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?
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