Disclaimer: This post is about the suspect in the marathon bombings and I know some people will find this post totally unnecessary but I’ve heard quite a few people wondering how this “nice kid” ended up doing such terrible things. So without further ado…
As I watch the news stories about the suspects in the Boston bombings, I find myself relating almost all the information to what I know about domestic violence. And, it’s even come out that the oldest suspect was arrested for domestic violence. But I didn’t need the news to tell me that. As soon as I heard about the bombings, I knew that any person responsible for this would never treat their partner well, too.
So then I hear all these reports that people who knew the younger brother described him as nice, friendly and funny. It’s hard to imagine someone with those qualities as being capable of committing horrific acts. A lot of people have been saying things like, “Maybe something happened to him or someone made him do this…”
And I almost started to buy it, too. I mean, he’s 19 years old, for f- sake! He’s just a kid. How could a nice kid do such things? I started thinking, ‘Yes, it must have been his brother who manipulated him into doing this. Not many people seemed to like his brother… So, there’s no way the younger one did that willingly, because everyone who knows him says he is so nice.”
Well the reality is maybe he isn’t so nice after all. I think he showed us all his true colors by returning to his college campus and acting as though nothing was wrong or different than before. That shows a serious lack of empathy. Granted I wasn’t there and I don’t know this guy. BUT the reports from his peers about his behavior in the days that followed do not, to me, indicate that he was in shock, depressed or remorseful.
The other reality is that supposedly “nice” people do terrible things all the time. When I read a news report about a domestic violence homicide, there are almost always comments from friends or neighbors saying, “I don’t understand, he’s such a nice guy.” But people can seem like a lot of things. It doesn’t mean that’s who they really are.
Now I don’t mean to imply that we should demonize people who do bad things. No one is all bad and conversely, no one is all good either. I just mean to say that when some “nice” person does something bad, we must consider the fact that maybe they’re not the person they’d seemed to be. People who believe they have the right to be cruel to others are generally also good at being both persuasive and deceptive. This is why so many people end up stuck in abusive relationships because they didn’t realize that “nice guy” they were dating can actually be pretty mean. So when we start to make excuses for someone’s bad behavior, like “he was manipulated” or “she was really depressed” then we just fall further into their deception and ultimately, detract from the accountability they should be taking. And when that happens, the people harmed most are the ones who have already been harmed by this person.
So in effort to reduce victim-blaming and increase the accountability of those who mistreat and harm others, please keep this post in mind the next time you find yourself questioning what led “a nice guy” to do something awful.