90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, April 19, 2013

H&N’s Robin Young: I’ve Met The Suspect

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev (left) and Here & Now host Robin Young's nephew are pictured in a Cambridge Rindge and Latin graduation photo. Tsarnaev has been identified as the surviving suspect in the marathon bombings. (Courtesy: Robin Young)

Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev (left) and Here & Now host Robin Young’s nephew Zolan (right) are pictured in a Cambridge Rindge and Latin graduation photo. Tsarnaev has been identified as the surviving suspect in the marathon bombings. (Courtesy: Robin Young)

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge.

This photo released Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a suspect that officials identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, being sought by police in the Boston Marathon bombings Monday. (FBI)

This photo released Friday, April 19, 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a suspect that officials identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, being sought by police in the Boston Marathon bombings Monday. (FBI)

Here & Now host Robin Young’s nephew is a close friend and former classmate of Tsarnaev’s. Both attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public high school in Cambridge, Mass.

“This is nothing that we’d even expect,” Robin’s nephew Zolan said. He added that Tsarnaev was a “student-athlete.”

Tsarnaev was a guest at Robin’s house in 2011 for a prom party she hosted for her nephew and his friends before their senior prom.

“I distinctly remember him,” Robin Young said, noting that neither she, nor her nephew, recognized the young man from the FBI photos released Thursday evening (see below). “He’s changed quite a bit … he’s much slimmer now, much more pointed features.”

Hear the interview on WBUR with Robin and her nephew:

A photo of "Suspect 2" released Thursday evening by the FBI. The suspect has since been identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI)

A photo of “Suspect 2″ released Thursday evening by the FBI. The suspect has since been identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. (FBI)

Law enforcement officials and the uncle of the suspects say the man who was killed in a gun battle with police in Massachusetts overnight is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.

The chaotic violence that occurred overnight began with a robbery, the fatal shooting of a MIT police officer and a stolen car chase.

Police officers traced the suspects from Cambridge to Watertown, amid reports of further gunfire and explosions.

“We believe this to be a terrorist,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said of the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • LandoJ

    Just heard you on NBC at parents house. It was strange to have to explain your serious media cred. Life outside the NPR bubble!

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyFroggg J Frog

    So I go to the social media website the terrorist used that Robin tweeted.  I see he posted something last year in Russian Cyrillic.  I cut and paste into Google translate and I get this:

    “The school asked the riddle .. Goes
    car. In it sit – Dagestani,
    Chechen and Ingush.
    Question – Who is driving?
    Magus says: – The police.”

  • Ariel

    Robin, I am so grateful to hear your interview = and your nephew’s interview before yours.  What is wrong with NPR?  I’ve been feeling nauseated from head to toe listening to NPR identify these two brothers described as “Chechnyan” = and inundating us with speculation and “analysis” of Chechnya and Chechnyan politics.

    These are immigrant children, from an immigrant family!  THEY ARE IMMIGRANTS like millions of others!  What is wrong with your network, NPR??  If these two brothers had emigrated here with their parents from Italy 8 years ago, would NPR go on & on about them being “Italian”?  If they had emigrated from Ireland, would NPR be speculating on their possible connection with the IRA and “the troubles”?  If they had emigrated from Israel, would the coverage be all about them being Israeli??  PLEASE….!

    American kids.  Like you said about Rindge & Latin.  American kids who were born elsewhere.  There should not be anything else to it!!!

    My gut tells me this is about the older brother.  Very personal.  How many times have we heard about a horrendous act of violence committed by two or three young people, and it turns out there was a ringleader who drew in a close friend or friends who were vulnerable for whatever reasons?  I’m thinking of Columbine….I’m thinking of that horrible murder of the married professors in New Hampshire by two teenage friends, some years back.

    I feel the key to this lies in whatever the disturbed psyche was in the older brother.  It is too bad he has been killed.  Meanwhile, Steve Inskeep has just interviewed you, and is back intensifying and elaborating this “Chechnya” trope.  Paranoid geo-politics = the easy way out = and it “sells”!  Was nothing learned from the Oklahoma City tragedy about the error & damage of news organizations jumping on the “foreign terrorism” bandwagon?

    WHAT RIGHT DOES A MAJOR NEW ORGANIZATION HAVE TO GO OFF ON A WHOLE ETHNIC GROUP & REGION LIKE THIS?  WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE THAT THE OLDER BROTHER DIFFERED SIGNIFICANTLY FROM A JAMES HOLMES OR A JARED LOUGHNER OR A DYLAN KLEBOLD??  One who was able to pull a younger brother into his own twistedness?  I don’t remember any news organization waving around the ethnicity or ancestry of any of these other violent actors I have just named.

    Thank you for listening.  YOU ARE WELL RESPECTED, ROBIN, AND FOR GOOD REASON!  Can you rein in your colleagues on their rampant presumption?  And the untruths inevitably projected from such an approach??

    THANK YOU!!  And I am sorry for your losses and your family’s losses, in this turn of events.

    • Moose in Iowa

       Agreed, Ariel.

      To me, this looks like a case of an idolized older brother manipulating a younger brother to do what he needs done in his twisted plan.

      I hope Law Enforcement sees this possibility as well.  It is an opportunity to garner volumes of essential information into the mindset of the two brothers, should the authorities find this to be the case, and treat the young suspect accordingly.  It would be regrettable to squander that by hunting him down like an animal, and learning nothing.

      • Jesus

        A man must take responsibility for his own actions. The only right action would have been to turn his brother in, not kill innocent mother’s children.

    • Stew-art

      Ariel, why did you drag Israel into this?  That tells me something about you.

      • Alligator Here

        She also brought in Italy and Ireland. Does that “tell you” something about her? She had a short list of countries with some degree of violent unrest that the US probably wouldn’t react to in the same way. You highlighting her slight mention of Israel tells more about you than her.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          i bet there was quite a bit of debate about their origin when we executed sacco and vanzetti

      • Jacob Arnon

         Indeed, Ariel’s post is confused to say the least.

        • anon

           are you sure you’re not confused?

          • http://www.facebook.com/bkort Barry Kort

             For whoever here feels confused, take heart.

            Confusion is the first step toward Enlightenment.

        • realamerican5000

          @Stew-art & @Jacob Arnon: You are displaying the irrational, knee-jerk reactions of insecure, undeveloped minds. Ariel’s excellent examples clearly show the double standards of the media in its coverage of some ethnicities. You’d have to be narcissists to think her examples were ‘attacking you.’

          • I. C. Spots

            Average American doesn’t know much about Chechnya. They are now curious about Chechnya, so they will click on links that appear to offer information. The media is happy to provide those links to drive inbound traffic. Sorry chief, but the media doesn’t give a crap about your ethnicity unless it’s going to increase hits. I know you think you’re special, but you’re not. Deal with it.

      • Christina

        Why did you just mention that she spoke about Isreal, and not the other countries? That tells me something about you.

    • misterjag

       Somebody by that name–probably him–posted links to Al Qaeda video on his YouTube page.

    • PithHelmut

      Got to revive the anti-Muslim, Middle Easterner antipathy.  The public was starting to discard it. War machine is slowing down.  Has to be kicked up a few notches.  Home turf kind of stuff usually does it. NPR has slipped in the last two years. Trying too hard to please the donors on the right, I suspect.

