Not surprisingly, both the mainstream and social media has been replete with comment on the two Chechen brothers who, through their dastardly act, transformed the finish line of the Boston Marathon into an arena of blood and gore. The interesting fact that emerges is that the perpetrators neither tried to hide or flee from the scene of their crime. On the contrary, it appeared as if they wanted to be caught. The police were able to detect them fairly quickly and in the firefight the elder brother Tamaran Tsarnaev lost his life. The brothers allegedly killed a policeman at the MIT campus. It appears that the elder brother had considerable influence over his 19-year-old sibling, who was recruited by him as a junior partner in the bombing of the Marathon.
A more composite picture of what motivated the two brothers to kill and maim innocent persons will eventually emerge. Right now, the airwaves are filled with conjecture rather than solid facts. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger brother, although grievously wounded in the firefight with the police, seems to be recovering and has started talking to the law enforcement authorities. According to the media accounts of this interaction, the two brothers were radicalized by their anger at US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, which resulted in the killing of a large number of fellow Muslims. Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber, had given a similar rationale for his action. The leader of the British suicide terrorists who had bombed the London Underground and a bus in 2005, in his taped statement before the event had also quoted the policies of the West, killing Muslims in various countries as the motivation for their acts.
It is important in devising appropriate counter-terrorism policies to understand how impressionable young persons can be indoctrinated against the US and some other Western countries. This kind of disingenuous propaganda can best be countered by eliciting the help of the communities from which these young persons emanate. We should not forget that the so-called underwear bomber from Nigeria attempting to blow up an airliner in flight in 2009, was exposed to the police by his father. There are other examples also of law abiding citizens alerting the police and thereby nipping these terrorist plots in the bud.