They haven’t yet connected the Tsarnaevs to fellow criminally charged Bostonian Whitey Bulger, but give them another day or two.

I said that nine days ago, thinking it was in jest, following a new barrage of media attacks on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that began at his arraignment for the Boston marathon bombing and other charges on July 10, as discussed here.

My subconscious mind must have known that this was no joke after all: It actually took one day for the prediction to come true (although it was a few more before the article became important enough to Google for it to show up on an early results page in a search for “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev”). On June 23 Slate produced an article on the ongoing Bulger trial which went into some detail on the character of one Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. He, it is alleged, worked for Bulger in an unsavory capacity, and is a quirky presence.

When Stephen Flemmi gets agitated on the witness stand, he starts to sniff. Nostril-flaring little rabbit twitches, furtive and quick. He stumbles over his own words, gulping air, losing syntax.

That sounds like some of the media reports on Tsarnaev’s manner at his hearing (although a person who sat in the second row answers questions about the event more accurately here). To be sure, the article is not so crass as to make that comparison overtly. Rather, its point is to compare Flemmi’s subservient relation to Bulger to that which, in one theory of the matter, pertained in Dzhokhar’s subservience to his brother Tamerlan.

… it’s chilling to ponder these knotted, gnarled marriages of madmen. How seemingly mundane and justified the very vilest behavior can appear when you are dancing a pas de deux with a violent lunatic.

It’s even more chilling to realize that except in small corners of the world like (at least part of) FDL, the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty has been lost.

E. F. Beall

E. F. Beall