    • Didhereallysaythat

       Her loss?  What did she lose?

    • Jesus

      Defensive much? Let the truth be faced.

      • realamerican5000

        @Jesus: “Let the truth be faced” is not common phrasing for contemporary American English. Reminds me of the Old Testament.  Or did you just type what was on the ‘astroturf’ script in front of you?

        If I was a person who wasn’t Christian, but wanted to use Christianity
        as a cover to spew anti-Muslim statements, I would name myself ‘Jesus’
        on discussion boards like this one.   

        • I. C. Spots

          Defensive much? Ye shalt faceth the truth!

    • Doubting Thomas

      Why does it matter that he was “dragged” into it. If you can’t take responsibility for your own actions, go kill yourself right now before you endanger the rest of us another minute.

    • Kaya

      I think if they were Irish and had IRA connections there probably would be exposes into that background, to be honest. Italy and Israel don’t have (at least well-known) insurrectionist populations.

  • Fadler

    I think Ms. Young should consider the credibility of her commentary on matters when she clearly sounded endeared to this brutal murderer.  Perhaps her stance should be more one noting how even a trained reporter could not identify the potential in this person as a cold blooded, brutal murderer

    • SJLAW

      I didn’t know reporters were psychic too! He certainly looks like a murderer, I think its the red carnation that gives him away in that picture. Damn how did anyone miss that!

    • PithHelmut

       And innocent until proven guilty is never heard throughout the land.

    • Hillpiper

      “Perhaps her stance should be more one noting how even a trained reporter could not identify the potential in this person as a cold blooded, brutal murderer”

      To begin with, a trained reporter is not the same as a caped crimefighter.  If you know anybody who claims to identify murderous potential in people they’ve been lying to you, and you’ve been gullible.  Sorry to be rude, but your ignorance and/or naivete combined with your preachy tone sets my teeth on edge.    

    • Regula

      There is no proof yet of his guilt. This is all assumption based on information by the FBI. They are not such a reliable bunch. Scores of people have been falsely accused, convicted, abducted, tortured, based on their false identifications.

  • Parrlamp

    Robin, how naive we Americans are!  This is how these people operate – pretending to be your best friend and so nice, etc.  But underneath they have a different motive.  Look at Afghanistan and how they befriend our soldiers and then shoot them.  We need to stop being so dumb and naive.  How can you possibly call your nephew’s so called friend a beautiful, wonderful person knowing what he did?  You and your nephew were so deceived, and this horrible person was loving it!!  They are so good at it.  We Americans need to get smart!

    • Hunter

      wow…sounding a bit xenophobic there parrlamp

      • Parrlamp

        Not at all.  Just saying we take so much on the surface instead of looking deeper no matter what race, gender, nationality. 

        • Chris Horn

          …no matter as well what the facts are, just building towards a preconceived conclusion

          • Parrlamp

            By looking deeper, we find the facts and the truth.  No preconceived conclusions.  Just facts and the truth.  I search for the truth on my own concerning many things, not based on what other people say.

          • Regula

            Except that there aren’t really any facts in this case yet – neither the older brother nor the younger one had any chance yet to say his view of it. Just because they stole a car makes them thieves, but doesn’t make them the bombers yet. Don’t forget that the identification was all based on nothing but a blurry picture of a kid looking like scores of other kids.

          • Chris Horn

            Also, you are taking your surface impression, extrapolating it to a whole religion, forming a conclusion, then calling it pursuit of a deeper truth? Interesting approach. 

        • realamerican5000

          For someone who likes using the words “we Americans” you have some odd phrasing tics.  Who do you work for?

        • signa phi epsilon

          How come it’s the other guys – not You! – who are taking so much on the surface instead of looking deeper?  Huh?  

    • Rhstone567

      Strange. You don’t sound very American for someone who keeps using the words “we Americans.”

  • Maggie

    There we go again: why can’t we accept that we all (races, gender, nationalities, etc.) are capable and have been responsible of horrible things regardless of skin color or zip code!!

    • Gleno Underhill

      Why Maggie? Because that’s bullcrap, that’s why. These sorts of things are very clearly done by very specific nationalities and religions. Keep your head in the sand.

      • PithHelmut

         Oh like we don’t do anything bad?  Or England doesn’t do anything bad?  Sure.

      • Hillpiper

        Your comment is close to the precise definition of prejudice and intolerance.   Go crawl back under your rock and make it snappy.  

      • Nic

        Cannot tell if Poe or real…

      • LincolnX

        Yes, and this is exemplified by Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski…Oh wait.

      • realamerican5000

        You mean killing innocent people under the cover of nationalism, religion, or other ideologies?

        Where can I learn Gleno Underhill’s version of world history? It seems easy to memorize.  People of Gleno’s preferred nations and religions have REASONS. Everyone else is EVIL.

    • Joe Mama

      Do you understand the difference between race and culture? Just curious.

  • Eileen Matthews

    robin it’s eileen matthews can you contact me.  I’m working at the NBC station in Philadelphia  eileen.matthews@nbcuni.com  610-668-5632

  • Ned

    Have been trying to get sound to play for a couple hours now… safari and firefox on a mac. Just a heads up, thanks for the coverage. 

    • Rachel Rohr, Here & Now

      Hi Ned, we had some technical problems on our site earlier due to increased web traffic. The audio should work fine now. Thanks for listening.

  • Kc 6161

    Sounding a bit too sympathetic, Robin.  Where’s that anger you expressed over the last couple days about about how your nephew’s buddy brutally murdered people in cold blood.  Take a look at the photo of him placing the bomb with Martin Richards standing a few feet away.  That should bring you back to reality. 

    • Regula

      There is no proof of that fuzzy photograph that that is actually what the kid did, that is an implication the FBI made, knowing that people will be so terrified as to believe just everything. The kid certainly didn’t walk around as if he was carrying a heavy voluminous pressure cooker in his bag, nor did he look in any way suspicious as having just placed a bag with a bomb on the ground. Until the kid has a chance to say his side, all is speculation. What credentials does the FBI have that you trust it so much? They lie at the US public whenever it suits their purpose.

      • signa phi epsilon

        Right on, Regula!  Given the enormous complexity of national security, issues not limited to the events (still not precisely known), the obvious players, the hidden players and the deep unknowability to the general public of competing clandestine factions without and even within the US government, we’re all pretty ignorant of the true situation here.  As usual, we will be played by the national news organizations and the national security organizations that want to keep us angry, confused and  misoriented as to the true situation.  

        So, those of us jumping to quick, firm, arrogant premature conclusions are playing right into the institutional thrust to keep what’s really going on here out of sight and uncommented on.  

        So, what’s really going on here with this bombing?  

