Cold. Hard. Reality.

December 15, 2007 at 12:26 am (That's not funny...)

This is my 200th post here. It’s been a couple days coming, because I wanted to do something *special*, not just bang out a skewed edition of my nightly news. While I try to keep things light-hearted, reality can be an ugly bitch sometimes. Tonight I will be confronting reality, as will a certain young man who will someday wish he’d used (or had) more common sense.

During the last weekend in October, Yvonne Smith was preparing to take her grandkids home from swimming at Columbia Park when an impaired young man slammed his vehicle into the car parked behind hers. The impact pushed the car into hers, effectively severing Yvonne’s legs. (She lost one immediately, the other was amputated a couple days later.) She had been hospitalized since then, but was released day before yesterday. She is a fighter and survivor, and accepts her situation with grace and a wistful sense of humor. When a friend’s son came home from Iraq last week, (welcome home, Philip!) she quipped, “He gets to go all the way to Iraq, and I become a paraplegic while stuck here!”

Yvonne’s brother is a close friend of mine. He’s a fixture on the downtown scene, one of the mellowest, most thoughtful and considerate people I know. I’ve seen him handle many a personal crisis with even-tempered patience, and he’s talked me through some rough times of my own. He has to be the strong one, again, but this time it’s taking its toll. His hair is graying at an accelerated pace, and his water-off-a-ducks-back attitude has been stretched to its limit. He knows people in low places, and confided to me the other day, “Do you know what I could have done to that guy for a carton of Marlboros?” I listened to him fantasize about it, and asked if I could package up a carton to go? He declined, as that is not the kind of person he is, but the fact that people are rallying around him to see that some sort of justice is served made him feel better.

Friday was the bail hearing for the young man who made repeated stupid choices. (He’s been in jail since the accident, which is probably his best chance for keeping his own legs intact. Street justice can be an ugly thing.) He went in front of the judge, bringing family, friends, even a pastor to vouch for him and assume responsibility for keeping him in line. Requests for bail reduction, with monies at the ready, were offered. But first, do friends and family of the victim have anything to say?

Oh hell yeah.

Yvonne is and has been a foster mother to many a wayward youth. She’s been a firm hand and a guiding light. One of the kids, who was knocked aside and still has bruises from the “accident” asked mister Sauer, “Why did you do this to my Grandma?”

Her youngest son, who has had a rough path to sixteen, was unable to hold back the tears. His life hasn’t been easy, and perhaps the first structured home he’s had has been torn asunder by thoughtless, careless actions.

After the testimony was heard, perhaps the clincher was hearing from Yvonne herself, who attended the hearing via phone. After thanking mister Sauer’s family and friends for coming, and acknowledging their sincerity, she simply asked, “Where were all these family and friends and preachers the day this guy decided to hop in a car and take my legs?”

‘Nuff said. BAIL DENIED.

Betsy at Portland Metblogs wrote a small piece about Christmas giving a while back. It involved Yvonne and helping with her bills, and I will respectfully ask you to give it a peek. There’s donation information, should you wish to help. Yvonne and her brother had recently combined households and taken out a mortgage to keep their family home after their father’s death, and I know it’s been rough just keeping up with that. And to the snarky asshole who commented that “she’ll have more of the Sauer’s family money than she ever wanted”? Karma’s a bitch, dude.

mister Sauer can take cold comfort in one thing. At least some day he will be able to WALK out of jail.

Last I heard, anyway.

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