Among the ever twisting and turning mountains, hills and vales of the Russian Caucuses live dozens of Muslim ethnic groups. Since the fall of the Soviet Union many of these have either agitated for independence or launched an outright rebellion to separate from the Russian government. Countless Russian soldiers and rebel fighters have died. But the innocent victims include school children who were taken hostage and killed. Pictures of mourning mothers and fathers brought to light the desperate situation of Chechnya, a place deep in the heart of Eurasia that otherwise few Americans would have ever heard about. Until now.
On April 15 two horrific explosions, apparently using homemade bombs built to maximize injury and death, ripped through the crowds gathered around the Boston marathon finish line. Dozens lost either limb or life, including an 8-year-old boy. Police and emergency personnel scrambled to save lives. They deserve thanks and honor for their heroic effort in the face of unspeakable carnage. Within hours it became clear that the threat had not abated when a gunfight broke out at MIT, claiming the life of a policeman. One of the killers was also shot to death, followed by a massive manhunt that turned Boston into a virtual lock-down zone. More hours passed and the second murderer was caught after another gunfight.
Reports indicate that the two men were brothers whose family had come from that obscure, war-torn former Soviet region of Chechnya. In a strange twist of fate, after the fifty-year Cold War during which no successful Soviet attack ever claimed an American on U.S. soil, two ex-Soviets committed the largest attack since 9-11. These two bold Chechens did what the Soviets couldn’t or wouldn’t do.
Within hours of the explosions some national leaders speculated that a right-wing militant was behind it, someone anti-government. One journalist even hoped it would be a white, right-wing male. That seemed particularly ill-spirited, a way of invalidating a fairly large part of the American public. Then the facts came out, it wasn’t an American at all in the traditional sense. Like the terrorists of 9-11, the murderers were young Muslim men bent on fighting religious jihad. They were willing to kill and die for their cause. One did become a martyr and the second may get his wish if the courts pass the death sentence.
Did these men sneak across a border somewhere? Did they swim onto American soil from a stealth submarine or parachute on a moonless night? Hardly. They, like countless other radicalized and potentially dangerous men walked right through the passport control at an international airport. Their papers were in order. Furthermore, the Chechens attended an elite, privileged high school and one of them was living on welfare while he planned mass destruction of American lives. Is there no one to hold responsible for the policies that allow this to happen? If American voters sleep through every election, neglect and willful immigration policies that allow hostile persons to legally enter and reside in the United States will continue.
Two Chechens, living comfortably off the riches of the American people, detonate bombs destroying the lives of hundreds in Boston. This is a wake-up call. 4-15 now takes its place alongside 9-11. Unfortunately, when many Americans hear the term “American Dream,” they mistakenly think it means they should stay asleep, even while the threat grows. The American Dream of liberty and justice will survive only if Americans stay vigilant and sober, certainly not asleep.