Yesterday, in response to the horrific events in Paris, a columnist for the Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen, wrote a column drawing a parallel between that monstrous attack and the different but no less abominable violence unleashed in his own city on April 15, 2013.
By now, many of us have seen the chilling video in which a gunman executes a wounded French police officer lying on the sidewalk, his arms raised in helpless surrender.
The Tsarnaev brothers stand accused of doing essentially the same, sneaking up and shooting a helpless MIT police officer named Sean Collier as he sat in his idling cruiser on the Cambridge campus as the manhunt for the Tsarnaevs gathered pace. The killers wanted Collier's gun but were too stupid to figure out how to unbuckle his holster.
He's right about the parallel, but not necessarily about the lessons to be drawn. While there's little doubt that the French suspects committed the multiple murders in Paris, the same cannot be said at this time about the Tsarnaevs and the killing of Sean Collier.
There are real questions about both the identity of the MIT executioners and the purpose of their act. Among the questions: why would the Tsarnaevs have been on that empty campus and have known that a police car was parked between buildings off the street? We've examined those issues at great length here.