Tag Archives: Terrorism

Mass shooting in Pulse Nightclub

Over fifty killed and another fifty injured in a firefight begun, sustained and led by American Islamic extremist Omar Mateen.  The young Mateen had been interviewed by the FBI several times. The belief is stated that he did not have ties to foreign Islamist extremists but his family is from Afghanistan and NBC News has reported that the father Seddique Mateen openly lobbies for the Taliban. So perhaps a more nuanced statement about his connections abroad should be made. There seems to be a basic agreement in the family that homosexuals deserve to be put to death although the father does not see it as lawful for people to perform that act of execution — leaving it to God.  the CBS link to a relevant story is here and I heard similar reports on other networks. In addition the young man bought weapons very recently.  His ex wife brings up the mental illness idea but one has to question what that means, but he does seem to have been a controlling wife-beater to some degree. The gay bar on the other hand seems to have been entirely unprepared for an Islamist attack of a military terrorist nature.  perhaps that is incorrect but that is how it seems.

The Americans and visitors to America were attacked this morning by a man who called 911 to pledge support and loyalty to the leader of ISIS. This call to emergency services was made in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The bloody ordeal went on until a final firefight with police sometime after five in the morning. Experience has taught me that not all links will be readable over time and I cannot check them all but a pretty good summary of the event should link here.

My first post on this event came shortly after I woke and was on Facebook.  I wrote,

Taking a moment to acknowledge the deaths of dozens of Americans and other people in America killed while celebrating a Saturday night out. The families and friends affected by this and also the wounded are also in my prayers. It would feel good to say that politics has no place here. It would be comforting to say that real issues related to homosexuality, to the obligation of nightlife to have more security now than in the past, to the views of American Muslims, to the policing of districts where clubs are located, to the disputes about guns and even more disagreeable to the electoral implications of these deaths –to hold that these issues didn’t matter. But all that and more matters. 

These are trying times…”

The President of the United States in his initial press conference largely minimized the Islamist nature of this incident. The Press Conference with the White House Press Corps was not his first response however and some of the tweets and actions that came out earlier are mentioned below.  Many issues will emerge over time. The effort to respond reasonably will be opposed on all sides directly and indirectly. A reasonable response in my view would examine honestly all the weakness  this attack reveals. It would deal not only with the many who have lined up to give blood for the victims but the many who are offended by federal bathroom laws, Gay Pride Parades in front of their children and would prefer not to live near a nightclub like the Pulse. Most of those people would not hesitate to condemn this act and take real measures to prevent it.  The gun control debate might include ind reasonably requiring high power assault weapons in a vault near security guards at sites very attractive to known terrorist organizations, might license accountable community militia groups, might acknowledge the fiasco that gun free zones occasion.  A reasonable conversation might   also realize that people call those with deadly records mentally ill in a way that has almost no definable meaning.  But after all the reason was brought to bear then perhaps real restrictions on trading, transporting, storing and using assault weapons could be put in place. When not at the shooting range, at the community armory or in your annually inspected home vault your assault gun might be at risk of seizure and you might risk a fine.  I don’t consider this country a safe place not because I expect to be shot today but because the social fabric is constantly being degraded. Few are interested in the hard work of repairing it. 

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

As the names and stories of the dead emerge the understanding of the events will evolve as well. For me their deaths came on an anniversary of another death.  Here is a link from the television station on Channel Four in Jacksonville which begins to disclose the names — but this is a step in a long journey. I would have discussed these events with that old friend almost exactly my age. His country and mine have changed and continue to change. But that will not lessen the tensions underlying the many faces of this tragedy. President Obama will continue to behave in a way which will evoke a very belated response from a very limited legitimate opposition press as seen in the New York Post story linked here. The journalist cites Obama as saying that ” We”not Islamic terrorism are at fault for the Orlando massacre. Social networks were abuzz but not as much as after some events. I think that the truth is people are unable to write as freely about the incident because it involved a gay nightclub. They may not like the current LGBT agenda and the may not be crazy in love with Gay nightclub scenes on morning television. They do not know how to deal with these realities without mentioning them if they post their sincere outrage at the attack and sincere condolences.  Apparently the club was largely a Hispanic clientele, and had the double empathy issues of current animosity by some towards the LGBT community and by others to the Hispanic community. But fencing things around with so many verbal protocols that one’s critics cannot feel safe to join you in opposing a common enemy seems risky to me.  Remember this man drove a distance to kill people indoors. He was not being forced to deal with any particular assault to his religion directly.


