By: Steve Trubilla
Have you ever stood in the pouring rain to experience just the wonder of it? Have you felt its natural power and beauty? To many, this may come as an odd or even strange question.
Most today seeing someone doing this would probably say, "Look, he or she is not even smart enough to get in out of the rain." They may laugh a bit judging, never taking the time to really see the person or the rain. They see only what they want to see.
Many years ago, I found myself in a jungle in rains called the monsoons. To say it was miserable would be an understatement. The nature of what I was doing did not offer the option to find shelter.
There are some things one simply has to experience to understand, and monsoons are one of them.
Ironically, and for reasons I cannot explain, since that time when the world is closing in, I find a measure of peace by standing in the rain.
Life's storms come in many forms, most people weather them alone. So it is for the homeless, the beaten, the hungry, and the mentally ill. The child sexually abused, the parent that learns of their child's incurable cancer, and the man that after 40 years of working is told his retirement has been stolen.
The list is endless, and includes the elderly, whose children have long since forgotten them, as they sit by a phone that never rings.
Yes, the rain comes and lighting flashes. Harsh reality is in our world today, when it comes, people seem to become invisible.
A story of a rare man has captured my attention; while not local in events, it hosts feeling and sentiment common to everyone that has felt the rain of life.
Mr. Arnold Abbot, a 90-year-old man in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and others have been arrested for feeding homeless people.
It seems there are people upset, and feel the homeless are too visible.
Laws have been passed to hide them away. Yes, that is what local officials have done in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
What kind of a leadership would do this, what kind of a society? This is what happens when people do not pay attention to their government, and particularly local government.
The very concept of thought that a 90-year-old man, in the United States of America, would be arrested, fined and imprisoned for what could be the last months of his life for feeding homeless people is impossible for me to understand.
It was reported during the conduct of the arrest a police officer commanded of Mr. Abbot, "Drop that plate right now," as other officers picked up the trays of food and inserted them directly into the garbage, with lines of homeless hungry people looking on.
Police officers, agents hired by elected servants of the people, clearly threatened violence, while having authority to use deadly force if necessary to have a 90- year-old man comply. Force they were prepared to use.
This man, this very good man, was clearly no threat to anyone. Was it necessary to confront him in this way, or was it done because it could be done by shadow power brokers in the community?
Yes, what he was doing is in conflict with the law. The law, what is its purpose?
A favorite author of mine, Samuel Langhome Clemens, may have said it best, "Laws control the lesser man ... Right conduct controls the greater one."
What would life be like if all of the Mr. Abbots in the world disappeared?
Let me bring this into focus here in Franklin County. There are homeless people living in cars, under bridges, in abandoned buildings, and other places as well. There are thousands of people with no access to basic healthcare.
Others are without jobs; children are in need of shoes. As I write this, I think there must be a mother pouring over bills stained with tears she cannot pay. In my mind, I see her racked with despair on how the rent will be paid.
Again this month, our local officials have cancelled the Economic Development Commission meeting.
Could it be the Ft. Lauderdale story is also a local story?
Are those most in need here invisible? I invite every county executive and elected official to stand in the rain with them, maybe then they will see them.
The message is simple: We need jobs, and continuing to cancel these meetings will not bring them.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Let us this day remember Mr. Abbot, and all of the Mr. and Mrs. Abbots everywhere. People we should all truly be thankful for.