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The [Thursday] Papers

"Tamerlan Tsarnaev first heard the voice when he was a young man," the Boston Globe reports.

It came to him at unexpected times, an internal rambling that he alone could hear. Alarmed, he confided to his mother that the voice "felt like two people inside of me."

As he got older, the voice became more authoritative, its bidding more insistent. Tamerlan confided in a close friend that the voice had begun to issue orders and to require him to perform certain acts, though he never told his friend specifically what those acts were.

"He was torn between those two people," said Donald Larking, 67, who attended the mosque with Tamerlan for nearly two years. "He said that several times. And he did not like it."

Federal investigators have suspected that Tamerlan, the 26-year-old boxer from southern Russia who is believed, along with his brother, to have set off the deadly Boston Marathon bombs in April, was motivated, if not deliberately directed, by real life jihadist revolutionaries on the other side of the globe. But an investigation by the Boston Globe suggests that Tamerlan was in the perilous grip of someone far more menacing: himself.

The Globe corroborated with several people who knew him just how plagued Tamerlan felt by the inner voices. Some family acquaintances feared for his mental health, among them a doctor concerned it could be schizophrenia. The Globe's five-month investigation, with reporting in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Canada, and the United States, also:

  • Fundamentally recasts the conventional public understanding of the brothers, showing them to be much more nearly coequals in failure, in growing desperation, and in conspiracy.
  • Establishes that the brothers were heirs to a pattern of violence and dysfunction running back several generations. Their father, Anzor, scarred by brutal assaults in Russia and later in Boston, often awoke screaming and tearful at night. Both parents sought psychiatric care shortly after arriving in the United States but apparently sought no help for Tamerlan even as his mental condition grew more obvious and worrisome.
  • Casts doubt on the claim by Russian security officials that Tamerlan made contact with or was recruited by Islamist radicals during his visit to his family homeland.
  • Raises questions about the Tsarnaevs' claim that they came to this country as victims of persecution seeking asylum. More likely, they were on the run from elements of the Russian underworld whom Anzor had fallen afoul of. Or they were simply fleeing economic hardship.

This is journalism crucial to our understanding of what happened in Boston that day and why - and how it should and shouldn't color our perception of "terror" and those who commit it. It is also yet another testament to the importance of treating mental illness properly; that alone could greatly reduce so many societal problems, including crime.

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Kennedy Flip-Flop
"[W]hile the reversible lanes did alleviate traffic congestion in a significant way in the past, they are losing their impact," the Expired Meter notes.

"That's because the Illinois Department of Transportation says the level of inbound vs. outbound traffic has been trending toward parity, compared to the past when traffic was heavier coming inbound in the morning and outbound in the evening."

Pussy Riot: The Music
A public service announcement - with guitars.

KCav: It Was All Fake
Why it was also brilliant.

Edward Snowden's Christmas Message
Orwell warned us.

Meet Our State Poet Laureate
Successor to Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg.

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It Writes Itself

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dibs.



Permalink

Posted on December 26, 2013


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Butt Fumbles.

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.


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