NROP: When have we become so disrespectful towards the dead?

I am sure you have all heard about graveyard vandalism at some point in your life – overturned tombstones, stolen flowers, defaced gravestones, etc. These incidents are usually perceived to be random, and I wonder what pushes people towards such vile acts. Why would you want to disturb the peace of the dead? “It is not like the dead know what is going on” – some will say. True. But what about respect? When did humans become so unimportant that we stopped caring about their afterlife? Even if you are not religious, or if you do not believe that a physical body plays an integral role in the afterlife, are you alright with treating deceased humans like trash?

Whenever a famous person passes away, all sorts of people come out of the woodwork. Most of the time, if that famous person is an artist (actor/ singer/ painter/ etc.), a lot of positive words pour out. People remind each other about specific movies and songs, which I think is a beautiful way to celebrate someone – thinking about the effect others had on our life. If the death was ruled a suicide, words of comfort are exchanged, acknowledging the end of the journey of a troubled person. If there was some controversy while they were alive (ex.: Michael Jackson), then some people do come out and make some negative comments regarding that. But overwhelmingly so, the positive comments are on display. The others are overshadowed. Or that is at least how it appears to me.

When politicians die, all hell breaks loose. Some people mourn their heroes, some sing their praises, while some take the time to throw shade on the person who died. Observing people and the way they react in such times is very interesting to me. People who were always speaking out against the deceased person are suddenly changing their tunes, almost worshipping them. How real is that? To me, that is fake and I do not condone it. However, I also do not approve of those who try and smear the dead person just to show that they are not going to be fake.

If you thought highly of the person who had passed, express it. If you did not like that person, remain neutral. Express your sympathies to those who are in mourning. That person might not have gotten along with you, but they might have been of great importance to other people. Other than that, move on. Picking a fight with a dead person has never been fair. Do you like playing dirty? How low will you go?

You might have heard of the passing of David Koch recently (or you might have not). Who was he? Among many things, David was a businessman, a philanthropist, and a political activist. As of a couple of months ago, he was ranked in the top 15 of the richest people of the world. Before he retired last year, at the age of 78, David was the executive vice president of Koch Industries – the second-largest privately owned company in the US. The corporation’s subsidiaries deal with a variety of different products. Not only do they operate ethanol plants, but they also make glass for cars, buildings, and appliances. Moreover, they produce the material used by the US military for backpacks and uniforms. You might have eaten off of one of their paper plates (Dixie), or dried your hands at a public bathroom with a paper towel dispensed from their machines. Yes, they do A LOT.

How are people honoring David? Some are mourning, some are expressing they sympathies, while others are being less than tactful. Since I personally did not know the guy, I cannot attest to his character. However, as a fellow human being, I hope he is in peace and that his family gets all the support they need at such a difficult for them time.

One comedian, political commentator and a TV host, Bill Maher chimed in on the death of the David Koch, who died after years of health issues. He said: “F**k him, I’m glad he’s dead.” He made a couple of more remarks that he thought were funny (but were not) and then said that his remarks SEEMED like harsh words and that they would be condemned… by Fox News. He ended his speech with: “I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful”. First of all, no, his words did not SEEM harsh. They WERE harsh. What did he mean by saying that his words would be criticized by Fox? Did he praise Fox for being moral and sympathetic, or did he assume that everyone else who does not watch that channel has no respect for the dead? Or both?

Throughout his life, this businessman donated hundreds of millions to different cancer research centers. As a philanthropist, he also supported education and arts and even tried to restructure the US prison system a few years ago. None of this seems to matter because he fought against Barack Obama’s reelection and his companies are said to be massive polluters. Whether any of this is true does not matter to me. He was a human being just like us and he deserves SOME respect. Especially now that he is gone. If you do not like what he did – do the things that you want to see happen. You slandering him will not do any good. You do not kick those that are already down. No, not everything should be turned into a comedy skit.

Have you experienced graveyard vandalism first hand? What were your thoughts?

Have you gone to the cemetery as a teenager just to disturb the peace of the dead? What were you thinking back then?

Do you think the dead deserve respect? Why? Why not?

How far is too far when we are talking about someone in a negative way?

Stay golden,



Did you enjoy reading this post? Hit LIKE.
Have some thoughts on the topic? Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog? Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader? Try SUBSCRIBING.
Want to get to know me better? Check me out on Twitter @EnneaGramType8.


36 thoughts on “NROP: When have we become so disrespectful towards the dead?

Add yours

  1. There’s no reason to say something awful like Bill Maher did. That’s just disgusting and a way for him to get himself “trending” again. That’s all these celebs want, including our POTUS, which is why he says outrageous things too.

