After the bombing suspects from the Boston Marathon were identified, then killed or captured, folks zeroed in on their religion. Noting (1) at least one was spotted in a mosque or two, (2) that they claimed to others they were Muslim, and (3) declared at least some allegiance to al-Qaida or an al-Qaida type group or affiliate, we just assumed they were part of a group that knew Islam backwards and forwards, and were so hyped up on every aspect of that Middle East religion that they were motivated to kill as many Americans as possible.
But if anything, the evidence shows that the two really didn't know much about the faith, or even really care about the details. We now know from "Danny," the Chinese man who was carjacked by them and spent some time with them, what was really on their minds.
According to Danny, the two brothers spent their time talking about girls and how hard it is to date them;, the new iPhone5;, all of the cool accommodations a Mercedes SUV has; the view that "all white people look alike to non-white people"; how they made the news; and how no one listens to CDs any more.
Then they made the victim drive back to their car, in the midst of one of the greatest manhunts in American history, to get their CD collection so they'd have some cool music to listen to while they made their getaway.
If the injuries and loss of life weren't so tragic, this would be comic. It confirms a lot of the rival hypothesis, that these were two idiots who called themselves Muslim but couldn't tell a pillar of Islam from a pillar of salt.
They were just a pair of dumb teens who were societal losers, who found a dangerous recipe for making a bomb on the Internet, and an even more dangerous website or contact who takes naïve folks down on their luck (a lazy Army psychiatrist someone who lost money in the market Times Square bomber) and fills in the gaping gaps of ignorance with a kill message sanctioned by a fragment of the Koran.
One can visualize an ignorant individual who reads the same bomb-making recipe and a website with some quotes from Deuteronomy Chapter 13, and decides all non-Christians must be killed, missing the entire message of the Bible, Jesus' words and deeds (think the Birmingham bombers in the 1960s). Non-Christians would be quick to blame Christianity.
I can understand where that feeling comes from of wanting to blame an entire faith. When we go see Iron Man 3, Superman or the next James Bond movie, we want to see master villains who can do anything, who will put a good scare into us. We have to believe that our enemies are powerful, so we feel great when we take them down.
Nobody wants to see a dumb, wimpy, stupid bumpkin for a villain, but that's often what we get (you can include the shoe bomber and underwear bomber here, too).
I appreciate that Mona Charen, one of the most conservative columnists out there, has also written about the difference between these two and the overwhelming number of Muslims who never commit any acts of terror, and actually like and respect the United States.
We've set up a military and police force that can stop the smart bombs. Now we need to figure out how stop the dumb bombs that keep getting sent our way. Find this small network and destroy it.
John A. Tures, associate professor of political science, LaGrange College; firstname.lastname@example.org.