Monday, April 29, 2013

Tsarnaevs' 'Troubled Trail' Gets More Objective Treatment at the Los Angeles Times

Following up from yesterday's report, "Because Frustrated Boxing Aspirations Are So Horrible That Murdering Americans in Jihad Bombings is Totally Understandable, or Something."

Here's the front-page story at yesterday's Los Angeles Times, which eschews the heavy causal implications employed by the New York Times, "The Tsarnaev brothers' troubled trail to Boston":

Tsarnaevs LATimes photo photo34_zps7e72d65c.jpg
Anzor Tsarnaev was tough, a championship boxer back home, and he wanted his oldest boy to be tough too.

Rain or shine, like a scene from "Rocky," the wiry Chechen immigrant would ride his bicycle as his son Tamerlan jogged to a Boston-area boxing gym, pushing him to run faster, to punch harder.

"He was his trainer, basically," said Joe Timko, Anzor's supervisor at Webster Auto Body, a corner repair shop in Somerville. "And he was an old Russian soldier. He'd make him run for miles."

Armed with a good left jab and powerful right, "Tam," as friends called him, climbed the ranks in regional tournaments and dreamed of joining the U.S. Olympic boxing team. At home, a crowded third-floor walk-up, he showed off by doing chin-ups outside. At night, he played the piano and accordion.

But by 2009, Tamerlan's life abruptly changed course. He told his parents that "the Koran prohibits beating people in the face." He grew a beard, began to pray more than five times a day, dropped out of college and gave up stylish leather pants for sweat pants. He argued with friends over politics, picked a fight at a pizza parlor, shouted at speakers at a mosque.

"He gave up drinking and smoking, and he even gave up boxing he loved so much," said his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva. Anzor Tsarnaev said he was brainwashed by religion.

His uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, asked why he didn't get a job.

"I'm doing bigger things," Tamerlan told him that August. "Now I'm with God. Now I'm happy."

Tamerlan, 26, died nine days ago after he and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, were in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar is in custody at a medical facility for prisoners on federal charges that he planted one of the two nail-filled bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15.

Investigators are convinced both brothers carried out the plot, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. Yet it did not appear meticulously planned. Authorities say they planted homemade bombs in full view of surveillance cameras, and when their pictures emerged three days later, they tried to flee with no cash, no disguises and one firearm. Officials say that they killed an MIT police officer for his pistol but couldn't figure out how to unlock the holster.

Now investigators are struggling to understand: How did a cocky young athlete and his skateboard-riding brother, if authorities are correct, become do-it-yourself Islamist terrorists?
Read it all at the link.

It's an old-fashioned piece of journalism, although the difference between the New York Times' hack report yesterday is dramatic.