        • TJtruthandjustice

          Hey WBUR, why not do some real reporting and get an ID on the guy who was arrested in Watertown and ordered to strip naked by police officers? He surrendered without incident.  There is video of his arrest. Funny thing is that he looks an awful lot like Tamerlan Tsarnaev – in fact his aunt is quoted as saying she is “certain” that it is he. The cops say that Tamerlan’s brother ran over him as he allegedly escaped – except the doctor who treated Tamerlan at Beth Israel is quoted as saying none of the injuries appeared to be due to an auto accident.  The cops initially said that the brothers held up a 7/11, but then said that the hold up was “unrelated,” but that the brothers just happened to be in the area at the time. And what exactly was the motive for the shooting of the MIT cop?  Please tell. I am so completely sick and tired of being lied to by our government and then having the media simply parrot whatever they are told and not do any real digging. I guess that’s what it used to feel like in the USSR.  Just don’t pat yourself on the back about how “well” you covered this stuff. Disgusted.

    • bellasue

      That is not the bomb or a backpack that you see.  I have seen this picture enlarged and you can tell it’s not a backpack.

  • Elyse

    I am disappointed by the lack of journalistic ethics
    evidenced in Robin Young’s comments on NPR this morning.  While I can
    understand the anguish and surprise experienced as Robin realized she knew this
    young suspect and while I absolutely agree that any presumptions around
    motive in relation to ethnic or religious background are premature
    and therefore journalistically unprofessional, I also feel that Ms.
    Young’s personal comments are inappropriate.  To speak personally about
    her connections to this suspect on NPR–her employer–and then to post a
    personal photo on the website of “Here and Now” demonstrates a truly
    surprising lack of professionalism while a search and investigation continue.  Along with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I
    have come to expect this kind of stream of consciousness reporting from Wolf
    Blitzer and company.  But it is distressing to get this kind of partially
    digested “information” from NPR, otherwise one of the world’s premier news-gathering organizations.


    • http://twitter.com/jhf2009 Johanna Fredrics

      I only have the one-hour, national broadcast so I may have missed something but I fail to see how she was being unprofessional. If she hadn’t disclosed her relationship with him through her nephew, she would have been accused of bias.
      She *had* to let everyone know that she hosted a prom party and he was a guest, as well as a close and logtime friend of her nephew’s. She didn’t say he was innocent or should be spared in any way, so what is the issue, here?
      Public Radio International distributes and owns Here and Now, not NPR.

    • Hillpiper

      You’re simply off base.  If Ms. Young had said nothing, or not posted the photo, there would be a trumped-up hyperventilation event about her “concealing her connections to the terrorists”.  

    • LincolnX

      Actually I think it was perfectly responsible to note the connection, and having done so to offer her personal insight. I don’t think anyone – including Ms. Young – thinks she really knew this killer. I think her comments were a reflection of what she thought she knew, and sadness that the life she perceived as holding promise could be squandered in such a spectacular manner. I appreciated the coverage and her insights in what must have been an uncomfortable hour.

      My compassion is reserved for the victims. I think it’s important to understand the full human disconnect of these brothers, even as we never forget the image kc 6161 posted showing what appears to be an almost gleeful terrorist placing his bomb in eye shot of precious Martin Richards. Nothing can mitigate or explain this, and the only solution is to remove this abomination from society.

    • Regula

      There is really no proof yet that these kids didn’t just steal a car and get in a shootout with an MIT police but that they were indeed the “bombers”. Instead, the authorities fed that to the public, based on blurry photographs which can suggest just anything anyone wants to imply into them. The “bag” which he presumably placed is there on the photograph, but there is nothing to show it isn’t the bag of one of the people standing there waiting for runners to arrive. The reality may have been very different, but we, the public, wouldn’t know.

    • RFH

      I had no problem with Ms. Young’s NPR broadcast until she uttered the words “this is so heartbreaking.” This she said in the context of reporting what she and her nephew knew of the bomber (which was not much as it turns out). She had not a word about how devastating it all was to those who lost their lives, those who lost limbs, and those who were emotionally scarred.

  • Sam

    The audio seems to be addressing immigration reform.  Wrong clip?  Where can we find the correct one?

    • Rachel Rohr, Here & Now

      Hi Sam, we had some technical problems on our site earlier. Whatever the issue was earlier, the audio above should work fine now. Thanks for listening.

  • Ernesto

    Robin – I heard you being interviewed on NPR.  I appreciate your candor.  One point I disagree with  though is your saying, perhaps several times, that the high school was such a diverse school that no student would have a problem (or cause a problem for) with any other student’s nationality or religion or anything else.  While I can believe that is broadly true of the student body at this high school and at many other high schools, there is no way for you to say with certainty that there was not one (or more) students who were obnoxious or nasty or bullies.  It can happen at any school.  I am not saying this was a factor here, I don’t know anything more than what I have heard or read in the news.  I hope you were just overgeneralizing because of the near-shock you must be in given the horrific events of this week and your having met one of the apparent perpetrators.  If you really believe your generalization, you have your head in the sand.

    • Didhereallysaythat

       I’m sure her admired diversity doesn’t include any Southerners though.  Only in the south are we made fun of to many of the high-brow elites.

  • Flecksophie

    Wish we could hear more about the older brother. Focus seems to be entirely on the younger brother. Given the stories of what a good kid he was, is it possible he was influenced by the older brother – and that the brother was the mastermind behind this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lazare Louise Lazare

    I am so sad..the cruelty..what was the point of it all…hatred?  The bombers could see their targets–families, children–as they walked down Boylston St. behind them.  I want to know what they were thinking–how they justified it to themselves.

  • CK

    Enough about the bomber and how nice he is…was.  I want to learn more about the victims and how their live have changed or cut short and who they leave behind.

  • Barbara

    was deeply affected by the marathon bombings, and I was looking forward
    to the capture of the evil people responsible for the horror.

    What I never anticipated was that one of the perpetrators would turn
    out to himself be a victim.  Hearing about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I can’t
    help but think that he himself is another victim.  I pray that this
    beautiful youngster’s life will be spared.


    • Regula

      According to one news account, his brother had injuries all over his body. Were they victims of the bombing or perpetrators of the bombing?

  • Robin Y

    Hello everyone, I”m addressing some concerns here.

    My nephew’s friends had this  picture on facebook. It was getting out,
    as long as it was out, I wanted to be sure it was properly identified.

    He is also adamant that people know the friend he knew. 

    It doesn’t excuse Johar’s alleged behavior, of course not.

    And of course we are well aware of the monstrous things he’s been accused of. 
    We are reminded of it all day every day. 

    But my nephew and others feel that makes it even more important that they relay to people,
    you can’t write this off as a loner, a bullied kid, a Muslim or Chechan who “didn’t fit in”. That might apply to his brother but not Johar.

    We ask these questions all the time, what is known about the shooter, bomber,
    attacker?  In this case we happen to know a few things.

    All best


    • CK

      Yes Robin.  It is very important to try and understand what went wrong with this kid but please do a show on the victims and how their lives have changed.  That show is down the road but very important.

    • CH

       While I appreciate your reporting, and your nephews observations, might I suggest that your nephew never really “knew” Johar.  You and your nephew knew little more than what Johar chose to reveal. 

      The truth is that buried deep within Johar’s heart, central to his identity, was a very black and evil place.  A place that burned with hate.  The kind of hate that it takes to murder an eight year old boy.

      And, it’s not like he was going to voice that hatred at a backyard prom party.  But, it was there, reaching a boiling point, deep within him.  As his actions would confirm.

      I find it odd, all these classmates who claim to have been Johar’s close friend seem to have had such a superficial friendship with him.  Did they spend time at his house, hanging out in his room?  Did they eat dinner with his family?  Did they know his parents?  Did they sleepover at his house?

      I know I did all those things with my close friends from Jr. High School and High School.

      I think the only person who knew the real Johar was his brother, everyone else probably knew a mask he chose to wear.

      Just some thoughts

      • Nicole

        Buried deep in the heart of any “good and decent” person lies the potential for evil. Have you ever heard of the Stanford Prison Experiment? http://www.prisonexp.org/ Or the Milgram experiment? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment Both shed light on this very concept. 
        Though I wish it were, the world is not “black & white” and people aren’t “good” or “bad.” It’s not that straightforward. 

      • realamerican5000

        @CH @CK @Jesus:disqus : 

        While intelligent people seek understanding, as well as justice, simpleminded people love to shriek about ‘evil’ and ‘darkness’ being ‘all that you need to know.’

        SO, according to your own words, you’re saying this guy was an evil terrorist ‘in his heart’ in junior high school, deep undercover and playing with other kids, all the while scheming evil plans of death and destruction. Brilliant.

        I hope you enjoy being stuck in a third-graders moral perspective. Maybe it helps you get through your little lives, but it won’t help you prevent similar tragedies in the future.

        Then again, maybe people who talk about ‘evil’ being ‘central to his  ‘identity,’ they have a racist agenda.

        • ironymobile

          “Man desires a world where good and evil can be clearly distinguished, for he has an innate and irrepressible desire to judge before he understands.”   –Milan Kundera

    • Jesus

      Did you or your nephew call the authorities being so close to this terrorist, knowing his face? Knowing the  man?

      • realamerican5000

        Did you actually read the article before following your weird little script? Why are you badgering Robin out of the hundreds of people who knew and liked the suspect? Which ‘astroturf’ organization are you working for, ‘Jesus’?

        If I was a person who wasn’t Christian, but wanted to use Christianity as a cover to spew anti-Muslim statements, I would name myself ‘Jesus’ on discussion boards like this one.  

    • Mikkey

      Thank you Robin. 

    • Regula

      According Tsokhar’s uncle, the two brothers never really spent any time in Chechnya, although by their parentage they were of Chechen ethnicity. But they were born in Dagestan and lived in Kyrgistan before they moved to the US. Their father went back to Russia to die from a brain aneurism which apparently healed in unexpected ways and he was in contact with his sons frequently. According to the brother’s mother, the FBI questioned and observed the older brother Tamerlan for some 3 – 5 years before 2010 and didn’t find any connection to Chechnya extremism. That he spent 6 months in Russia, yes, he would have visited his father there. That isn’t an act of terrorism or preparation for terrorism. The whole bombing, assuming the two brothers were indeed the perpetrators – appears to be more an act of despair and frustration because they couldn’t get ahead in life: high school isn’t enough to get a well paying job and the minimal pay at the bottom doesn’t allow for any of life’s pleasures. Tamerlan was a boxer but eventually appears to have given up on in response to his fathers’ advice for fear of health issues from head trauma; he thereafter was taking classes in an acting school. The younger brother took accounting classes at a community college. In other words, the two watched television, all the glamour, dreamed of getting famous but didn’t know how you get famous. The bombings may in fact have been a way to get into the public awareness,- the wrong way round, yes – but did they understand exactly how bad the explosions would be? None of these questions have been answered. 

      I agree entirely with you, that had they been from a so-called “acceptable” nation, nobody would have questioned their Americanness. Given that the FBI did have contact with Tamerlan, the question arises whether the bombing wasn’t pushed for by the FBI for US political reasons. That will not be known until we see what the US gov. decides is now necessary to prevent further such acts. Whether that is drone surveillance of US citizens, more restrictions of constitutional rights, or whether the US gov will use this act to justify interference in Chechnya, which they most certainly did for a long time, in clandestine, we will see.I also agree with you that the younger Tsarnaev certainly doesn’t look like a terrorist. An almost angeline face, a certain innocence from his looks and the gait of a typical teenager in the street during the marathon – certainly not who you would expect to have a grave political mission to terrorize. Also, there seems to me a lot of questionable conclusions mad by the FBI and personally I have my suspicions that the FBI isn’t innocent in this bombing. Their pestering Muslims to coax them into committing an act of terrorism became at times so bad that mosques and Muslim associations complained about the FBI.

      Given furthermore the very confused reporting on this event – there is a lot which the public doesn’t know and isn’t told, or the facts would have been a bit more consistent in the reporting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jean-Eaton-Schiebel/1590846262 Jean Eaton Schiebel

       How sad that a young man’s life can be so changed, because of his idolization of an older brother. It is too bad he didn’t live to see what he has done and face justice for it.

    • Michael0812

      Robin, before presenting yourself as an inside source, calling Johar a “beautiful, beautiful boy,” and saying hushed-toned things like “Oh it’s just heartbreaking, Steve, Thank you.” Or, “WE’VE known ZO-har since he was much younger,” and “We call him one of his (Zolan Young’s, your nephew the intern at The Globe attempting to pass himself off as a Globe reporter) best friends,” it might have been a good idea at least to learn how to properly pronounce the kid’s name.

      To some, it might appear that you both tossed Fairness and Accuracy in reporting into the backseat and lets Sensationalism and Inappropriate Attention Seeking drive and ride shot-gun.


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    I can’t help but wonder where their mother is. If she is still living her pain must be unbearable.

    • guest

      despite her grand larceny conviction, she is neither incarcerated nor deported, regardless of how much pain she may be feeling.

      • guest

         You do realize she is no longer in the US, right? How could she be deported or incarcerated when she’s not even here?

  • keltcrusader

    While I understand the need to recognize this young man as a fellow human and wonder what happened, he lost his humanity the moment he purposly set down that bag containing death & distruction in a crowd filled with children, women, & men and walked away.  

    • Regula

      But we haven’t seem him put that bag down – the photo shows what could be a bag, anybody’s bag and the kid walking in the background. Without seeing this kid physically setting the bag on the ground and then walking on, your conclusions as if all facts have been proven, is premature.

      • keltcrusader

        Really, he was shooting at and throwing bombs similar to what was used at the police while they were trying to apprehand him & his brother, but no connection? When the FBI posted their photos, they said they have images of the bags being placed, but, hey, what do they know.

        • Regula

          But we haven’t seen that. Until the FBI shows that clip, we don’t know, we have to believe what they say and the FBI says a lot which isn’t so true.

          • keltcrusader

            I see you entirely ignored the first part of my post about their encounter with the police.

          • Regula

            There is a clip on YouTube which shows Tamerlan lying on the ground apprehended, on his stomach, his hands stretched out, without any gun. Why did they shoot him, not arrest him?

            The younger brother was in the boat half unconscious from bullet wounds to his head, neck, leg and hand. He didn’t have a gun. The 50plus bullet holes on the boat were caused by the Police, not the suspect.

            Whatever connections there are, they don’t add up to make the statements of the FBI even marginally credible. Instead, because there were no witnesses in what all these shootouts were supposed to be, the FBI hypes everything out of proportion so they don’t have to give evidence to show why these two guys were in fact the bombers.

