In this business, we often have a front row seat to witness the best of humanity — and the worst, too.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we carried the incredible story of how several Good Samaritans worked together to help save a man’s life on the Whites Canyon Bridge. The motorists stopped their cars, at first pleading and then physically preventing the young man from leaping to his death, until first responders could get to the scene and complete the rescue.
First, mother of five Denise Mitchell, with a carload of passengers, saw the man climb over the bridge railing, as if he was preparing to jump. She stopped the car, and pleaded with him to stay alive. Three more Good Samaritans — Steve Mendez, Robert Santiago and Jose Gutierrez — joined in the effort. They tried to pull the man up, and one of them grabbed a rope from his car to secure the man to the bridge.
Moments later, first responders arrived to complete the dramatic rescue, as sheriff’s deputies and firefighters worked to secure the man to the bridge and then, ultimately, to hoist him back over the railing using a fire truck’s extension ladder.
It was an emotional example of what you hope people will do in a crisis. Obviously, our first responders commit acts of heroism with a significant degree of regularity, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. But when you see a group of strangers voluntarily pitch in to help save a life, it’s a welcome reminder of what’s good in people.
Regrettably, we also have to report on humanity’s darker side, and this past week we witnessed two disturbing examples of individuals’ ability to be despicable.
First, there was the story of Abigail Ruano, 15, who’s going into her sophomore year at Golden Valley High School. Abigail copes with an ataxia condition that renders her unable to balance her body, so she gets around using a very specific kind of mobility wheelchair/scooter called a Go-Go.
On Sunday morning, Abigail’s mother noticed that crucial parts of the Go-Go had been stolen from the front porch of the family mobile home. Someone had stolen Abigail’s mobility.
Who does that? Did the perp run out of puppies to kick or flies from which to pull the wings? There’s a special place in hell for someone who would deprive a person of their ability to get around.
There’s also a special place in hell for someone who would torch a church, and that’s exactly what happened earlier this week in Val Verde. Authorities say a fire was intentionally set in the basement of the New Life Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. It was the second Val Verde church inside of a week to be targeted by burglars and arsonists. Both churches are owned by Pastor Amos Hamilton and his wife, Toni Hamilton, and Toni believes they are being targeted.
Who does that? Who torches a place of worship? This isn’t one of those crimes you could sort of understand, like a starving person stealing a loaf of bread. This is senseless destruction of a place that should be among a community’s safest places.
It’s an unfortunate reality of the news business: Along with that front-row seat to what’s good in people, we’ve also got a front-row seat to witness what’s bad.
We’ll take more of the good, thank you very much.