Life is stupider than fiction: the Tsarnaev brothers

Should we feel good or bad that the trauma and heartache Boston suffered last week was apparently caused by two loser idiots?

I’ve just finished watching the first season of Homeland, where the terrorists are every bit as clever as the CIA and, in their own way, rather sympathetic.  If they weren’t, the show wouldn’t be watchable.  The Tsarnaev brothers are neither clever nor sympathetic and, as far as we know, weren’t pawns in the game of some Chechen mastermind. They were only smart enough to make some crude bombs and set them off.  Everything else about them was sheer pointless stupidity.

As far as I can tell, the brothers had no escape plan after the bombings; the younger one, at any rate, just went back to school at UMass Dartmouth, apparently confident that the investigative resources of the most powerful nation in the world wouldn’t find him.  When their photos were released, the brothers respond by hijacking a car, and they then: 1) let the driver escape; and 2) leave his cellphone in the car so the police can track them.  During the gunfight that follows, the younger brother manages to run over and kill his older brother, and then for some reason abandons the car and takes off on foot.  He finally decides to hide out in a boat in someone’s backyard, which simply delays the inevitable while he almost bleeds to death.

I suppose this doesn’t matter to the maimed; it surely doesn’t matter to the dead.  But I think some part of us wants a worthy adversary — the kind we see in the movies and on TV.  If we are going to be Boston Strong, we want to stand up to someone who is also strong.  Instead what we got was a pair of useless bums.

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