometimes sitting down with a homophobe does get them to tolerate Gay people better but getting them to perceive GLBTs as equal is the bigger issue. People may be nice to your face but get vicious in a voting booth.

  • UncleBucky

    Hah, I thought that, too, and then read your reply! :)

  • UncleBucky

    That last sentence…. Yes, could be. Another instance of colonial social influence apparently was in the Calvinist (blame the dissident/victim, who’s bad to the bone) attitude in post-1949 China. Incredible scolding of anyone who didn’t “parrot the borg” (as John Aravosis wrote) and re-education camps. The source I now forget tracked that back to the Prostestant missionaries that were flooding China after the Boxer Rebellion or so…

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “The death and destruction caused by traitors is not so easily identified as that caused by bombers;” I agree, and Dick Cheney is a perfect example, followed by Rumsfeld and the others. I’m surprised you didn’t weigh in on Valerie Plame.

  • UncleBucky

    Drawing and quartering?

  • benb

    Kinda unfair to the immigrant guys who have similar backgrounds as Tamarlan’s who would never do what he did. Makes more sent to me if something else was wrong in him to begin with like that repulsive guy that shot Trayvon Martin or the Womens’ clinic bombers or any of the “2nd Amendment” screamers who eyes bug out and veins bulge at any mention of common sense stuff like background checks for all gun purchases. Creepy+Aggressive is a better predictor of a terrorist, I bet, than Muslim or immigrant.

  • condew

    The death and destruction caused by traitors is not so easily identified as that caused by bombers; but I have no doubt Manning has blood on his hands. All it takes is one email that gives an unfriendly government a hint about an official among them who is a bit more friendly to Americans than they thought. So what happens to that resource to American diplomacy? What happens to the official? You can cop an attitude like conservatives that the American government does no good so anything done to mess them up is a service to humanity, but diplomacy is a team activity and success can be thwarted by one bad player. The consequences depend on what the team was trying to do. Maybe it was trying to get aid somewhere, maybe it was trying to get a tourist home somewhere. Manning did not care, he just took a lot of sensitive stuff and made it public.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Manning was declared a traitor when he first released photos of an American gunship murdering innocent civilians trying to help wounded after a taxi was bombed. Now, please explain the due process of a presumption of guilt and suspension of Habeaus Corpus. Your explanation reminds me of the Bushies saying that there were no terrorist attacks during Dubya’s reign….ignoring of course the incompetence that led to the greatest attack by an enemy on American soil–9/11. We agree on many things, but not the slipshod machinations that characterize legalism these days….legalism that defiles Constitutional rights.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Consider Sufism and its poetry.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Simple. It’s called Google and that is hardly shallow.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Apparently it began in the womb, if his mother is any example, thus he might qualify as a tragic figure in the ancient Greek sense of it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The Holocaust was unique in its dimension, but not in its essence, which ironically the Israelis cannot recognize in their apartheid quasi democracy and the Shoah launched against the Palestinian people. The banality of evil is a fascinating concept and still withstands the censure of critics. Another example is the history of the Southern Baptist Church condoning slavery, because it is recorded in the Bible, or the Armenian genocide.

  • condew

    You misread my statement. Punishment before due process is a crime in itself and worthy of appropriate punishment. After due process, punishment should be set by the court. Lawbreaking by authorities does not excuse lawbreaking by their victims.

    As to mass murders and atrocities like those brothers in Boston, I can’t conceive of a punishment so severe that I might object, once due process demonstrates that the man we have in custody is one of those responsible.

  • GoBlue

    True, John. But would success at the Golden Gloves have persuaded the Congressman from Tsarnaev’s district to attempt to fast-track his naturalization? It’s not a given.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Posters who say this is blaming others——simply have no interest in understanding how the world around them functions.” And you do, o’ wise and all condescending one?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “As to Bradley Manning, somebody should be in jail for meeting out punishment to him” Well, you must be delighted that he was denied Habeaus Corpus, and tortured for a year in solitary confinement and that Obama has imprisoned more whistle blowers than any President in American history. Your brand of vigilantism is particularly repellant, because it seems so completely ignorant of law. Thank you Madam deFarge for weighting in on the latest Kangaroo Court.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    He didn’t say that. As usual you miss the point.

