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Bombing Suspect Had Tie To Special Needs Community


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As a picture emerges of the men suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon last week, so too are connections between the tragedy and the disability community.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two alleged bombers, spent time volunteering with an organization that promotes social and employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities while he was in high school.

In a statement, Best Buddies International acknowledged that Tsarnaev participated in their program — which pairs students in one-on-one relationships with peers who have intellectual disabilities — during the 2010 academic year through a chapter at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Mass.

Beyond that time, however, Best Buddies officials said Tsarnaev had no involvement with the group.

Meanwhile, a father-son running team touched by cerebral palsy was just a mile from reaching the marathon’s finish line when the bombs went off, killing three and injuring more than 200.

Dick Hoyt and his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, were at mile 25 when they realized something was terribly wrong. The pair — with Dick pushing Rick in a specially-designed wheelchair — have competed together in more than 1,000 races.

The Hoyts were honored near the starting line of this year’s Boston Marathon, which they had expected to be their last time participating in the race. But now the duo tell TODAY that they are committed to returning next year to honor the victims.

“We’re definitely going to run next year, and we’re going to be stronger next year, and I know the marathon is going to be stronger next year,” Dick Hoyt said.

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Comments (21 Responses)

  1. MsAmericanPatriot says:

    I would rather have the Hoyts represent our community than those madmen.

  2. Sue Keller says:

    This is not really news. Every villain has a human side, or did at one time. Even the Nazis were patrons of the arts.

  3. Julie says:

    Why write this story about this monster? He doesn’t deserve any props. Anything he may have done that was positive was wiped away by this horrific act. Let’s talk about the Hoyt family – that is something to be celebrated.

  4. Rain says:

    WOW Disability Scoop!!! Why do you need to link the Marathon Bombers to the disability community? Those with disabilities fight hard enough to he heard and excepted this article only adds to the stigma. Since the wake of the Newtown tragedy, even my high functions son has heard rude comments about how “those with Autism are ticking time bombs.” I would have thought Disability Scoop would be more sensitive to this issue.

  5. John says:

    They were both Neuro-Typical,I do hope we do not have a witch hunt by the media against NTs and that NTs don`t get whispered about at school and work and shunned like we Autistics were after Sandy Hook.Will NTs be prevented from buying explosives and pressure cookers following this tragedy?We were told we should not be able to own guns after Sandy Hook.

  6. Marcella R says:

    Not impressive….every HS student has to complete a certain amt of volunteer contact hours in order to graduate HS.

    He was also humane with his peers at school & in community while living a double-life.

    More proof that evil lurks among us all, even with a “good cover.”

  7. Terry Keeney says:

    I agree with the previous comments. The Hoyt’s are the ones that should receive a standing ovation and the lead for your article. The bomber suspect is not associated with disability other than creating more disabled persons. Poor journalism on your part. Members of this site need to receive a sincere apology from disability scoop. Notice I did not capitalize the name of this site because right now, you don’t deserve it. As Chairman of the American Autism Foundation, we will watch to see how you deal with all the respondents here before determining if we will continue to recommend your site to others in the disability community.

  8. Paul M. says:

    I note that my post of earlier today has suddenly disappeared having done nothing more than reflect Terry Keeney’s exact sentiments.I did not violate any posting rules and wonder why critique of shoddy, pandering journalism must be censored.

  9. Lynn says:

    I don’t understand how this is even relevent! Saying they had “ties” to the special needs community!?? This is such a misleading article! I’m appalled!

  10. Dadvocate says:

    This supposed “tie” is really no tie at all so I’m requesting that you remove the (non) story. Best Buddies participation for typical HS kids spans a range from perfunctory or just showing up to developing meaningful relationships. If there is some impactful info re the latter, perhaps it’s arguable that its worth reporting but it could have the potential to drag a disabled person or people into the media against their wishes. I don’t think having this piece pop up on search engines does our community any good whatsoever.

