My turn, Roger Barbee: Time for open caskets again?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2022

In 1955 when the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till arrived home to Chicago, the only thing that identified him was a ring. His swollen body was missing teeth, an ear was severed, and an eye hung out after he had been kidnapped, tortured, shot, wrapped in barbed wire attached to a heavy fan, and dumped into the Tallahatchie River by two white men in Money, Mississippi.

His mother, Ms. Elizabeth Till-Mobley, saw the body of her only child and made a courageous decision. She told the mortician to leave her son as he was and insisted on an open casket so that all the world could see the horrific acts committed against her son by white men.

Now, here we are all these years later and more children and their teachers have again been brutally murdered. Young, small, precious bodies in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas so mangled by bullets that DNA is needed to identify some of them. Mutilated like the body of Emmett Till.

The photographs we see of the victims are ones made in happier times like when a 10-year-old holds a certificate for making his school’s honor roll. Or a photograph of a smiling teacher likely taken for the school web page. Happy faces. Clean clothes. Life at its fullest. No photographs of mutilated bodies, body parts separated from their body, blood, and gore.

Open caskets! Awful and even grotesque when they show the result of the carnage caused against a 75-pound body by an AR-15 rifle.

Perhaps it is time for another brave decision such as the one made by Ms. Till.

 

Roger Barbee lives in Mooresville. Contact him at rogerbarbee@gmail.com

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