My brother, whom I always called my half-brother  and whom I did not know until I was in graduate school and who had a separate legal set of parents who adopted him was named Paul. He was a homosexual who died of AIDS and was living with me and my family after falling out of whatever support system the LGBT community in San Francisco had to offer. I called a friend and former fraternity brother in the LGBT AIDS assistance community to get help for him and corresponded with several others and with Paul when he first came there to us and nobody helped. However, my experience with programs helping in this country is that they usually have not responded to any request I made but did do many things I did not think worth doing. Those are painful memories for me. That set of memories does not make me an expert on the pain and loss these families are suffering. I tried to help Paul and we were fairly close at the end but he never even admitted to me that he was gay. It just remained a wide open secret between us. My mother gave him up for adoption before I was born. When I met him he was married to a woman from the Middle East and had a stepson named Jameel. I was married in those days as well. Families and sexuality are both complicated things. Death also comes for us all. But the horror of a mass slaying like this goes beyond death.   Nothing can compare to the loss and horror of those personally connected to the tragedy and tragedies like this.. That is true even if like me you do not put a gay bar at the same level as a church or an elementary school. I do not put it at the same level. There is no reason to ask someone like me to make it a shrine. The deaths of their loved ones doubtless make it sacred to the bereaved.  But the public nature of the place is otherwise. The issues of hate crimes, terrorism, murder, national security and civic injury ought to be enough to bother all of us — we do not need to have a belief that the space itself was a sacred one. But it was a privileged space. It was a gathering place for people who are different to do things not everyone will like or approve of them doing. It seems that whether one is opposed to the ambitious LGBT agenda or not one could support the idea of a safe, politically conscious place for adults to gather without disturbing neighborhoods. Many in the building would doubtless want to do all kinds of things in my neighborhood I would not like. But as an American I can still see a need for them to protect their basic civil rights even if we disagree about some of the boundaries, a place to congregate and a place to create a cultural of communication and sexual interchange within boundaries they define for themselves as proper which I do not have to witness. Driving a long way to shoot up a gay bar is more than a hate crime it is a small step in the direction of the extermination of gay people. In scale it is trivial but in type it is a kind of sexual act of genocide. It is of course not trivial to those who had a loved one exterminated.

. The families, friends, first responders and others have been traumatized to varying degrees and the wounded of course intensely injured. The President deserves some credit for trying to strike a tone of human compassion and his response is outlined below. White House Tweets at intervals varying from pauses of a couple of minutes or less to pauses of a few hours included attached materials and video summing up the President’s actions and words. There are other accounts involved and the White House retweeted itself and yet one can map out a response from the following principal tweets.

  1. “In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give into fear.” —
  2. “We stand with the people of who have endured a terrible attack on their city.” —
  3. “As Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.” — on

  4. orders U.S. flags flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the attack in Orlando:

  5. Attacks on any American—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation—is an attack on all of us.

  6. This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends—our fellow Americans—who are LGBT

The policy does not seem to reflect an ongoing series of attacks from Radical Islamists. It would make me feel better to focus only on the facts of the massacre as a massacre but terrorism is always political. Here are some of the political victims I can think of so far as the process is being led by the White House.  From the point of view of Americans who like Obama was fond of saying “cling to their religion and their guns”  this seems to be a chance to expose them to three prongs of pressure. They feel the hostility for Americans from ISIS and the family’s Taliban connections. They feel the hostility from the White House stirring up criticism of all those not fanatic cheerleaders for the LGBT agenda.  They feel what they cannot help but believe will be greater tensions from LGBT leadership who follow Obama’s lead in seeing this as a social hate crime and not part of an Islamist Jihad. For the conservative Muslim who wants a better future as a loyal American — this has to be a bad day. For homosexuals and others who are sexually aligned to the LGBT but while they want to have safe nightclubs do not seek a culture war or value its purported triumphs this is a bad day. For Hispanics who see countless ways this incident pushes out the kinds of connections they have spent a lifetime building with others this is also a bad day.   For those

Today is the first anniversary of a friend’s death. I am inescapably aware of how the United States we grew up in has become a place where Islamists frequently express themselves by killing people gathering places.

