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Tsarnaev: Adrift in a world without meaning

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev-VOA

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

No one should be surprised that so many young people are attracted to Islamic jihad and the Islamic State. We are living in apocalyptic times. Greed is god. Our nation is committed to endless war to exploit natural and human resources. The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. The middle class is disappearing and nobody in our government appears to give a damn. Climate change assures an insecure future, but the Republicans who now control both houses of Congress, deny global warming despite nearly universal agreement among scientists that human use of fossil fuels is causing global warming and climate change. More people are enslaved today than at any time in the past and there is no evidence-based reason for optimism about the future.

Stephen Silva, who testified yesterday in the Boston Marathon bombing trial, is in federal custody awaiting sentencing on his guilty pleas to federal firearms and drug charges. He could be sentenced to as much as 40 years in prison. He agreed to cooperate with the government and testify against Dzhokhar, his former best friend, in return for the government filing a motion to exempt him from the mandatory minimum sentence based on his “substantial assistance.”

Silva was an important witness because he gave Dzhokhar the 9mm Ruger semiautomatic handgun with an obliterated serial number that was used to kill MIT police officer Sean Collier. He also gave him the ammunition, which Dzhokhar referred to as “food for the dog.”

Silva, a small time marijuana dealer, gave him the gun and the ammo about a month before the Boston Marathon after Silva bragged to him about using it to rip-off a couple of university students who wanted to buy some marijuana from him. Dzhokhar said he wanted to borrow it to do the same thing.

The boys had known each other since eighth grade. Although they attended different universities, they remained close friends hanging out together, smoking and selling marijuana and lifeguarding at the Harvard University swimming pool. Like many young people today, they were adrift in a dystopian world.

Unlike Silva, Dzhokhar was Muslim and his brother was a radicalized Muslim who was indoctrinated in a terrorist camp. It did not take very long for Tamerlan to recruit Dzhokhar to the cause.

We can only hope that the parade of bombing victims recounting the deaths, mayhem and their suffering, together with the grisly color photographs, shocked him awake. I sincerely hope it did and I also hope that he can summon up the courage to own what he did and apologize for the horror he unleashed on so many innocent victims.

We are all victims of these times. Slaughtering innocent people is part of the problem. It most certainly is not the answer.

[NOTE: Masoninblue still is unable to connect to FDL, so may not be able to engage in comments on this post.]

Photo By VOA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.

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