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Why did the Boston bombers act?

It’s a useful exercise to try to figure out why the Tsarnaev brothers did what they did at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, but to Joel Breuklandersuch efforts can too easily sound like sympathy for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, or “a conservative parody of mush-headed liberal thinking.” As the subhed on Breuklander’s post says, “Pressure from an older brother is no excuse for murder.”

But at On Science BlogsTabitha M. Powledge is not letting Breuklander get away with this. “Some of the ideas that so exasperate Breuklander might qualify as scientific hypotheses about what lay behind the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath,” she writes. Pressure from an older brother is certainly no excuse, but is it part of the explanation? And if so, can law enforcement officials use this phenomenon to help assess the danger posed by others they might have under surveillance? 

Powledge discusses posts on the bombing at some length; drop over there for the links. She also looks at a couple of pieces on the problem of verifying news in the age of fake Twitter accounts.

This article was originally published on Why did the Boston bombers act?

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