When horrifying tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing take place, media coverage after the event often compounds the trauma. Outlets shuffle to explain how someone could be capable of such a heinous crime by placing the blame on social factors whether it be their race, ethnicity, religion, mental health state or even preferred genre of music. The narrative blames that social factor just as much as it does the suspect.

I’ve watched coverage on the Boston marathon bombing on a variety of outlets today from Fox to CNN to ABC, and read online reports of the tragedy. At press time, one bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot after a chaotic chase and firefight with police. Another, his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is still at large. The story is terrifying and disturbing, and as such, the media is scrambling for something to blame.

TMZ posted that the dead suspect was heavy into hip hop:

The older brother who was killed and suspected in the Boston bombings was deep into hip hop, and it appears he belonged to a fan website that touted that genre of music. Tamerlan Tsarnaev has an email associated with the website, “Real-hiphop.com.” The site provides information about hip hop artists and upcoming DVD releases. What’s interesting … hip hop lyrics are notoriously violent and often degrading to women. Tamerlan Tsarnaev has a boxing profile in which he says he doesn’t take his shirt off much because he doesn’t want women to get bad ideas, adding, “I’m very religious.” This statement is significantly more conservative than the hip hop genre.

The suspects’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, went on air to say his nephews’ bring shame to all Chechens and to restore Chechnya’s image in the media:

He put a shame on his family, and on the entire Chechen ethnicity. […] This has nothing to do with Chechnya. Chechens are peaceful people!

The President of Chechnya, which is predominantly Muslim, blames the United States — not Chechnya — for shaping the bombers:

Tragic events have taken place in Boston. A terrorist attack killed people. We have already expressed our condolences to the people of the city and to the American people. Today, the media reports, one Tsarnaev was killed as [police] tried to arrest him. It would be appropriate if he was detained and investigated, and the circumstances and the extent of his guilt determined. Apparently, the security services needed to calm down the society by any means necessary.

Any attempt to draw a connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevs — if they are guilty — is futile. They were raised in the United States, and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of this evil in America. The whole world must struggle against terrorism — that we know better than anyone else. We hope for the recovery of all the victims, and we mourn with the Americans.

The common thread in this installment of the blame game, and the many others that follow these types of tragedies, is to underscore the assailant’s “other-ness.” No one wants to be associated with a mass murderer so people distance themselves by way of race, ethnicity, religion, music choice or place of upbringing.

This practice is a breeding ground for stigmas which leads to hateful and sometimes violent acts of discrimination. In that way, playing the “blame game” is dangerous. It preys on people’s fear and in their minds, justifies their hate. And yet everybody participates.

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  • The Comment

    I’m kicking myself because I didn’t consider that maybe these two were set up as their parents declare. Mother says the FBI was already monitoring both of her sons because of where they are from. There are only 130 of his klan living in the U.S. I don’t know. This happen all so fast. Maybe the cops were looking for fall guys. I’m not going to believe they did it until on of the suspects get a lawyer.

    • Mademoiselle

      Well suspect #2 was captured alive, yet bleeding. If he survives his injuries, we’ll get to watch part 2 unfold and decide as information comes out. Although, I will say it’s kind of hard to believe they were set up when they came prepared with homemade grenades and 200 rounds of ammunition to fight back.

    • The Comment

      Ok. I know this sound stupid. but who saw the homemade grenades??? I’ve been caught up in the history of these two boys so..who saw the grenades.

      Go ahead and slap and shake me now. I know. I’m just asking.

    • piscarian

      ” Although, I will say it’s kind of hard to believe they were set up when they came prepared with homemade grenades and 200 rounds of ammunition to fight back”

      Kinda like how they robbed a gas station… oops that part was too hard to falsify, nevermind… so they said it, but they didnt mean it and took it back… :-/

      Still no video. No squad car dashcam No proof of anything? This entire story. Thats whats hard to believe.

    • The Other Jess

      I think it’s weird…it’s some kind of setup because why so much manpower needed to catch this 19 year old kid? I know what he did was horrible, but he (and his brother combined) killed far less people than the school shooters, etc.

      They brought out, like, the entire army, the entire Boston police force, blocked off the entire city…overkill to the max. Riidiculous. I know Boston is tiny, so it’s easy to block off the whole city, but this was wayyy over the top.

      There wasn’t this much military and police presence during Sept. 11th (3000+ killed) or Oklahoma City (200+ killed). Something rings false about this whole thing. Not false that the bombings happened, but on maybe who are the perpetrators.

    • The Comment

      I agree with both of you. Like Mademoiselle said, maybe they are paws for something bigger. and that is what I’m thinking. No way two nobodies deserve all this manpower. I really think this is a cover for something more sinister.

