There is a news story that I’ve put off writing about for weeks; one that I’ve been following for quite some time now. I’ve put of writing about it partly because I wanted to see how it would turn out, but more than – that I’ve put it off because it makes me sick to my stomach every time I think about it.

In 1999, Paul Vados, a homeless gentleman in the Los Angeles area, was killed in a "hit and run accident."

In 2005, Kenneth McDavid, another one of L.A.’s homeless, was also killed in a "hit and run accident."

What both of these deaths have in common is that they were caused by the same two individuals: Helen Golay, 77 and Olga Rutterschmidt, 75.  

This was more than just a case of two senior citizens driving around and accidentally killing these two men. Both deaths were deliberate and were perpetrated by the same motive: money.

An Associated Press article, More guilty verdicts in LA murder-for-profit scheme, in the SLO Tribune, quotes L.A. Deputy District Attorney’s Bobby Grace and Truc Do as saying,

"It’s clear that money was a driving force behind these women… They didn’t need it, but they wanted it."

By manipulating the desire of a homeless person’s desperation to be free from life on the streets, Golay and Rutterschmidt, had been able to lure "… the men from among Hollywood’s homeless and giving them lodging and food while taking out numerous insurance policies on them."

The convictions carry a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Miss Rutterschmidt’s attorney has stated he will begin readying a motion for a new trial.

It may sound mean for me to say this, but I think that once these two women are formally sentenced and then put back into their little jail cells, the bars should be welded shut.

To these two women, Mr. Vados and Mr. McDavid were disposable because they were homeless. In their greed, these two women disregarded the sanctity of human life. As Deputy District Attorney said regarding the lust for money, "They didn’t need it, but they wanted it."

Contrast the hideous behavior of Golay and Rutterschmidt with the compassion of an unnamed homeless man in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

This past Sunday, while digging through a dumpster for aluminum cans, the homeless gentleman discovered a 5 pound baby girl discarded in a plastic trash bag. The child still had her umbilical cord attached. Although her body temperature had dropped to around 87.5 degrees, she was still alive.

According to the L.A. Times article, Baby girl is found alive in trash bin, the homeless gentleman told one of the neighbors about finding the child. The neighbor brought a towel to wrap the child in, while another neighbor called 911.

Considering that the homeless are often times harassed by local law enforcement for the most inconsequential of reasons – like dumpster diving – it would have been an easy thing for this homeless gentleman to leave the area as quickly as possible and forget about the child. But he didn’t. There was this small, quiet voice of compassion within him that compelled him to help this tiny new life; a life that had been regarded as disposable by her mother.

***** ***** *****

Over the last 13 or 14 months of writing this blog, I have tried to provide insight into homelessness. I have tried to dispel the misconceptions and stereotypes attached to homelessness. But I have also tried to be diligent about admitting that there are indeed those homeless who are the epitomes of the stereotype.

I have personally seen and experienced homelessness from both sides: I was once a housed person who found himself homeless; then I was a homeless person who found himself housed once again.

I’ve come away from the experience with "battle scars." But I have also away from it understanding one immutable truth: whether a person is good or bad is not dependant on their housing status. It is dependant on their personal integrity; their sense of morality.

Housed doesn’t mean wholesome. Nor does it mean moral superiority.

Homeless doesn’t mean unwholesome or hopeless. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean heartless.

Enough said?


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