Residents in a Southwest Las Vegas neighborhood are upset over plans for a cemetery. Ken and Michele Stern are fighting the plans on behalf of their son and other homeowners who live near the southeast corner of Buffalo and Warm Springs. The area is zoned for commercial development, but the Sterns feel a cemetery will be too close to homes and Sierra Vista High School.- via http://www.ktnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=9743586&nav=menu498_1_1#poll80044
I find that this little news clip says a lot about the denial of death in our culture. First of all, the neighborhood activists are trying to keep a cemetery from going into an area zoned commercial. I imagine the other options would be a strip mall, a fast food place, a big box store, or something along those lines. It seems to me that a park-like area that would be forever green and free from sprawl would be better than the rest of their options.
What really surprises me, though, is their concern for kids. My daughter learned to ride her bike in a cemetery. As a child, I played in a cemetery. Now, these concerned parents are worried about a cemetery being too close to a school, as if it was inappropriate or harming to young minds.
What are they afraid of? Maybe the kids will realize that death is not a temporary cartoon condition, like Wile E. Coyote falling of a cliff, and not something we ignore and pretend doesn't happen, like the cocktail party celebrations of life that their parents would prefer, but something real that we all must ultimately deal with.
Zoning the cemetery out won't make the reality of death go away. It will only leave us less prepared to deal with death when it comes to each of our families.