MSNBC host explains our fixation with the bombers' roots

I know you were all worried. The entire week has gone by and you’ve doubtless been haunted by nagging fears over exactly why you were so upset with the Brothers Tsarnaev and their recent actions in Boston and Watertown. I’m sure, like many, you were concerned that you might be unfairly judging them for their origins or Muslim connections. Fear not! You’re just fine. As MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry helpfully explains, these factors have nothing to do with recent events.

Making the point that the Tsarnaev brothers’ Muslim faith at the moment bears little relevance to the investigation into the brothers’ decision to attack the Boston Marathon last week, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry observed that Tsarnaev’s faith is about as relevant to the investigation right now as are Ben Affleck movies about violent events in Boston. Her panel guests agreed, and said that Americans have to “otherize” violent actors in order to absolve themselves from responsibility for or connection to their violence.

“We don’t really know,” said Harris-Perry, throwing her hands up about the discussion into the Tsarnaev’s motives. “The younger brother, he’s getting all kinds of tweets from his friends. I think part of the answer is that it’s still an open question.”…

“Given that they’re Chechen, given that they are literally Caucasian, our very sense of connection to them is this framed up notion of, like, Islam making them into something that is non-[unintelligible],” Harris-Perry continued.

“The point is that it’s important to say, ‘that is not us,” Dyson agreed. “We want to demonize the other. We have to distance it from the dominant culture.”

Look… I don’t know what sent the Tsarnaev brothers over the edge, and everyone on both sides claiming that they already do know is putting the horse several miles before the cart. But over the edge they went and attempts to brush that away are flatly dishonest. And that applies to both sides, including Harris-Perry’s. It’s still entirely possible that the older brother was getting most of his information off the internet and the younger one tagged along. (That still doesn’t make him less eligible for a new office six feet underground, as I noted before.) But to pretend that much deeper, more sinister ties aren’t still a possibility, if not a probability, is willful blindness. Did the older brother spend those six months visiting with Dad or at a training camp? We don’t know yet, but further, detailed investigation may yield some answers.

But the newest MSNBC star can’t seem to relinquish the red flag on this one. Sure, it would have been great for her running meme if the bombers had turned out to be Tea Party supporters from Alabama (and some white supremacist cred wouldn’t hurt either) but that ship has already sailed. They’re either locally inspired crackpots or foreign trained fanatics. (The sleeper cell theory is the worst case scenario, and one that’s being explored now, but we’ll have to wait to see what is turned up.) But leave it to the MSNBC weekend crew to make sure we can turn this into a reason to promote progressive politics.

Lest you think I’m taking it out of context, here’s the video, courtesy of Mediaite.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on March 29, 2023