Posted on May 11, 2013



The twin tragedies of the Boston bombings and Cleveland kidnappings reveal a need for those close to would-be perpetrators to both care more and be more alert.

Balancing the two isn’t always easy,  but in our society today we fail to get to know neighbors and people around us.

In review of these two horrific acts there were possible trigger points in which someone might have played his “brother’s keeper.”

The Muslim mosque in Cambridge, Mass., could have been more diligent in how it dealt with bombing suspect Tamarian Tsarnaev as he became more radical and belligerent, condemning the United States.

The Mosque did throw him out, but it didn’t contact police. And its members didn’t engage Tamarian in such a way as to help him with his conflicted feelings of identity and his family difficulties.

Law enforcement officials in a general way rely on citizens to care about their communities and to inform them of potential trouble. In most larger communities a trust has developed between law enforcement officials and Muslin leaders to help work with young men tending toward militant behavior.

According to FBI agent Richard DesLauriers, “For more than 100 years, the FBI has relied on the public to be its eyes and ears.”

And even though a few people in the Cleveland neighborhood told police of odd behavior of the three Castro bothers held in connection with the kidnapping of the three women, many neighbors wonder if they should have known more or done more. The police investigated the house at least twice.

The neighbors ask themselves, “Should we have tried to befriend the brothers or kept a closer eye on activities in the house?” Such speculation strikes at the heart of how successfully an individual in any group, neighborhood, religious setting or office, forms a trusting relationship with others out of genuine goodwill yet also remains watchful for attitudes or behavior outside a particular norm.

The caring for each other is critical. The biblical command to “love one’s neighbor” is based on a need to build societies that reflect the best qualities in human beings.

We need to devote more time to getting to know our neighbors and people around us. Because someone is of a different religion or color, we should not shut them out of our lives.

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