  • PDPA

    I’ve heard praise about this individual on CNN also.  I hope none of those people who’ve thought and spoken so highly about him are hiding him from the authorities…

  • http://twitter.com/jhf2009 Johanna Fredrics

    Dear Robin,
    Thank you and your staff for an outstanding, emotional, informative hour.  With so many local “reporters” (I am in Los Angeles–the land of start struck “newscasters” auditioning for movies left and right) inserting themselves into the story, it was a breath of fresh air listening to your report. Although you have a connection throught your nephew’s friendship, you remained neutral and objective throughout the broadcast. I would like to offer my condolences to your young nephew, he has had to learn a difficult lesson so early in life.
    I wish you and all Bostonians strength and courage.
    Take care–

  • guest

    The notion that this 19 year old Chechen kid at Rindge was a
    great kid is just that – a notion.  One passionately held apparently.


    Try to picture an alternative notion – people who “knew him
    well” really didn’t know him at all – he was instead a highly trained killer
    and Oscar-worthy actor laying low, being a “great kid” until activated.


    Does it make any sense that an untrained 19 year old rookie
    could bring a major U.S. metropolis to its knees by himself?  That he
    taught himself how to operate automatic weapons, body explosives and grenades?


    Do all terrorists have to demonstrate terrorist-like
    behavior before-hand – being violent, talking smack, etc – in order for people
    to reconcile them being terrorists?  Terrorists feel no such obligation.


    Why does this notion receive zero air time in the media –
    because it is politically incorrect?


    The family background is murky at best – where they have
    been and when, the nature of their prior arrests, etc.  So why does no one
    want to know if these kids received any terrorist training at a camp
    somewhere?  Why is this considered such an outrageous question? 
    Because a bunch of teenagers and parents (not to mention their self-serving
    family) thought these people were super nice?  Are they so smug as to be
    incapable of admitting they are wrong?


    To that point – two kids (one is your nephew) have said on
    the record they recognized their friend in the FBI released photos but
    determined for themselves that that was “impossible” and therefore did not
    report it (your nephew went further in wanting to warn him he could be falsely
    accused).  Do these kids today still deny it is possible?  Consider
    the downside of having done the right thing – immediately reporting the
    likeness even if it was “impossible” – the kid could have been picked up and
    interviewed for a few hours, then released.  Consider the downside we now
    have of having not reported it – so far, a security officer is dead, a cop is
    critically injured and a massive and dangerous (not to mention expensive)
    manhunt is underway.  While they may wish to deny it, those doubting kids
    allowed their personal passion and emotional decision-making to put at least
    some blood on their hands.

    • Lajones

      It is reported elsewhere that there were classmates who did call the FBI as soon as they saw the images.

    • Regula

      What a rubbish. I wouldn’t have called the police either for just that reason: it isn’t possible from any of the photographs to indentify anyone with certainty. Scores of kids have backpacks, wear hoodies, walk non-chalantly as the kid in these pictures. The danger that the wrong person gets accused is large.

    • bored

      Stop trying to bully Robin.

    • Regula

      No, they don’t have any blood on their hands. They felt it was impossible to be sure that the kid in the picture is in fact their friend Tsokhar. Another kid was hurt because some friends thought it was him. Which shows that there is no way how anyone can say for sure if or not a blurry picture similar maybe to their friend is in fact their friend. The kids who refused to report followed their conscience, not wanting to falsely accuse a friend, at a time when the public cried for a culprit and was ready to accept just anyone as the culprit.

  • Gg

    The Uncle got it right…they were (are) losers who could not “settle” themselves and therefore became full of hate for everyone else. All the talk of nice guys is just a side show…”he helped me at school” etc…so what? 4 dead and counting is proof enough for me the people who say nice guy should rethink it. Your personal disbelief has little significance.

    • bored


      Stew-art = Jacob = CH = CK = Jesus = Kc 6161 = guest- Parrlamp = Gg = Darla = Muslim haters.

  • Riv

    I really appreciated this interview. Thank you.

  • Didhereallysaythat

    I think you should be fired.

    • Cocacola45

      @Didhereallysaythat. I think you should be fired from your astroturf job. Stop bullying Robin and others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sayandsay Say Sayandsay

    Suspected so you are not sure, so
    why you kill?

    Where are the human rights?

  • Darla

    I am sorry, but this “He was so nice” thing strikes me as a tad naive.  It’s not that I don’t think this young man had/has potential and some very good qualities, but I’ve worked with many young people, and here’s what I see in the photo:  your nephew looks warm and comfortable; Johar looks haughty — and as if he believes that a man needs to exude an edge.  That little seed of obnoxiousness doesn’t mean he is going to become a terrorist, of course, but it does mean that anyone who knew him well would be able to say something much more complicated than he was just so normal and nice.  How often has your nephew hung out with the suspect in the past year?  I am betting not much. And I’ll bet your nephew never stepped foot in Johar’s apartment during the past year.  And why is that, if they were good friends?  

    • Rhstone567

       You are not saying that any thinking person would take seriously. You should become a police profiler if you can read that much into a single photo taken by a friend’s relative. Only weird people are able to project warmth into every random photo taken of them. Have a drink.

    • Royfultun

      Are you sure you haven’t mentally swapped the photos of Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev and Robin Young’s nephew Zolan in regard to their respective names?  If that happened, how would you now talk your way out of the tangle you may just have gotten yourself into?  

  • Boston listener

    About Chechnya (and not to justify ANY murderous acts ): 

    I’d like to mention, beyond the two recent wars with Russia, during which Russia’s brutality makes Bashar al Assad come out like an angel, the quasi genocide that tsarist Russia perpetrated against the whole Caucasus proud mountain peoples (Circassians, Chechens, Adyghe etc…) during the 19th century. The land appropriation, mass murders, mass deportations arranged between the Tsarist and Turkish governments (many died and never made it to Turkey, some were able to come back later), recall the fate of the American Indians. The people of the Caucasus were fiercely independant and not coveting anyone elses’s land and natural resources, they just wanted to be left alone. Their resistance was fierce, and it took nearly a century for Russia to crush them.

    Sometimes literature is the best historic testimony. Many 19th century Russians were sent on the Caucasus front, including some of the best Russian writers. 
    Leon Tolstoy’s last (posthumous) novel, “Hadji Murat”, recounting the struggle of a Caucasian hero, is a wonderful book, as well as Pushkin’s “The Captain’s Daughter”, and Lermontov’s poems and “A Hero of our Time”

    Add to that Stalin’s deportation in 1944 of the WHOLE Chechen people to Khazakhstan, on the FALSE pretext that they collaborated with the Nazis (their revolt during WW II, while the Russians were fighting the Nazis, angered Stalin as it forced the Soviets to divert some Russian forces from their fight against the Germans)
    Chechens were allowed to return after 1956
    BTW in 1944 Stalin also deported the WHOLE Tatar, Armenian, Greek and Bulgarian populations of Crimea to Central Asia under the same pretext (allowed to return only after 1967)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1808416735 Tony Krabill

    I’m glad so many of you commenting have never known anyone that you thought was a nice person only to discover they committed a horrible crime. After all, there are never any news reports where neighbors of a suspect have said, “He was such a nice person,” or “She would do anything to help.” Hopefully, you’re intelligent enough to read my sarcasm. Naive? I call it human nature – wanting to see the best in everyone. You might stop being so self-righteous about other people’s relationships and reflect on your own.

