For years, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was drifting into radical extremism; neighbors, congregants at his mosque, and relatives all saw the signs. But to his parents, the suspected mastermind behind the Boston Marathon bombings was just a good boy. "Most people who met or knew Tamerlan, including family members, say he was a jerk," writes William Saletan in Slate. But Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, whom Saletan calls "awful" and "deluded," refused to see the fact that their son "was a human pressure cooker loaded with zeal, violence, and destructive ideology," despite numerous warnings—including from the FBI.
Anzor even defended a domestic violence incident, in which Tamerlan himself admitted to police he had slapped his girlfriend: "He hit her lightly," Anzor said. In the aftermath of the bombings, Tamerlan's uncles have come forward to acknowledge the evidence that he was involved. But his parents have remained not just supportive but defiant, insisting Tamerlan and brother Dzhokhar were set up by the authorities. "When family members are repeatedly exposed to signs that a loved one is drifting into the vortex of violent extremism, they have a duty to intervene, or at least to alert someone. If they don't, and the fanatic becomes a killer, they bear an awful responsibility," Saletan concludes. Click for his full column. (Read more Tamerlan Tsarnaev stories.)