The Norman Transcript


September 25, 2012

Anatomy of an outrage about man’s death



I asked him, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m freezing!” he replied.

“I’ll bet ... Let’s go to Food and Shelter,” I suggested, and he immediately followed me back.

Mike was in the same shape as G when I brought him in to Food and Shelter, shivering with red swollen hands and feet, but Mike was a little more robust. I gave him a change of clothes and a blanket that he wore the rest of the day.

Many of the homeless in Norman are like Mike in that they often will “camp out” around Food and Shelter, as they have nowhere else to go. Some stay at “Tent City” along the Canadian River, just west of Interstate 35. Unfortunately, Food and Shelter is not equipped to handle 24-hour care, although an attempt was made for a couple of months early this year when “Tent City” burned down.

The businesses in the vicinity of Food and Shelter are very tolerant and understanding of the homeless situation and support the homeless as best they can. The police do not disturb the homeless in the vicinity of Food and Shelter and only come by when necessary to offer medical assistance, keep the peace or serve bench warrants.

Something must have happened in the period of time before Mike’s death, as I heard the city of Norman was threatening to levy fines on the businesses surrounding Food and Shelter if they didn’t get rid of signs of the homeless situation. As a result of this, the homeless were removed and their possessions discarded. Mike was one of those removed. He would normally hang out at Food and Shelter’s kitchen dock, but as a result of his removal, he took his meager possessions to “camp out” below the James Garner statue, located where the train tracks cross Main Street in Norman.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014