The shock and horror of the Boston marathon explosions one week ago today gave way to an almost incomprehensible sequence of events leading to a dramatic day-long dragnet that shut a major American city and several surrounding neighborhoods down. Now, with one suspect dead and his younger brother in critical condition at a Boston hospital, citizens and media alike are grappling to fill in motivations and create narratives that we can understand. Among the most combed-over questions is whether 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev somehow radicalized his popular, athletic, seemingly well-adjusted 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar.
It turns out that the history of terrorism is rife with pairs of siblings operating together…not the least of which were three pairs of brothers among the nineteen 9/11 high-jackers. Dr. John Horgan is director of the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Penn State. He’s also author of The Psychology of Terrorism among other books on the topic. He and his colleague, Mia Bloom, wrote a primer on terrorist siblings that was posted on the center’s site on Saturday.