The news is so full of stories about brutal, untimely death. Accidents, beatings, murders. We become inured to it, for the most part. It’s someone else, somewhere else, and we have so many other things to think about.
But today CNN devoted a long segment to a story that I couldn’t turn off and couldn’t turn away from. I learned of a horrible death in Fullerton, Calif. It was the brutal, senseless killing of a homeless, mentally ill young man for no apparent reason other than he was an easy target for a group of thugs. The young man was Kelly Thomas, and the six thugs were cops.
Thomas was tasered, beaten, and stomped in what can only be called blood sport, and he died five days later. A graphic hospital photo showed a face barely recognizable as human.
CNN showed the photo and a video of the incident in which the young man was heard calling for his father. And then it cut to a live interview with Ron Thomas, Kelly’s dad, a former Orange County sheriff’s deputy.
To be a parent is the toughest job in the world. To watch one’s child grow up and slip away into mental illness and homelessness must be heartbreaking. But then to see and hear that child beaten to death by one’s colleagues while he calls out to you for help …