The Corner

Three Cheers for Ruslan Tsarniof

All in all, it’s been a horrible week, and today has been no better. But this morning, a little beam of light amid the darkness. Ruslan Tsarniof, uncle of the Boston Bombers, came out of his house and, facing a gaggle of reporters, showed the best of America. Here was a confused, grieving man, who managed nonetheless to articulate in the heat of a difficut momement what is best about immigrants in the United States. Tsarniof praised assimilation and, crucially, he highlighted the potential problems that arise when newcomers refuse to “settle.” (John O’Sullivan has a brilliant post on this here.) He spoke of the tendency toward self-improvement, noting that his brother “spent his life bringing bread to [his family’s] table” and “fixing cars” to make a living. “I work! I work!” he was keen to assure.

“How do you feel about America?” he was asked. His response: “I say, I teach my children and that’s what I feel myself, this is the ideal microworld in the entire world. I respect this country, I love this country. This country, which gives chance to everybody else to be treated as a human being and to just to be human being — to feel yourself human being. That’s what I feel about this country.” His nephews? “Losers.” There are many reasons to oppose the “comprehensive immigration bill” that is currently under consideration in the Senate, to favor restricting immigration so that it works in America’s favor and on America’s terms, and to be fed up with the failure of the government to enforce existing law. But those who would tie these attacks to Marco Rubio or Chuck Schumer are reacting as tendentiously as those who tried to overhaul America’s gun laws on the wave of emotion after Newtown. Unless they have a plan that would have prevented this — which is not a ridiculous idea in and of itself — they should stay quiet for now.

Likewise, those who would tie these acts to immigrants in general — or to, say, Chechens — are spectacularly wide of the mark. Tsarniof appeared to be worried about this; let’s hope that he has no reason to be. America is a land of immigrants. Would that they were all like Ruslan Tsarniof.

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