Someone Died Today.


Someone died today. I don't know who it was. I don't know anything about him or her. All I know is that an Alameda County Coroner van was in the walkway between Clay St. and Frank Ogawa / Oscar Grant Plaza, north of the Oakland, California, City Hall, as I happened to amble by. I saw a covered stretcher wheeled out from the shadows with what must have been a body on it. No sirens, flashing lights or yellow tape. Just a dead body at 4:00 PM in the afternoon on a Sunday, a coroner's van, and a couple of police cars.

A small group of homeless people often take refuge under the covered, open-air area of the building from which the stretcher appeared out of. They mostly survive, and he or she, likely one of those using that refuge, died, just tens of yards from the Mayor's office.

Who knows how long the body remained in the alcove? Who knows if he or she had any friends or companions?  Who knows what brought this person to be lying at this particular site on this particular day? Who knows who discovered the person unresponsive?

Not I.

All I could question as I walked on past, but not answer, was the moral bankruptcy of a people who allow the homeless to remain homeless, the sick not to receive medical care, and the persecuted fleeing for their lives to be treated like animals.

This, for better or worse, is who we are.