We have a responsibility to understand the words we use to shape our live and society. This is a picture of the Declarators committee.

We have a responsibility to understand the words we use to shape our live and society. This is a picture of the Declarators committee.

We must pray, vote, think, write and be  brave. But I make no claim that the path we are on is a promising one. Nor do I believe positive change is a foregone conclusion. The promise of America has been made simplistic and almost ridiculous in my view but it does have a promise and we can come to understand it. We can face the fact that crises like these play far too large of a role in shaping any national dialog we do have.  I just published a post about national conversation and this is the link to it here. I will also mention its title:  https://franksummers3ba.com/2016/06/09/presidential-politics-and-the-current-american-mindset/

I have some empathy with those who  wish to keep political comments for the future although I do not do so here.  I end with a quote from a politically active Facebook friend younger than myself, named Rick Fisher:

I am a conservative republican. I believe a person who is gay has a right to go to a nightclub without fear of being shot, just like everyone else. I believe a person who is Muslim has every right to be in this country, to live and work here just like everyone else. And I believe there is nothing wrong with expressing sympathy and sorrow first for the families of those who lost a live one due to an act of such extreme hatred I cannot comprehend.

Like everyone else I have several thoughts about the horrific tragedy that occurred last night in Orlando. Those thoughts will be shared in due time. But not today. Today we pray for the fillies of the deceased, and for the well-being and recovery of those who survived a battlefield they rightfully didn’t expect to enter.

So where do I get the incentive to do this analysis as I slide into the silent dark perhaps? I get it from the commitments I have made over the years.  From those who sought out my advice and published my stuff. From those of you I do not know who still read these posts. I also get it from inside as well. I do not know if I will return to this subject directly but sadly it is a subject  that is tied to many others across this blog.


The Lafayette Louisiana Theater Shooting

In the hours after the theater shooting the whole city and region were trying to understand how to react and what exactly had happened at all kinds of different levels. One of the news organizations helping law enforcement to deal with the very central nature of the site is the story linked here.

Soon enough it became apparent for me and many others that as horrible as this was we had a lot to be thankful for in the midst of horror. I was soon stating that I was grateful for the excellence of the first responders, the courage of the teachers in the theater and the dignity of the bereaved. This, region I would say and realize  is still a special place.

But I was also deeply troubled by the event  — not only because it was in a place I have used countless times, frequented by many friends . Not only because of the horrible murders and acts of mayhem. The heinous act committed by John Russell Houser was loathed and must be condemned by me for other reasons as well. I do not see this act as random in every regard and I also condemn much of Houser’s life and political-philosophical career. He was an institution over time, in the shadows around the edges of right wing dissent to the American political consensus. I believe people should denounce the people who are in their part of the political spectrum who violate their principles and beliefs. Houser and I  both more or less have been on the far right of American politics. I do not want to burden this tragedy with politics but I believe that the political element is there.

Perhaps alone the fact that the shooter had been on numerous talk shows ( or a few show numerous times) is not an ideology of terror being manifest and does not make this political terrorism. The fact that he had run for office and been penalized for vandalism  does not make his act a cause for which he killed or an act of terrorism. The fact that he plotted against lawyers who defended pornographic theatres and disliked this kind of movie does not make it terrorism but it does show he had thought long and hard about the idea of theaters as his enemies in a sense of armed struggle.. The fact that he was a lawyer, had a long history of violence and was a planner does not make it terrorism. However, police investigation in this case show a planned event by a man who hoped to survive it. The fact that police were on premises is what prevented his escape. He had disguises and a car with switched plates.

So, in light of all of this I must disagree with several people who have cast this as an isolated act of psychotic rage. America has no real third-party systems. It is absurd to think that the two parties will represent everyone. I’m not in either party and am not all that happy. Some who say otherwise are old friends and some of the acquaintances who hold office. But I must take a different view.


Grand  Theater Shooting police presence  days later

Grand Theater Shooting police presence days later

The day this happened was the day that Seth Fontenot was to be sentenced again for killing my acquaintance Austin Rivault. The theater shooting pushed that off the news. It was the day among others when Aurora Colorado awaited the sentencing of James Holmes for that theater massacre. It was the day a power outage and fallen tree occurred where I live.

