Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer yesterday. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were full of people who were giddy about his death. They didn’t like him. They thought he was a terrible person. They were glad he was dead. They made jokes. It was a great day. This is not a defense of Rush Limbaugh. I didn’t like him. I will admit that back in the early 90;s when I spent all day in my car delivering papers in downtown Cincinnati I would sometimes listen to his show. I found that music all day didn’t work for me so I rotated through various talk radio shows until the comedy radio show I liked started. Sometimes I would land on Rush. I didn’t agree with him and spent time yelling at the radio. I stopped listening the day he called homeless people human debris. I know he promoted a lot of terrible views and there is a good reason for people not to like him. My question is – Is it really ever OK to celebrate someone’s death?
I have mixed feelings on this. I think it was generally considered acceptable to celebrate the death of Bin Laden. I think celebrating the death of Hitler was OK. They were terrible people who were behind atrocities and the deaths of a lot of people. Charles Manson? Jeffrey Dahmer? Ted Bundy? I think most people would be OK with celebrating the death of a serial killer. What about other members of the Manson family? People who did bad things but seemed to change once they were no longer under Manson’s influence? Still a celebration? Do we celebrate the death of people who committed other terrible crimes short of murder? Does it depend on the circumstance or how close the crime was to you? Is it really a good thing to celebrate the death of someone because they promoted hateful ideas on the radio? And celebrate publicly? In some cases, seemingly stalk pages online so you can comment on other people’s comments to make sure they know you hated him and are glad he is dead?
I’m not claiming any high ground here. I’m just saying that I am not a fan of seeing post after post of people giddy about the death of anyone. In this case, I also think about the fact that I have family members who post hate filled posts on Facebook. Terrible, racist stuff. I have unfollowed them so I don’t see it and I am embarrassed that they are part of my family. I would hate to see people celebrating if they died because of this. I’m sure there are people in Limbaugh’s family in the same boat. They hated what he said and promoted on air, but he was family and people are saying we should all be glad he is dead. It just doesn’t seem right.
Do you think it is OK to celebrate the death of Rush?
Is it ever OK to celebrate anyone’s death?