Like many, I watched the recent kidnapping of a UPS driver by two armed robbers as it played out on live television. The ending was not the one many of us expected to see. Those two killers were intent on not being captured and with the guarantee that they would be returning to prison as their only option, they weren’t exactly candidates to be negotiated with.

Many people have become armchair quarterbacks regarding the eventual shootout that happened. The barrage of gunfire in the midst of rush hour traffic left not only those two dead, but the UPS driver, Frank Ordenez, who was being held hostage, along with another innocent civilian, Richard Cutshaw, were killed as well. As I write this column, the information regarding whose bullets killed the hostage and the other person has not been revealed.

I can see both sides of the arguments that has since ensued. I cannot honestly say whether the police action was right or whether it was wrong. The criminals were firing wildly and indiscriminately putting everyone who was trapped around them in danger. Some of the police stood firing without cover, risking their life. Other police officers took cover using the cars and their drivers as cover. One image that will stay with me permanently, is that of the police officer who was shoving a civilian out the way so that he could stand and fire toward that truck. The police let loose over 200 rounds at that UPS truck.

In following the aftermath of the story, I read a report about how a loved of one of the killers gave an interview and offered some pathetic excuse for his actions, including using the term, “he was a good boy.” I juxtaposed that person’s comment next to how parents (and that usually is just mama) of those who have been killed committing other crimes have put angel wings on the deceased picture at the funeral and portrayed them as being on the stairway to heaven, when in reality they should have devil’s horns and be shown burning in hell.

As a society, there’s little we can do when certain families choose to honor those who died during the commission of a crime by changing the narrative as they bury that person. 

So I ask myself why do we even allow them to perpetrate such a lie? I feel there should be a federal law that says when someone is killed during the commission of a crime, their families lose their right to the body. The body would become a possession of the state to be disposed of in any manner the state sees fit. The body can be given to science. Or it can be dumped in an unmarked grave. 

In my humble opinion, the one thing that cannot and should not happen, is to allow the body to go back to the family so they can bury it using a false narrative. It is the penalty that the person pays after death for having died committing a crime.