My granddad on my mother’s side, Mr. Wilbur Smith, and my mother’s brother, Wilbur Smith Jr., are – or were- buried at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip.
We don’t know what’s going on with either’s remains. No one from the family has yet contacted authorities. Granddad died way before I was born, and I was a little kid when my uncle died. But even if my relatives were not among the more than 300 deceased whose bodies were dug up and thrown away in a devious grave-robbing crime, I still would share Rev. Jesse Jackson’s view of the culprits: Let there be a cold place in hell for those folks.
You feel like cursing, but try to contain yourself when just thinking about this crime. The four alleged criminals – Carolyn Towns, Terrence Nicks, Keith Nicks and Maurice Dailey – were charged last week and are sitting in jail. Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. They’re charged with digging up and dismembering dead corpses, dumping the bodies and reselling the grave plots while pocketing the money.
I’m taking the stance that they’re guilty as sin until shown otherwise. I don’t call them grave robbers, which they are, but grave rapists.
It doesn’t matter if family members visited their loved ones’ grave sites once a week, once a year or once every 10 years. The last thing families should be worried about is folks stealing their family members’ corpses. And certainly not about the people in charge with maintaining their resting place. That 300 number may be more. Who would think of such a scheme? And why?
Even as I write this column, I’m having a problem saying what I want to say, which is never an issue when I write a column. I’m hesitating, but I have to say: These bastards need more than prison time. Let them go out there and replace every deceased body and every headstone. If that can’t be done because the bodies, records and grave sites are irretrievable, then let them replace every grave with coffins representing every victim.
Don’t close the cemetery permanently and relocate those whose graves weren’t disturbed – if there’s any such talk of that. Keep it open. And for the families, sue the you-know-what out of those involved and who should have been monitoring this place.
I know all kinds of crimes are committed. Shootings. Rapes. Stabbings. All are sad crimes. But there are other crimes, like this grave-raping one, that fall into some other category. One that’s hard to wrap your mind around. The culprits dug up the dead children. Let me say that again: They dug up dead children and dumped their bodies. Did they open up the coffins and look at their faces. Sometimes, because of how corpses are embalmed, the face and bodies are well preserved. I wish one of those kids could have come back to life like in those horror movies and grabbed one of those grave rapists by the neck or by the balls and squeezed until they cried like babies.
This crime, authorities believe, went on for years. The funeral and cemetery industries are big business. The culprits – dammed grave rapists – made big money. What did they buy? Plasma TVs and new cars? Did they take expensive trips? Buy fancy clothes and jewelry?
Did they use that blood money to bury their deceased relatives? The authorities should go through their bank accounts, track all their purchases during their crime spree, confiscate it all, every bit of it, and sell in all on ebay.com. Then, take that money and divide it amongst the victims’ families. But that’s still not enough.
This was a black cemetery – meaning that, historically, it was the only place where blacks could be buried because of racism. It doesn’t matter what color the culprits are, but the fact that these were black folk grave robbing? No shame. No decency. This was a hate crime. They should do some hard time. No – no death penalty or 100-year sentence. But maybe some hard labor. Stick them on one of those chain gangs in the Deep South. Let them pick cotton from sun up till sundown.
I once wrote a column, in part agreeing with Chris Rock’s notion that there is a difference between black people – loving, kind, generous, hard-working – and niggers – ignorant, hate-filled, selfish and so on. And you don’t have to be black to fit the latter. I know there are black folk thinking the same thing when they heard about the crime at Burr Oak Cemetery.
That’s just some stupid-ass, nigger-shit.