James Tadd Adcox

[The following is an attempt to make something out of a pre-narrative moment. The words come from news programs, radio broadcasts, online stories, tweets and text messages intercepted on April 19, 2013, between the hours of approximately 8 am to 2 pm; the arrangement is my own.]


I had acting class with him, he did wrestling, he seemed very normal. It almost seems weird to call him nice now after all of this.

“Apparently he was a very popular highschool student, people said he was very personable—”

“A sweetheart, someone said.”

“These were not men with any mental health issues?”

We have seen an astonishing turn of events.

We hear that he is trapped in a house in Watertown. We hear that he is making his way to New York. We hear that there is someone who may be him down on the ground, no it is not him, they let that one go on his way.

“His teacher called him a real sweetheart.”

Boston police just tweeted “Police seeking MA Plate: 316-ES9, ’99 Honda CRV, Color – Gray. Possible suspect car. Do not approach.” I know reports have been going back and forth about whether they found this car or are still looking for it.

“This man had blast wounds of some kind on his body. Is that correct?”

“He had multiple traumatic injuries.”

This is where the press conference will be held, this is a live shot you’re seeing there.

His whereabouts, as far as we know, are unknown.

We are trying to piece together from the very little information we have what motivated these two men, and there is very little. Geography, let’s go over that right now. “For lack of a better term, a hole in the body.”

We have been told that the FBI have additional video that they did not release.

A teenager said he is scared to go outside after he was portrayed on the Internet and on the front page of the New York Post as connected to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

We instantly want an explanation for what happened. I think it’s fair to say that we know very little about these individuals… Because there’s so little information and it’s so sketchy, people tend to over-inflate what information is there. Very often the people who suffer humiliation themselves are not the ones who commit terrorism, but rather it’s people acting on behalf of those who have suffered.

“We stand by our story. The email was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects.”

“I am going to be scared going to school. Workwise, my family, everything is going to be scary.”

“Of course we’re ashamed.

“Somebody radicalized them. But if that happened, it’s not my brother. Who spent his life bringing bread to their table. Fixing cars. He spent his life fixing cars. No, my family had nothing to do with that.

On lockdown, but having a cup of tea. I am more upset that there is a manhunt for a teenager and little hope he will come out of it alive than anything else. Poor kid. His brain is not fully formed and his brother is dead and he is probably so scared.

We hear that in order to reassure the public, the upcoming London marathon will have forty percent more police officers. We hear that the last ten years of war have given us better technologies to deal with this sort of situation, Jesus. We hear the sound of helicopters, we see a reporter who apparently has nothing better to do than to point out helicopters.

We have heard that they had military experience. That is what we were told. We have heard that there was already a Muslim woman attacked. There is so much yet we do not know.

“I just wanted my family be away from them. I say, what I think was behind it, being losers, and not being able to settle themselves. And hating whoever who did. They immigrated, they immigrated, they immigrated, and they, they received asylum. I say I teach my children, and that’s what I feel myself, I love this country and I respect this country. This country that gives us chance to be human being, to feel human being.

“And he kept talking about how this had nothing to do with Islam, how this had nothing to do with Chechnya, that these were two losers, and that we shouldn’t take it too seriously. And what was interesting too was what he wouldn’t say, he said they may have been radicalized, but not by my brother.”

We are told that there is going to be a controlled explosion in Cambridge, due to quote an abundance of caution.

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I’ve seen them as kids. No, they’ve never been in Chechnya, this has nothing to do with Chechnya.


Any attempt to draw a connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevs—if they are guilty—is futile. They were raised in the United States, and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of this evil in America. The whole world must struggle against terrorism—that we know better than anyone else. We hope for the recovery of all the victims, and we mourn with the Americans.

“He put a shame on our family. He put a shame on the entire Chechnyan ethnicity.

The man they are trying to find became a US citizen. Became a citizen last year, on 9/11. A lot of the witnesses you’ve been describing also describe a change in personality. And a lot of times, the, the individuals who have become radicalized, it can, that can happen fairly quickly.

Investigators have to ask this question, what are the motivations of a young man like that?

They have an ‘accomplice’ in custody also, and are sadly saying the suspect seems ‘stubborn’ (duh. He is a teenager.) and therefore may not come out peacefully. Arg.

“Those that were able to make this atrocity, are only losers.”

“There’s no fear, there’s no madness, there’s no nothing.”

Who surrounded these people, who motivated them?

He says his world-view is Islam, his goals are “Career and money.” According to law enforcement, he is acting in a way that indicates he does not want to be taken alive.


James Tadd Adcox’s work has appeared in TriQuarterly, The Literary Review, Barrelhouse Magazine, and Redivider, among other places. He is a founding editor of Artifice Magazine/Artifice Books. His first book of fiction, The Map of the System of Human Knowledge, is available from Tiny Hardcore Press.

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