  • Naja pallida

    That always seems to be the go-to whenever rational people try to determine the why of terrorism. We get told to shut up, that crazy people are just crazy and that’s all we need to know. That by deducing any causality, we’re automatically giving cover for their actions, when it’s the exact opposite. We want to find out why, so we can possibly prevent a similar event from occurring again. If we could get a handle on what triggers radicalization in otherwise sane people, maybe we could figure out some way of addressing it before it results in death. Instead, they would rather we live in fear, or an artificial sense of security by arming anyone who wants to be armed.

    The mindset really doesn’t even apply just to acts of terror. How many times have rational people been told to just shut up about the constant stream of industrial explosions in Texas? We don’t need to ever really find out why, because no matter what, accidents just happen. Right? Then they also use the same excuse with guns. We don’t need to figure out why our country is to ripe with gun violence, because crazy people will just ignore laws and shoot people anyway, because that’s what crazy people do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/monoceros.forth Monoceros Forth

    You can be quite shallow when you have a mind to it, nicho.

  • condew

    I think we are discussing things openly, and on this issue I am probably on the other end of the range of opinions from you.

    I do not want the world’s malcontents to say among themselves “Go blow up Americans, they may heed your political message, and even if they don’t, they will treat you with more kindness and respect than you’ve ever received in your life.” When it comes to mass murder, I want due process to make sure we got the right guy, and once that is proven, I want deterrence; for mass murder, justice is not possible; even paying with a life is not sufficient when hundreds have been killed or maimed.

    I do not consider American immigration law onerous. If I wanted to move to Canada, I’d have to prove I’d be an asset to the Canadian economy. When my brother wanted to work in New Zealand, he had to prove he’d be an asset there. When I visited the U.K., they seemed most concerned that I was not going to work there. Japan kept very close tabs and obviously knew when I came in and when I would leave. But somehow American Immigration law is a source for terrorism because we don’t yet let anybody who sneaks in stay and work and become a citizen. We’re softies compared to a lot of countries who have very strict rules on immigration; a lot of countries who are not terrorist targets.

    Some liberal ideas are not compatible with each other. The idea we should be welcoming, forgiving, and generous to everybody in the world who’d like to live in the U.S. does not coexist with liberal ideals such as universal health care, a good education for every child, or even that every person has a right to feel safe and secure in their own neighborhood.

    As to Bradley Manning, somebody should be in jail for meeting out punishment to him before his day in court, but he worked for the U.S. government and accepted a position of trust, and then he committed a wholesale betrayal of that trust. He was in no way a whistle-blower, he made public massive amounts of private correspondence, so much it seems obvious he did not even read everything he released. He was a rather inept and unfocused traitor, and now his guilt and malice has been demonstrated, he should spend a lot of time in prison.

  • Joan

    I sort of agree – the change in rules by the Golden Gloves probably helped to embitter him. He probably felt he was never going to fit in or succeed in the US. The fact of difficulty getting naturalized probably had less to do with all this than other factors that made him feel embittered. So what was Golden Gloves’ rationale for their change in rules? Also, why would he react to disappointment by becoming a terrorist, while the vast majority of other disappointed immigrants do not become terrorists.

  • slappymagoo

    Just because the NYT tries to explain his rationale, it doesn’t mean the NYT is EXCUSING his rationale. Or considers his rationale rational.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Upset and defeat are the elements that inspire the talented to be even greater and in sports that is so evident. I’m thinking of Nancy Nancy Ann Kerrigan for example.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Mirror, mirror on the wall….oh, never mind.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “These people got more support from the government and the community than most immigrants.” Indeed, they got more support than senior American citizens struggling with cuts to Social Security, housing, Medicare and Medicaid.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Good point. Few have raised the ‘quality’ of individual ‘character’ that endures, would transcend adversity. and defines those that excel in sport with discipline and long term dedication. This killer was a modest boxing talent, an entitled thug, prone to violence, somewhat dissolute, lived off a religiously controlled wife and choose his path as a mass assassin.

