The Boston Bombing: Made in the U.S.A.

Wilson Brissett and Patton Dodd in The Atlantic:

ScreenHunter_182 May. 05 17.14You could almost hear the sigh of relief from some quarters when the perpetrators behind the Boston Marathon bombings and its aftermath turned out to be adherents of radical Islam.

Calling what happened in Boston “Islamic violence” is comforting, because it renders it immediately recognizable to post-9/11 minds, and locates the source of the violence outside of American society. A more unsettling but more accurate account of the Tsarnaev brothers would see them as merely the latest incarnation of a figure as old as the United States itself: the isolated individual lost in the social and cultural whirlwind that is secular American modernity, who sees salvation in the absolute moral clarity of an idiosyncratic collection of beliefs, and decides that he would rather resort to violence than countenance any concession to a complicated, ambiguous social reality.

The Tsarnaevs are part of a continuum that includes not just other Muslims, but Christians like anti-abortion killers Paul Hill and Scott Roeder along with arguably more secular perpetrators like Ted Kaczynski and Timothy McVeigh. The faith of the Tsarnaev brothers, in this sense, is more American than Islamic.

More here.