So the big news around here last Friday was that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was being buried in my county. The police department was actually forced to make a statement along the lines of, “Yes, we know what’s happening. Stop calling us. Oh, and 911 is for emergencies.”
I’m not sure what all those people calling 911 were thinking, why they thought it was an emergency or what they thought the police were supposed to do about it.
Though I hate to admit it, my own knee-jerk reaction to the information, while hardly volatile, was less than hospitable. I thought, “Why here? He doesn’t belong here. Why did they bring him to where I live?”
I just didn’t like it.
I still have that reaction on the surface of my heart, but deeper than that is the understanding that people are not one-dimensional. There is more to us than our worst deeds.
God, for my own sake, I hope so.
And it’s easier than you might think to become something different from what you started out as. It’s easier than you think to get wrong ideas in your head, to become immersed in whatever crazy thing you believe, and to find yourself acting on that wrong thinking in terrible, possibly irreversible ways.
But I was saddened by the ugliness and just venom from some of the comments I read on-line, ranging from a simple “this is a disgrace” to “throw him in the sewer” to “Massachusetts doesn’t want this trash rotting in their soil, so why should we have to take him?”
What he did was horrendous. But I have to wonder, is there an act so vile and repugnant that it completely renders the person irredeemable?
And at what point does it then become okay to deny that person their humanity?
Because if that line exists, I believe there are so many more people who don’t belong in our communities, much less our graveyards. People you’ll never hear about, who carry out their atrocities in quiet and nearly invisible ways.
He’s here because no place else would have him.
The Christian woman who found the cemetery said, “Jesus tells us ‘love your enemies’, not to hate them even after they are dead.”
The Muslim organization that runs the cemetery released a statement that they condemn his actions but believe burying him was their duty. “To God belongs the soul, and He has the final judgment.”
There is a part of me that feels a bit contaminated when I think of this man being buried here. As irrational and unkind as that is.
And even though I’ve carried out atrocities of my own.
But at the same time, I’m glad he was taken in. I’m glad there were people with enough compassion and love and unclouded thinking to do what was morally and ethically right.