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Another Thing We’ll Do to Avoid the Problem


Sad and stupid are layered upon one another in this story:

State police are investigating death threats directed at school officials in Clay County related to an emotional controversy over moving graves from a 128-year-old cemetery.

Superintendent William Sexton and board Chairman Mark Hoskins received emails last week that contained threats over the cemetery move, said Sharon Allen, attorney for the Clay County Board of Education.

Death threats bad! But then again folks get sensitive about where the bones of their ancestors are buried, so it’s not exactly the most surprising thing ever… why would the school board want to stir this particular nest of hornets?

The cemetery is atop a steep hill on property owned by the school system. It overlooks Manchester Elementary School and sports facilities, and is near Clay County High School. The cemetery covers about a third of an acre and contains about 80 graves, including military veterans — two of them from the Civil War — and descendants of Native Americans. Angela Hacker, who lives in Clay County and is related to one of the Civil War veterans, said the earliest known burial in the cemetery was in 1893.

The school board wants to move the cemetery over concerns that it poses a potential safety threat by being so close to — and overlooking — schools and athletic facilities. Allen referred to it as a potential “sniper’s nest.”


It will not surprise, I expect, that America’s love affair with high powered rifles is more important than either a) respect for a century old cemetery, or b) the existence of a visual obstruction at any given point in view of a school. The argument doesn’t even make sense on its face; the existence of gravestones might make it harder to shoot back at a sniper *from* the school, but unless they’re going to remove the whole hill (is their coal in it?) removing the graveyard doesn’t affect the sight lines from the hill.

And of course the worst fucking human being in Kentucky has to be involved, if only tangentially:

After the controversy arose, a man who was once on the state sex-offender registry before being pardoned by former Gov. Matt Bevin went to the cemetery and made a YouTube video showing how close it is to school facilities, Allen said.

The implication of the whole story seems to be that we must take drastic steps to uproot any structure that offers a decent sight line on an American institution of primary or secondary education. That this is untenable is plain; it is considerably more sad that reconstructing the physical environment of every school in America appears to be a less difficult political option than adopting gun regulations that every other country in the world regards as common sense.

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