Boston attacks


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Boston Attacks Project

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Boston attacks

  1. 1. Hobbyhorses: a preoccupation; a favorite topic. Radicalization: process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that (1) reject or undermine the status quo or (2) reject and/or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice. Slough: something that may be shed or cast off. Nebulous: lacking definite form or limits; vague. Acquiescence: the reluctant acceptance of something without protest. Amulet: can be any object but its most important characteristic is its alleged power to protect its owner from danger or harm. The Lessons Of Boston
  2. 2. What does the term “drones coming home to roost” refer to? Does the author believe that “we must scale back our military campaigns,” “take a humbler posture in the world” and “be more expansive in our embrace of Muslims”? Or are these strategies other people have offered that fall short? What does the author say is “the danger built into the American experiment”? Why does the author say the F.B.I. and intelligence agencies declined to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev more thoroughly after questions were raised about whether he posed a threat to America? What lessons does the author draw from the Boston Marathon attacks, and does he offer a strategy for protecting America from a recurring attack?
  3. 3. Part I: First Reactions Write a draft “Lesson of Boston” essay — a personal hypothesis that explains what factors caused the Boston Marathon bombing. Alternatively, you may offer a broad argument on how America should respond to acts of domestic terrorism, or frame your essay as a direct response to Mr. Bruni’s main points and conclusions. Each student’s draft must pose at least three research questions — that is, three questions that they’ll need to answer in order to develop a final draft that is based upon clear facts and evidence.
  4. 4. What inspired the Tsarnaev brothers to attack the Boston Marathon? Three years ago, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a boxing champion with dreams of a successful life in America. His brother, Dzhokhar, was described by classmates as a popular and respected high school student. Tamerlan then went on a trip to the war-torn Caucasus region of southern Russia to visit his parents, where investigators say he might have met with Islamist rebels and developed radical views. Read their stories and watch a video in which neighbors talk about how they felt when they learned that the brothers were terrorism suspects. Then look for clues that might explain their transformation.
  5. 5. Is it fair to blame a large group, like immigrants or Muslims, for acts of terrorism by individuals, and will proposed new immigration laws make America safer or more vulnerable? Even before the Boston attack, Congress began debating proposals to overhaul America’s immigration laws. The bombing prompted some officials to question whether such changes might be dangerous, while others said an immigration overhaul would make the country safer. Immigrants from Chechnya and other regions of southern Russia said they felt embarrassed and worried about being linked to the bombing. Child welfare advocates warned that immigrant children often struggle, and suggested that more support in adjusting to life in America might reduce the risk of becoming radicalized. American Muslims and their supporters said that radicals or terrorists have no place in their community. Does an immigration overhaul have a place in the debate over preventing terrorism, or is that an unreasonable approach that punishes whole groups for the acts of a radical few?
  6. 6. Did the F.B.I., C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies act appropriately when they investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaev before the bombing? Investigators now say they had warnings from Russia that were based on intercepted phone messages between Tamerlan and his mother, and that they had placed him on a watch list. Some senators say the government mishandled such information, and intelligence officials say it’s often hard to spot true threats amid myriad fragments of information and they’re oftenforbidden by law from digging too deeply without solid evidence. Should intelligence agencies try harder or be given more legal authority to conduct surveillance, or are they doing an effective job of balancing security needs and privacy concerns? Should suspects’ legal rights be suspended or modified when public safety is endangered? Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen, but when he was arrested following the Boston Marathon attack, some people said he should be tried in court as an enemy combatant, which would give him fewer legal rights. Would this be a fair approach, or would it simply penalize him for having been born in a foreign country? And do you support the decision to question Dzhokhar without first telling him of his right to remain silent, on the grounds that public safety was at risk?
  7. 7. Can new laws or guidelines help the media and bloggers to avoid making harmful errors? Major news outlets and social media made errors in the early hours of the Boston Marathon attack, publicizing false rumors and casting suspicion on innocent people. Is there a lesson to be learned in all of this, or a need for more restrictive laws on what people can say or write during an emergency? Or should we just get used to the fact that a free media and the Internet are chaotic news sources that must be evaluated with care? Is it possible the Tsarnaev brothers are innocent as their parents claim? The parents of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say they couldn’t possibly have committed the atrocities and suggest there’s a conspiracy to falsely accuse them. Read the transcript of their news conference and decide whether their arguments seem persuasive.
  8. 8. Can ordinary bystanders save lives following acts of terrorism? Are individual citizens helpless or our greatest asset during a crisis? Read these eyewitness accounts about what people did when the bombs went off in Boston and during the police operations in Watertown, Mass. Did ordinary people save lives or make a difference, and what lessons can we draw from that? Students can also read responses to this question about bystanders on the Room for Debate blog as well as our Student Opinion question.
  9. 9. Researching and Testing a Hypothesis Working together or in pairs, ask students to use the archives of The Times or the links below to answer their research questions. For each Times story they use, they should write down facts or quotations that support the argument they are trying to develop. They should also look for facts or quotations that might contradict their argument, and either respond to them or modify their argument as they learn new facts. Students may want to use a graphic organizer like our Fact/Question/Response chart (PDF) to gather and organize their evidence and ideas.