I wish I was a cartoonist for I have a cartoon in mind. In it two men in business suits stand on either side of a woman with a purse over her shoulder. Their bodies partially obscure a coffin. A sign over their heads reads, “Filch Funeral Home. The one one her left with an MFDA pin on his suit hugs her. There is a large tear in his eye. We can’t see the woman’s face as he deftly opens her purse and hands money to the second man who has an American flag on his lapel and an attache case which reads, Lansing.” The caption would read, “We’re so sorry for your loss.” As one currently in the death process with my mother and desiring a home funeral without the intrusive presence of strangers, I find it abhorrent that the State would mandate we hand over our loved ones to strangers. This is despotism dressed in the attitude that says we have only your best interest at heart. But then the tyrannical always say they are only doing what’s best for us. Wendy is right! This is a civil rights issue. Why aren’t we marching on Lansing? Any other industry in the United States would find itself at the center of anti-trust investigations if it “cornered” the market on a single service. My mother lies dying and the State of Michigan, those inept or worse indifferent legislators in Lansing, tell me they know better than me how to ease her passage with care and loving respect. These very persons who, according to the book “Going Out Green” by Don Butz, are supported by the lobbyists of an $11 billion dollar industry. Legislated monopoly may be their gift to this industry of death but such laws violate the pursuit of happiness and our inviolable covenant to care for those we love unobstructed by self-serving business interests. Any law that denies family members the right to care for their dead free of excise is not only unjust. It is immoral.