Respecting A Murderer

On Wednesday, December 2nd a husband and his wife walked into his place of business and murdered 14 innocent individuals and leaving 21 more injured. The horrific event left many people in shock as we as a nation questioned whether or not it was a terrorist incident. Regardless of the reason, most individuals were quick to condemn the shooters for their reprehensible actions, although we knew nothing about them at the time. Information quickly flooded in and we soon learned that while Syed Farook was American born, his wife Tashfeen Malik was born in Pakistan and lived in Saudi Arabia before being brought to the U.S after meeting and marrying Farook. Both husband and wife were devout Muslims.

As the times change with each decade and generation, history shows us that our society and world are ever evolving. It can be seen in our ideals, our goals, the way we dress and the technology we use. But have you ever noticed that it is also in the way we act and the sensitivities that we display? In 2015, we have become a society that is constantly striving to lessen the number of times that we offend those around us. While this may sound like a wonderful thing in theory, the reality is that we have reached the point of being a nation that goes so far as to 1) show respect to a murderer, and 2) demand that others show her that same respect.

This type of over-sensitivity was shown recently when mass-murderer Tashfeen Malik’s picture was released by ABC news. The Islamic religion, like many other religions, has certain practices that are expected to be followed. One of the most notable of these practices is the female headgear known as a burqa. Because the practice of wearing a burqa is used as a display of modesty by Muslim women, it is widely considered disrespectful to show her without her face covered. But does this still apply when it comes to a mass-murderer such as Malik?

In my opinion, an individual has no right to any respect when they show an obvious disregard for something as precious as human life. This has nothing to do with Malik’s religious beliefs (although, the argument could be made that it has everything to do with religion considering her alleged ties to ISIS) and everything to do with her crime. As a Christian, it would be inaccurate to say that I respect her religion, in and of itself. However, as an American I can say that I respect her individual right to practice whatever she wants to practice as long as it does not harm those around her. The moment she gunned down innocent people is the moment that she gave up her ability to maintain respect, privacy, and any other show of compassion.

While some individuals, such as Hashem Said, have protested the show of “disrespect” by publishing a picture of Malik with no burqa, I believe that she no longer has the right to any special consideration. Malik showed absolutely no respect for the lives of her victims which reaches well beyond the 14 dead and 21 injured, but to their families and loved ones as well. More importantly, the families of these victims and the 21 survivors deserve to see the face of the murderer who has so drastically changed their lives. Not only does this type of social media oversensitivity give a mass murderer respect that she does not deserve, it is also disrespectful to her 35 victims to trivialize a piece of her preferred clothing – an action that greatly downplays the horrific nature of her crime.

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