//A Response To Sheriff Arnott; Panhandlers
Sheriff Jim Arnott attacks panhandlers

A Response To Sheriff Arnott; Panhandlers

I know Dennis now. I look forward to talking to him every week. I worry about him when the weather is bad. I know that he’s still overwhelmed with grief over the death of his wife. I know he suffers from extreme anxiety and that he has a stubborn fungal infection on both his feet.

by Nancy Crawford

Jim Arnott Panhandlers Springfield

This is what my local county sheriff posted recently. The thing is, I know this corner, I know this stuff, and I know the man it belongs to. I visit with him every week when I’m volunteering with Wheels to Work. His name is Dennis. He’s a little older than me but looks much, much older. He has significant health issues, as does his brother Raymond who usually panhandles in the same area. On a good day, they make enough to share a room at Glenstone Cottage Court ($29 plus tax).

The first time I met Dennis was a bright, sunny morning in June. He was very upset because a young man had driven by yelling obscenities at him, and then had returned a few minutes later to hurl a plastic cup full of urine at him. Take a moment to consider the premeditated meanness on display there. He’s so beaten down and lacking hope. He sees no possibility for any other life for himself other than this: “working” as hard as he can every day to try to get $29 to sleep under a roof. All the while, many worthy citizens of Springfield speed by and hurl insults or worse at him.

I know Dennis now. I look forward to talking to him every week. I worry about him when the weather is bad. I know that he’s still overwhelmed with grief over the death of his wife. I know he suffers from extreme anxiety and that he has a stubborn fungal infection on both his feet.

He’s had his meager belongings stolen so many times, he no longer makes any real effort to safeguard them. So yes, when he leaves the median to use the restroom or whatever, he leaves it, right there on the median. Besides, if he tries to take his bags into a convenience store, he’s just as likely to get kicked out.

So our great Sheriff, Jim C. Arnott responded with all the compassion he could muster. I would have thought the investigative nature of his position would have led him to look just a little deeper before making his self-serving post.

Dennis. His name is Dennis.




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