How do two guys come to believe, with absolute certainty, that murder is a moral necessity?
Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the younger brother, just 19, in some photos a lookalike to 1962 Bob Dylan — just a dumb stoner who went along with his domineering brother’s homicidal agenda? If so, how did he kill so casually? How did he go back to his dorm room and hang out, as if his Monday had been just another day? Perhaps, suggested Alan Dershowitz, the Tsarnaevs were stone-hearted assassins because they were members of a terrorist cell — if these crimes aren’t about jihad, what could explain them?
Though there are obvious differences between the fanatical Christian, the fanatical Mohammedan, the fanatical nationalists, the fanatical Communist and the fanatical Nazi, it is yet true that the fanaticism which animates them may be viewed and treated as one… However different the holy causes people die for, they perhaps die basically for the same thing.
All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them … breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and single hearted allegiance. All movements, however different in doctrine and aspiration, draw their early adherents from the same types of humanity; they all appeal to the same types of mind.
This was previously published on Head Butler.
Read more Breaking Stories of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.