Pierre Poilievre commits sociology on the floor of the House of Commons

The Conservative MP engages the debate about root causes

Yesterday, hours after the Prime Minister had said that now was not the time to commit sociology, Pierre Poilievre opined on television that “the root causes of terrorism is terrorists.” This comment caused a bit of a stir and so, this morning, Mr. Poilievre stood just before Question Period to respond to that stir.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, a small army of Liberal pseudo-intellectuals had a collective spasm after I said that terrorists are the cause of terrorism. The Liberal leader had touched off the debate when he said that the Boston bombings happened because someone “feels completely excluded.”

However, were the Tsarnaev brothers excluded? The United States included them by giving sheltering their family with formal asylum from the wartorn Dagestan . The younger terrorist was included in equality education at a state of the art school, which boasts an amazing 11:1 student to teacher ratio, after which, the city gave him a $2,500 scholarship. America also included the older terrorist, Tamerlan , with a taxpayer funded welfare benefit that continued even after the main U.S. counterterrorism agency had added him to its watch list.

Excluding these facts is not the mark of a nuanced intellectual, but of an ideologue who is in over his head. Let us follow the facts, not Liberal ideology, and let us target the root cause of terrorism. They are called terrorists.

The reciting of these facts for the purposes of considering the lives and livelihoods of the Tsarnaev brothers would likely be enough to get someone convicted on a charge of committing sociology. And so as to avoid committing the same crime, one should probably not engage Mr. Poilievre’s consideration: Mr. Poilievre’s words might be treated as one would a dangerous suspect on the loose (do not attempt to apprehend, but seek shelter and contact local law enforcement immediately).

But for the sake of not excluding facts, here is a report of the Los Angeles Times.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, came to America from central Asia about a decade ago and appeared to have embraced their new life — attending school, holding jobs, playing sports and, in the older brother’s case, aspiring to represent the United States as a boxer in the Olympics. But there were signs of discontent from the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

“I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev said, as reported in an online photo essay that shows him training for a boxing competition. Their aunt, Maret Tsarnaev of Toronto, told Canada’s CTV the two were “very normal men,” but also said Tamerlan Tsarnaev “seemingly did not find himself yet in America because it’s not easy.”

And a man who lived in the same Cambridge neighborhood as the brothers and speaks Russian said the older one told him “he was upset with America because America was in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries.” The man, who declined to give his name, added, “Should I have called someone to tell them this guy doesn’t like America? I’m having second thoughts.”

Here is the BBC.

By many accounts, Tsarnaev was a loner with flashes of anger. People at the mosque on Prospect Street, where he used to come alone to pray, found him difficult. Once, says Nichole Mossalam, who works for the Islamic Society of Boston, he became outraged during a sermon. “The person giving the sermon made a comparison between Martin Luther King and the Prophet,” Ms Mossalam says. “He made a verbal outburst.”

Here is Reuters.

But about three years ago, Tsnarnaev abruptly dropped off the scene. He removed his Facebook page. Vasquez no longer saw him around the streets. “He kind of disconnected himself,” Vasquez said. He asked mutual friends if they had seen Tsarnaev, if they knew what he was up to. Some said they had heard he went back to Russia. But no one had details. No one knew he had married or had a child.

And here is the New York Times.

After Mr. Tsarnaev’s visit to Dagestan and Chechnya, signs of alienation emerged. One month after he returned to the United States, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him was created and featured jihadist videos.

Did exclusion or alienation lead Tamerlan Tsarnaev to detonate a bomb that killed and maimed his fellow human beings? I have no idea. The Wall Street Journal and Anne Applebaum seem to think there might be something to this. Those and and a lot of other theories are likely to be aired and tested in the ensuing weeks and months as new evidence and testimony is discovered and considered and put in context. (Five years after Columbine, we were still sorting out the causes of that massacre.)

But at least Mr. Poilievre was brave enough this morning to engage the discussion. Yesterday was not the time to commit sociology. But today, apparently, is a new day. So let us follow Mr. Poilievre’s lead. Let us follow the facts. And let us not be afraid to consider and debate what those facts mean for what happened and what we might do now in hopes of ensuring that such horrors are only rarer in the future.