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Month: July, 2013

♪♫ On the Cover of the Rolling Stone ♪♫

Rolling Stone Cover photo RollingStoneCover_zps7d398ef0.jpeg

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arraigned on July 10 for the bombing he and his brother allegedly perpetrated on April 15 at the Boston Marathon. He is charged with a total of four murders and for using a weapon of mass destruction.

Rolling Stone magazine, which has a long journalistic tradition and – per the article “commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day”– released its latest issue featuring Tsarnaev on the cover.

There was, understandably, some strong reaction to this, particularly from Boston-area residents. Here at Poligags, we feel there really are no sacred cows. Most of us had no reaction to the cover at all.

Upon hearing the reactions of others on either side of the argument, though, we gave the issue more thought. We also read the magazine’s statement:

“The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens…”

We offer this possibility: perhaps the cover is the point.

We – from government agencies to individuals on the street – think we can profile. That all bad guys have that mad gleam in their eye like Charlie Manson (also featured on a Rolling Stone cover many years ago). That we could identify evil if we encountered it.

But Tsarnaev, who looks much the same as every male we see streaming out of the local high school, defies this notion. No one pegged him as capable of what he’s on trial for. He was “laid back” and “a promising student”. He’d just become a citizen of the United States a few months before the bombing. And he just doesn’t look evil.

But there’s little doubt that he did what he’s accused of. He clearly had that darkness in him. He was capable of inflicting fear, harm and death on fellow citizens. And no one saw it coming.

The cover of the Rolling Stone challenges our collective delusion that we know evil when it’s among us.

© 2013 Poligags

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UPDATE (July 18, 2013) – Sgt. Sean Murphy, a state police photographer, released capture photos of Tsarnaev & was relieved of duty. His status with the police department will be reviewed in the coming week. Story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-new-arrest-photos_n_3619835.html

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A Passage From the Declaration of Independence

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

Happy Independence Day! Exercise your franchise daily and remember: 2014 is right around the corner!

Read more: Fourth Of July – Happy Fourth – Esquire