Bill Clinton: Boston Bombers ‘Were Not as Empowered as You Are’

By Melanie Arter | May 14, 2013 | 12:41 PM EDT

Former President Bill Clinton (AP Photo)

( – Former President Bill Clinton, delivering the commencement address at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, said the Boston bombers - Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev - were not “empowered.”

“Two boys come here looking for a college education, seem to be doing well, then this or that or the other thing goes wrong, and they decide that the only way their lives can have meaning is to take some other people’s lives away. They were not empowered as you are,” said Clinton.

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“There’s a lot of instability in the world, manifested by the financial crisis and how quickly it spread across the world, but also in how these wonderful open borders could lead to what happened at the Boston Marathon,” he said.

The Tsarnaev brothers, who killed three people and injured scores others by detonating two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, were also reportedly planning to bomb Times Square.

Clinton said the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was college educated but lost his job and home, which led him to decide to take away “the lives of people he didn’t even know.

“Just about a year before, you remember another young man tried to blow up a car bomb in Times Square in New York. He and his wife got college degrees in America. He had a job and a home and a home mortgage. Then, like a lot of Americans, he lost it,” the former president said.

Shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb at Times Square on May 1, 2010, but the bomb failed to explode and was eventually disarmed. His plot was foiled when two street vendors alerted a police officer after seeing smoke coming from the vehicle.

“Most of us were raised to face failure in the face and pick ourselves up and go back to work and make something good happen, and I hope you will do that. But somehow he thought this isolated him from the rest of the world so the only way his life could matter is if he took away the lives of people he didn’t even know,” Clinton said.