When I first heard about Arnold Abbott getting arrested, I thought it was a hoax. It just had the feel of one of those news stories someone makes up and posts on Facebook so that his website will get a lot of hits that day. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story and tons of web traffic.
Unfortunately, this was no hoax.
90-year-old Arnold Abbott was arrested for feeding the homeless.
It’s a new city ordinance in Fort Lauderdale. Groups that feed the homeless in public will find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and perhaps, the wrong side of a jail cell. The people of Fort Lauderdale can now rest easy knowing that they are safe from the dangers of, wait for it, soup kitchens.
Theft? Rape? Murder? Sorry, you’re on your own. Really. You can check Fort Lauderdale’s crime rates here. Just know that while you’re getting mugged in Fort Lauderdale, the mayor and his henchmen are doing everything that they can to ensure that you won’t have to deal with those pesky soup kitchens as you fight for your life.
There will always be bad laws. That’s the result of living in a fallen culture where good men stay silent while evil men reach for more power. And there will always be mayors like Jack Seiler in Fort Lauderdale who smugly warn of their power grabs while acting as though they are doing us all a favor when their absurd laws are being carried out.
But it’s the being carried part out part that we should not have to expect.
Arnold Abbott says that one police officer told him, “Drop that plate right now!” How that officer was able to say such a line that sounds like it could be straight out of a Sylvester Stallone comedy without laughing is perhaps one of the great legal mysteries of our time. I guess that once you’ve sold your soul, it gets a little harder to see the humor, or absurdity, in things.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans we heard one horror story after another. Some of those horror stories involved police officers who left their post to either get out of town or to join in with the looters. It was unnerving to hear of those who have been charged with protecting and serving acting like the ones they should have been protecting us from.
The police in Fort Lauderdale who were given the command to arrest Arnold Abbott and his friends should have followed the example of their brethren in New Orleans. They should have chosen to walk away from their post rather than carry out their orders. Only in this case, instead of succumbing to fear and evil, these men and women would have shown great courage. They would have shown the world that it’s okay to do the wrong thing when evil leaders like the ones in Fort Lauderdale have outlawed the right thing.
In his best Wyatt Earp voice, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale said that, “We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale.”
Congratulations, Mr. Mayor.
It’s just too bad that you disregard a much more important law.
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 (ESV)