Welcome to my blog where I will post commentary on issues ranging from fiction to public policy. Tucked away in the Idea Boxes are “how to” tips on a variety of projects that have become part of our family’s culture over the years. I hope you’ll find some useful ideas there. My blog will take you through the fantastic journey of writing and publishing fiction, as well as commentary on politics, cultural trends, book reviews and family.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Brothers Tsarnaev

Now that the initial shock of the Boston Marathon bombings has subsided and the perpetrators killed or captured, we can step back and contemplate the senseless carnage visited on bystanders by these young men.

Much has been written about the apparent likeability of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, coupled with dismay that their American education and assimilation did nothing to inhibit their deadly jihadist impulses.  But nothing in the Koran or logic can explain or justify the misguided belief among radical Islamists that random violence will somehow further their cause or settle the score for perceived injustices.

Impulse control in young men has been a societal challenge since the beginning of time and we probably don’t do enough in our schools, churches, mosques and families to teach our boys the link between action and consequence.  Think about a young man from the poverty-ridden inner city who wants money to buy a six-pack of beer.  He goes into a Seven-Eleven and winds up shooting the clerk, unable in a moment of panic to link the outcome of his impulsive action to a little boy at home who will cry himself to sleep night after night because he has lost a father.  We spend so much collective energy trying to educate our young people, but somehow fail to give them the tools to navigate the hazardous process of growing up in a stressful and competitive world.

I read the Koran as part of a study group at my church and was struck by how similar it is to the Old Testament.  These ancient writings reflect cultures at war and they are similarly belligerent towards other tribes.  Most religious warfare has been about class or politics or tribalism and not about religion, and that’s true of the Islamic fundamentalist movement too.

Conservatives are too quick to blame Islam and liberals are too focused on political correctness to talk sensibly about solutions to this endless, senseless violence.  Just as Christians should speak out against extremists who justify bigotry or sexism through the Bible, leaders in Islam should do more to condemn acts of violence in the name of their religion.

I’m sure the families of Tamerlan and Dzokhar are just as devastated by their horrific actions as would have been the Newtown, Connecticut mother of Adam Lanza, had she lived to see the painful legacy of her son’s life. 

It’s too much burden to place on the shoulders of parents of young men who go horribly wrong.  We need to do more as citizens of an ever-smaller world community to provide moral grounding in values that prepare them for a complex and sometimes painful journey to adulthood.