Photo by Flickr user kcdsTM    (some rights reserved)

Back when I worked in a funeral home full-time, I saw too many gun deaths, mostly for young people.

And while many were self-inflicted or accidental, a majority were the result of jealousy, gang activity or drug dealings. 

There was the 17-year old who was shot dead in front of his mother’s house while she made dinner inside.  Or the 20-year old found dead on a downtown sidewalk, the only witness unwilling to cooperate because the killer was a well-known local bad guy.  The little girl hit by stray bullets from a drive-by.  The elderly couple shot during a home invasion.  And so too many more.

Handling services for someone closely connected to the current gun culture often means bringing your funeral home and your staff into that culture for a time.

Case in point:  A Baltimore funeral turns deadly as 1 Killed By Gunplay Outside Funeral.

The news is filled with stories of Muslim funerals in Iraq and both Palestinian and Jewish funerals in Israel and the Gaza Strip that attract mass murderers who either fire into the mourning crowd or explode bombs to kill and injure even more people.

Funerals for gang leaders and drug dealers attract their friends and “business associates.”  And while they share the same grief any normal human would feel at such a difficult time, they’re different than typical funeral attendees because they often carry loaded handguns.

And while few directors would refuse to serve a family in this condition, it’s hard to handle these kind of services without worrying that someone at the funeral might reach for their 9mm instead of their handkerchief.