Perhaps it was ever thus, but my impression is that more sensible times once existed and that common sense was, you know, common. But now irrational people are outdoing themselves in trying to be more confused than the next person.
The national competition to be the most clueless is spirited. They are assisted in their crazed endeavors by relying entirely on emotion at the expense of clear thinking.
Sometimes they are irritatingly in the news. Sometimes they are blessedly not in the news, for which they blame the media. They come in various forms but share the common bond of stupidity.
For example, members of a church of hate regularly picket the funerals of dead soldiers and others as a protest against homosexuality, although what this has to do with fallen heroes nobody else can figure. Conspiracy theorists try to tell us that 9/11 was a government plot or that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
As I write, it is reported that nobody knows what to do with the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers of Chechen descent suspected of the terror bombing of the Boston Marathon — although by this stage “suspected” is too anemic a word to restrain the presumption of guilt.
His widow, Katherine Russell, has decided that the until-death-do-us-part bit of the marriage vows apply here, and she doesn’t want his body. An estranged uncle from Maryland, Ruslan Tsarni — whom The New York Times reported didn’t even like the guy — claimed the body, saying it was only because a “dead person needs to be buried.”
Yes, a dead person does. But among the living it was found that no cemetery would take him; 100 people in the United States and Canada offered a burial plot, but according to The Associated Press, authorities in their communities refused permission.
This is understandable, to some extent, and must be recognized as an exception to the everybody-has-lost-their-minds charge. The Boston Marathon bombings were an outrage, and feelings are still raw.
Who would want to be the cemetery owner who approved the burial of the terrorist in Plot 6D? Who would want to be the municipal official who signed off on this? It would make for some awkward moments at the Chamber of Commerce dinner, not to mention when the call comes in from the constituent who went to put flowers on Grandpa’s grave and found the terrorist lying in the next mound up.
While all this is rational to a degree, even if courage is lacking, it is hard to fathom the thinking of the people protesting outside the funeral home in Worcester, Mass., carrying signs such as “Bury this terrorist on U.S. soil, and we will unbury him.”
Oh, that’ll show him.
But of course it won’t, for the simple reason the guy is dead. They can do anything they like to him and he won’t notice. And trying to punish a guy who is dead mocks the idea that there is a God who will judge the living and the dead — something many people say they believe in.
As for burying him on U.S. soil, a great many horrible dead people are already ensconced in U.S. soil with no harm done, and hitherto nobody has raised a peep about it.
In less idiotic times, there was no discernible fuss made over the interment of other losers who killed far more people — the terrorist Timothy McVeigh, for example, or even the Boston Strangler. Why, a cynic might conclude that the only difference here is that this perpetrator was a Muslim.
Caught up in the epidemic of stupidity, otherwise good people have forgotten about basic decency. The U.S. Navy, with a sense of old-fashioned honor, buried the arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden at sea with Muslim rights. He didn’t deserve it, but America’s sense of decency demanded it. We are better than our enemies, and those of us living should never forgo the opportunity to prove it.
Nobody wants anyone to make a shrine of this grave, but some hole must exist in the vastness of America where unheralded this killer can take his uneasy rest — I would suggest in a prison graveyard behind a high wall. A dead person needs to be buried, and the living don’t have to be so idiotic about it.
Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.