When Anum Hussain heard about the Boston Marathon bombing, she immediately panicked, worried that the culprits would be like her. The 22-year-old Muslim was in the offices of Hubspot, the Cambridge marketing-software company she works for full-time. As her coworkers frantically rushed to call loved ones who'd been out watching the marathon that day, she was glued to the TV, fearing what she might learn about potential suspects. “My heart was beating fast, just praying that this person didn't turn out to be Muslim,” she recalled. “I knew that if they were, all hell was going to break loose.”
When it debuted in 2010, Inspire, al Qaeda's English-language magazine, drew mockery—from us and others—for its seemingly laughable mission to bring modern media packaging and splashy headlines to the world of primitive holy war. It turns out that, if initial reports about the confession of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are correct, it accomplished precisely what its proprietors hoped it would.
We've already covered some of the “Tragedy for Sale” opportunistic douches who waited almost an entire day before attempting to profit from last week's bombings in Boston. On Monday – as the Huffington Post was the first to report – news broke that a second round of apparent tragedy opportunists attempted to cash in just two days after the attack. On April 17, two separate people/corporations filed trademark applications for the phrase and post-bombing rallying call "Boston Strong."
Until last week, the Boston Bombers were the city’s only semi-pro women’s basketball team, one of more than 40 national organizations affiliated with the Women’s Blue Chip League. They held tryouts in Jamaica Plain, fostered regular player-development clinics, and maintained a summer league. They also, like any sports club, had an aggrandizing logo of cartoony power, a lit-fuse Wile E. Coyote bomb with basketball grooves.
This weekend, as law-enforcement officers across the country devoted their resources to the manhunt and capture of the dangerous criminal Reese Witherspoon, an actual crime against humanity was being ignored: Musician Amanda Palmer was writing the worst poem ever composed in the English language, "A Poem for Dzhokhar."
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev remains heavily sedated at a Boston Hospital, as investigators wait for him to regain the ability to communicate before they interrogate him. Unfortunately for investigators, he suffered a serious injury to his neck, that might prevent him from speaking for some time or at all. Authorities are trying to determine whether the shot that injured the suspect was self-inflicted, and believe it to be a strong possibility "because of the trajectory and location of the bullet wound in his neck."
Police used thermal imaging from a helicopter to monitor Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's movement inside of the boat he had been hiding in, when they apprehended him Friday night. Dzhokhar, who was bleeding profusely, remains prone on the floor of the boat for much of the video, as police use a robot to tear away the tarp covering the boat, as well as throw what appears to be flash-bang grenades at the boat.
New details about the brothers suspected of being behind the Boston Marathon have slowly trickled out today. Investigators are now focusing on a 2011 trip to Russia by the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, where they believe he became radicalized by extremist groups in the north Caucasus region. Russia had asked the FBI to look into Tamerlan's extremist ties, but the FBI's investigation yielded nothing of note and after interviewing him, kept no tabs on him. "The F.B.I. did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign," the FBI said in a statement.
As the scene in Watertown, Mass escalated, news channels were, understandably, confused about exactly what was happening. One brave reporter for New England Cable News admitted as much live on the air, albeit accidentally. As Brian Williams cut to the channel, an unidentified reporter can be heard saying "Oh, you're not listening? Well, I don't know shit."
There were a lot of dumb, strange and poignant things said this in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, but one phrase was conspicuous in its absence: "Too soon." Nobody really batted an eye as the expressions of sadness and horror on social media turned to half-baked wisecracks almost as soon as the smoke had cleared. First came the wave of Schrodinger's Cat gags about the confused news reports of a suspect's arrest on Wednesday. When photos of the suspect were revealed, it unleashed another torrent of jokes about the bro-y appearance of the two alleged bombers. And when the two were revealed last night to be Chechen immigrants, the amount of jokes that used "caucasian" as a punchline to mock early reports of a "dark-skinned" subject grew to the point that Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell issued a preemptive notice this morning: "For those just tuning in, everyone has already made the 'Caucasian' joke." And throughout it all, a never-ending barrage of Good Will Hunting references and Boston accent gags.
Four days after he and his older brother, Tamerlan, allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring dozens more, 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev is finally in custody. The days-long manhunt ended as bizarrely and gruesomely as it started: with Dzhokar trapped on a boat in a Watertown, Massachusetts, backyard, covered in blood—possibly his own—and surrounded by police. After a lengthy standoff and a conversation with a negotiator, Dzhokar turned himself over to the authorities.