  • lynchie

    I suppose many in the world feel that we don’t mind dabbling in their countries. Putting the dictator of the day in charge. Invading and staying for 10+ years in Iraq and Afghanistan can’t have made them feel warm and fuzzy towards us. Homophobia exists everywhere and in my experience its simple, uneducated people who are brain washed by their religious leaders. Growing up in Canada I was lucky in that my parents had gay and lesbian friends and I never saw anything wrong with them. I certainly saw how they were hated for no reason just as immigrants are hated now by many and I think a lack of education and curiousity to sit down and actually talk to a gay or lesbian person limits their ability to accept them as equal.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ppppfffffttt

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The explanation seems rather obvious to me and that is, the left has been dead on arrival for decades now, more a social marketing concept than an active political philosophy. Well meaning people are desperate and shouting out their windows (AB in a large window) that the nation’s on fire. Our one Constitutionally viable outlet (voting) is more or less mute as reactionary states impede or deny the vote to millions by various machinations. Because Congress is no longer representative and corrupt to the base, a vast tide of impotent anger is rising. It seems to me that the sincere commentators on AB are America’s Greek Chorus singing her tragedy in a cacophony of modes.

  • lynchie

    I think some of this flip out is our belief in American exceptionalism. In many the U.S. can do no wrong. We love to hang the cosmetic yellow ribbon, nice tag line to cover up the fact that there are a lot of reasons people do things. Many of us tend to go overboard, all Muslims are terrorists, all blacks are lazy and on welfare, etc. As far as having a rational discussion we all have our hot buttons. For me the personal attacks bring out my bad side. The intolerance towards others, female, transgender, gay, old, poor, immigrant, etc. for many are the easiest to attack because they are largely defenseless and bashing seems to be de rigueur. I trace some of this back to W who had derogatory nicknames for everyone as a way of dragging them down. This was continued in his bullying “your not with us your against us” attitude and that has escalated to include politicians, employers, schoolyards and basic interaction between people. Everyone is tough and kick ass and frankly I, for one, detest it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I come here because of that first paragraph. It often amazes me how much flak you take, and how impassioned we readers become, but because of that I know you are on to something. You don’t use the ‘F’ word very often, but when you do, I know the ball is rolling. I can’t think of any other blog site that has the dynamism of AB….keep on John! Keep on!

  • NorthAlabama

    my comment was not meant as deep insight into compelling points for discussion contained in your story.

    do i feel what happened to tamerlan was fair? i don’t know enough regarding what prompted the rule change for me to base an opinion. is what happened to tamerlan a valid rationalization for his actions? no way. even if he had been allowed to compete for the golden gloves, couldn’t it also be argued that a different perceived slight could also have triggered the same radicalization later on?

    all of us have, on occasion, been treated unfairly. it doesn’t excuse unforgivable actions on our part in response. we may never know what began his terrible journey down that road. some suggest he was encouraged by members of his family. i feel it’s best to begin with why he was unable to cope with disappointments that happened in his young life, rather than blaming circumstances.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Indeed, rarely do we ever get objective journalism in the MSM discussing how American colonialism has radicalized Islamic countries. The Arab Spring has produced more anti-American sentiment, to the point where many writers opine it was better to have purported dictators. Egypt is a prefect example.

  • dula

    Exactly. I’m all for the immigration of open minded, respectful folk but would rather you not come to MY country and seek to harass and denigrate me, AND then when you become a citizen, vote to deny me my rights. I know it’s not Liberal of me, but I can’t pretend to be happy when homophobes from any religion/culture immigrate here. I would think Republicans would like an influx of new Muslim citizens because they are likely to vote Conservatively on social issues.