A fallen tree knocked out power at Big Woods

A fallen tree knocked out power at Big Woods

I do not have anything to complain about compared to the families of the bereaved. But the troubles  this added to are real enough. I could have easily been at the Grand at the time. My uncle Brian and his wife almost were but had to babysit grandchildren at the last minute. My niece and godchild had her boyfriend’s cousin among the 26 people actually in the theater where the shooting occurred. My niece was driving nearby at the time. An old friend had just left work there. But the deaths that occurred were no less tragic because they were not my close friends.

There has been coverage of the two murdered women. That includes international platforms such as the one linked here.  There are also more regional stories by the media based here and one of those can be see at this link.

There has also been a thoughtful response from the University of Louisiana. I print a letter from the President whom I know personally and whose open letter I believe to be in the public domain:

A message from the President:

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette community is deeply saddened by the loss of Jillian Johnson, 33, and Mayci Breaux, 21, who died in a tragic shooting at the Grand Theatre on Johnston Street last night. Jillian graduated from UL Lafayette in 2004. Nine others were injured, with one in critical condition.

The entire campus mourns the loss of lives in our Lafayette community. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.

Jillian Johnson was a much-loved creative talent known throughout the community. She founded apparel store Parish Ink in downtown Lafayette and River Ranch, as well as the boutique Red Arrow Workshop in Lafayette and New Orleans. She had been a producer at KRVS, a National Public Radio affiliate on the UL Lafayette campus. She was a musician and lead singer for The Figs. She leaves behind her husband, Jason Brown, a 2005 graduate of UL Lafayette.

Our hearts go out to all who are impacted by this tragedy. As we experience shock and sadness, it is important to know that resources are available to help us move through grief. Students, faculty, and staff members affected by this tragedy may contact our Counseling and Testing Center at 482-6480.

As integral members of the Lafayette community, we are here to support each other.


E. Joseph Savoie

Since it happened I have not blogged and  gotten the boost in view that might have brought this blog. I have been dealing with the shooting in terms of connecting people personally and feeling the pain myself  and am glad
that nobody I know seems to have been there on site at the time  so far. For two days after the shooting I squeezed in some yard work, meal preparation and family helping but several things need tending to and I am trying to get to everything.

The day after the shooting I was making lunch, doing minor chores, keeping a movie on in the background. I planned to see the work my mother has been doing to fix up Kissinoaks, one of my family’s sites. I brought her a stereo. She is based there while repairs go on and she tends to many family demands in Abbeville and Lafayette. Today I brought my brother Simon to see her there.


CNN was one of many news organizations around for the longer stretch

CNN was one of many news organizations around for the longer stretch

Mayci Breaux was close to a woman named Lacey who was my housemate with other people for a while and is a friend. She said, “I taught her religion for three years. She was one of my campus ministers. We also danced together for many years. Such a beautiful person.” What can I say to that except, “Really sorry Lacey….”


Shortly after the shooting I posted a notice from Peter who worked at the theater letting people know he was alright.  Later his mother posted on Facebook and I shared her post as well.  That appears just below this picture.

The sign that is a feature of the city announcing showtimes is dark

The sign that is a feature of the city announcing show-times is dark


I have known Peter’s mother Imelda for 30 years. I am leaving out their beautiful French last names like Lacey’s Acadian French last name for their privacy.  But it is an omission that makes things less clear. This whole thing is very much a near thing, a local thing and a regional thing… Imelda wrote

 Our hearts are heavy this morning as we all grieve for those woman and the gunman who died last night at the Grand. Lafayette has been known as the happiest town in in the US. Today it is the saddest. There is great faith in this community so we will rely on the grace of God to help us heal from this horrible tragedy. I give thanks to God that our son, Peter, who works at the Grand, had left just an hour prior to this event.


Local media has been all over this story.

Local media has been all over this story.

I am still working through this.

There is a woman I like and just recently told I like who has to go to a lot of public venues in the next few weeks and I worry about her. I worry about America, mourn with the mourners and do see some signs of hope.

Malaysia Airlines and the 777 which Means Something

Malaysia is among the most tolerant and diverse Muslim majority countries in the world. It is one of the countries with whom Christians and others could be fully sane and conscious and wish for peace.

