Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dzhokar Tsarnaev: Celebrity Terrorist

Boston Magazine publishes photos of "The Hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev". When Rolling Stone put a photo of the terrorist, an unblemished teenager, on its cover, outrage billowed. Today's photos from Boston Magazine are not pretty.

Our insatiable 24/7 information culture attracts a certain form of sociopath to the light like a strange moth. What is the appropriate response to a copy cat killer, or, someone willing to sacrifice freedom for fifteen minutes of fame?

There are many opinions to this vexing question, but no single answer. The hunger for fame, publicity and disclosure amplify the noise without providing clarity.

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, strongly believes that the antidote to government surveillance and secrecy is to make everything public. Let sunlight, in. But such a flood of information and data, the individual response to cacophony is to filter out the noise.

One hears only what one wants to hear. The observer of Boston massacre tunes into his or her news channel of choice with a focus as singular as the terrorist perpetrators. Through the noise, we are like beams of light crisscrossing each other in illuminated streaks through the darkness.

When acts of terrorism occur, what exactly are we looking at?

The Tsarnaev brothers set a high bar for extreme desperation that other sociopaths will aim to vault.

This is, in fact, the greatest achievement of Al Qaeda: to use the simple tools -- whether box cutters or lies -- to attack Western values and civilization. Al Qaeda doesn't offer hope. It offers retribution for the hopeless and power to criminals and sociopaths.

The terrorist is the reverse of enlightenment; a narrow beam that only shines within a single individual. This is why the leaders of terrorist organizations can be successful recruiting suicide bombers from the weak, the young and most disillusioned. Some, like Dzhokhar Tsarneav and his brother, do it themselves.

(the following LTE, reprinted from last Thursday's "Financial Times")


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