  • jomicur

    Islam at its best is every bit as enlightened as Christianity at its best (I say this as an atheist). I lived in Egypt for a tine, back before the Islamists really surged there. I was quite open about my sexuality and about my relationship with an Egyptian man, and the people were considerably more welcoming than I’ve found in many parts of the US. There is absolutely no point claiming that Islam and/or Muslims are different in any significant way from Christianity and/or Christians.

    Yes, many parts of the Muslim world lag behind the West in cultural development/tolerance/enlightenment. But I’d suggest you read Louis Crompton’s HOMOSEXUALITY AND CIVILIZATION. The anti-gay attitudes in most of those countries were planted there–and maintained there–by Christian missionaries and Christian colonial governments.

  • Naja pallida

    Sure, anti-immigrant policies can serve to alienate someone (no pun intended), but you already have to have a massive chip on your shoulder in the first place to take it to the point of any kind of violence. To take it to the point of terrorism, there has to be a lot more there than simply a kid not getting what he wants. I mean, we’re talking about ~50 million people currently living in the country that have dealt with our broken and corrupt immigration system, and all the aggravation that entails. If it were simply those policies, shouldn’t we have a lot more problems, just by the basic math?

    Compared to “native” families, immigrant families have a higher incidence of poverty, less opportunity for education, have less access to health care, fewer are homeowners, and more commonly live in more crowded and less-sanitary conditions. This kid seemed to have it darn pretty good, compared to most other refugee immigrants. From what I’ve read, he had many opportunities before him, even when there were some obviously biased impediments, but of all the choices he had, he chose to radicalize and attack people. May be the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the camel was already struggling, and nobody around him cared enough to do anything about it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Not just terrorism. Try writing about trans issues. Or mentioning bisexuals. Or having an opinion on women’s rights. Or race! Or gay rights for that matter. Or immigration. Or Bradley Manning. If you don’t 100% parrot the borg, you’re excoriated. Not always. But a lot. And I agree with you, i think the standard for excoriation should be intent, extent of the harm of what they’ve said, past history, etc. But people feel the need to flip out at everyone, willy nilly, and it’s happening more and more, especially on our side. And it’s bad, and dangerous, imho.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thanks, as ever for giving me the platform on which to have this debate. Honestly, except in the case of egregiously anti-social behavior — such as the occasional commenters here who express racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and/or homophobic views, I’d much rather refute a proposal on its merits and not simply attack people.

    I learned a long time ago that ad hominem and straw man attacks are the lowest and most reprehensible form of rhetoric and dialectic.

    One trouble, John, is whenever the topic is related to terrorism or radicalized violence, a lot of people — and we Americans especially — seem to lose any sense of objectivity. The very idea of asking “Why? What caused this person to decide to do this?” becomes anathema, as if the only permitted reaction is to demand immediate and decisive vengeance. “He’s a monster — kill him!” “Yes, but what made him become a monster?” “How dare you ask that! Think of the children!”

    It’s called “waving the bloody shirt,” a term I dug up a few days ago when trying to understand what one now-banned commenter in particular was doing in his attempts to shut down all non-retributive discussion.

    Personally, I’d prefer to have the full story, even if it contains details, events, and motivations I wish weren’t there.

  • Sweetie

    Moreover, there apparently isn’t an Islamic equivalent of Reform Judaism or some other religion in which it’s OK to be gay. So, that moves us a step beyond looking critically at religious homophobia and heterosexism — toward criticizing Islam specifically. All religions are dangerous but some are more than others when it comes to gay people.

  • Sweetie

    Like it or not, I have yet to see any evidence of an Islam that isn’t anti-gay. So, in that regard, “The Koran made me do it” applies. Obviously that’s not the same thing as a terrorist bombing, but it certainly matters to gay people living in Islamic cultures.

    I asked about this on another board and was told that there are basically two schools of thought in contemporary Islam. The first school (Southeast Asia mainly) says violence toward gays isn’t a good idea. The second school (Middle East mainly) says it is. Both of them apparently consider gayness to be anathema.

