As a bomber in 2013 Tamerlan Tsarnaev was already something of a miracle worker, since he somehow got the backpack containing his bomb to grow a white patch when it exploded that looked like the patches on the backpacks of Craft International personnel who were nearby.
And a few days later he did a little time travel too, though only a few minutes worth. After he was photographed being arrested naked with that athlete’s physique, he went back in time to get himself shot up by the Boston police and run over by his brother’s car (a Mercedes, not a DeLorean). People couldn’t believe this, and said it must have been someone else in the video, but no one came forward. (The FBI was so nonplussed that it left the running-over part out of the charging document against the brother.) A true miracle.
By the way, the brother Dzhokhar is no slouch in the miracle department either. He managed to transform himself from a happy-go-lucky college kid, who was flunking chemistry and American politics but doing well in critical writing, who was apolitical himself and whose only political heritage was North Caucasus opposition to Russia, into a allahu-akhbar jihadist who hated US treatment of Muslims in the Middle East enough to kill its citizens in a manner that would make Osama bin Laden proud. (He even said he would join his brother in paradise before he knew the latter was dead.) But that’s another story.
There is some at least near simultaneity involved, however. Within a few days of the FBI identifying the Tsarnaev brothers as bombers of the Boston marathon, it began hovering over a group of Chechen immigrants in Orlando, Florida, and a “source” announced that “a wider set of eyes” would reexamine an unsolved murder case where a friend of Tamerlan and two others had their throats cut in Waltham, Mass. in 2011. Tamerlan’s spirit must have caused this (for he died at this time).
Then Tamerlan became one of the perpetrators of those murders, in two stages. First, a relatively nondescript news item appeared yesterday morning in CBS news among other places, stating that a Chechen man named Ibragim Todashev of Orlando who was a friend of Tamerlan was involved in a violent confrontation with an FBI agent and other law enforcement personnel which left him dead. It was said that the FBI had merely been interviewing him about the Boston bombings when he suddenly became violent.
Second, however, anonymous “officials with knowledge of the investigation” took pains to set CBS and the other sources straight, and they promptly updated their stories. Namely, Todashev had confessed to being party to the 2011 Waltham murders and had implicated Tsarnaev in them as well, and was on the point of signing a statement to that effect when the altercation occurred that unfortunately left him unable to verify the point.
To be sure, Todashev’s friends (and most recently his wife) denied to local media that any of them including him had even heard of the Waltham murders, and one affirmed that the FBI had informed Todashev that this was to be the last interview they needed with him. But of course these people are not Officials Familiar With The Investigation.
And that is how Tamerlan Tsarnaev became the earlier throat slasher after he became a bomber. You might think there is a problem with temporal causality here, but we have been witness to the birth of a myth, and the more powerful the myth the less important such mundane questions become.