DzhokharTsarnaev… a name that nobody should know, but one that’s on a lot of people’s minds as the 21-year-old Boston Marathon bomber, found guilty of 30 crimes on April 8th 2015, awaits sentencing that could include the death penalty. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32225787
And many people wonder what turned this seemingly-normal young man, living in America with all the rights and privileges that go along with and American upbringing, into a homegrown terrorist. There’s talk of his radicalized brother pulling him into a web of terror and violence, but his brother lived a similar life and his actions should be equally surprising. There’s talk of his mother, often quoted in the press recently for her fiery, anti-American rhetoric. And there’s talk of radicalizing influences from friends and social acquaintances. The full truth may never be known.
What is known is that a young man, described by acquaintances as affable and easy going, an accomplished athlete and popular college student, seems to have gradually dropped out of society and withdrawn into radical anti-Americanism before eventually embarking on a murderous attack.
How could this happen, and how could it have been prevented? According to The Boston Globe, Tsarnaev posted radical content to his twitter feed as much as a year before the bombing took place. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/19/relatives-marathon-bombing-suspects-worried-that-older-brother-was-corrupting-sweet-younger-sibling/UCYHkiP9nfsjAtMjJPWJJL/story.htmlIt makes one wonder what other clues might have been out there that he was going astray and how they might have been identified.
While it may not have helped Tsarnaev or prevented his actions, a cell phone spyware package could certainly help identify when a cell phone user is showing signs of a growing interest in radicalism. By tracking and recording virtually every action taken on a mobile device, mobile spy software can tell you what sites are being visited, what emails are being received, what texts are being sent, what apps are being used, and what calls are being made (and to whom). I can’t imagine that the path to radical actions for a young, modern American is not littered with signs and indications in the web content he consumes, the conversations he has with others, the people he chooses to contact, and the things he posts to social media.
A mobile spy package can also tell you where the phone is at a given time, so trips to places known to ferment radicalism would be identified and logged.
How does a case like this young man slip through the radar? The first cause may simply be that no one was watching. Implementing a monitoring system would require a parent who cares and who is concerned for the welfare and safety of their child. There’s no clear evidence that this would have been the case for either Tsarnaev brother. And it’s impossible to say that even a caring and concerned parent could have prevented the brothers from perpetrating their terrible act. But wouldn’t it have been better for the world, not to mention two brothers who are now dead and facing possible execution, if someone had been able to at least try?
If a young many like Tsarnaev, who even became a naturalized American citizen in 2012, can slip through the cracks, what’s to stop other young Americans from following the same path? Possibly, a bit of prevention, that can be enabled by watching their activities and stopping them before it becomes too late.