Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly committed the most terrible of acts, the killing and maiming of innocent people. So when cemeteries in Cambridge, Mass, refused to take his body for burial, it was easy to understand the dark mutterings about the Boston Marathon bombing suspect not deserving a proper burial, about how he should be cremated despite his family's wishes and his religion's traditions, or his corpse cast into the sea.
Easy to understand, but wrong. Ultimately, Tsarnaev's burial isn't so much about him or what he deserves as it is about our society, which generally tries to do the decent thing. Decency means treating the dead with basic civility and respect, no matter who the person was or what acts he may have committed.
Tsarnaev's mother reportedly wants his remains returned to Russia; an uncle in the United States, who has been working with the funeral home that has his body, thinks he should be buried in Cambridge, where he lived before he was killed in a shootout with police. In any case, the family wants him to be buried in accordance with Muslim belief. But private cemeteries have refused to accept the body, and the city of Cambridge says it doesn't want the grave site in public burial grounds for fear of protests; it also might be difficult to keep angry Bostonians from vandalizing the grave.