    • piscarian

      Youre not the only one who thinks this. Theres NO PROOF. And a few media outlets made some mistakes, but ALL of them were inhibited by police. Police threatened reporters to stay away and keep out when all the incriminating events (gernades, shoot outs, strapped with an explosive to his chest) occurred. Theres NOTHING. Ive searched for days. Ive found one picture of the kid that appeared to be of him setting something on the ground (supposedly a backpack- it was undoubtedly photo-chopped) that was faked for crying out loud. There’s something going on.

      Tons of “people” online denouncing this kinda talk as crazy too. Why is it crazy to question something this serious when days have gone, ppl are dying and being slaughtered on city streets, and we get no proof? They havent even told us what type of guns the two suspects had. In conneticut, that detail was broadcasted like the superbowl. The ones denouncing skeptical thinking online, I think theyre all feds. Theyre all over the media sites in the comment sections. Its sickening some the stuff theyre saying – most ppl I know dont act like that…. foaming at the mouth and disregarding civil liberties and american freedoms in the name of revenge and “justice”.
      A lot of racist religeous talk too; Im a Christian n no one I know thinks like that. NO ONE.

    • Fantastico

      Dang. I never even saw the wholes in this until I read your comments.

      What I have noticed is in the reaction to this case the use of heavy surveillance and a heavy police force is being touted as the most effective way to combat terrorism/violence.

      In reality non-invasive crowd sourcing saved the day, where the general public voluntarily offered up their videos and pictures of the marathon and bombing in addition to a citizen reporting the suspect in his back yard.

      I think war hawks and conservatives willing to throw out the Constitutional Rights of American Citizens are using this news coverage to make this country into more of a surveillance state where citizens must forgo their rights.

    • I use to think the 9/11 conspiracy theorist were nut cases but then I started watching all the documentaries and listening to the 1000’s of architects, scientists and engineers all saying the same thing. The towers came down in a manner that’s inconsistent with a plane crashing into them. You have thousand of experts around the world being ignored.

      All I’m saying is that the government tells you what they think you’ll believe not necessarily the truth.

    • The Comment

      I know how you feel. You look @ the nut jobs as if they are off their rocker then something like this happens.

      Now had not the media not blundered and made up stories; (they robbed a 7-11. Oops! Our editorial bad. OOO lookie. One of the bombers is a missing student. Dang it.. Wrong again.) I would have believed them.

      But it is too much going on! I know I sound like Number One CooCoo..but I think they were set up too. I’ll be the first to say I’m wrong but.

      1. What if these two boys were set up by some Corporation like Haliburton or some mega oil company that paid these two young men to do this.

      2. How does the FBI conduct a profile on you just to let this one slip???? What??? You check out the web sites I’ve visited and know my blood type but you miss me making a cooker pressure bomb?

      Nooo the old slave in me says, massah up to sumthin’.

    • ME

      False. Multiple engineers including a couple from premier institutions such as MIT, have written reports about the effects of the planes, heat, etc on the buildings’ collapse. And even people with degrees can be wrong. Who designs buildings to be ‘airplane crash proof’? NO ONE. At the time of completion of these buildings, i’m sure people misunderstood the depravity of the human condition which could lead someone to commit such an act. I think it is disrespectful to the the victims, survivors, and servicemen and women who were affected by both of these events. If you don’t have the capacity to question everything you read/hear (including stuff from the Feds), you will easily be sucked in by conspiracy theorists. I highly doubt most of the people proposing outlandish theories have the credentials to make them somewhat acceptable sources.

  • Mademoiselle

    I think the police presence was warranted considering there was no way to know if this was the first of many bombings they planned, if they were the only 2 conspirators or just the pawns of a larger group, and what they had planned next or where they’d go. I especially think that 9/11 has placed a priority on acting swiftly in these situations because the accusations back then was that America had fair warning of a potential attack of that size, yet the powers that be just sat on the information instead of eradicating the threat. Since then we’ve been in “stamp ’em out mode,” so I’m not surprised at the extent Boston went to for this. We no longer negotiate with terrorists, so they say.

  • It’s interesting to see the racial element to this story. Fox and CNN keeps implying that these two brothers have associations with the middle east. People have a hard time accepting the fact that these boys are white. Just like Russian, Chechans are classified as a Caucasian race. Second generation Chechans would clearly be considered white in America.

    • The Comment

      white people in America whose great-grand parents changed their name from Jawbajaws to Jones think those boys are white. But the Pols, Turks and Estonians know who they are.

      Yeah. This done shocked the Yo’ Dude Bro’s out of white people. Next they’ll be saying, “The Devil is a Liar.”

      This has changed the whole ball game.