It looks like they got him. The younger Tsarnaev brother, that is.
He will, of course, turn out to be a fucked up kid. Then again so was Caligula.
This is not a matter on which I am really an expert, other than that I have known a lot of fucked up people. On the other hand, I have also known Boston.
I think more people read my blog from places like Europe and Down Under than in the States, and the States are big. Let me tell you a little about my encounters with Boston, a lady I have been privileged to know slightly.
I had a best college friend — a gay (he wasn’t really aware of it at the time) pianist and organist from Providence who enrolled at the New England Conservatory. He shared rooms in Jamaica Plain, where I would visit him in the summers, beguiling the hours he was in class or studying with visits to the Boston Public Library or the Common below the State House. There is a memorial there to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry; you look from the frieze of freed slaves turned Union soldiers to the golden dome of the State House — something that would not be out of place in the Caucasus, it occurs to me — and then down the Common to the skating pond. It is American in a way that not even my hometown (if you count suburbs) of DC is. New England thought the country up, and let Washington work out the details.
Boston’s transit system is complete and embracing; you might say that of New York, but New York is frightening. I passed through New York City in the seventies when I was in college and I swore never to go back; the collision of human passions and goals was like a marble game in your head, to quote my gay organist friend again. But when I stepped onto the Boston T I felt as if I were on a magic carpet that could take me anywhere. Years later I met the man who is now my Albino Ex, a native of Somerville, where big up-down duplexes house families or cohorts of students from Tufts, variably. He loved the T so much as a child that, in his forties, he had its logo printed on his pillow cases.
In Somerville, in the Spring, you walk down the streets past the shingled fronts of the big houses, whose dooryards are more cement than grass, except that lilacs bloom there in the sandy soil. In some of those walkup structures three generations of the same family have lived.
People seemed to smoke a lot in Boston, at least when I was there last. For a place that shelters Harvard and MIT and Boston College and Boston University and Tufts it is one hell of a blue collar town, and these are people who will buy you a beer, but you had better not fuck with them. Seriously. We have learned that in these last four days.
My Albino Ex’s dad was a transit cop. The Ex himself worked for a police department in the suburb of Malden. When he moved down here and got into politics, he marveled: “If I said the things I’ve said around here when I was back in Boston, two guys named Guido would have paid me a visit.”
Bostonians are tough, in a splendid way. I salute them.