Given those facts it is natural that people have been reluctant to cry “Islamic Terrorism and Atrocities!” when the Malaysia Airlines flight on the 777 disappeared. But we now believe the following to be facts:
1. There were devout Muslim pilots in command.
2. Two Iranian Muslims were on board with stolen passports.
3. The Chinese Martyrs Brigade, a Muslim Autonomy Subversives Group and tied to Islamist terrorists has taken responsibility.
4. Most passengers were not Muslims and many were Chinese — with Americans on board as well.
5.There were two separate communications instruments were turned off deliberately at separate times.
6. The plane changed headings and was flown for hours thereafter.

My heart goes out in emotion to all those who have almost certainly lost loved ones on this flight. If in fact this was a terrorist act did they contact someone who refused to negotiate or even report the conversation or is this slow and silent killing a new mask of terror?

Whatever happens Islamist terror in China is on the rise and partly this may be due to the changes in geopolitics. Even as I look at the Crimean crisis I remember that the themes of the last twenty years continue to evolve. One can imagine how the Cold War and the Global Jihad/ Worldwide War on Terror may share billing on the world stage in the coming decade.

The Boston Marathon Bombers and American Culture

This Note and Blog Post is going to be a sort of recycling, patchwork and rehashing of quite a few ideas and even passages that I have gone over in recent months. However, this will be done in the very definite lights, contexts and insights afforded by the recent events in Boston. Let us examine the very real way in which these events will determine the way long term trends and questions are addressed. America is in the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, he has campaigned on the issue of more immigration and more diversity and the celebration of diversity. He has presided over what I call lies and misrepresentations about the acts of extreme violence in his term of office ever since the Fort Hood shootings. However, it may be that in this case he has handled the events after the attack in a better than average way. I will not go into detail here about the fault I do find in the procedures and words he chose. There are too many other aspects of this case to consider. This event may begin to make some Americans realize that we are in a crisis state.

While it may be very unlikely that we should address any of these issues effectively it is still worth discussing them. America must contend in any way around the world every day. It will never be easy. Some have been eager to forget the world we actually live in every single day of any administration. We have to address globalization, terrorism, environmental issues, possible pandemics, war and smoldering conflicts. We cannot opt out of any of these issues. The United Nations and other bodies such as the WTO have sought to set out a series of new regimens and protocols for international affairs. This has been done ambitiously despite staggering problems with previous reforms. An incident like this one at and around the Boston Marathon reminds us that things are not going smoothly. Reforms can be and are proposed but are the likely to succeed?

However, the same powers that have sought these reforms sense that they are not succeeding as well as could be hoped. Britain’s Conservative political leaders and Prime Minister can smell and taste the geopolitical winds enough to feel the need for security and will consider spending considerable monies made available by this move for a stabilizing internationalism and an expansion of the UK’s aid budget to be used on more old fashioned kinds of military peacekeeping and even more purely conventional defense-related projects.

The UK which has quite a bit of experience building Empires is both really interested in a better world and really aware it must remain engaged in a world where China, Russia, new organizations and international Islamism or very much engaged. For each of these powers armed humanitarianism is part of the total world strategy Britain will not be left out and is allocating 30% of the UK aid budget to fragile and conflict-affected states. This development will involve some defense profile as well. The Brits have declared that their world strategies and interest are enhanced and their engagement effectiveness is improved when the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development work together, “sharing expertise while co-ordinating policy and strategy.”
We have not chosen Mitt Romney and I am not sure we should have chosen him. However, he was a man who understood soft international power such as sport and missionary work can bring to bear from personal experience such as I have had although quite different from mine. Obama has seen our first Ambassador killed in active duty in decades and has helped to foment varied revolutions without responsible planning on his side. He has denied links between American events and international enemies in the past. In these ways he is simply worse than average in following through on American presidential customs. But still, this is no 9-11 event. It is simply a wake-up call that our policy is not going along swimmingly. We must face the complexities of our world…

In this complex world America has a government that does not draw up budgets, does not understand how to compare debt. Our public indebtedness is about one hundred trillion and not sixteen trillion dollars. It does not understand the international networks that can fuse and separate and has not really allocated sufficient resources to countering the kind of weapons postulated in the film Red Dawn which would take the whole internet off line, fry CPUs and jam communications simultaneously. We see the world adjusting to new patterns of reliance, we know carrier killer missiles with small warheads on mobile launchers can be rained down from space with amazing speed and we see that a new generation of projectiles hunt conventional rocketry more effectively than ever before but largely we do not adjust to these challenges but instead focus only on the lessons of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We see that our own social cohesion is under strain but really keep increasing the strain and not really securing the future and not thinking of what an American solution ought to be in deep terms.

