American Justice And The GOP’s Comic Book Villainization Of The Boston Bomber

“Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets.”
~ The Joker in Batman, The Dark Knight

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The prospect of advancing the bigoted notion that all Muslims are terrorists, or at least that all terrorists are Muslim, is bringing untold glee to members of the conservative media and the righteous-wing of the Republican Party. This is vividly expressed by their persistent promotion of a comic book villain-esque portrait of the Boston bomber as a devoted jihadist. However, the facts don’t back them up. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not an enemy combatant subject to a military tribunal. He is a severely disturbed and impressionable young sociopath. He has committed heinous crimes for which he must be held responsible in a court of law.

That’s how we deal with criminals in America. We do not, on whims of outrage and prejudice, decide to treat certain citizens differently when they violate our laws, even if the violations are especially grotesque. We do not breach the Constitution to satisfy a lust for revenge. We honor the principles that shaped our nation because to do otherwise would stain the character of it.

If the Tea-publican extremists who advocate consigning this defendant to Gitmo have such little faith in the American justice system that they fear entrusting it with adjudicating this sort of crime, then they are admitting their belief that the American experiment has failed. Ironically, these are the people who so furiously wave the flag despite their disdain for what it stands for.

Fortunately, there are more stalwart patriots who still believe that our nation is strong enough to bear the burden of our values without flinching. These are the people who serve as judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, and the ordinary folks who sit on juries. Yes, it’s a radical concept, but one that is uniquely American and well worth preserving.


16 thoughts on “American Justice And The GOP’s Comic Book Villainization Of The Boston Bomber

  1. The Obama administration is going to be vilified incessantly by the right-wing media for prosecuting this case in the way mandated by the Constitution purely in an effort to score political points. I heard one republican offer the idea we should torture this person(clearly a violation of his constitutional rights) to extract information from him and that certain people should not be given constitutional protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. I have news for this tea-publican retard, if you did that we would all lose our rights under the Constitution. Like it or not, all U.S. citizens have the same rights and we cannot apply it only to those we deem worthy or only in certain cases, it applies to all citizens in all cases no matter how heinous or despicable the crime, if not then none of us have those rights. I have a question for the singers in this choir, why would you want to totally trash the U.S. constitution for the likes of this guy? How dimwitted are they?

    • “Why would you want to totally trash the U.S. constitution for the likes of this guy?”

      That’s exactly the right question.

      At a time when we know the whole world is watching, why wouldn’t we want to advocate for the rule of law? To hear the right tell it, isn’t that why they hate us? What a perfect opportunity to thumb our collective noses at those who do hate us and show them that we have a better way of doing things and are happy to prove it. Are those on the right such cowards that at the first sign of a test of our system, they abandon the principles that make us a great and compassionate nation? They should relish the opportunity to show others how it should be done instead of turning tail and running.

      • Very nicely said.

        Both you and Randy have nailed down precisely what is at stake. We either believe in what we say or we are hypocrites and have nothing of value to defend.

  2. I agree with the sentiment, here. However, when Bin Laden was murdered by Seal Team Six, people went stark crazy climbing up flag poles and chanting jingoistic American slogans. No one cared about whether Bin Laden was responsible or not. It was a disgusting display of blood lust. A “lust for revenge” as you put it, Mark. To this day, the FBI’s website does not even claim he was responsible for 9/11. Our government told us he was responsible for the terrorist attacks; so, we must seek revenge. I know Bin Laden was not an American citizen, but he did he really needed to be killed? Was it really because he was responsible, or was it due to his religion and ethnicity?

    When Boston was put on lock-down, an army of police and national guard units with tanks combed the streets. They broke into people’s homes and held families at gun point shouting to keep their hands up, kneel in the street, and wait for instructions. There was not even this much action taken to look for Ted Bundy. After experimenting with police-state action, a citizen found the suspect in a boat on his yard outside of the perimeter, not police-state army. After the suspect’s apprehension, people cheered. I know they were happy he was caught, but it almost seemed like they were cheering for the abridgment of their rights just to find a criminal. People do not seem to mind to play the victim or be treated with suspicion and contempt by the police.

    • Goddammit you are so wrong. About all of that. Yes. Yes bin laden had to go. Yes. He had to go, he had to go real bad. Contrary to popular opinion, one way to save people’s lives or otherwise improve them, is by eliminating dangerous people. You’re wrong about Boston too. Where did you hear they were holding people at gun point? They were in people’s houses cause these guys were taking hostages and wound up in a residential neighborhood. Oh, and they had bombs. Again, contrary to apparent popular belief, cops usually only point their weapons at someone when they have a good reason to.

      …’re a little crazy, Sappho….you ok???

  3. Ad hominem attacks on my sanity will not work Desdinova.

    You want proof of a police-state action; here it is.!


    Also, your reaction to my post says it all. You immediately jump to the defensive, instead of understanding what I am saying. Mark was stating that most Americans were reasonable and would not resort to churlishness or poultry revenge in the face of criminals and terrorists.

