No one stopped to help

By Max Ramsey

He was walking in the crosswalk with the “walk” light. She ran the light and hit him hard enough to fling him like a giant straw doll down the street. She sped up the on-ramp and was gone without so much as an afterthought. It played out as though she meant to run him down. It would take work to imagine another scenario.

What saved our homeless friend’s life and limbs was a mere second of athleticism, a small leap up that lifted him above the grill of the car. It nonetheless threw him into the air, and caused facial injuries when his head hit the pavement.

The indignity of it was not limited to the fact that the driver sped away as if no deed was done, no life that mattered nearly snuffed out. The indignity, indeed the indictment of all that we have become as a city, was driven home by the fact that the other cars who followed after and witnessed our friend flying through the air and landing in a sickening heap on the pavement stopped to help, or even slowed down. And there were several. God have mercy on all our souls.

Some days it feels like there is a concerted effort, or at least encouraged effort, to rid the world of those that the most privileged see as the “surplus population”. Ticket them into oblivion or jail. Destroy their camps. Steal their possessions. Move them along. Offer them no resources for their addictions; sooner or later a “hot-shot” will take care of that inconvenience. Or just run them down. And drive on. If you side with this mentality thinking it can’t be you or someone you love, you are simply wrong.

No one stopped to help. Not one single solitary soul.

Do we think that God doesn’t see? That there will be no final reckoning? This is our community, dammit. This is OUR community.


The Rev. Max Ramsey is pastor of Immanuel Church of Brookfield in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

The views expressed are those of the author or authors alone, and not those of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies.