gradeschoolHe came to America when he was about nine years old and something happened to him over those years. Larry Aaronson (A retired history teacher at the high school Dzhokhar (pronounced Joe-HARR) attended) says “It’s completely out of his character,” he says. “Everything about him was wonderful. He was completely outgoing, very engaged, he loved the school. He was grateful not to be in Chechnya.”

Dzhokhar was not overtly political or religious, Aaronson says. “He spoke and acted like any other high school kid.”

A friend from middle school says, “I don’t really know how to react to this….he was a funny, sweet, goofy kid,” said the friend. “It’s not something you would expect from someone you know.”

Hopefully as he recovers from his wounds he will be able to fill in the main blanks that caused him to place bombs near his home town to willfully kill and maim as many people as possible. His answers will not change what he did. As an American I  want to know the mindsets of a young man and young adult that lead them to slap their adopted country in the face with the force of 4 dead and over a hundred and seventy injured. It still doesn’t make a lot of sense. The hand wringing over immigration is already starting to boil over on the various media because of the brothers ethnic heritage. But hindsight of course is 20/20. There are a great many “shoulds” that are being thrown around from whether the FBI was tracking Dzhokhar’s older brother’s 6 month trip back to Russia to whether he should have been deported to who knows what. Does all of this have any meaning? Not yet. It is the young man who was captured yesterday evening that makes me wonder what happened  to him over the 10 years since he was in the U.S. Was it his brother who had the hold over him? From what I have read so far the younger brother wasn’t a loner. He seemed to like a good party and had many friends and even posted jokes on his FaceBook pages from time to time.

On Monday, though, his tweets got a little strange.

This from the day of the bombing April 15, 2013 @ 5.04 p.m.

“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people”

This from April 15, 2013 @ 9.34 p.m.

“There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them cuz they’re the minority”

This last one comes from Christmas Eve 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”

He’s got the “talk” and “lingo” of Twitter and Facebook and sounds assimilated enough. (He became a citizen last year). So what trigger or series of triggers happened to move him to hurt? The broad brush of radical Islam doesn’t seem to work in this case. I wish we knew more about his older brother and maybe we will in the insuing days and months. But for me, this is still a mystery. This act is home grown from brothers who have been living here for over a decade. Justice will be done in time and hopefully in open court.

The picture reprinted above is Dzhokhar in 4th grade posted by the boy who put up bunny ears behind his head. This is the boy,Dzhokhar, who went through some transformation in ten years. He did have a history. It is ironic to think that the photo of this new immigrant pictures a boy just a little bit older than the boy he and his brother would kill 10 years later.

and so it goes…