At A Loss For Words

Grind for April 15th, 2019
“The task of a leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”

– Henry Kissinger

Smells Fishy

The Headline

Feds investigate suspicious fires in Louisiana

The Grind

Federal officials from the FBI and ATF this week joined an investigation into a series of fires that destroyed four churches in Louisiana.

“There is clearly something happening in this community,” says State Fire Marshal H. Browning. “That is why it is imperative that the citizens of this community be part of our effort to figure out what it is.”

The fires occurred within a two-week period. There were no injuries or deaths.

The first fire began on March 26th at St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre; the second on March 31st at Vivian United Pentecostal Church in Vivian; the third on April 2nd at the Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas; and the fourth on April 4th at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas.

Three of the fires occurred at historically black churches in St. Landry Parish, a district in southern Louisiana just north of Lafayette.

The fourth fire, which investigators say was “intentionally set,” destroyed a predominately white church located in Caddo Parish more than 200 miles from the other fires.

The Implication

The fires are reminiscent of the civil rights movement, when black churches were targeted by white supremacists.

“When I heard of the fire, I was devastated,” says Florence Milburn, a member of the Greater Union Baptist Church who was notified of the fire at 2:30am in the morning.

“My husband and I drove over there along with our other family members, and along with our church family, we were on site and we watched our church burn to the ground.”

Like others, Milburn believes there was something “irregular” about the fires.

“Why they did it, what motive, we’re at a loss,” she said. “So whether or not we are told who did it, or why they did it, it doesn’t bring our church back, and all the memories that we had…it’s like losing a family member, or losing a family home.”

No Vacancy

The Headline

To save money, Chinese are burying loved ones in biodegradable jars

The Grind

China is roughly 9.6 million sq. km. with a population exceeding 1.3 billion. To compare, the US is 9.8 million sq. km. with a population of 327.2 million.

As you can imagine, there isn’t much space in China for things like cemeteries.

The limited space has caused a steep uptick in the price of burial plots – which now cost twice as much per square meter as an apartment. In Beijing, the average plot costs more than 14,000 USD.

The Details

Families who can’t afford traditional burial plots are choosing to bury the ashes of their loved ones in biodegradable jars – a practice called “eco-burial.”

The method, which has long been promoted by the Chinese government, makes it possible to fit 2,000 bodies in a space once reserved for 500 or 600.

“Public acceptance of eco-burials is improving,” says Sun Ying, who works for an eco-burial service in Tianshou, adding that people were “very resilient” when the option was initially offered. “I think in the future, there will be more and more people joining this land-saving way of burial.”

Did you know… Chop-suey is not a native Chinese dish, it was created in California by Chinese immigrants.