I do feel that much of our traditional capacity is slipping away but we are adding some new capacity and that also has a cost. A friend of mine posted the following post on Facebook after the bombing and before the end of the original manhunt.

Listening to FBI Press Conference on Boston Bombing: What disturbs me the most is the FBI can scoop up all texts, facebook, any social media, and phone calls in a mile radius of the bombing, and sift them for information. Wow, with drones, computers, and satellites, there is no where a righteous person could hide from a tyrannical government. I am glad that the bombers will be found, but our government has incredible power and we better hope there are some checks and balances that protect us from this power.

I replied in a comment, “There is review of police action by legitimate authorities and federalism still clings to life so no single power has all the rights. There are legitimate skills to use in hiding oneself, hacker groups to fight for free uses and exchanges, burner phones and more ways to travel and connect with others who might help you. But if you mean can an honest person living and working near home expect the level of privacy some Americans enjoyed in the fifties to live in a zone truly untouched if they stayed out of trouble and still enjoy civilization — that is gone, really gone, very gone — in my opinion…”

I applaud President Obama and his administration for marshalling the resources to address this problem. It is quite an achievement for him to have found the enthusiasm which has often seemed lacking. These unusual Caucasian (from the Caucasus ethnicities) terrorists striking where they did received a response more aggressive and prompt than all but a few and this was a much harder case because they did not stay in place but slipped away unlike many who kill themselves or dig in for a siege. I also salute the use of the many cameras in the Boston Marathon. I know the police probably are hiding rather than hyping the capacity of indexing software, facial recognition software, time synchronizing software and surveillance engineering to allow them to quickly produce valid suspects. It seems to have been an effective thing to do. The truth is that all of these technologies do impact our freedom and our privacy even as they help to preserve life and property from attack. I do believe these are complicated matters and it will not be easy to determine what the right balance is and also not easy to apply these technologies correctly in warfare and international relations. Other countries have spent decades finding ways to circumvent these technologies which are low-tech and effective and cannot be easily defeated. We should rejoice in what law enforcement accomplished in Boston. We can hope it bodes well for us in military security as well but we must know it is not a simple matter.
I believe our models for economics and military projections are flawed badly. If we do not do a lot better soon there will be consequences. The solution does involve being alarmed but does not involve seeing the whole world as made up of full-fledged enemies. That approach would be one of many that would produce the same bad result. The result would be what?

The United States of America is moving towards a series of catastrophic military disasters. The country will awaken sooner or later to a future of having been entirely overrun by its enemies. The time for reform and appropriate action is quickly coming to an end.

Things are going to get a lot rougher than most people are prepared to deal with I fear. There is little else to say about the situation’s overall status and stature. There is a lot to say about what exactly I mean by that. However, for this note the short paragraphs above will have to do…

So we should be able to see that our society is largely dysfunctional by many events of recent times. Yet it is more largely functional. The kind of change I suggest in my model constitution for example is unlikely. I do want to see what these events may tell us about our future as a society and about the present we may not understand well in some aspects. I think that in this Boston Bombing we see the many aspects of our security situation highlighted. That includes our constitutional and immigration questions and issues.

Let us start with what we know about the bombers. Neither were born United States Citizens and both were citizens at the time of the attacks, This single reality would seem to be quite an indictment of our immigration system. They are certainly not the ideal. Clearly they are either guilty of a heinous set of crimes against life, public safety and the community or else they are framed by a vast conspiracy of law enforcement. There really are very few other possibilities. Neither result would be a good outcome for our immigrants who become citizen. I presume they did the deed of which Dzokhar is accused. Legal guilt is another matter and must be established at trial but I presume they were not framed. Their family says they were framed. There are no pictures in circulation of them doing violent crimes. There are picture os them with back packs, at a Seven-Eleven and hiding in a boat. The police shot out the younger brother’s capacity for speech. Given all this they are entitled to be represented by lawyers who may claim they were framed. That defense almost never succeeds even if someone is framed. For the rest of this note let us examine their lives as though they did the crimes in the very brief way this short note will allow.

The older brother had no doubt been seeing the world in terms of conflict for some time. The younger Dzokhar was an accomplished wrestler but his older brother was a much more serious boxer. Let us speculate about some of the weaknesses in our society which helped produce this event. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died at a mere 26 years old, was only 15 when his family came to the U.S. He went on to become a skilled boxer, representing New England in the Golden Gloves competition in 2009 and 2010. There are many challenges to fitting in and building connections between cultures. Perhaps if, as is conjectured, he was the instigator of the bombing attack and drew his younger brother into the plan they are accused of carrying out his sense of isolation increased every time this fighting man’s name was not recognized and understood as a reference. I do not know he knew this but I presume he knew he was named after Tamerlaine . Tamerlaine is is the equivalent name to Tamerlan in our histories but probably did not appear in the history classes he took and is an Anglicization of what some have rendered Timur i-lenk, or Timur the Lame. Chechen’s would probably be reminded that while I grieve over how little of our own history student’s know they know far less of central Asia’s history.

Tamerlan’s namesake was a Tatar tribesman who entered history when he successfully rebelled against the dynasties and cultures of Mongol overlords in the 14th-century social order created by the almost unimaginable violence and military skill the great Mongol warlord Genghiz Khan who had conquered much of the known world. Tamerlaine established his seat of government in they exotic inland city of Samarkand, There he both took advantage of controlling existing dominating significant trade routes and he helped to forge other routes which knitted together a vast part of the world. While we study little of these people and their heritage the cultures around Tamerlaine suffered a similar cultural narrowness of their own. Vikings, Europeans Aztecs, Tongans and other groups had leaders who ruled large regions, traveled far and commanded armies but Tameralaine’s people and neighbors probably regarded only seven rulers or small groups of rulers in the world as significant. These significant powers were the Mongol overlords Tamerlaine conquered in his first rebellion, the Lord of Tatars which may have been his own chief title, the Caliph in Baghdad, and rulers in Turkey, Egypt, India, and China. Tamerlaine conquered all the others except China. Here he fell short of the greatness of Ghengis Khan. While he had little more than tribute from Egypt and only an occupation of Turkey he was still a ruler of enormous influence in world history. His lasting legacies were the Mogul dynasty in India, and some cultural influence over a wide area from India into Russia. What did it mean to the older Tsarnaev to meet so many to whom his name meant nothing at all? A country must have a cultural coherence and not merely laws.

We are struggling with many cultural questions right now and these events have thrown them into stark relief. It was with some of these cultural issues that I began my first note about this bombing. Passages from that note are reproduced here below.

“This is a time of crisis which cannot be reasonably compared to the events of September 11, 2001 in very many ways and yet inevitably it will be. In addition, the limited reportage of possible attributions for the attack has been led by those seeking to pin the responsibility on America’s far right. I do not know who is responsible and it could turn out to be anyone. There is a tendency to follow the patterns in which any given society reacts to crises when any new crisis occurs. Liberal ABC News has focused on the far right and possible connections to April and then has somehow jumbled that in with Virginia Tech’s huge killings in April. There is no connection to the American right in that killing. Lies and propaganda continue full force.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the FBI has a Saudi Arabian national in custody that they are looking at “as a possible suspect.”
Ruppersberger said he wants the FBI “to focus on what they do best and that’s getting the information and finding out who did this and what type of bomb it was.” Nobody sane could accuse me of being soft on Islamists, nor do they lack for Islamists in Saudi Arabia. In fact I distrust Islam as a whole and often write such things. Bad blood between my ancestors and Muslims goes back to the start of the religion and is enormous. Yet there is so little reason to go first to the Muslims for this attack.”