    Otoh, I don’t believe in being a total phony, even about the dead. It’s okay imo to say you weren’t a fan of someone who passed on if they’re a topic of conversation. You don’t have to be a jerk about it though.

    Of course vandalism is not okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that what he said was “disgusting” and meant to get him more publicity.

      Exactly. You don’t have to be saying that he was the best guy if you did not like him when he was alive, but going THAT far in the opposite direction? Unnecessary.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s my opinion that live or dead, we shouldn’t be afraid to express our opinions. This argument can go both ways. Is it ok to slander the founder of the KKK? Is it ok to slander McCain? Is it ok to slander Bill Cosby?

    I think that whenever someone tells everyone that they can no longer beseech a person because they are dead, is a form of oppression. I can understand that, that person is no longer living so they cannot defend themselves. But I think that point is moot.

    People are gonna talk shit regardless and if a person wishes to retain their 1A right, then they should be happy that others do not agree with their stance. In North Korea, no one is allowed to beseech the previous Kims that ruled.

    We are either free to express ourselves, or we are not. Manners should not rule us, and our laws should not enforce ethics. Since both are subjective and easily manipulated to favor the powerful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s not about being afraid to express our opinion. It’s not about freedom of speech. I’m not telling you that you can’t say you didn’t like the guy. But make a skit out of it, swear and then say that you hoped it hurt like hell? That’s just not the way. They go through extreme measures to ensure that those on death row die swiftly and without any pain. Why would you want someone that did nothing to you directly want to suffer more than those people?

      It’s just like with #MeToo victims who come out only after their abuser died. …

      I think that manners and ethics are greatly needed right now. The lack of those is eroding our society.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t know anything about David Koch (and maybe blessedly so?) but I am amazed at the level of vitriol I am reading following his passing. Does he deserve it? Again, I don’t know. (And who am I to judge, anyway?) But I do know nothing in this ol’ world is black and white. It’s not like Saturday morning cartoons, where there are definite villains and heroes. There really are “50 shades of grey” when it comes to human motivations and behaviours. And we should all hope for some grace when we make mistakes with our words and actions. Walk a mile in their shoes, and all that…

    I assume David Koch was loved by family and friends and this outpouring of hatred is hurting them, compounding their grief for the loss of this person at a time when they are most vulnerable. For that reason alone, people should either zip it or moderate their comments. What the world needs more than ever is empathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought about it that way. I always assumed that I could shut out the negative comments like I do every day. But the comments are different if they are about you vs. someone you care about deeply. You just want to protect them and their good name. I remember how awesome it was when, after losing my mom, SO MANY people would come to me and tell me beautiful stories about her.

      It’s just human decency. Some people forgive those who killed their children. How difficult must THAT be? And if that is possible, then why would a random person be so vial about another random person who did nothing to them?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As far as the dead, I may say decent things about the person if they were nice in life. If not, I don’t say anything. They are gone. Saying negative things won’t change anything, I never disturbed the cemetery peace of the dead, but I did break a few parked car headlights. The mischief felt exciting. I guess that’s what other teens feel when vandalizing a cemetery.
    Both acts have no consideration for the property and feelings of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point. It’s not like he was asked his opinion. He could have just skipped the topic. I’m not advocating lying and being a phony, but he took it to the next level and farther.

      I bet the rush of adrenaline is out of this world when you are jumping around graves, roundhouse kicking them. But doesn’t it creep you out. So many people hate stepping foot at the cemetery and to vandalize graves?


      1. I think the way you are taught determines how you react. Example: I learned to hate all bugs and treat them as creepy crawler’s. All, but lady bugs. To this day they don’t bother me, but anything else…
        Same for cemetery’s. If you’re taught to fear the dead, you will stay away. When you realize the dead can’t harm you, a cemetery can become a playground for misguided youths.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are absolutely right. Upbringing is key. I never feared the dead. Being a religious person though, vandalizing a graveyard is close to vandalizing a church. And I just would not do that.


  5. Everybody’s fair game, dead or alive. It’s inevitable; It’s evasion. By making a “joke” of things, you’re either trying to avoid, say, accountability; or, the reality of something — like, death itself. In belittling it, I think we’re often trying to diminish the way it makes us feel. In the case of that comedian though, it sounds like the first. Trying to be political and stir up the “sides,” so that when one side gets outraged, he can play the victim card (“oh, but it was just a joke”) and hide behind the other side and feel important.

    I have never vandalized a graveyard (or anything, for that matter) and I see no reason to. It’s needless destruction, and while I guess it can be a form of release, I would rather not physically inflict my own emotional problems on the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very thoughtful of you to not want to inflict your own emotional problems on the world. I don’t think that’s totally possible, but we can definitely keep it to a minimum. I understand anger and vandalism as a release (not that I approve of it), but CEMETERIES? You really have to be stone cold and believe in nothing.