    We were supposed to be a nation of justice. My examples were to merely illustrate this was not always the case. You Desdinova just proved my case by denouncing me in an extremely defensive way. If you could just unwrap the flag from your person for a spell, you could maybe see where I am coming from.

    I am not justifying what people like Bin Laden do. However, I do believe becoming like them in the name of democracy and security will lead us down a dark path.

  4. To anyone who reads this,

    If you feel offended by my posts and thus feel the need to set me straight, please, try not to let what I write get to you.

    I play devil’s advocate to try and raise people’s level of awareness. We are all searching through the darkness for answers.

    Just know that I am on your side.

    If you disagree with me, fine. However, you will not persuade me with angry and churlish outbursts.

    I believe Mark’s blog is genuine. Mark really cares about his readers and the state of the media. Regardless of politics, he strives towards unbiased reporting. I feel as if our comments can contribute to the overall quality of his blog.

    • With all due respect, Sappho, Mark has absolutely no interest in striving for unbiased reporting. He strives to denigrate, ridicule and marginalize conservatives. Sometimes, what he points out is absolutely spot on.

      But to use a cliché, “Make no mistake.” Mark turns a blind eye to inconsistencies and lies from the Left because that’s his point of view. Mark is not interested in objectivity of any sort. Just read the invective with which he refers to anything or anyone conservative.

      • John, whenever you try to psychoanalyze me you make a fool of yourself. You demonstrate that you have no grasp of what I’m trying to do. It really is pathetic.

        My problem with the media is not bias (although I think it would be better to have more straight news coverage). My problem is dishonesty. To be sure, MSNBC has plenty of opinions in their programming, but more often than not it is based on facts. Conversely, Fox News, and other right-wing media, rely too often on lies – which I have documented here in the hundreds.

        • Mark,

          I wasn’t psychoanalyzing. What fool states that he has a problem with dishonesty, but ignores the dishonesty of MSNBC’s “less often than not” lies, while focusing on FOX and their cohorts?

          What is pathetic is your selective, yet melodramatic teeth gnashing of lies in the media. Based on what you write, conservative media never tells the truth and anybody who watches or reads is an idiot, while left wing media might might tell an occasional fib, but it’s no big deal, and certainly not worthy of any coverage (much less criticism) from you.

  5. I agree that this terrorist should be tried in a Federal Court, not by a military tribunal. After all, he is a citizen. He deserves all the protections afforded him under the constitution. It’s his right under the constitution.

    The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution should likewise be respected. And those who support it should not be demonized.

    Even Mark would disagree with using the Constitution when it’s convenient, while discounting it when it’s not. In the case of guns, sometimes there are terrible outcomes in specific situations, but rights are rights. Just like the terrorist has his right to a fair trial.

    • Yes, I agree that the Constitution should not be observed only when it’s convenient. However, background checks, limiting access to certain military-style weapons, and even innovative initiatives like liability insurance, do not infringe on the 2nd Amendment.

      Gun freaks always conveniently forget the part that refers to “a well-regulated militia.” And if the constitutional originalists want to conform strictly to what the Founders intended, than the only weapons protected by the 2nd Amendment are 18th century muskets.

      • I support background checks and limits on access to some weapons.

        Gun control freaks (as opposed to gun freaks, as you call them) aren’t the ones who support background checks and limited access to certain weapons. They are the ones who want to ban guns as a long term strategy. Even the venerable Dianne Feinstein admits this.

        If you want to go back to the 18th century, this terrorist would have probably been hanged or shot by a firing squad by now. It’s a silly argument, but it’s the one you used.

  6. Why are people so afraid of guns?

    It seems the people who want to regulate guns the most are those who are genuinely afraid of them. Granted there are some who own guns who want more background checks and regulation, but this sort of legislation is woefully ineffective.

    Criminals do not care about the law. Criminals will always find ways around the law; that is what criminals do.

    Even if guns and weapons are successfully regulated and even banned, we have just created an entire populace of victims, completely unable to defend themselves.

    In the case of the Marathon Bombers, they did not even use guns for their initial attacks. They used a combination of everyday items to inflict harm. They could have even used a more powerful explosive made with acetone and hydrogen peroxide, if they felt the need. Imagine the insanity of regulating or banning pressure cookers, nuts, nails, acetone, hydrogen peroxide, or even duck tape, because anyone of these in combination could become a WMD.

    • Pleeeeeeeez, not duck tape…anything but that!


      You are so right. Although there is a lot of politics surrounding the gun control debate, and a lot of lobbying on all sides, the overwhelming problem with gun control legislation as it exists and as it is proposed is that it is ineffective, as you say.

      So then, what we have is an attempt to abridge a constitutional right with laws that have proven to be ineffective. Not even Harry Reid is on board. That’s gotta tell you something.

  7. If you listen to what the right says about the Gitmo detainees being brought to America you realize, they think all of these guys are super villains. They constantly talk about escapes which are rare in max security prisons, and of course once these guys “escape” they’ll immediately attack America in even worse ways because they want to. Conservatives live in a land of make-believe and are fighting a war on reality.

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