As if losing a child weren't enough, a mother in South Carolina has had an added burden loaded on her shoulder this month. She now has to pay to have the blood of her son cleaned off the street where he was killed by a drunk driver. It's the sort of bill that makes you wonder who wrote it: man or machine.
Loretta Robinson said she was having a hard enough time coming to terms with the loss of her eldest child, Justin Walker, when the bill came in. Written to him -- the deceased -- it demanded $50 for the municipality that had to send someone out to rid the street of evidence of the horrific tragedy. Talk about victimizing the victim!
I understand that times are tough, and cities and counties don't have a whole lot of wiggle room in their budgets. Taxpayers bear an awful lot of the burden as it is that a little creativity in finding funding is almost always in order ... almost.
But there's something about a bill sent to the family of a dead man to clean his blood from the highway that really rubs me the wrong way. It's so heartless that I have a hard time imagining the politician who suggested this little cost-saving measure. What's next? Telling rape victims the should have to pay to prosecute their rapist?
Here the Robinson family is, victims of a senseless crime, and the municipality is essentially blaming their son for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The real criminal here is Anna Gonzalez, an illegal immigrant who has been convicted in killing Justin, and who faces 17 years in prison ... but not the bill.
The people running local governments have to remember that they represent people, not just numbers. Those people may be taxpayers, yes, but they're human beings too. Something we taxpayers have to accept is that we pay for all pay for the services afforded crime victims because one day that could be our family on the receiving end of a little compassion.
What do you think should be done with this bill? Should Loretta Robinson have to pay to have her son's blood cleaned from the street or should the cost be written off?
Image via jayneandd/Flickr