Since the second Boston bombing suspect was caught, there’s been a wave of support, empathy, and even attraction shown for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
#Freejahar tweets are pouring in every minute; young girls are declaring their desires; conspiracy theorists continue to demand that Tsarnaev is innocent.
And at the very least – a large portion of the online public appears to be on the fence about his guilt.
There’s nothing new about having empathy for high-profile suspects.
The past is littered with those that defend and even fetishize some of history’s most infamous people.
Remember Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold?
They were convicted in the 1999 Columbine massacre that left 15 dead and 21 injured.
They have their own fan club of sorts, and last year the internet rocked as young girls declared their love for the Aurora shooter James Holmes.
A psychiatrist friend of ours gave some quick reasons for all this:
1. he’s physically attractive
2. he’s young
3. the victims’ faces and missing legs are NOT on display as his mug is
4. identification with the aggressor e.g. Patty Hearst; the Stockholm Syndrome
5. a lot of people are stupid
But it’s not just stupid young girls’ raging hormones that’s driving #freejahar.
The lion’s share of pro-Tsarnaev tweets are from conspiracy theorists and those demanding he get a “fair trial.”
Many of these tweets point to “evidence” first uncovered by online communities including pictures indicating differences between bags, while sites like Infowars continue to fuel stories that the FBI and others were somehow involved or that the bombing itself was a false flag operation.
For every #freejahar tweet, however, there’s a user expressing disgust that Tsarnaev supporters exist.
“What!? He’s a #Terrorist scumbag and he deserves to fry.”
So, is this changing anyone’s mind?
Many of the those who believe in some sort of conspiracy don’t believe anything or anyone, especially the government.
Evidence doesn’t matter – they say it was probably manipulated.
What’s scary is a lot of those nut jobs are getting into political office.
And that’s the subject of the next article.