helping, and not so much

Yesterday, while walking on the beach, I spotted a black-and-white shorebird being hassled by a raven. The shorebird appeared to be injured, as it wasn’t moving much and didn’t even attempt to fly away. I didn’t see anything obviously wrong with it, but after a few minutes of observation, I determined that the only proper course of action was to rescue it. I wrapped it in my sweater and carried it home. Three hours and several phone calls to the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center answering machine later, I was worried. The bird didn’t seem to be in immediate danger, but I didn’t know what to do with it beyond a towel and a cardboard box. Luckily, a volunteer called back as I was leaving for work, so we were able to arrange to meet. She said they get a lot of murres this time of year because the birds get washed ashore, but cannot launch from the sand. I felt better knowing I did the right thing.

This morning I was driving home from dropping the kids off when I saw a woman and two girls with school-looking backpacks hitchhiking. This was in Manila, almost to my turnoff. I stopped for them and ended up giving them a ride over the bridges to Zane, where the girls go to school. I offered the mom a ride back, but she said she was meeting her boyfriend around there, after he and his boys hitchhiked over.

I drove home thinking about class, about how fortunate I’ve been as a poor person to be able to “pass” in social situations, about this recent shooting of a low-income and troubled teen by the Eureka Police and the corresponding public outrage. It was wrong, I’m sure, but this was the end of the path. Where was all this outrage about the child’s situation along the way? About the family’s? Why do we, as a society, so often abdicate responsibility?


3 thoughts on “helping, and not so much”

  1. These events do bring out the classism in people. Certainly in the knee-jerk police defenders who went on the attack against the whole family right away. But also some of us middle class lib types fall back on smug attitudes towards police officers and their families – most of whom are working class.Three bullets in the kid’s chest – I certainly want a more complete explanation than we’ve gotten. But I’m very uncomfortable with the tone of the discussion. It’s worse than usual.And I agree, the questions should be directed years back so we have a narrative of how we got to that moment. Nice work with the bird.

  2. Carol Ann said… Sorry, but I had a typo on the previous comment, so I delted it.Eric had a link on his Blog to your Blog, Jennifer. Nice writing and very heart-felt. Thank you!I feel stunned by the shootings. Speechless, too. It just doesn’t seem justified.Greg started a blog, where one has to be a member. No anonymous posting, either. We invite you to join.All the best,Carol Conners 9:14 AM

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