Like everyone else in America, and possibly a significant amount of people scattered across the globe, I have been watching the coverage about the explosions (and resulting injuries and deaths) with baited breath… and simmering anger.
I withheld comment for several days because as I suspected, the media stumbled over the story, with a few sources reporting incorrect information. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this morning that not only had the suspects been identified, but one had been cornered by the authorities, resulting in his death. The second suspect, as far as I know, is still on the run.
Allegedly, as far as I know right now, the two young men are brothers, 26-year-old Tamerlan and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. From my understanding, these two young men came over here approximately a decade ago as refugees, fleeing the violence in their native area, a region in Russia near Chechnya.
Way to repay the hospitality, fellas.
I am not saying America is perfect. There are some things about America that are appalling to me, and quite embarrassing. For us to boast of being the greatest of all nations, I wonder why we have not figured out that the best way for us to deter crime and reduce poverty is by guaranteeing all of our citizens, not just those of a particular race, socioeconomic standing, or other privileged status have access to a good education and health care (is it such a stretch to see that people with more education commit less crimes? And is it a stretch to assume that a healthier population would equal a more productive population, not to mention a decrease in the GDP as related to healthcare costs?).
Regardless of our problems, every other nation in the world has its own fair share of problems as well. I am still proud of my American nationality, although it astounds me that we still have so much racism here.
Anyway, let me assume for a minute that there was persecution here. Let me assume that I was persecuted for being a Christian (which does happen here, by the way). Let’s assume that persecution led to violence, and I fled to…Canada. I have been to Canada several times in my life, and I have enjoyed each and every visit. It is a lovely country with lovely people (and some pretty fun tourist destinations… Niagara Falls, one of my favorite places EVER, for instance).
I would like to think that after I have gone into Canada after fleeing for my life and freedom, and have taken part in their education, health care, and all other aspects of Canadian life, I would be a bit more gracious to my host country.
It is appalling to me that allegedly one of the brothers, the elder, said he “didn’t understand Americans” as long ago as 2009. If he felt he was not fitting in, there was a simple solution… LEAVE! However, there is another lesson to be learned here.
I would love to travel the globe when I get the opportunity. I want to go EVERYWHERE…except the really cold places. I get enough of that here. 🙂 I definitely want to visit Paris and Italy. I want to go to Jamaica and the Bahamas. I want to go to Madrid, Spain. I can go on.
It is always necessary, when traveling, to keep an open mind. I know we as Americans tend to be a proud people. As we should be. But when we go to other countries, we should not expect for them to act as we act, do as we do, etc. We have to be mindful and respectful of the cultures, traditions, and social mores of the nations we visit. We should not go over to France and expect for the French to act like Americans, and then be disappointed. We should go wherever we go with an open mind.
Apparently, these two brothers were incapable of doing that. Perhaps they were unable to escape the mindsets that had been programmed into them as a part of their upbringing in their homeland. If they did not understand Americans after living here for a decade, that is no one’s fault but their own. They could have fit in just fine, because after all, what is an American? Are we not all immigrants in some way (the only ones to who that may not apply is African-Americans, who were brought here forcibly). Regardless of how we got here, the point is, the only people who can rightfully claim full American heritage are those Native Americans who were here and were forcibly displaced. The rest of us got here some other way, and combined to make this nation great. Surely those brothers had something they could have offered us, and surely there was something within our American culture that could have been offered to them–if only they were accepting of it.
The fact that three innocent people, including an 8-year-old CHILD, died because someone was not fitting in is an outrage. Since when has this kind of cowardice become the norm? Someone has a grudge against the world, more than likely because of their own shortcomings–the solution is to hurt, maim, and kill people who don’t even know or care that you exist? What is the point?
My prayers are with the wounded, their families, and definitely the families of the deceased. My prayers are also with the family of the two young men–I can only imagine what they are going through. I would be horrified and probably go into hiding if these boys were my relatives. I do hope that people contain their anger.
I will be following this story on MSNBC.COM. I am also praying that the younger brother, who may have been subject to the influence of his older brother, turns himself in. If not, he will undoubtedly be killed. It is a sad situation all the way.