By Tami Jackson
Usually the cover of Rolling Stone magazine is reserved for famous musicians and others in the entertainment inner sanctum. But the current issue breaks new ground: Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is the cover feature.
Yes, a terrorist whose handiwork maimed and killed Americans is on the cover of Rolling Stone.
As Rolling Stone’s Janet Reitman writes:
Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.
The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.
How a tragedy like this happens? The implication seems to be that Dzhokhar was a really sweet kid who made a slight mistake, and most likely it’s someone else’s fault!
People in Cambridge thought of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – “Jahar” to his friends – as a beautiful, tousle-haired boy with a gentle demeanor, soulful brown eyes and the kind of shy, laid-back manner that “made him that dude you could always just vibe with,” one friend says.
He had been a captain of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin wrestling team for two years and a promising student. He was also “just a normal American kid,” as his friends described him, who liked soccer, hip-hop, girls; obsessed over The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones; and smoked a copious amount of weed.
A beautiful, tousle-haired boy who smoked a copious amount of weed. Hmmm.
Evidently the mayor of Boston did not find Dzhokhar Tsarnaev nor the story beautiful, and sent a letter of rebuke and objection.
Mayor Menino’s words, “Your August 3 cover rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment” are precise and perfect. How will parents whose teens subscribe to this magazine explain that a terrorist has been lifted up? Will children think, “Gee, maybe I can’t be a famous rocker, but committing mayhem can make me a rock star!”
Blowback also came from 189 store group, Tedeschi Foods, who have convenience stores in-between the 2 bombing locations in Boston. Tedeschi’s posted this on their Facebook page:
AND CVS Pharmacy tweeted this morning:
There will likely be a tsunami of stores who refuse to carry the current, offensive issue of Rolling Stone. And as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino penned,
“The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them.”
The person who does NOT deserve to be on the cover is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a young man who took advantage of the graciousness of America and repaid her with vicious violence. Tsarnaev, is not some wayward boy, some misunderstood teen who goofed and should have the car keys taken away for the week.
Rather, he is a young man with free will to choose, and used that free will to choose to commit jihad against Boston. Now like all who exercise free will, he should bear the responsibility and consequences of his heinous actions.