    Like it or not, we need to face, without making excuses, the violence inherent in religion. Islam doesn’t get a free pass.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And I’d add EITHER narrative. The “it’s the Muslims” crowd is insanely committed to that theory. And the “it’s NEVER the muslims” crowd got just as upset when I correctly ID’d these guys as Mediterranean-ish and as likely immigrants, or at best first generation American – and I was right :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    See, THAT’S the kind of reasoned, polite, respectful response I was hoping for. You don’t have to agree with the post, or whatever, but come on people, at least have the respect to respond politely rather than just accuse me, or Mirror, or whomever of being some fifth columnist or something.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah, but they did change the rules for the Golden Gloves competition.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Bingo. Lately we’re becoming a lot like the right we hate – assuming everyone, and every question, is evil and has bad intentions.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, this article simply refuses to become an apologist for the political correctness that has taken over the right, and the left, in America of late – where no one can ask any question that even possibly might go against the current conventional wisdom, lest we “obviously” be anti-women, anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-bi, anti-immigrant, anti-muslim, anti-latino, anti-black, anti-American.

    Folks need to chill the fuck out and start learning again how to think about issues, discuss them, and not be offended when someone challenges your convention with a new idea.

    Same bullshit happened to me this weekend when I asked on Twitter if Bradley Mannning supporters were more motivated by his poor treatment in jail, by by support for his release of the documents, or both. It was a sinceren question, so of course some of the Bradley Manning bots had to descend and accuse me of being satan incarnate for daring to even ask the question, since only fascist pigs would even ASK anyone to explain their position on Manning, since it’s “so obvious” what good people should believe.

    I think good people on the left should chill TF out. In the past several months, people have become one big outrage machine, and it’s gotten to be too much. Let’s discuss things openly and stop treating every question like it’s the Spanish Inquisition.

  • Mike Meyer

    ALL THOSE DECADES hatein’ Russkys couldn’t possibly have anything to do with those young men OR the good folks in Boston they met day-to-day. I think WE kinda hated Mooslims too here in America BEFORE 911, and quite vocally at times I might add but the world loves US so that wouldn’t be a factor either.

    RACISM-ITS THE POLITICS OF AMERICA AND BIGOTRY HER SOUL.

    Hey, maybe KARMA could be OUR new state religion?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t think it’s “blaming someone else.” I read Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem” in grad school, and have always been fascinated by her “banality of evil” comment. I think if we’re to stop evil we have to stop believing that it’s so unique and extraordinary. Same issue I have with the ADL at times – if we keep saying “the Holocaust is SO unique, don’t make any comparisons,” at some point people are going to say, “well if it’s so unique then it obviously can’t happen again, so forget about it.” It’s importance to take note of the possible banal triggers as much as, if not more than, the “he was uniquely f’d up” – maybe he was, but it’s safer to explore all the possibilities.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I haven’t “figured it out” so I think Mirror deserves more of an answer, as do I :) If I were an immigrant, and were able to compete one year – and it was my DREAM – and the next year they said “rule change, no more immigrants!” but don’t take it personally, I would take it personally.

    I wouldn’t blow up the Boston Marathon – that takes a special kind of f’d up – but I would be sorely upset.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    This is an interesting theory, but I have my doubts. First, I think I’m in the camp of commenters who say, “Too bad. We all have setbacks in our lives and don’t always get what we want. Most of us don’t use that as an excuse to kill and maim others.”

    Secondly, the NYT story goes on to say that while Tamerlan had big dreams, he was also somewhat dissolute and lacked the discipline to really go for them — or to deal constructively with setbacks, such as that first Golden Gloves loss. As it turns out, going into the opponent’s locker-room was against the rules, but time and time again Tamerlan seemed to think that rules didn’t apply to him.

    He had permanent residency. To apply for citizenship, all he really needed was gainful employment, and even for a would=be boxer, the Olympics aren’t the only path to turning pro.

    One other thing I’d want to know: Where was he getting the money for all the fancy clothes which, as the NYT pointed out, became his ‘signature style’?

