May 11th, 2013
This story is an instant classic:
The secret transport of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body from Worcester to a small community near Richmond, Va., was set in motion by a woman who said she was upset to hear about protests to his burial and wanted to see an end to the weeklong burial saga.
Martha Mullen, 48, of Richmond, said she was dismayed reports of protests outside of Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester that she heard on National Public Radio.
Of course she heard about it on NPR . . .
Mullen, a licensed professional counselor who has lived in Richmond for most of her life, said she was sitting in a Starbucks Tuesday when it hit her: She could be the one to end the controversy.
. . . and is a professional “counselor” . . . and was meditating at a Starbucks. If this was an Onion story it would be too on-the-nose.
But the best is this part:
“It portrayed America at its worst,” she said in an interview with the Globe this morning.
Really? Peaceful picketing of a private business to encourage them to behave in a certain way is America at its worst? What the protestors did to Boston-area funeral homes isn’t any different than what liberal groups have done to, say, conservative talk radio shows like Dr. Laura, when they ask businesses not to advertise. Or to Chipotle, when they bullied it into revoking its sponsorship of a Boy Scout event. Liberals normally like “direct action.” Heck, they invented it.
But let’s take Mullen on her own terms: If picketing a funeral home to get them to pass on the job of burying a terrorist is “America at its worst,” where would Mullen rank Japanese-American internment during WWII? Or the Trail of Tears? How about Jim Crow? Bueller? Bueller?
And if that’s not bad enough, let’s close out this pathetic vignette with a quote from Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia, the organization that Mullen found to take custody of Tsarnaev’s remains and bury them:
“What Tsarnaev did is between him and God. We strongly disagree with his violent actions, but that does not release us from our obligation to return his body to the earth,” an Islamic Funeral Services of Virgina official, who did not want to be named, said in a statement.
You see, what Tsarnaev did is not just between him and God. He didn’t look at porn or cheat on his wife. He committed a public act of mass murder in the name of a religious ideology. God has final say over the disposition of Tsarnaev’s eternal soul and all that, but Caesar–which is to say, the society against which Tsarnaev committed this crime–has a clear and compelling interest, too.
Oh, and by the way, it’s pretty big of Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia to “strongly disagree” with Tsarnaev’s “violent actions.” I know what you’re thinking: “Strong disagreement” is normally what we have in disputes over, say, immigration policy or a presidential election and ideologically-motivated mass murder probably warrants something a little higher up the condemnation scale.
But hey: At least they didn’t say “his alleged violent actions.”
I’d like to propose a port a john be placed on top of this dirt bags grave, with a $10.25 admission fee to go to the victims and their families. That should satisfy both sides of the argument.
Would be nice if the Funeral Services were doing it out of an Antigone-type natural law obligation, but the quote does not provide confidence on that point.
What the protestors did to Boston-area funeral homes isn’t any different than what liberal groups have done to, say, conservative talk radio shows like Dr. Laura,
No. Apart from the question, “When did we start admiring and emulating would-be thought-controllers, anyway?”, the goal of those groups was (giving them the benefit of the doubt) to censor expression they believed was harmful. That’s bad, but at least the skeleton of a non-evil motivation can be discerned in there somewhere. Did the funeral protestors believe that burying Tsarnaev would somehow be harmful? No. Did they have any good motivation? No. They acted out of spite, doing a bad deed for ugly reasons. (Stupid, as well. What did they think would happen to the body? Well, they didn’t think.)
Refusing decent burial to a dead enemy is disgusting and barbaric behavior. In fact, it’s the sort of stunt, and the sort of mindset, I would expect of our enemies – not of Americans. “America at its worst”, or more precisely some Americans at their worst, is a reasonable description of this behavior.
P.S. For Mike Collins, a quote from the funeral director: ““We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No,” he told reporters. “We are burying a dead body. That’s what we do.”” Hopefully this is enough, and he isn’t also required to meet Antigone’s fate in order to be considered legitimate.
I propose a yearly pilgrimage to the site where we may soak the earth in pigs blood.
Very well put, jaed. Also, nice jump from “sitting” (and thinking about something) to the more loaded (for your readership, at least) “meditating,” JVL.
“What did they think would happen to the body?”
That is the key point. As cathartic as it might have been to throw the body in the garbage, that would hardly have been sanitary. Cremation and scattering would have been a good option, but in our modern age when so many choose cremation voluntarily and do not regard it as disrespectful, it might still have brought protests. Give the body to science? That was sometimes the fate of Renaissance criminals, but it also seems a bit disturbing and in some ways an honor. Burying the body somewhere was really an unavoidable event (and has been done to numerous other murderers in the past without protest). Also, good call by Dave S. on the unwarranted introduction of “meditating” into the story.
I am just annoyed that the damned Yankees are dumping their trash in the south.
That would be a great idea if the scumbag were buried in Cambrige, MA. As it is, why should Virginians host the filthy monument?
Who cares? Why do conservatives reach for the inconsequential when trying to take down the “liberals?” Because they have nothing else. They’re usually on the wrong side of any real issue, so they pick up token pieces of right wing garbage, like protesting the funeral parlor burying a “terrorist.” The guy’s simply a sick person, who, with his brother, decided to commit some demented bombing. The media (which ISN’T liberal by any means) hyped it way out of proportion, Boston was put into a ridiculous state of fear, “Don’t come out of your homes, ladies and gentlemen, the bogeymen’ll get ya!”, and the rest of us have to suffer more attacks on our freedoms, justified by unwarranted fears. Here it comes, boys. Just listen to the garbage, react like they want you to and ya’ll get herded in like sheep. You already are.
You remind me of an associate professor I knew in the early 90s; he was often heard to inveigh against the right-wing propaganda machine that was CNN
The funeral home hubbub was echt Masshole behavior, pleasingly nostalgic to any former resident of southern New England. These are the class of folks who repair utility lines and collect the trash while jaed/Dave S./James K./Kevin/Kevin James practice their mantras at the Fair Trade Coffee Co-Op
Thanks for making incorrect assumptions about me and not even attempting to refute to my points. What exactly should have been done with the body? I gave three alternative options and explained why I thought none were truly viable. If you disagree or have another and better option, then give a reason why.