The curious case of Boston Bombing Suspects

If you are reading this, you already know that the two suspects were identified as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. One of the suspects is dead after a shootout where he killed an MIT police officer. The other is on run, armed and dangerous.

They both hail from Chechnya which has a long, turbulent political history. When the FBI released the pictures of suspect, the most uncouth behaviour by commentators started. Some of the people on the political left hoped they were white. Some on the right hoped they were brown and Muslim. They turned out to be white and Muslim. Yes, Chechens are white according to U.S census. While the FBI and the Boston police were investigating and doing their job catching these perpetrators, media decided to speculate and mess up people’s lives. Hence, a Bangladeshi man was attacked by a bunch of racist dudes because you know he was brown and Muslim. Sunil Tripathi and Mike Mulugeta were misidentified as  suspects by redditors because police chatter is so conclusive? It is not. We still don’t know if Sunil is alive or not. He went missing before the bombings and his family was trying to search for him.

This is why normal citizens who are not part of law enforcement should lay off speculating. You are not a detective; you do not have the training or the skills. If you think someone is a suspect, contact the police. They follow up the tips to see if it is legit or not. Media is culpable by not vetting their sources and just making up a bunch of theories.

Hope all the people who were misidentified sue the hell out of media companies. Hope Sunil’s parents find out his whereabouts. Hope the second suspect is caught without bloodshed. We don’t need more by-standers and brave police officers losing their lives.

Update: Dzhokar Tsarnev is caught alive. Bravo to the law enforcement in United States. Their competence and professionalism more then made up for the kerfuffle caused by the media.

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