Friday, May 09, 2014

Making poverty illegal

Sunday morning as I walked across a parking lot to my car after church, a gentleman approached me. 

He asked if I could help him with a little money to help address his hunger.  I have no hard and fast, set rule on whether or not to grant such requests.  I almost always employ the time-tested "follow my gut" strategy. 

On this day my gut was telling me I needed to talk to the man, but not take part in his collection offering.  So, I began that conversation, or I almost began it. 

Before I could really engage the man, two police officers rushed across the lot on bikes to intervene on the man and our conversation that almost happened. 

One officer pulled me aside to ask if the man had requested money.  When I replied that he had, the policeman asked for my name and phone number, both of which he promptly wrote on the palm of his hand! 

As we talked, I noticed that a patrol car sped up to join the "apprehension." 

At this point it seemed a bit like overkill in real time to me. 

I tried to explain what I did on my day job, hoping to talk the policemen down a bit.  They were professional and determined.  They were not abusive toward the man, but neither was the man to them. 

The guy is very poor. 

He was very hungry.

He may be an alcoholic, though I had no inkling of that from his behavior.

Like I say, the guy is very poor with few options, save the charity of church-goers on a Sunday morning after worship. 

Lesson learned at church last week:  it is very clear that poverty is now officially illegal.  You can go to jail for being poor, if you seek assistance from your fellows around you. 

I mean there are laws to protect people like me from guys like him, and from having to face the fact that the Dallas dance just ain't playing out so well for lots of our people. 

I don't guess you can get locked up around here for telling the truth, can you?

No comments: