MA Taxpayers Foot the Bill -- $9,400 a Day -- for Keeping Order at a Worcester Funeral Home

Friday, July 12, 2013

We all hope the Commonwealth Massachusetts never finds itself again in a quandary over what to do with the body of someone who has perpetrated a horrible and repulsive crime, as it was in the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two brothers accused of setting off the bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

But if it does, I hope the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security places that body in a secure, out-of-the-way site, such as Fort Devens in Ayer or the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency bunker in Framingham, until a final resting place for it can be found.

We don’t need a costly repeat of what happened in Worcester in early May. That’s when a courageous local undertaker, Peter Stefan, was left holding Tsarnaev’s body for five days because no cemetery could be found to accept it.  Angry protesters gathered outside the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlor every day to demand that Tsarnaev’s body be removed from their city.  There were so many protesters, and they were so loud and demonstrative, that Worcester police had to be there the entire time to maintain order.

I can tell you how costly that police action was because the Massachusetts legislature just passed a budget for the new fiscal year.  It includes a one-time $47,000 reimbursement to the City of Worcester for the cost of those details.

Forty-seven thousand dollars.

That’s the cost of American citizens acting out in the 21st century the ancient ritual of heaping disrespect on the corpse of an enemy, of elected officials pulling back from a politically radioactive situation, and of keeping safe a man who stuck his neck out for his trade. ("I'm burying somebody who is dead," said Stefan. "Everybody who is dead has the right to be buried.") Sadly, it is only one small cost of the homemade bombs of Marathon Monday.

Every such cost gives satisfaction and energy to those who hate the United States of America.   

We cannot forget September 11, 2001, nor would we want to. But how often do we recall that it cost al-Qaeda only $350,000 to mount the operation that destroyed the twin towers, slaughtered 2,996 innocent people, and set in motion the never-ending consequences of that horrible morning.

The tab is still open on 9/11.

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