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Letters | Terror at the Marathon

‘Radicalized’? Think again

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as seen in an image released by the FBI, died after a shoot-out with police.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, as seen in an image released by the FBI, died after a shoot-out with police.

The use of the word “radicalized” in the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings suggests that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder suspect, was somehow infected or corrupted by radical fundamentalist Islam and that that was the cause of the violence. I think it is more likely that radical Islam was the label chosen to express his anger but not the primary source or cause of the anger.

People who are unhappy and disturbed enough to strike out in such a horrific way will latch onto whatever so-called justification is closest to them. With a different background, the accused Marathon bomber might have been just as angry but could have become the next Timothy McVeigh or the next Whitey Bulger. Focusing too narrowly on Islam and Muslims misses the point that all routes to violence, whether radical Islam, radical anti-government hate groups, or radical street gangs, are equally dangerous.

George S.F. Stephans

Arlington

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