Rock Star Terrorist?
In 1967, college drop-out Jann Wenner borrowed $7500 from family members to launch a new music magazine with Ralph J. Gleason, a jazz critic from the San Francisco Chronicle. Borrowing its name from a classic Muddy Waters song and intended by Wenner to be “not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces,” Rolling Stone magazine was born.
In its more than four decades, Rolling Stone has been on the forefront of the music scene while also providing in-depth political commentary by such notable pundits as Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O’Rourke. Of course, it is also known for its covers, some of which have been so edgy that they have sparked controversy and outrage across our great nation and around the world—check out the gallery below for some of their best efforts to piss people off.
Such was the case this month when Rolling Stone decided to feature an unlikely and infamous person on its cover: accused terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Dzhokhar and his brother Tamerlan are the suspects accused of bombing the Boston Marathon last April, an attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others. Tamerlan was killed by police during a shoot-out in the Boston suburb of Watertown a short time later, while Dzhokhar was apprehended and now faces federal terrorism charges. He is currently awaiting trial and, believe it or not, has pleaded not guilty.
Since printing its controversial cover of the young bombing suspect—who looks more like a rock star than a terrorist—Rolling Stone has received criticism and backlash from nearly every direction. Businesses like CVS pharmacies, Tedeschi Food Shops and Stop & Shop—among others—have refused to sell the latest edition in their stores. And Boston Mayor Thomas Menino echoed their sentiments when he first saw the controversial cover.
“The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories,” Menino said recently. “I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them, though.”
Another person upset and disturbed by Rolling Stone’s questionable cover decision was Massachusetts State Police Sergeant Sean Murphy, who considered it to be “an insult” and “hurtful” to those who survived the Tsarnaev brothers’ terrible attack. Murphy also worried about the cover producing copycats bent on replicating this crime, so he decided to take action, even if it meant losing his job.
On Thursday, Boston Magazine published pictures of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that Murphy provided. They show the young suspect covered in blood and targeted by snipers’ laser sights on the night he was arrested by police in Watertown. And they certainly stand in stark contrast to the innocent-looking young man on the Rolling Stone cover.
“This guy is evil,” Murphy explained when asked why he would risk his career to get these photographs published. “This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”
As you might imagine, Murphy was relieved from duty until a status hearing can be held to determine whether he should continue to serve or face suspension. And pending the outcome of an internal police investigation, there is even a chance he could be fired for leaking these images.
Despite what happens to Murphy, I feel we all owe him a debt of gratitude for having the balls to stand up for the victims, families and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. And I hope he doesn’t lose his job as a result. If he does and you happen to work in law enforcement, though, please do me a favor and consider hiring this guy.
Trust me. You could do a lot worse.
Posted on July 19, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged Boston Marathon, commentary, controversy, Crime and Justice, current-events, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, media, news, perspectives, Rolling Stone, Terrorism. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.