letters | the matter of a body

Is Cambridge so afraid of reaction that it would deny burial?

I was shocked and dismayed to read Monday morning of Cambridge City Manager Robert Healy’s decision to deny burial to accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who until his recent death was a resident of the city (“Cambridge won’t bury bomb suspect,” Page A1, May 7). Yes, he has been accused of a murderous act; but are all murderers to be denied burial? What about rapists? Kidnappers? Drunk drivers?

In a statement, Healy refers to the adverse impact of “protests” and “widespread media presence,” which might occur were Tsarnaev to be buried in Cambridge. In a city whose squares and streets are often the scenes of political demonstrations, are we so frightened of “turmoil,” as Healy put it, that we are to deny a human being burial?

The Westboro Baptist Church has made it a practice to picket at the burial of combat veterans. Are we now to deny burial to combat veterans?


I strongly urge Healy and the city of Cambridge to reconsider this decision. As a city, we must do better than this.

Peter Squires