Don’t speak ill of the dead. Oh, and don’t lie either
Reading the newspaper this week, I came upon yet another murder in my normally peaceful and perfect city. This time it was a 21 year old aspiring model. A handsome looking dude from the pictures. He was found shot to death in the front yard of a house located in a not-so-nice part of the city.
This happened last Saturday and has been in the news for the last few days since then. One thing that stood out for me was the fact that his friends and family were very adamant in insisting that this young man had no ties to gangs or drugs, thus lending credence to the ‘That’s what they all say” mantra.
The newspaper’s front page this morning stated that the police were investigating possible gang link in the killing. The deceased was apparently wearing a Hell’s Angels’ support T-shirt when he was found. Wearing a T-shirt or any other item of clothing does not necessarily qualify as being a gangster but the fact that he was in the company of gang members in a car stopped by cops back in February and his older brother is a known gang member, does nothing to allay suspicions. Too many coincidences.
So, when someone dies, do we tell their life like it was or do we try to paint a more acceptable picture of them? If so, why? Why isn’t it koshered to say ‘Ole Sam was one ornery man. He never had anything nice to say and was cruel to humans and animals alike. Yep, that’s Sam. He sure wasn’t a good man.” That would not only be the truth but reflects exactly what everyone knows about the deceased. Why say he was a good man with good intentions when everyone knows or suspect that he was far from that? It’s up to the deceased to sell his ‘good man’ story to God. We can’t help him in that regard.
The question now is, since we are told not to speak ill of the dead, do we lie about the dead? But we were also told not to lie, so which one takes precedence? Does the saying, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ apply to the dead?
Oh my! There must be some really quiet funeral services out there!
Just my take.