The two brothers responsible for the carnage in Boston last week were a lot of things. They were terrorists. They were from what reports say, Muslims. They were murderers. And they were Americans.
As the surviving brother begins what will undoubtedly be his long journey to justice, there are those calling for him to be tried as an ‘enemy combatant’. These are many of the same people who insist on calling them Chechan (when they aren’t confusing Chechnya with the Czech Republic). When an atrocity occurs there is a a reflexive instinct to distinguish ourselves from the monster responsible. It must be something ‘other’ than us.
But the truth is that Dzhokhar and his brother are American citizens. They are as American as I am. However, it’s equally important to note that being an American has nothing to do with the quality of your character. Sure, judging from my site hits, most of you reading this are Americans. So am I. But then again, so is Charles Manson. So is the man responsible for the Newtown shooting and the man responsible for the Aurora shooting. These people were all Americans. And so are all of the people calling Obama everything but the President of the United States for simply treating Dzhokhar like any other American citizen who has committed a horrific crime. They’re all Americans. Some of them just are bad Americans. Saying otherwise is a lie and when we’re talking about tragedies and atrocities committed against American citizens, it’s a very bad thing to lie.
Dzhokhar Tasanaev is an American and he will be facing justice in an American court. As it should be.
- Jack Cameron