Mike Putz

A couple of court cases involving the U.S. government and illegal aliens have garnered a great deal of my attention the last couple weeks. What has come out of those cases is nothing short of incredulous, given the principles this nation was founded upon.

In Arizona, a man named Scott Warren was on trial for helping two migrants who crossed into Arizona from Central America. Warren was charged with felonies for doing so and could have been sentenced to prison, had he been found guilty.

In her closing remarks, federal prosecutor Anna Wright summarized for the jury Warren’s crimes when she said, “He gave them food, he gave them water, he gave them a place to stay. He did a bad thing.”

After 15 hours of deliberation, the jury came back unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a hung jury. No decision has been made as to whether prosecutors will retry Warren.

This week federal prosecutors argued on behalf of the Trump administration in front of the Ninth Circuit panel in San Francisco, that the government is not required to give soap or toothbrushes to children apprehended at the southern border. In addition, the government argued they can sleep in overcrowded conditions on a concrete floor with just a foil blanket, with the lights left on all night.

A previous settlement agreement requires detainees to be kept in “safe and sanitary” facilities. Federal prosecutors argued that a lack of toothbrushes and soap and sleeping on a cold, concrete floor still meet sanitary conditions.

It looks to me like our government is now arguing that giving comfort to those who need it is a crime.

Most mornings on my way to work I listen to music. I have varied tastes and will quite often blindly grab a CD for the ride to my office. The morning I wrote this, as I was thinking about the court cases, I grabbed Jason Isbell’s “Live from the Ryman.” The first song I heard was “Hope the High Road.”

The song is a lot of things, but a couple lines rang pretty true to me: “I ain’t fighting with you down in the ditch, I’ll meet you up here on the road.” Later came the line “I hope the high road leads you home again, to a world you want to live in.”

It seems as though we have reached about as low as we can go when we put people on trial for helping others in need and argue that it’s sanitary not to have soap and toothbrushes.

Deep down, regardless of politics, I really believe most people aren’t comfortable with treating other human beings like this. Some are like Scott Warren, who acted on his beliefs that providing food, water and shelter to those in need was the least that should be done.

It’s time we all find that high road. A world where we help others have a better life is a world I want to live in.