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Does Boston Marathon bomber deserve a proper burial?

A fierce debate is going on in Massachusetts and the rest of the country about where and how to bury accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. (AP image)

A Massachusetts funeral home director is facing fierce criticism for taking in the body of alleged Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And a fierce debate has ensued about whether Tsarnaev deserves a proper burial, or any burial at all.

"The thing is we have to bury this guy. Whatever it is, whoever he is, in this country we bury people. I don't care who it is," Peter Stefan told CNN.

It might be a moot point. Not a single cemetery has been willing to take Tsarnaev's body. And given the controversy and fear of reprisal, it's seemingly even more unlikely anyone will in the state, let alone anywhere else in the country.

"I don't understand why it is that we think that everybody no matter what they've done deserves a burial," argued KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank in a discussion Monday.

Burbank, who admitted he doesn't believe in an afterlife, advocated simply cremating the body and calling it good, despite Islamic law that prevents it.

"I just don't think your body gets the same rights as the rest of us and that's just one of the many ways that we punish people," Burbank argued.

But co-host Tom Tangney vehemently disagreed, and said he was baffled by the outrage.

"We're all human, we all die, we have bodies. We bury the bodies. I don't understand, the person's already dead," he said.

"It feels like this is calling us to be better than these people that we want to show a little humanity toward people who lacked humanity."

Tangney called a refusal to bury Tsarnaev punitive, and punishes the family as much as the suspected bomber.

"It just feels so crude and inhumane and uncivilized to treat your enemy, if you see them as an enemy, so vulgarly."

Tsarnaev's uncle wants his body buried in Cambridge, arguing it's where he grew up.

One potential solution is to bury Tsarnaev anonymously in an unmarked grave.

A civic group in Worcester has proposed raising $5,000 to simply ship Tsarnaev's body overseas.

Ultimately, the fate of Tsarnaev's body will be determined by his mother.

"I just think that is ludicrous," Burbank said of demands Tsarnaev's body be given the same treatment that would be afforded anyone else after the bombing that killed three and injured over 200 others.

"It's the human thing to do," Tangney countered.

About the Author


Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.

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