It is apparent that the brothers were Muslims. We do not know how much there motivation was Muslim or Islamist. We do hear that Russia had been investigating Tamerlan and also that he had links to Islamist groups on his own web presence. In my first note I tried to get people to consider that it might not be Al Quaeda related and to consider North Korea. Boston’s homeboy Secretary of State John Kerry had just led a campaign against North Korea and this attack could have been and really still could be a reprisal against Massachusetts by the DPRK.I wrote in that first note that ” It could be anything or anyone but North Korea leads a sane list of suspects”. That was perhaps hyperbole and a bit too much for the emerging facts but it is still possible they were involved and there were strong reasons to be on guard from the start. The Marathon attacks occurred on the 100th birthday of Kim Il-Sung. In my first note I went into detail about what that meant. I reprint a bit of that argument here below:

    Kim Il-Sung is very significant and his birthday can only be compared to Christmas for its significance in this country. There are over 500 large or life-size and prominent statues of Kim Il-sung in North Korea. The most prominent public places in the nation are marked by truly enormous statues in many cases. Some of these enormous statues are installed at Kim Il-Sung University, Kim Il-Sung Bridge and the Kim Il-Sung Stadium. In addition there is the near religious worship associated with the park surrounding the Immortal Statue of Kim Il-Sung . The Korean situation is characterized by huge amounts of lies on all sides and so it is hard to be sure of what is going on no matter who one is in the game but it seems to be true that some of these statues have been reported to have been destroyed by explosions or damaged with graffiti by North Korean activists. Whatever the opposition may be doing this cult is vital to the society as a whole. It is also traditional that North Korean newlyweds go to a near-by statue of Kim Il-sung to lay flowers at his feet.

I also argued that America may have been hit by such a birthday attack before that day in Boston. I wrote that the Virginia Tech shooting was likely DPRK directed along with so many other acts of anonymous violence:
This Korean shooter before committing suicide left notes which if complete have many resonances to North Korean propaganda and which may be incomplete because of removal by our own falsifiers of real connecting papers. Cho’s massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history. While our emphasis on the idea that only crazy people do not love us led the Virginia Tech Review Panel to conclude that because of Cho’s inability to handle stress and the “frightening prospect” of being “turned out into the world of work, finances, responsibilities, and a family,” Cho chose to engage in a fantasy in which “he would be remembered as the savior of the oppressed, the downtrodden, the poor, and the rejected” –a sane person can see that this not far from radical communist anti-Americanism of the type found in the DPRK. But the panel rejected this approach and went further down yellow brick road stating that, “His thought processes were so distorted that he began arguing to himself that his evil plan was actually doing good. His destructive fantasy was now becoming an obsession.” They refused to see the chances that he was buying into an ideology.

There is no reason to produce again all that I wrote about North Korea and the connection to the Virginia Tech shooting. The link here is far less likely and if it could not be established in that case there is no chance of finding the link here if it does exist –or at least very little chance. We need to foster an atmosphere in which all aspects of the security situation are being considered. The world is really that tough of a place. We have a need to bear all these different and complex connections in mind.
It is still possible to believe the family members who see a set up when one looks at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The young man is only 19 and he was not yet a teenager when he moved to the United States. While the reports of his age when he immigrated range from 7 to 11 he was here for most or all of the years since he arrived. Numerous people have been shocked that he was involved in this kind of activity. He is described as a likable, relaxed young man and an athlete who played soccer up until the incident as did his eight-year-old victim M. Richard. Dzokhar was also the captain of his high school wrestling team. With a small wrestling scholarship and a financial aid package he seemed still to be having some trouble in school and may have been influenced by his brother. On the other hand all the things that will allow some people to believe his parents when they claim he was framed are the same true facts that suggest a party from abroad may have profiled and manipulated the brothers. That may be true even if they did nit share the Islamic values and Islamist motivations to which the bombing will likely be ascribed in the end. I admit I am not ever likely to be sure that the DPRK was not at all involved. But I admit others may have a greater probability of being the manipulators.

This is a case which should haunt us and will. It will be a long time before it fades from memory. Where America will be then depends in large part on the way we address the issues which this tragedy raises.

Boston Marathon Bombers Apprehended: A first thought

I applaud all those who participated in the apprehension of Dzokarh and the killing of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. This has ended with the capture of the malefactor. We can rejoice in any number of bad outcomes avoided.
I also remember the families of officer Collier, the Lu and Richard families and the family of 29 year-old Chrystal whose last name I forget. In addition the twenty-five people who lost their limbs and their families as well as Officer Donahue and his family and the other one hundred and more wounded in Monday’s bombing. The cost of today’s shutdown was 350 million dollars and there are many issues in this crisis that must be addressed.
Let us hope that the society we live in will continue to progress in its ability to respond to and anticipate such acts. Let us include these improvements in our honoring of the dead. Boston stayed on the job and for that virtue there is no substitute and we are all in their debt for such perseverance…