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Dave Ross

The monster on the cover

Rolling Stone doesn't tell you how he "became" a monster - what mental process might have made this sweet soft kid - as he was described - into a murderer.

There is outrage over Rolling Stone giving Jahar Tsarnaev his rock star moment.

“I feel like when you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone there is a kind of glorified, connotation given to it,” says one woman.

“Like you’re a rock star,” a man responds.

“Yeah, not him,” says the woman.

The headline says, “How a popular promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam, and became a monster.”

Except it doesn’t tell you how he “became” a monster – what mental process might have made this sweet soft kid, as he was described, into a murderer.

Though we get plenty of clues as to why he was thoroughly unhappy.

His dad’s arthritis got so bad he couldn’t work, his mom started practicing Islam, which meant she wouldn’t work on male clients at her salon, and finally lost her job; they finally divorced and returned to their native Russia. His sisters vanished into arranged marriages, leaving him to live with his brother who was into radical Islam, much more than Jahar was.

By the time Jahar had been in college a year, he had a $20,000 debt, and the family’s remaining welfare payments had been cut off. And he was still bored and constantly smoking pot, and apparently started believing the truther conspiracy theories he read on the Internet.

But that could describe a million people who hit bottom. Why would he become the guy who stuffed a pressure cooker full of gunpowder? Rolling Stone doesn’t answer that question – we just read that he was just a kid who saw his family fall apart, was bored, got involved with a religious guru, and spent a lot of time drugged up.

Come to think of it, that does sound a lot like a rock star.

Read more:
Why the Rolling Stone cover infuriates Luke Burbank

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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