Huge funeral firms don't offer bereaved the comfort they...


May 21, 2001

Huge funeral firms don't offer bereaved the comfort they need

I read with interest Dan Rodricks' column about the Triplett family's problem with Parkwood Cemetery ("Double fee in moment of grief hard to understand," May 14). Unfortunately, I see such treatment of grieving families far too frequently.

As a licensed funeral director, I have first-hand knowledge of the upheaval publicly traded funeral conglomerates have created in funeral service and in the families they claim to serve.

I have had innumerable families complain they have been pestered by sales people to buy vaults, markers, even caskets. Families are constantly being called to update their cemetery records only to find they get the sales pitch of their life.

In recent years, funeral conglomerates have come to Maryland and begun quietly acquiring local funeral homes and cemeteries. Because of the exorbitant prices they paid, conglomerates have raised the prices of cemetery lots, mausoleum space and related charges.

When a death occurs, it is most often a grieving family's darkest hour. They are vulnerable. They should be able to rely on someone they know and trust.

I think there is a place for Wall Street companies but it is certainly not in funeral service. People need compassion at this time, not the corporate bottom line.

Ronald C. Lassahn


The writer is a co-owner of Lassahn Funeral Home.

Those who kill others deserve the same fate

The Sun's column "Once there's death, there's no more hope" ( Opinion

Commentary, May 15) should have talked about the murdered, rather than the murderers.

For the murdered, there is no choice, no hope, no future. Those that choose to rob another human being of those things should suffer the same fate.

Zev Griner


Coverage of killings betrays media's bias against Israel

The media's anti-Israel bias continues.

On May 7, a four-month-old Palestinian infant was killed, after Palestinians fired mortars at Israeli civilians and Israeli troops responded with gunfire ("Israeli tank attack kills infant, injures 24 other people," May 8). Six weeks earlier, a 10-month-old Israeli child was shot and killed by Palestinian snipers.

The media were quick to compare the two deaths. But while both deaths are both tragedies, the comparison is flawed. The Palestinian child was a casualty of a war zone, while the Israeli child was deliberately targeted for murder.

By making the comparison without this qualification, the media both whitewashes the cold-blooded Palestinian act of infanticide and creates the fraudulent perception that Israelis are engaged in a campaign to target Palestinian children.

Bernard Siegel


Photo omits the provocation that Israeli troops confront

Only the greatest pictures tell an entire story. But why does The Sun keep choosing ones that, by failing to show the provocation they face, place Israelis in the worst possible light?

Certainly this is the case with the photo that that accompanied The Sun's article "Israeli writers ponder turmoil" (May 13). Taken from far away, it shows Palestinians fleeing Israeli troops. But why didn't The Sun choose an image that really depicted what was going on?

No stone-throwing, no firebombs, no Israelis murdered in cold blood upon the roads -- in short, none of the things that caused the soldiers to fight back in the first place -- are shown here.

Jack Eisenberg


Slot machines will cure the racing industry's ills

Three cheers for House Speaker Casper R. Taylor's refusal to let the $10 million purse supplement bill be approved this season ("Time to profit from racing," Opinion

Commentary, May 13).

The racing industry's feuding factions and their dependence on welfare from the taxpayers each year will soon end for good, because it is almost certain that the next governor will quickly approve slot machine operations at all our race tracks.

This will quickly revive this failing industry and provide a strong tax base for our ailing state school system.

There will be no losers when this happens. We only have to wait out Gov. Parris N. Glendening's term.

Walter Boyd


Breed bans are canine form of insidious racial profiling

Some people want to ban a breed of dogs (e.g., pit bulls) ("City Council rejects ban on breeds of attack dog," May 15).

Aren't those people doing something like racial profiling, except that they're profiling by breed rather than by race?

Bill Scanlon

Ellicott City

Rejecting ban on pit bulls leaves citizens vulnerable

Baltimore City needs more administrators such as our mayor with a "can do" attitude.

Otherwise, we have to stand by while thugs and drug dealers parade their pit bulls in our neighborhoods to intimidate us because "can't do" administrators (such as City Council President Sheila Dixon, Baltimore Health Commissioner Peter N. Beilenson and company) state that we would not have the resources to enforce a ban on pit bulls if it passed ("City Council rejects ban on breeds of attack dog," May 15).

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