PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
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
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What If The Boston Bombers Had Used Guns?

This combination of undated file photos shows Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. (The Lowell Sun & Robin Young/Here & Now)

This combination of undated file photos shows Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. (The Lowell Sun & Robin Young/Here & Now)

New Yorker writer John Cassidy has a thought experiment: Imagine that the Boston Marathon bombers had used assault rifles instead of bombs — what would have been different?

According to Cassidy, the Tsarnaev brothers would likely have killed more people with guns than they allegedly did with bombs.

And the initial reaction would likely have seen them not as terrorists, but as sociopaths or mentally disturbed young men.

And third, says Cassidy, the Boston bombing attack happened the same week that gun control failed in Congress — a mass murder with guns might have changed that vote.

Cassidy is emphatic in not equating, in any sense, mass shootings carried out for purely personal reasons with terrorism.

He agrees that the evidence so far points to the Boston Marathon bombing being a terrorist act; Cassidy says he’s trying this thought experiment to understand how our reactions to guns and bombs are so different.

His experiment is being debated widely on the internet, with hundreds of comments on the New Yorker site — many from outraged gun rights advocates who think he’s using a tragedy to gin up gun control.

Others are wondering, as he did, why do we respond differently to these two kinds of violence?

What’s your response to Cassidy’s question, “What would have been different?” Tell us on our Facebook page or in the comments.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

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

July 30 23 Comments

Oxford Conservationist Talks About 7 Years Of Tracking Cecil

The 13-year-old lion was not only a tourist favorite, but also, a research animal. The beloved lion was being studied by the Oxford University Conservation Unit.

July 30 20 Comments

NAACP To Begin 860-Mile ‘Journey For Justice’ March

The march, which will travel from Selma, Ala. to Washington, seeks to highlight vulnerable communities subject to regressive voting rights.

July 29 2 Comments

Garden-Inspired Cooking With Kathy Gunst

We visit our resident chef's garden in Maine, make gazpacho and get a recipe for a plum tart with hazelnut crust.

July 29 585 Comments

Two Sides Of The GMO Debate

We moderate a debate over a bill that would bar states from forcing food manufacturers to label genetically modified foods.