So this week a rapper by the name of XXXtentacion (how the f**k do you say that) was shot and killed which led to both mourning and celebration by many. I don’t know much about the young man and have never listened to his music, but I was fascinated by how his death divided so many. Compared to the week before when two beloved figures were lost it was interesting to see how different the reactions were and it made me wonder how exactly do you handle when morally ambiguous people die.
As I said I don’t know much about X but over the past year or so I have read more than enough about the torture and abuse he subjects women and gay men to, when you read about these things you can’t come away without thinking this is a severely disturbed young man. It is also believed X made a name for himself in part because of his violence, so I understand why people heard about his death and simply did not care. On the other hand I’ve heard young people say how much his music helped and I fully understand why they mourn his death.
Personally I can’t hear about a 20-year-old being killed and feel it’s a good thing no matter how awful I believe he was in his short life. It’s clear that something wasn’t quite right with X and even though I disagree with others that with time he might have been great I also think that there was some potential to help and for that I am saddened. If he was older with more time to develop I would feel differently, but at 20 I still believe he had a chance… did X deserve that chance? Sure, but only in that everyone deserves an opportunity to turn their lives around. I can’t pretend like his crimes did not exist and his death might be karmic retribution for all of his past deeds or fate stepping in to stop him from doing worse, I don’t know. I like to think if X was going to become a really good guy later on he would still be here.
So how do we react when kind of shitty people die? It depends. Coincidentally I’m watching the Daria episode titled ‘Misery Chick’ that asks a similar question and I think Daria takes a reasonable stance when she says we shouldn’t be happy for their death, but we also shouldn’t forget their crap actions simply because they died…
Unless they are evil like Hitler or Trump and his administration, fuck those guys.