  11. DeeDee says:

    On behalf of those who know or have family members/friends who had their lower extremeties blown off by this monster and are now joining the ranks of the disabled, you need to offer an apology to us/them. The lowlife, subject of your story, need not have ANY positive limelight shown on him. What kind of a publication is this? You need to reorder your agenda.

  12. Patricia AutiDiva Chandler says:

    I apllaud all responders for Speaking Up. We in the Differently Abled Commuities, worldwide need POSITIVE RECOGNITION and SPOTLIGHT. We do not need to be tied to Evil, Hate, Negative Energy intentionally; we have enough to content with with what, most unfortunately happens auto-matically. There is s Shift happening, Thankfull, and not a moments too soon, for the Differently Abled Communities around the World, on this Planet are rising Up and Saying, No More. Enough! Disability Scoop, take some advice from those that Know what they are talking about. Me, Future Founder/CEO of the National Autism Foundation. Unconditional Love on this Planet for All The People, will prevail, as it always has. We are just witnessing the most challenging times of this planet and it’s People becasue there are more of us here than ever before, at one time. The Differently Abled are Stronger Than Stgrong and we will Thrive.

  13. ava says:

    After watching VICE on HBO last Friday, I Think these teens are totally brainwashed. It is sad in ever single way you look at it.

  14. pat m says:

    Terrible article and an insult to all those with disabilities and their families. High schoolers have to do community service hours in order to graduate. He learned nothing from the experience.

  15. Anne Treimanis says:

    What ties to the disability community does Dzhokhar have simply because he volunteered with Best Buddies? Some high school kids do this because it looks good on their resume. Your article is completely misleading and irresponsible – this killer must NOT be tied to our community. He has NO links to us in the disability community. Wait – there is a link – his bomb blew off the limbs of innocent runners and bystanders, so now our disability community is larger.

  16. KA101 says:

    Not to mention the folks who suffered physical brain damage, acquired PTSD triggers, etc as a result of the bombings.

    Welcome to the disability community, those of you joining us from the Boston Marathon. Glad to have you aboard.

  17. soricobob says:

    I’m sorry, but, to me, ties to the disability community mean a bit more than that!

  18. Gary Ravetto says:

    In no way am I disagreeing with previous comments stating connecting the despicable events in Boston with the disabilities community is a huge & unhealthy stretch, at best. However, it once again points out that the segment of our society who live with ID/DD are too often easy scapegoats for the bad things that are becoming frighteningly more common. A relative asked me after Sandy Hook if I had our gun removed from the house. [We no longer own a gun.] When I questioned the inquiry the response was, “Aren’t you afraid now after what happened to those people in that school?” She were referring to our 8 year old son who falls within the Spectrum.

    I am proud to be a member of the senior staff of an organization who is taking on the issue of full inclusion & acceptance in our region. This matter needs to be turned into a movement, community by community. We’ve just begun here in Cleveland. But I am determined to make sure by the time my 8 year old is an adult he will be respected and included—as he deserves to be.

  19. Rain says:

    Disability Scoop, never have I seen such a unanimous concern for the poor content of an article written by your publication as I’ve seen on this story. Please address these concerns and stop allowing articles to be published stigmatizing disabilities. The author of this article apparently does not grasp the issues those with disability deal with on a regular basis. Sensitivity of our concerns would be appreciated.

  20. Annyoakly says:

    I would ask, “What is the motive?” Was it a requirement of his free schooling? Was he looking for someone to manipulate to do a “job” for him? Of course, Dzhokzar could just have changed, for the terrible, recently. However, the real question is, why did you write this convoluted, uninforming article?

    Go Hoyts! Why doesn’t someone do a clean article about them? Put Rick and Dick in the headlines!

  21. John says:

    I appreciate the work Tsar did with children with special needs. I am appalled he was involved in a horrific act of violence. These two statements are not mutually exclusive. Very little about the world is black and white. We parents of special needs kids frequently ask people to see the whole person, not just the aspect that is most apparent on the surface. We should do the same for others.

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