Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Which I Have An Opinion That Will Not Make Me Friends

I've been trying to decide whether I should say this 'out loud' or not, because I suspect that it's not just an unpopular opinion but a *very* unpopular opinion. But it keeps bothering me (especially since it keeps popping up on my Facebook feed) so I'm just going to say it.

There's been a lot of talk about how the dead Boston bomber shouldn't be buried on American soil. For the most part no one has been citing concerns of his grave turning into some sort of shrine/point of interest for others within the country who share his and his brothers radicalized views or the (very real) possibility that his grave would likely be vandalized within .02 seconds, thus inviting vandalization of the other graves in the cemetery. I believe (or at least I sincerely hope) that that last is why they've been unable to find a cemetery willing to take his body and I can understand that. A cemetery is a business, if one of a rather unique kind. They want people to feel comfortable with burying their loved ones there. They need to have the people feel comfortable with that or they'll find some other cemetery to use.

My impression, though, of why most people, most individuals, don't want him buried in the US is because they want to extract some sort of post-death revenge. And they somehow think that they'll be able to do this by disrespecting his body.

I can't help but wonder if they think that his corpse will taint the ground somehow, like in old vampire myths. Nothing will grow on his grave because he's so evil...etc. etc. Or if they think that America is so awesome that our very dirt is too good for such a person.

I've seen the pictures of protesters holding up signs saying that if Tsarnaev is buried in American soil that they'll dig him back up. 'American justice!' I don't understand what this 'justice' is that they're referring to. He was a murderer. If he had lived, he would be tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison or death. But he didn't live. He died. That's all the justice anyone is ever going to get out of this man. There's nothing else that we, the people living right this moment, can get. Maybe his brother will be able to give the authorities information, clues that will lead to others like themselves (because I have no doubt that they exist - this isn't anti-Muslim paranoia, I just believe that there are always weak minded people out there who will be lead to doing horrific things - it's the cult mentality that these people look for). And when he is punished for his part, then that will be the justice that we get from him.

But his brother is gone. He's beyond our reach. It doesn't matter, to his ultimate fate, what we do with him now. Do these people understand that? Or do they somehow think that they can hurt him on the other side of the grave? Is there some impulse that makes them think that without a proper burial according to his faith that he can be kept from heaven? Of course that implies to me that they believe that there is a 'Muslim' heaven (separate from the Christian or any other faith version) and that what Tsarnaev did was laudable in the Muslim Gods eyes.

Tsarnaev is gone. His soul, his animating spirit, his consciousness, is gone. Gone. What is sitting in a funeral home right now is just meat. The only importance that it has is that it used to house Tsarnaev. He's not stuck in there, begging for a proper burial so he can bug on out to the next life. He's already met his fate. Assuming that there is a God, and that He is just, I don't believe that what he found on the other side was what he was expecting. But it's certain to be what he deserved.

How we treat his body reflects nothing on him.

It reflects on us.

Bury him somewhere secret, no marker, nothing to give people a target. Bury him and move on to people and events that we can change.

'But he's a murderer!'


'But he's evil!'

He did evil, no question.

He murdered three people. He wounded and maimed more than a hundred others. He and his brother intended to do more, to do worse.

I'm not disputing any of that, believe me.

Adam Lanza murdered 26 people. The majority of them were children. He's buried in American soil, somewhere.

Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 and wounded 800 more. Where do you think he's buried? (Okay, I admit this is a trick question. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in an undisclosed location. But his remains, such as they were, were disposed of on American soil.)

Klebold and Harris were both cremated as well, and their remains final disposition is unknown. Scattered? Maybe. Buried? Maybe. Either way, their remains are somewhere in or on American soil.

Every American serial killer that has ever been caught, executed or killed in prison is buried (or disposed of) on American soil. These are people who have committed unspeakable acts of evil. Why is it okay (or at least unremarkable) that they be buried in American soil but not this one killer?

When Kaczynski dies, where do you think his body will go?

Go to a grave yard. Any grave yard. Look around. Do you think that you're surrounded only by the good? The virtuous? No. Think about how many of the people buried beside your loved ones were rapists, were abusers. How many of them beat their wives or their children or stole from their neighbors? How many killed someone, someone who will never be found, never know justice? How many went to their graves with their crimes unknown to any but themselves and God?

Does it make the grave of your loved one less sacred? Do the unknown, untold crimes of these others taint the ground you're walking over?


  1. Very well said!
    I wanted to write something similar to this on Facebook but blaming Muslims. Of course I couldn't.
    I understand why Muslim communities in the US don't want to bury him in their Muslim-only cemeteries fearing that non-Muslim Americans will think Muslim communities in the States support what he did. Unfortunately, American Muslims are still living like their are foreign to the country. And it is something they are alone to be blamed for. They have to have a louder voice if they want to be more effective in this country.
    No doubt this guy is a criminal and what he did had nothing to do with Islam breaching but he should be buried somewhere weather he was a good or bad Muslim.

    1. Thank you.

      I understand the Muslim community not wanting anything to do with him. They already get blamed for every terrible thing that is done by people who 'look' Muslims (or who happen to be Muslim). They literally can't decry and condemn the actions of these few enough to satisfy the fears and prejudice of the people around them. No matter what they say it doesn't seem to make a difference. And with something like this I'm sure that they understand that any action that they take is going to be seen as approval or admission that he was 'one of them'. So all they can do is back away. It's very sad.

      According to reports today he has finally been buried in an undisclosed location. Here's hoping that it stays undisclosed and we can start focusing on something else.

  2. Well stated. It's true what you said: how we treat his body after it's no longer his reflects more on us than it does on him. I'm remaining intentionally uninvolved (I'm a terrible global citizen, I know), so this is the first I'm hearing about it.

    There's a PBS special on the Amish that has a segment that I absolutely love about the shooting that happened at one of their schoolhouses in Pennsylvania. Many of the Amish went to the funeral to show respect for the parents of the shooter, and it quotes one of the Amish as saying something along the lines of, "I'm glad I'm not God because I would not want to be responsible for judging that man." I find it applicable in relation to most people who cause terror.

    In some ways, this falls back on a sense of entitlement that is overwhelming our society.
    "The justice that used to be good enough (either life in prison or the death penalty) is no longer good enough; we're entitled to more justice than that." (I put it in quotes because I'm putting words in other people's mouths.) According to our founding fathers, we are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's it. End of story.

    1. I don't think you're a terrible global citizen. Even though I pay attention to these things (I kind of can't help it given my job with a newspaper. I'm not a reporter but I'm surrounded by them so some of it leaks into my head no matter what!) but there's so much and it can be incredibly overwhelming and depressing.

      There are so many things that you look at and it's *horrific* and you can't help but think that there has to be *something* that you can do but it's always so complex and it can really make you despair for humanity. There doesn't seem to be a good solution for so much that goes on in the world.

      I remember that, the Amish shooting. Things like this always make me think of the Doctor Who quote (I'm a nerd): 'Don't worship me. I'd make a very bad god.' There'd be a lot less mercy going on under my divinity.

      I feel like people believe that they somehow have the capability and/or the right to punish people that have done evil things even beyond the grave. I have no idea where this has come from though.

  3. I'm glad you shared your thoughts on this, Amber. I enjoyed reading this.

    I think part of it is that they just want to reject him completely. I was glad to read a story this morning about a man offering to donate his plot in VT. It's near where his mom is buried and he wrote:

    “The only condition is that I do it in memory of my mother who taught Sunday School at the Mt. Carmel Congregational Church for forty years and taught me to love thine enemy."

    1. They've finally buried him somewhere secret. Now I pray that they manage to keep the burial site secret.


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