    • guest

      self-righteous?  how about responsible.  You see a photo from the FBI.  It is your friend.  Downside of reporting it?  He spends some time being interviewed and released – and is no longer at risk of being falsely accused by the authorities, you or anyone else who saw the photos.  Downside of not reporting it?  Dead cop, shot cop, massive manhunt.  Grow up, park your sarcasm at the door and try to be a responsible citizen, no matter how much personal friendship stress that might put you under.  Human nature as you define it cost people their lives.  So well done to you with your human nature and blind spot and inability to question your own blind spot.  No one is infallible.  Not even you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1808416735 Tony Krabill

        There’s a difference between knowingly withholding information from authorities and finding out after the fact the suspect is someone you considered a friend and expressing shock and disbelief. I’m not going to waste time debating whether they really knew or not. My comments are about the shock of learning it was someone you befriended and trusted, not whether or not you report them.

        “No one is infallible. Not even you.”

        My point exactly! Say that to yourself a few times before you assume something unintended by the writer to whom you’re responding.

  • Jesus

    Did the nephew or Robin alert the authorities that they knew him and who he was?  

    • guest

      absolutely not.  and this is the key point.  the papers are covered with stories of their remorse and disbelief about their friend.  Meantime, their misjudgment of the guy – and implicit belief in their own infallibility – resulted in a death, a serious injury and a daylong lockdown and manhunt.  the nephew even went so far as to warn the suspect that he could be falsely accused.  he should bear a heavy burden of guilt for not being a responsible citizen and reporting the likeness for every day for the rest of his life.  someone should send him a picture of the dead cop for his mantle.  But he knew better, when he saw the photos it couldn’t possibly be his friend so he didn’t do a thing.  the immaturity and arrogance.  and today, not expressing an ounce of contrition, only more “he was my friend” bilge in the papers.  Apparently they didn’t learn a thing from this important and severe lesson.

      • Another Guest

        didn’t you read Tony K.’s post below? It addresses your outburst, although it doesn’t address the key point that’s Robin’s nephew had NO idea of the current whereabouts of Dzhokhar. They had no relevant information to report.

        • guest

          i read it.  whoever tony is, i don’t know and i don’t care.  ditto you.  the facts are the facts.  he recognized the guy and did nothing.  his instinct was to warn him – not us or the authorities.  had he reported it to the authorities, they would have connected the dots to dartmouth (where he was at the time) that much faster.  you, ‘another guest’ are just another educated idiot who cannot distinguish between and ‘outburst’ and facts you care not to confront.  frankly, the nephew has a lot of liability right now – if not legal, for sure moral.  let him stare at the picture of that dead cop every single day and wonder if there might have been a 1% chance he would have survived had he not instinctually protected his friend despite the overwhelming evidence.  that it does not bother you at all that the nephew talks and talks about his pal but never an ounce of after-the-fact contrition for not reporting the photographic likeness is all anyone needs to know about you.  and him.  Facts.

          • YetAnotherGuest

            The Eagle Tribune reported 
            “The FBI was swamped with tips after the release of the surveillance -camera photos ― 300,000 per minute ― but what role those played in the capture was unclear.” 
            Did any of them actually help to find the suspects? 

          • guest

            From David Remnick at The New Yorker:

            Essah Chisholm, a fellow-wrestler, said, “He was a cool
            dude.” But when Chisholm and a couple of his friends saw photographs of the
            Tsarnaev brothers on television Thursday night, they called the F.B.I. tip
            line. Late that night, the armed confrontation began—a shoot-out, a furious
            chase, hurled bombs. “It’s mind-boggling,” Chisholm said on Friday afternoon.
            “Every time I see his name on TV, it’s just unbelievable. To see Dzhokhar’s
            name, to see his face. I think this had to do with his older brother. Unless he
            was some sort of sleeper agent, I think his brother had a pretty strong
            influence. Tamerlan maybe felt like he didn’t belong, and he might have
            brainwashed Dzhokhar into some radical view that twisted things in the Koran.”


            The sense of bland
            unknowingness—“He seemed so nice!”—began to evaporate the closer we got to the
            Tsarnaev brothers. Tamerlan’s YouTube channel features a series
            of videos in support of fundamentalism and violent jihad, including a rant by
            Feiz Muhammad, an Australian cleric and ex-boxer based in Malaysia; in one
            video, the cleric goes on about the evil “paganism” in the Harry Potter movies.
            Another video provides a dramatization of the Armageddon prophecy of the Black
            Banners of Khurasan, an all-powerful Islamic military force that will rise up
            from Central Asia and defeat the infidels; it is a martial-religious prophecy
            favored by Al Qaeda.


            Dzhokhar’s Twitter
            feed—@J_tsar—is a bewildering combination of banality and disaffection. (He
            seems to have been tweeting even after the explosions at the finish line last
            Monday.) As you scan it, you encounter a young man’s thoughts: his jokes, his
            resentments, his prejudices, his faith, his desires.

            March 14, 2012—a decade in
            america already, I want out

            August 16, 2012—The value
            of human life ain’t sht nowadays that’s

            August 22, 2012—I am the best beer pong player in Cambridge.
            I am the #truth

            September 1, 2012—Idk why
            it’s hard for many of you to accept that 9/11 was an inside job. I mean I guess
            fck the facts y’all are some real #patriots #gethip

            December 24, 2012—Brothers at the mosque either think I’m a
            convert or that I’m from Algeria or Syria, just the other day a guy asked me
            how I came to Islam

            January 15, 2013—I don’t
            argue with fools who say islam is terrorism it’s not worth a thing, let an
            idiot remain an idiot

            March 13, 2013—Never try to fork a mini tomato while wearing
            a white shirt, it will explode

            April 10, 2013—Gain knowledge, get women, acquire currency

          • YetAnotherGuest

            Dear guest. 
            I’m not sure that you understood my question. It’s not clear to me that any tips to the FBI helped to *find* the suspects (although they apparently helped to identify them). The media’s accounts seem to connect the robbery to the suspects through the store surveillance  photo.  Are you implying that Essah Chisholm’s tip led directly to the “armed confrontation? ” 
            Please don’t misunderstand me. I think everyone who thought he or she recognized a suspect from the video should contact the tip line. Although I wish these tips could have led to immediate apprehension, I have not seen any reports that they helped to find the suspects. 

          • bored


            Why don’t you take a break and let the legal system prosecute the suspect, Sherlock?

          • Robin

            Just had to jump in here again. Nephew did NOT see the pictures on Thursday night. Not every college kid was watching TV. 
            He found out when his room mate woke him up early Friday morning. I did not know his brother, and did not recognize him from the picture or the name, since he was called Johar. 
             Other kids did see it and called, but students at U Mass Dartmouth told reporters it became something of a joke on their campus Thursday;  they’d say “look how much that picture looks like Jahar!”  But they said it was so inconceivable to them that it could be him, they laughed it off. 

