Do unto others

I’m trying hard not to lose faith in people.

A letter that arrived in my email inbox this past weekend, however, threatened to shred what little I seem to have left sometimes.

As it poured buckets of rain, I sat inside, cozy and warm, secure in knowing that during this particular winter storm at least, my most basic needs were being met.

Outside, I realized, others were not as fortunate.

What I didn't know, however, was the extent to which some people do not care—the extent to which they instead feel disdain and contempt for those worse off.

Then I read the email, written in response to my co-editor Nick Miller's recent story, “The real face of homelessness” (SN&R Feature Story, November 15):

“Unfortunately, for these homeless, Obama has seen to it that they will have tougher times ahead with no hope in sight. Really, a lot of the homeless should commit suicide. Wouldn't it be easier to go away than to exist and suffer the way they do? Why continue existing in this life, knowing it will probably not change for the better … I'm just sayin'.”

There are no words.

Actually, I found plenty. Instead, however, I resisted the impulse to hit “reply” and let my anger match his ugly callousness.

I'm not a religious person, but I do believe that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. That we are beholden to a responsibility to treat others as we wish to be treated.

I pity that letter writer. I hope somebody somewhere treats him with kindness—and soon. He may have clothes, food and shelter; his basic physical needs are most likely met, but when it comes to that which makes us caring, content and compassionate creatures, however, he clearly has nothing left to keep him warm.