    Anyway, there’s one big piece missing to this puzzle, and it’s the details behind the Russia/FBI investigation. I don’t think we’re getting the whole story there, including what exactly triggered it and what they found out, if anything. And who is this ‘Misha’ character who keeps being mentioned, but never with any details?

  • mirror

    Did anyone anywhere on this page suggest that you solve something by killing innocents?

  • nicho

    Take a deep breath and figure it out.

  • Jimmy

    You know what, I don’t care. No matter where you live, governments will always enact policies and laws you don’t agree with. You solve nothing by killing innocents.

  • mirror

    Given how definitive your statement about the Golden Gloves is, please explain how the change in policy as described does not work to the detriment of immigrants, whatever it’s intention.

  • mirror

    Yes, asking why someone did something is dangerous because the answer might not accord with correct moral political objectives.

  • NorthAlabama

    d: none of the above

  • condew

    Lots of us deal with major disappointments and don’t blow up an 8-year-old and his family.

    Maybe if his mother had loved him more than jihad. Maybe if Misha had not separated him from his love for music.

    Nobody not born a citizen has a right to immigrate here, particularly those who show a tendency toward violence. He was here legally, but if he felt safe to fly home for a visit he was lying about needing asylum.

    I think this article steps over the line, becoming an apologist for terrorism, or, more bizarre, using terrorism as a selling point for uncontrolled immigration.

  • GoBlue

    If that’s what Tamerlan thought, then he didn’t understand the Olympic rules. In any Olympic sport, you can compete in the quadrennial Games only for the country of which you ARE a citizen, not the one in which you PLAN to become a citizen. Until he actually was naturalized, Tamerlan hadn’t a prayer of representing the USA in the Olympics.

    A world-class athlete generally has a congressman on his or her side who tries to fast-track the athlete’s naturalization, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen in time. A Russian ice dancer, Gorsha Sur, who defected and partnered with an American skater, tried to become a citizen in time for the Winter Olympics. He couldn’t. It must have been a crushing disappointment, but he said merely that this country had already been so good to him, he’d get over it.

  • mirror

    Predestination? Reprobation? You silly Calvinist, you.

  • mirror

    So, three out of four posters so far want to deny that someone’s experience of the world influences their attitude toward the world. WTF?

    All I know is that committed successful athletes often develop a primary identity as an athlete in their sport. For some one like this guy, whose family was torn, without a solid citizen status, and who failed to live up to expectations in school, this sense of identity as an athlete may have been his rock in the storm. To have the rules changed to bar him from competing, essentially barring him from the society of his peers, could easily have been quite devastating.

    Posters who say this is blaming others to raise this hypothesis, so we shouldn’t even talk about it, simply have no interest in understanding how the world around them functions.

  • caphillprof

    Isn’t it fascinating how for many people the narrative is more important than the facts.

  • NorthAlabama

    short answer to the headline: no. it’s time to stop blaming someone’s actions on everyone else. no matter what the immigration policy is, it doesn’t create a sick mind. the mind is sick to begin with.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    There are always going to be some people, regardless of nationality or religion, who are going to take the low road no matter what opportunities they are given or where they immigrate to. There is a tail end to every bell curve.

  • nicho

    Oh, please. These people got more support from the government and the community than most immigrants. Plus, the Golden Gloves decision on elgibility was not some “anti-immigrant policy.” And, in fact, the mother and the brother were granted citizenship. This murderer was recently denied citizenship — maybe because he has a history of beating women.

  • rerutled

    Along these lines, the Washington Post’s story of a hopeful immigrant family which has strong ties to other family members and to its immigrant community paints an extremely painful picture of family dissolution. It doesn’t get deep enough into the details, but we hear about career failure for the father and mother; the dissolution of their marriage; the boys, enrolled in a high-quality and diverse high school, do not emerge as high academic achievers, but do seem to have charisma and athletic abilities, yet their college experiences were poor to non-existent. It is a wrenching story. Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/feature/wp/2013/04/27/the-tsarnaev-family-a-faded-portrait-of-an-immigrants-american-dream/?hpid=z1

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