            All best

          • guest

            A joke?  Are they still laughing?  Hats off to the guy on the wrestling team who did pick up the phone and call the FBI along with the other responsible ones who did likewise.  Your nephew was quoted as saying that he saw the photo, decided to do nothing and considered warning the suspect that he could be falsely accused.  Hardly very responsible by the standards of those who didn’t take the matter into their own hands and did what they were instructed to do – call in, report the likeness and let the professional authorities take it from there.  Finally, I remain amazed by the lack of contrition on your nephew’s – and your – part in having made such a terribly bad personal judgment call.  Trying to brush it off or salve your own conscience by referencing a joke is really not very nice.  Better to stand up and apologize for having made a terrible mistake.  We all make them.  Even journalists at places like WBUR and the Globe.

          • LincolnX

            You’re rather unbelievable. I suppose like most Americans you’ve never known a murderer or terrorist – I hope you never do. But are you so naive that you don’t understand that individuals like the Tsarnaev’s are not immediately revealed precisely because of their ability to present themselves as being like you and me?  There’s no need for contrition for having known these guys unless you were an accomplice. I really think you have overstepped rational discourse, and it’s you who should apologize, unless you have evidence for the accusations you are flinging around.

          • bored

             Stew-art = Jacob = CH = CK = Jesus = Kc 6161 = guest- Parrlamp = Gg = Darla = Muslim haters

          • guest

            One post-script: why not invite your nephew back on your show….along with the family of the murdered MIT police officer.  You all can have a fulsome discussion about how impossible it was that your friend killed their relative.  That would be a show worth listening to.  Unfortunately I very much doubt you will do it.

          • bored

            Stew-art = Jacob = CH = CK = Jesus = Kc 6161 = guest- Parrlamp = Gg = Darla = Muslim haters

      • signa phi epsilon

        Nice guilt trip you’re trying to foist on someone else!

  • Michal

    I’m an avid WBUR local listener though for the past two months I’ve been working in Cairo Egypt, where all my Boston friends have worried for my safety. As I’ve watched events in my home town unfold on BBC World, the irony of the situation has not been lost on me. When I read headlines like “Boston celebrates the capture etc…” I feel doubly far away and out of touch with the mood of my home town, because I feel terribly sad for these two boys who evidently became so deeply lost as to do this terrible thing and who must themselves have been terrified. I can’t find any reason to celebrate. 

  • Benzzcurve

    I like how every time there is a murderer next door/someone knew well the “friend” or neighbor says, “I can’t believe he could do this.  He was such a nice young man.”  Either didn’t know them that well or not very good at identifying a mass murderer in the neighborhood.  These two guys were losers.  Not a lot of love in that family.  I read the mother was picked up for shoplifting a year ago.  Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Frank McManus

    Really interesting story, Robin. Thanks for your honest recollections, and I’m sorry you’re experiencing attacks from people who view your honesty with contempt.

    Regarding the fact that the Tsenaevs grew up in this country: I think that fact may actually be one reason they might be _more_ inclined to take a positive attitude towards some form of extremist ideology. For me the analogy is with Irish nationalism (with which I have much sympathy): a great many otherwise sensible people in this country were enthusiastic supporters of Irish terrorism (e.g., Pete King). The same is true of many American Jews, not to mention non-Jews, who support Israeli oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

    Paradoxically, the distance from the realities of extremist violence can serve, in some cases, to make people romanticize that violence.

    Is this the case with one or both of the Tsenaev brothers? I have no idea. But it’s surely a possibility.

  • Jacob Arnon

     They were both equally evil. we don’t know who influenced who, but 19 years old is old enough to take responsibility for one’s actions.

    btw: maybe it was the smarter younger brother who influenced the older less successful brother.

  • Mr. Twicky

     It seems to me that the shock and disbelief of people who were acquainted  with this young man is a very important part of the story.   It’s too bad if some of you don’t want to hear that this was a well liked young man up until now.  I don’t hear anyone using that to mitigate the horror of what he has done.  I don’t hear anyone denying that he did it.  What I hear is people trying to come to terms with the fact that someone they knew did something so horrific and so contrary to anything they would have believed him capable that even seeing the photo they couldn’t conceive of it being him.  I did not hear one word on this broadcast that denied the horror and pain of this week or the suffering of those killed and injured.  I did not hear one word that denied  Dzhokhar’s guilt. 
    I think Robin had no choice about revealing her personal connection to this case.  Perhaps it would have been better to have refrained from further personal recollections of him, but hindsight is always 20/20 and I suspect that once the personal connections were known she had no choice but to comment on it further. 
    I think that those of you who are so eager to judge and slander and hate are the ones who have truly missed what should be the lessons of this horrible week.   I read some of your comments and I can’t believe the ugliness of your accusations and the maliciousness of your distortions of what was actually said and done by Robin and her nephew.  One person even managed to turn this into prejudice against southerners!  Really?
    Can’t we all just calm down and recognize the fact that life is complicated? 

    • guest

      One important lesson is simple and calm: when the FBI puts out photos and instructs everyone to call if they recognize a likeness, even if the picture looks like a friend or even still a family member, we are duty-bound as good citizens to pick up the phone immediately – and notify the FBI.  It is not our role to determine what is “impossible” and editorialize on behalf of the FBI. 

      Another calm and simple lesson: when we make a mistake – like failing to adhere to the instructions above – we apologize.  And if the mistake was publicized, we apologize publicly.

      • Mr. Twicky

         Yep, and I’m certain that all you judgmental people have called 911 every time you’ve seen a shot of someone in a security photo that looked like someone you knew.  There isn’t any one of us who hasn’t had the experience of sitting in front of the tv and saying, “Hey, that looks like Joe” and my bet is very few of us have ever picked up the phone to report the resemblance.

        • Mr. Twicky

           As I said hindsight is 20/20

          • guest

            “There isn’t any one of us who hasn’t had the experience of sitting in front of the tv and saying, “Hey, that looks like Joe” and my bet is very few of us have ever picked up the phone to report the resemblance.”

            You bet wrong.

            Essah Chisholm, a fellow-wrestler, said, “He was a cool dude.” But when Chisholm and a couple of his friends saw photographs of the Tsarnaev brothers on television Thursday night, they called the F.B.I. tip line. Late that night, the armed confrontation began—a shoot-out, a furious chase, hurled bombs. “It’s mind-boggling,” Chisholm said on Friday afternoon. “Every time I see his name on TV, it’s just unbelievable. To see Dzhokhar’s name, to see his face.”

          • IThinkGuestIsHidingUnderMyBed

             I’d like to know guest’s real name. I think he’s a communist and needs to be reported to the F.B.I. J. Edgar asked me to me viligant.

        • guest

          Speak for yourself, Mr. Twicky.

      • ironymobile

        At what point will you be returning to this public website to apologize for the numerous mistakes you’ve made in your comments–including (at minimum) errors of fact, logic, & basic comprehension?

