Stop Empathizing With Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

He's no victim, writes Joel Breuklander
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2013 1:56 PM CDT
This image provided by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center shows Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev.   (AP Photo/Boston Regional Intelligence Center)

(Newser) – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has received a shocking amount of sympathy, considering he stands accused of killing four people and injuring scores more. There are the reports that he may have been corrupted by his brother; the frequent references to him as an "angel"; an awful poem from a supportive Amanda Palmer; articles like this one, titled, "Dear Dzhokhar, I Can't Hate You"; even an entire "Free Jahar" movement. Enough is enough, writes Joel Breuklander at the Atlantic. "This all sounds like a conservative parody of mushy-headed liberal thinking."

"Dzhokhar is not a victim," he writes. "In the end it just doesn't matter how sweet Dzhokhar's classmates say he is if he's guilty of all he's alleged to have done." Breuklander theorizes that Dzhokhar, whose motives are still so unclear, is a "blank slate," and thus we're more likely to picture ourselves in his position. "As scary as it is to acknowledge, all of us have probably fantasized about violence at some point in our lives. Perhaps, we think, any of us might have turned out like him." But not only might this empathy be undeserved—if Dzhokhar is guilty, it's also "grotesque and wrong." Click for his full column.

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