The big story this morning surrounds a published photo of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The photo, which some say depicts the youthful alleged bomber as a rock star, appears over the caption: “THE BOMBER…How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.
The governor of Massachusetts and the mayor of Boston are apoplectic. Walgreens, CVS and Kmart are refusing to put the magazine on their shelves. The national media is going crazy.
First off, the glamour shot of Tsarnaev is the exact same photo that graced the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post mere weeks ago. Where was the outrage then?
Second, if people would actually take a moment to read the article they would see that it is a very compelling piece that chronicles the story of how a popular young man grew into a monster. The article does not glorify Tsarnaev. It simply lays out the facts that the terrorists of today do not necessarily wear turbans and sport long robes and flowing beards. Today the enemy within can just as easily be the well mannered kid next door. The truth may be unsettling…but it is the truth.
And as for Walgreens, CVS and Kmart…they certainly have the right to market the products they choose. But we don’t need corporations taking it upon themselves to sensor what we read.
We are a coddled society. Our media shields us from bullet riddled bodies,horrific car crashes and war torn battlefields lest they offend our sensibilities. Our government sanitizes reports lest we find out that our government uses the same deplorable tactics as our enemies. Our corporations pull products from their shelves because they have decided that we can’t handle the content.
Yet we proclaim that we live in a nation of liberty; one that celebrates freedom of speech, freedom of the press and free commerce.