One Boston Marathon bombing brother was killed, and the other was captured. Boston – and the whole country, too, really – breathed easier. Still, we could not stop talking about the case this week. And why not? This was, after all, a successful terrorist attack on American soil that brought back painful memories of 9/11.
At first, a consensus seemed to develop that this was not connected to anybody outside the country. Tamerlan Tsarnaev self-radicalized by visiting jihadist websites, then radicalized his younger brother Dzhokhar. But then it was learned that one of the bombs was far too sophisticated to have been learned online. It began to seem possible the older brother had gotten counsel and perhaps training from radicals during his six-month visit to Russia.
We also discovered something of future plans from Dzhokhar before a judge gave him his Miranda rights and he shut up: The brothers were heading for New York to party a little and set off more bombs. Just knowing that made this seem exactly like another battle in the “war on terror” we’ve been engaged in for 12 years.
And, finally, we learned how lucky we were. The police and federal agents involved have rightly been praised for their dedication and thoroughness. But those aren’t what got the brothers caught. The man whose car they hijacked escaped and called police, telling them to track his GPS. They did, and the rest unfolded from that.