Gargantuan Gates & More COVID Conspiracies | 4M #48
Welcome to the forty-eighth edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, 4M #48, where we’ll serve up bite-sized, easily-digestible nuggets of the deathcare news you need to crush conversations in the week ahead. Bon appetit!
Sorting out visitors from vandals
Sorry to keep harping on cemeteries, but we simply can’t ignore all the challenges today’s cemeterians are forced to face. Take the folks at this Kansas City, Missouri graveyard; in an effort to curb increasing vandalism and theft, they installed locks on their gates and implemented strict visiting hours. Unfortunately, families who want to visit their loved ones whenever they want are not at all happy with these measures. Citing dangerous and illegal parking options, strenuous treks uphill, and only a narrow, non-ADA-compliant door for use outside visiting hours, families have taken their complaints to a local news station’s Problem Solvers team. If you were the owners of this property, what would you do? Can there be a situation where everyone wins?
More cemetery shenanigans
As we said, the hits just keep on coming for cemeteries:
- An Albuquerque cemetery is facing growing issues from homeless individuals lounging in meditation areas, bathing in fountains, and pooping on the grounds.
- Two Vermont cemetery managers have started a GoFundMe account to pay for repairs to 38 vandalized gravestones.
- Authorities are investigating a drive-by shooting at a Muslim cemetery in Toronto that killed one man and left another in critical condition.
- A California cemetery became a crime scene last week when a brawl among mourning family members escalated and a suspect plowed over a water main, gravestones, and the casket to hit another person with his car.
The latest in lawsuits & licenses
Clearly, the incidents in which the previously-mentioned cemeterians are embroiled aren’t through any fault of theirs. That’s (allegedly) not the case with two funeral homes:
- A family is suing a Brooklyn funeral home for “not properly preserv[ing] their loved one after she died.” They claim that the 37-year-old deceased person’s face was “caved in,” her skin looked “burned” as if it were “melting off her face,” and a maggot crawled out of her eye. The funeral home issued a statement that the family had contacted them four days after the deceased died and scheduled services 11 days later. The statement also said it was an “extremely difficult case” and they used their “best efforts to prepare her for the time requested by the family.”
- Authorities suspended the license of an Indianapolis funeral home after the director left town for a weekend, leaving a body unattended and improperly cared for. According to a local news outlet, court documents indicate the deceased was in a state of such advanced decomposition that an open casket service was impossible. The report also says the body was still in a body bag and “in an unusual position, with right arm raised above her head” and no “observable embalming incisions,” although the director said embalming had been completed. The family transferred their loved one to another funeral home for cremation. During the investigation, the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency also found an unsanitary trocar, an expired certificate of authority, a cluttered embalming sink, and no license on display.
On SCI and conspiracy theories
Have you heard of Substack? In the simplest terms, it’s a subscription-based newsletter platform with limited censorship, a quality that attracts a number of controversial niche authors. Take, for example, the Substack called “Unreported Truths,” in which was recently posted a piece entitled “The funeral business is doing great!”
In the post, author Alex Berenson offers his take on the May 5 investor presentation by Service Corporation International (SCI) and their August earning report, which showcased a profitable spring quarter. Berenson shares SCI CEO Tom Ryan’s statement that SCI is “servicing elevated numbers of consumers.”
Berenson quotes Ryan as saying, “And you’d say, OK, what is that, Tom? Well, we’ve mentioned a little bit, we think there’s still excess deaths. We think we can correlate it with lack of healthcare, people probably drinking too much, smoking too much, driving too fast, depression and access to mental health.”
In response to this statement, Berenson writes: “The problem with these explanations… is that none of them make sense.” Then, he poses his own potential rationale for excess deaths: “Gee, I wonder what could be leading to all the excess non-Covid deaths we’ve suddenly seen in the last 12 months, not just in the United States but all over Western Europe and Australia too? Something definitely changed near the end of 2020, I just wish I could remember what…” Berenson then posts a screenshot about — you guessed it — COVID vaccines.
Rest in Peace, James Dixon III
A beloved funeral director who was gunned down outside his Indianapolis funeral home was laid to rest last week and is being mourned by a shocked community. Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the killing of James Dixon III, 55, which occurred during an August 6 robbery. Dixon’s daughter addressed a crowd of over 150 people, praising her father’s kindness and calling for educating area youth on forgiveness, love, and optimism. According to a local news report, “The vigil ended with the reading of a passage that James Dixon used to conclude all his funeral services: Whether the weather be good, or whether the weather be bad, we’ll weather the weather together, whether happy or sad. We will weather the weather together.”
Did you know?
We’ll end this 4M where we started: Talking about cemeteries. But this time, it’s in the form of a fun fact, not a lamentation. Did you know that Forest Lawn holds the record for world’s largest wrought iron gates?
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