When did being a funeral director become so dangerous? Since an increase in thug behavior has taken over a certain segment of the black community. This Wall Street Journal article by Gary Fields looks at the dangers involved when it comes to owning a funeral home. Many funeral directors are now armed for protection and taking other precautions due to the increase in violence at funerals held in the funeral homes and cemetaries.
Violence Roils Black Funeral Parlors
By GARY FIELDS
CINCINNATI — Clarence Glover has a surveillance camera in the chapel of his funeral home. Joseph Garr sometimes carries a revolver in his hearse. Carl Swann Jr. is contemplating leaving the business.
The three directors of black funeral parlors here have been assaulted at services and each has had gunshots fired during burials. Concealed-weapons, pre-funeral intelligence briefings, cameras, panic buttons and armed security guards are becoming as much a part of services as the eulogy.
“I’ve been in this business 42 years and I’m jittery now,” Mr. Glover says.
Across the country, black morticians are changing the way they operate. The reason: a spike in African-American murders — and the violence that sometimes follows victims to the grave. In an echo of more volatile parts of the world, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, African-American morticians report seeing an increase in violent behavior, and occasional killings, at funerals.
Mr. Fields also mentions this.
The violation of the once-sacrosanct funeral is one byproduct of a little-noticed upswing in the murder rate of African-Americans. The number of blacks killed in America, mostly by other blacks, has been edging up at a time when the rate for other groups has been flat or falling.
As a result, the black murder-victim toll exceeds that of the far larger white population. According to the most recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of whites murdered dropped slightly, to 6,956 from 7,005 between 2004 and 2006. The number of blacks killed rose 11%, to 7,421 from 6,680.
What worries law enforcement, criminologists and sociologists is that there’s no unifying theme to explain today’s increase. Some killings are drug related. Researchers trace others to a glut of ex-felons re-entering society. Others correlate the rise in murders to the lack of a proper education.
Black funeral homes, long a fixture of African-American communities, offer a stark perspective from which to view the trend. There are no comprehensive statistics on assaults or other crimes at funerals. And the violence has not touched all black communities. Still, the topic has become a hot one in the industry.
Rising Incidence of Violence
Last year, the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association — a black trade group — held a panel discussion at its Philadelphia convention about the rising incidence of violence on funeral premises. Among some strategies recommended: increasing security and not publicizing funerals.
Since 2006, police in Boston, Goldsboro, N.C., Louisville, Los Angeles and St. Louis have investigated black murders that occurred at or immediately after funeral services. Of five cases reviewed for this article, four were at the funerals of other murder victims. Two were gang related. One was a revenge killing. Two remain unexplained.
Sitting in the office of his funeral parlor on Reading Road in Cincinnati, funeral director Mr. Glover, 58 years old, can see images from three cameras at once. They allow him to view all the public areas inside the House of Glover Funeral Service as well as the back door. He’s had the system up and running for three months.
On at least two occasions, he says, gunfire at grave sites forced him to dive into the dirt. “Bullets don’t have names,” he says.
This is a damn shame. The situation with black on black crime is ridiculous. And what are the self appointed leaders of the black community doing? According to Booker Rising, Al Sharpton and the NAACP are coming to the defense of the Dunbar Village rapists. I blogged about this case along with a few others back in July 2007. A group of young black thugs terrorized and raped a black woman and then forced her to have sex with her twelve year old son. You can read all about the Dunbar Village attack here at the Dunbar Village blog.
You can read the entire article here.