The epic week of Terror in Boston leaves 3 civilians and one cop dead as well as nearly 200 hurt, many critically. The Brothers Tsarnaev have defied classification in the lexicon of Terrorist Descriptions.
Domestic Terrorist seems to fall just short, as they were not American by birth. Tamerlan, the older, presumed mastermind had permanent resident status and his younger brother Dzhokhar was actually a citizen, ironically taking the oath on the 11th anniversary of 9-11.
Al Qaeda or al Qaeda Wanna Be’s?
Al Qaeda operatives is still open for speculation, Tamerlan DID spend time in Russia and what he did in his 6 months there is currently unknown. The biggest problem with ‘al Qaeda wanna be’ or ‘al Qaeda Trained’ is the lack of a claim of responsibility in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing. If you do something this extreme on behalf of a cause why keep that to yourself? It’s a strong case against calling them al Qaeda. If you go this route to classify them ‘al Qaeda Wanna-Be’s’ works better.
Terrorists or Sociopaths?
It’s not important if the Tsarnaev brothers had any real agenda for the bombing, but one relatives description of them as losers lends creedence to the idea they are non terrorist Mass Murderers. Radical Islam seems to be emerging as their motivation… or is it simply a rationalization to excuse the simple malignant acts of murder they ultimately carried out? It’s unimportant because Terrorism resulted from their acts and in a purely technical sense their acts alone legally made them fit the definition of terrorists
This one is a tough stretch but may be ultimately what they refer to the dead brother as. He is the one who left the country and was a more overt and vocal practitioner of Radical Islam. The lack of a claim of responsibility is a problem with this definition also. Why would someone commit an extreme terrorist act without claiming responsibility. Unlike Timothy McVey, who was in custody (for other charges) within hours of the bombing and arguably was not able to claim responsibility, these guys had a whole week.
Just Plain Anarchist Malcontent Mass Murderers?
This is almost certainly the way they would have been viewd in a pre 9-11 world. They were hateful and had a grudge against America. One Uncle living in Maryland seemed to touch on this when he called the brothers ‘losers’ and seemed to attributed their radicalism to selfishness and a move of convenience, possibly even a self defense mechanism against their own failures. He continues to make statements denigrating the older brothers dedication to or even his practical knowledge of Islam.
A Whole New Kind of Terrorist?
Foreign Inspired Domestic Terrorist or Self Radicalized Domestic Islamic Terrorist seems to work best. I have not seen these terms used as of yet, but it’s a logical cobbling of terms and likely will be used if it hasn’t already. The labels fits both brothers well and satisfies the idea of a fitting, complete description. Only the Islamic Element of their classification seems debatable. As more information comes in there will be opportunity for a more specific rendering, but for now, the Tsarnaev Brothers fit into this final dual category.
Whatever else we decide they are, calling them Domestic Terrorists with some sort of twist seems to be a pretty solid assertion.