Lifeline This Week

Fri Aug 06 @02:30 - 04:30AM
Mobile Clinic
Sat Aug 07 @05:30 -
LifeLine Community Dinner
Sat Aug 07 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic
Sun Aug 08 @05:00 - 08:00AM
Koinos Church
Sat Aug 14 @09:00 - 11:30AM
Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic

Decent People (The theft, pt 2)

Perhaps even more disturbing to me in the theft incident at the LifeLine Community Dinner last night was a comment from one of the police officers on the scene. After the man was handcuffed, searched, and arrested, one of the officers escorted him to the police car, while the other officer was standing and talking with me. As the man was passing by us on the way, he asked for his coat so he could get a cigarette. The officer talking to me said no, and then made a very sarcastic remark and laughed at the man.


Right away, he “caught himself,” and remarked: “I’m sorry. I’m used to working in the north end. I have to get used to being around decent people.”


For a second, everything felt like it was happening in slow motion. I rapidly replayed those words in my head several times in rapid succession. I might have held my breath for a time. I could not believe what I had just heard.


It’s not like I hadn’t heard such a statement before. In fact, I feel like I hear or observe that attitude articulated over and over. It’s just that the violence, the callousness, the decisive dismissal of it stops me in my tracks every time.


The man who was the subject of that derision had just committed a crime against me and my family. I was not a big fan of his at that moment. I’m still not. But make no mistake about it: he is a man. He is a man who bears in his person the imago dei - the innate dignity of being a human being. While he deserved the consequences of his actions he does not, did not, cannot deserve the denial of his intrinsic worth. He did not get that from me, nor will he.


I was as disappointed in that police officer as I was in the guest who decided to take advantage of the hospitality of both my family and the LifeLine community. I still am. It makes me sad and disappointed. It seems to me that we ought to be able to at least start at the foundational level of assuming the basic and universal value of every human person, and that doing so would hold some promise for changing both our expectations of one another and our experiences of one another. I know I’m a ridiculous idealist, but I’m ok with that.


I. Will. Start. There.