Every act of terror raises the same question: What made him do it?
Questions of funding and association aside, what in the suspect's life
or his beliefs led him to become a terrorist? Faisal Shahzad, the
Pakistan-born American citizen
who admitted to driving a faulty car bomb into Times
, is no different. Reporters and commentators are poring through
the details of Shahzad's life to try and understand what caused him to
attempt the unthinkable.
- With Money Problems, Desperation
The New York Times' James Barron and
Sabrina Tevernase report, "People who knew them, both in Connecticut
and in Pakistan, said he had changed in the past year or so, becoming
more reserved and more religious as he faced what someone who knows the
family well called 'their financial troubles.' Last year, one Pakistani
friend said, he even asked his father, Bahar ul-Haq, a retired
high-ranking air force pilot in Pakistan, for permission to fight in
- 'Struggled' in America The L.A. Times' Geraldine Baum and Bob Drogin say that "Shahzad
struggled to find his place in America, piling up debts and bouncing
from one run-down neighborhood to another. ... Records show Shahzad and
his wife moved repeatedly during his student
days, renting apartments in Bridgeport and the other Connecticut towns
of Milford and Norwalk. Neighbors said they spoke little English, and
usually kept to themselves."
- 'It Was Payback' The New
York Post's Bruce Golding makes the
leap. "It was payback," he writes, "in retaliation for US drone
attacks that wiped out the leadership of his beloved Taliban. ...
Sources said he was an eyewitness to the onslaught throughout the eight
months he spent in Pakistan beginning last summer." Golding does not
explain why the Taliban is "beloved" to Shahzad.
Home The Washington Post's Ezra Klein calls it no
coincidence that Shahzad is "a homeowner in the midst of foreclosure."
Klein sighs, "it's a reminder that foreclosures generate an enormous
amount of misery and anxiety and depression that can tip people into all
sorts of dangerous behaviors that don't make headlines but do ruin
lives." The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg dissents.
Very Smart The New Yorker's Steve Coll talks straight.
"Fortunately, like one of those Eleven O’clock News bank robbers who
tries to rob an A.T.M., only to topple it over on himself, Shahzad’s
case may help to illuminate a truth larger than himself: Terrorists are
criminals, and the great majority of criminals are prosaic."
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