      I have not seen a comedy in years. Somehow the jokes that are made today are nowhere near funny…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh. Not really; ‘Thoughtful’ isn’t the word I’d use. I just feel a certain way when people around me give into anger, and know I don’t want to be like that. Though as you say, that’s not totally possible. We’re only human after all, and privy to the full range of emotions.

        It may be disrespectful, but it seems fairly logical, as far as vandals go. It’s an open space. There’s plenty of things to break, all lined up. And most people don’t exactly hang around graveyards, so less chance of being caught, theoretically. Plus, even the very fact that it’s disrespectful probably has a sort of anarchist appeal to it. It’s still a jerk thing to do, but… C’est la vie.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Unless that person caused harm to people and went against the law more times than none, then everyone should indeed be respected after death. Even if they did do something criminal, I’d say that we should be the “better person” and avoid badmouthing and let others who want to express their sympathy do so as they please. Every person leaves a mark on one another and it should be known that the effect we have on others is significant more often than not. It is what life is all about. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore everything said and done by these people either. I like to believe in “forgive but never forget”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most definitely. I don’t like phony people. Speaking openly and honestly is something I will always support. However, would you go to someone’s funeral just to complain about them? No. Just don’t go to the damn funeral. Same in this case – just talk about it. If you really hate someone, shouldn’t you NOT give them PR? Bad PR is still PR.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Never really heard of Koch. But regardless of what he was like, Maher was too harsh. Unless you’re Hitler or Castro or someone else really evil, comments like that are just plain nasty.
    That said, I don’t believe in shutting up your criticism just because the person’s dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that you should not change your mind about someone just because they are dead.

      There are a lot of factors that influence the scales of what is appropriate or not, but speaking out so harshly and so soon after the passing was unacceptable to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like anything in this world nowadays, it was very politicized. That’s what gets to me. Too often we bend our opinions based on the side of the fence. When Sen. John McCain passed and some people critiqued him, others were up in arms saying it’s in poor taste to do so.


  8. On the subject of defiling graves: I’m in complete agreement with you, such acts are simply barbaric, and symptomatic of the failure of society to instil a sense of right and wrong.

    On the other hand, it’s very clear that your attitude towards the Koch brothers is very different from my own. You refer to David Koch as a ‘philantropist’, and emphasise the good things that Koch Industries do. I perceive him, and his brother, in the same way that Bill Maher does, as an evil, self-serving, greedy soul-sucker bent on becoming filthy rich despite the cost to everyone else.

    You didn’t consider Bill Maher’s comments funny; I did. Humour is very subjective. You cherry-picked some of Bill’s words. Here’s a quote (my bold) from the article you linked, that includes some more of his words:

    He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades, so (expletive) him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead and I hope the end was painful,” he concluded.

    Those are my sentiments exactly. Koch and his ilk deserve to be reviled.

    The Widow Badass said, “I don’t know anything about David Koch”, and jmshistorycorner said, “Never really heard of Koch”.

    Celebrating the passing of an evil person, especially in a controversial manner, has the potential to open some eyes.

    You say:

    Bad PR is still PR.

    Yes, it is. But PR for who? ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are as subjective as humour. Wikipedia defines public relations as:

    […] the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization to the public in order to affect their public perception.

    ‘Hitler’ was mentioned in the comments here. Should we not say anything bad about Hitler, just because he’s dead? I think not: I believe that it’s very important to remember that evil exists, and often uses its power to appear to be ‘good’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I apologize it took me so long to reply. Better late than never, hopefully.

      David Koch is not someone I knew a lot about, so I merely shared a bio of sorts – what he’s most known for. You are absolutely correct – it was the controversy that sparked this post and potentially made people research and think of various matters.

      I say ‘bad PR is still PR,’ because like you said – it alerted people to the name. While some might have opened their eyes to some potential problems, others went on to support the deceased in one way or another.

      I was not alive when Hitler died (Oh, noez, a nugget of personal information!), so I’m not sure what I would have done once his death was announced. I’m sure it would depend on who I was in relation to his acts. Do I go out of my way to speak negatively of him? Not really because I’m not sure what purpose that would serve.

      Evil definitely exists!

      Liked by 1 person

Hmm? What did you say? I did not hear ya.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with

Up ↑

Ellie Thompson's World

Poetry, Musings and Memoirs - True Tales of My Life

The Literary Serenity Archives

Creative Writing Reflections, Stories about Stories, and Feel-Good Pieces

Roars and Echoes

Where the power of my thoughts comes from the craft of writing.

%d bloggers like this: