Boston Marathon Bombing Open Thread

[Content Note: Violence; terrorism.]

A lot has happened in Boston overnight. The two suspects were identified as brothers: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. They have been in the US for at least a couple of years. Earlier reports were that they are Chechnyan, or Russian from near the Chechnyan border; their uncle just said in a press conference that they spent their early life in Kyrgyzstan.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev is dead, after a shoot-out with police. He was shot and had wounds from an explosion; it is thought he may have detonated a suicide vest he was wearing. An explosive trigger was reportedly found on his body at the morgue. (Some background on him here.)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still at large, and police and feds are surrounding his residence in Boston. He is considered armed and dangerous and may also be wearing a suicide vest.

An MIT police officer was killed last night, before the brothers carjacked an SUV and went on the run, with police in pursuit. An MBTA Transit Police officer was wounded.

This is a good summary of events overnight.

Right now, I want to underline that these brothers have lived in the US for some time; they have family here and attended school here. It's not a simple foreign/domestic terrorism distinction, especially without any information on their motivation(s). We have no idea at this point how they view(ed) themselves or how they self-identify. Their perception of their relationship to the US matters; this can't be just externally defined by onlookers.

Andrew Rice: "So looks like Boston terrorists were both foreign-born Muslims and alienated American youths with too-easy access to arms."

No simple narratives.

I'll update as additional information becomes available.

UPDATE 1: Jeff Bauman, images of whom were widely circulated after he lost his legs in the bombing, helped identify the suspects:
"He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, 'bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,'" Chris Bauman said yesterday in an interview.

...While still in intensive care, Bauman gave the FBI a description of the man he saw, his brother said. Bauman's information helped investigators narrow down whom to look for in hours of video of the attack, he said.
That guy. I am in absolute awe.

UPDATE 2: Former classmates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are surprised and betrayed. He was not a loner. Which doesn't mean he didn't nonetheless feel isolated. Again: No simple narratives.

UPDATE 3: During this intensely sad interview, in which he's informed one of his nephews has been killed and tries to process the enormity of what they've done, the Tsarnaevs' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, says the brothers came to the US as war refugees.

UPDATE 4: I am not passing along anything that purports to be social media posts, videos, etc. created by the Tsarnaevs. Much of it will turn out to be wrong. I also urge everyone to be skeptical about that stuff at the moment. It is far too easy to create fake accounts or misidentify content creators. What will be informative will still be informative once there is time to verify.

UPDATE 5: Intense police activity in Watertown again. Reporters are being pushed back by police. The cops look so calm. I'm remembering asking my granddad (NYPD) if cops got scared. "Yes, we get scared. But we try not to show it."

UPDATE 6: During an interview with MSNBC, one of their uncles says that "being losers" was behind his nephews' actions. "Of course we're ashamed!" he exclaims. "He put a shame on our family. He put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity." And: "Somebody radicalized them, but it was not my brother. He spent his life bringing bread to the table."

UPDATE 7: The Tsarnaev brothers were naturalized US citizens by way of asylum. I have a lot of feelings about that. None of them are "we should reconsider asylum." Offering asylum to war refugees is one of the best things the US does. My opinion on that has not changed and will not change, even despite my anger that someone offered asylum from harm would then commit such a heinous act here.

UPDATE 8: Actor Bradley Cooper, who stars almost exclusively in shitty movies but seems like a pretty nice guy in real life, visits Jeff Bauman in the hospital, along with Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. And Bauman, giving a thumbs-up in the picture, continues to be awesome.

UPDATE 9: The Othering narratives I'm hearing on CNN & MSNBC are contemptible. Anything to create distance. Anything to make it "us" vs. "them." We don't even yet know their motivations, but we're sure that it has nothing to do with "us"! I am practicing patience.

UPDATE 10: A doctor's interesting and sad account of trying to revive Tamerlan Tsarnaev after he was brought to the hospital last night.

UPDATE 11: Jeff Bauman reportedly has no health insurance. (And, even if he does, as we all know, health insurance does not cover everything. He will still be facing extraordinary bills.) If you'd like to donate to help cover the cost of his medical expenses, go here. Thanks to Shaker adamW for sharing the link in comments.

UPDATE 12: A man presumed to be Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown, surrounded by law enforcement. He is reportedly bleeding, and is suspected of being armed with explosives. Things are moving quickly at the moment: I will continue updates in comments, and I will make an attempt to report only that which has been verified.

UPDATE 13: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is alive and in custody and being taken to a medic.

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