  • cantabrigian

    To Robin, I appreciate your candor, and to those who are questioning her professionalism, it would have been unprofessional not to mention her tenuous tie to the suspect.  My opinion is that listeners are responding here not to Robin’s actual comments but perhaps to her tone, which they found inappropriately sympathetic with the suspect.  Listen to Here and Now on any other news day – her interview style is always chatty and even “touchy-feely,”  and of course she would show tact in interviewing her nephew, who indicated his emotional involvement in the situation by saying repeatedly, “if it is him.”  I think Robin’s interview of her nephew contributed significantly to the understanding of the suspect’s identity as news was unfolding throughout the day Friday.  By the way, it can only be beneficial to introduce an element of doubt during such a manhunt and to remind the public that suspects are “innocent until proven guilty.” 

    I would also like to respond to the person who criticized Robin’s characterization of Cambridge Rindge and Latin’s diversity.  I respect the intention of the remark, which was to point out that from
    outside we cannot say to what extent there is exclusion or bullying
    based on ethnicity.  Point taken.  However, if you disagree about the diversity of Cambridge public schools, then you don’t know Cambridge.  My kids in the Cambridge Public Schools have attended school with children who are either first or second generation immigrants from Ethiopia, Japan, Italy, Haiti, Germany, China, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, India and Nepal (and I’m sure I’m missing some).  The diversity in Cambridge is absolutely astonishing and is something to be celebrated, as far as I am concerned.  

    In regard to the role of the community, I think we all need to ask ourselves some hard questions about inclusion and integration (outside of school).  I echo President Obama’s concern for discovering how and why these seemingly Americanized young men turned to brutally violent acts of terrorism, and we should be willing to follow the facts, even if they paint a less than flattering picture of  “our fair city,” Massachusetts, and the American cultural climate.

  • stevie

    Robin, should we not be “reminded of it all day every day?” Is the media placing too much attention on the man who in all likelihood will turn out to be the man whose decisions and actions turned Boylston Steet into something which resembled the floor of an abattoir? 

    Have America’s young people been so sheltered and poorly educated about the human condition that they cannot fathom that the seeds of evil lie within the hearts of even the most “good and decent” among us? Or that we may simply not know people as well as we think we do? 

    In any event, the story shows poor taste and a lack of respect for the victims whose wounds have barely begun to heal.

    • bored

      Here we go with the ‘evil seeds’ narrative again. Don’t you guys get tired of the same script? YAWN.

      Stew-art = Jacob = CH = CK = Jesus = Kc 6161 = guest- Parrlamp = Gg = Darla = stevie = Muslim haters.

      • Now I’m bored too

        Since you are so “bored” maybe you can find the time to read my post for what it says instead of projecting your own assumptions and biases onto it.

        Since you took the time to criticize my comment based on the words of others instead of what I wrote I will try to help you with your reading comprehension.

        It is more than clear that I was saying that the potential for evil is in everyone – you and me included. If you see “Muslim-hater” in that then you should look within yourself. As William Blake said, “As a man is, so he sees.”


  • Tpaln

    when npr covers the arts literature and obscure subjects it is fantastic, when things turn political they suck. i wont stop listening , but I will change the dial

  • bored

    Your spelling and grammar mistakes are unusual, even for immigrants.

  • bored

    Stew-art = Jacob = CH = CK = Jesus = Kc 6161 = guest- Parrlamp = Gg = Darla = Muslim haters.

  • elf mayer

    I think you did yourself a disservice by admitting an acquaintance – someone who merely passed through your house for a party.  You did not “know” this young man as you said again today.  You merely met him.  And the fact that the terrible act happened in your city pressed you to make it a part of show which seems welcomed by the NPR folks.  This seems like “Six Degrees of Separation” except those characters seemed to have more of a connection than you, your nephew and the alleged culprit. And ironically, the characters’ connection was a false one in the end.  Yes, the two young men were classmates, but it doesn’t seem as if they were really friends either- again acquaintances.  Where were accounts of what they shared as friends?  CH  seems to have hit the nail on the head about classmates who are really ‘friends’- they have reciprocal experiences.  Both you and your nephew seemed to have been carried away the horror, the opportunity for a story and superficial contact with a suspect.  But “knowing” this young man is another story entirely.  And neither of you seem qualified to comment on that knowledge.


    Robin Where do you stand??? We /I have such faith in you.  Please make your position clear. You seen ambivalent!!!


  • kspodgers

    The Boston Marathon Bombers are from Kyrgyzstan, NOT Chechnia. Kyrgystan is NOT Russia. They emigrated to the us as children and were raised and educated in Cambridge, MA. Lots of denial going on.

  • Dana Shetterly

    A bunch doo doo I say. Where is the FBI picture from? The 7-11? Where’s the gun? The Corporate office said in USA Today that these 2 DID NOT rob the 7-11. The head of corporate communications  said she was trying all day to get news organizations to retract the story. That was on the April 19th. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/19/7-eleven-robbery-boston/2097915/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+usatoday-NewsTopStories+%28News+-+Top+Stories

    “The suspect in the photos for that particular 7-Eleven robbery looks nothing like the suspects,” Chabris says. “The police or someone made a mistake. Someone was confused.”The suspects were at the 7-Eleven around the time of the robbery but they did not rob the store said, State Police Superintendent Timothy Alban at an evening press conference on Friday.Nor was the kid armed in the boat.http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/officials-boston-suspect-had-no-firearm-when-barrage-of-bullets-hit-hiding-place/2013/04/24/376fc8a0-ad18-11e2-a8b9-2a63d75b5459_story.htmlHis backpack was white but the FBI said a black pack contained the explosives.The entire narrative has fallen apart. I wonder what Richard Jewel is thinking right now.

  • bellasue

    I wish the kid could tell his side of all of this but I don’t think that will ever happen.  His confession that he wrote on the side of a boat that was very long and detailed got shot up so I’m sure they won’t be able to tell if he wrote it.  Must have been a dang good pen that he found to write upside down.

  • Doxey Hatch

    In the comments he made right after the announcement that the Tsarnaevs were suspects, Zolan’s loyalty to his friend was admirable. Despite the terrible things he did, I’m sure Dzhokhar has the good qualities Zolan described. The fact that Dzhokhar’s potential for making a positive contribution got derailed is a tragedy that goes along with the other tragedies involving loss of life and limb.

    The whole episode of the bombs took on a deeper, more complicated and melancholy color for me as a result of hearing Zolan’s expression of friendship for Dzhokhar early in the course of events. I find that I cannot take any joy in Tamerlan’s death or Dzhokhar’s capture. Anger toward them is appropriate, of course. But Zolan’s contribution led me past feelings of outrage to a sense of tragedy.

    Thank you for that.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 15 25 Comments

A Call To Reject Corporal Punishment As Part Of Black Culture

An incident of child abuse by an NFL player has raised questions about the use of corporal punishment as a form of discipline in the African-American community.

September 15 26 Comments

Would You Pay To Get Your Kid Into A Top College?

A San Francisco company charges parents for a consulting package based on the odds their student will get into a certain university, with prices up to a million dollars.

September 12 9 Comments

Senator: Arab Countries ‘Need To Step To The Plate’ In Fight Against ISIS

Mark Begich (D-AK) is one of the few members of Congress speaking out against a key part of President Obama's plan for fighting the Islamic State.

September 12 Comment

Ecuadorian Drilling Damage Inspires Documentary

An American and an Ecuadorian are inspired to help Ecuador heal from decades of drilling and oil spills.