This morning I read an important opinion piece in The News-Review. Its author, Robert Jaramillo, poignantly exposed the death of a local homeless citizen in our community.

Citizen. That's the word of importance here. This man was a citizen of this country, state, county and city. His life was not worth less than mine or yours simply because he lived in continual danger on the streets in our community.

We all recognize the problem of homelessness while driving through town. We witness their pain, the signs of mental anguish, and the obvious lack of hygiene. We may feel a sense of duty to help them from time-to-time, but quickly refrain as our discomfort overwhelms our compassion.

There are many others living under the protection of bridges or in local forests in their makeshift tents. Many are under the influences of alcohol and/or drugs, or simply trying to escape the dominance of an abuser. Many are children, unsupervised, and learning the skills of survival as their only weapons against a society hell-bent on ignoring the blatancy of their needs.

There are hundreds of churches in our local communities. There are many governmental entities as well, each of them charged with a moral dictate to assist citizens in need.

The state of our collective humanity is on trial here. Is there any benevolence left?

Kathleen Connor


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