The devil delights in a world where dehumanizing your fellow man — no matter how absurd — is easy. We live in that world.
In one high-profile example, there are those of the LGBT community who are out in the streets dehumanizing Jews by defending Hamas — a terrorist organization that would have all LGBT people eliminated from the planet if it could.
Less dramatic but equally tragic is the homeless problem plaguing our country, especially in California. Video clips of people living in tents on city streets — some openly doing drugs, others talking to invisible entities residing in their heads, and still others defecating on sidewalks — abound on the internet. For many, images like these dehumanize the homeless.
Dehumanization leads to the senseless taking of human life. In a recent example of senseless death — a phenomenon that has become all too common — a California jogger killed a man who was in the way of his afternoon run. If that’s not bad enough, the jogger recorded himself taking the man’s life.
And now that man is facing criminal charges.
A news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office issued on Nov. 20 stated, “A Garden Grove man has been charged with felony voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing a homeless man he had just woken up for blocking the sidewalk while he was sleeping. The victim threw a shoe at the shooter seconds before the shooting. The incident was captured on video by the shooter.
“Craig Sumner Elliott, 68 … has also been charged with one felony enhancement of personal use of a firearm,” the release continued. “He faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in state prison if convicted on all charges.”
At 68 years old, a sentence that long would likely mean death in prison for Elliott.
The incident occurred around 3 p.m. on September 28. Elliot was jogging with a pushcart and his two dogs. While passing through the 10400 block of Katella Avenue, about 2 miles from Disneyland, Elliott allegedly came across Antonio Garcia Avalos, 40, an unhoused man sleeping across the sidewalk.
According to the DA’s office, Elliott used the pushcart to “nudge Avalos in an attempt to wake him up.” Avalos responded by “yelling at Elliott to get away from him.
“Elliott is accused of recording Avalos and grabbing a handgun from his pushcart,” according to the news release. He was carrying the weapon legally. He had a concealed carry permit issued by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the DA’s office, Elliott recorded Avalos on his phone standing up and throwing a shoe. Elliott ducked to avoid the shoe and then shot Avalos three times. Avalos later died from the wounds.
“This is a tragic set of circumstances that unfolded in the worst possible way over a minor inconvenience of a blocked sidewalk, and a man is dead as a result,” Orange County district attorney Todd Spitzer said.
It’s tragic because it appears to be senseless. Elliot will have his day in court. Maybe he will claim he thought the shoe was an IED and Avalos was an Islamic terrorist or a crazed Jewish militant out to commit genocide. Fear breeds irrationality. Irrationality is the devil’s playground.
Homeless people getting killed is common in California. In 2022, homeless people made up nearly a quarter of Los Angeles’ murder victims, according to KNBC.
The homeless crisis is plaguing many American cities. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, homelessness reached record highs “in the history of data collection” in 2022. There’s no reason to think the rate subsided in 2023 with the economic woes brought on by Bidenomics human dignity — just the opposite.
Homeless people are the victims and enablers of the homeless crisis. Many homeless suffer from drug addiction, poverty and/or mental illness. That’s not an excuse but a fact. Most homeless, it is safe to assume, don’t want to be homeless. Those who do are likely insane.
The bottom line is that homeless people are still people. They are not vermin to be shot on the streets like rats in a cage.
California jogger Craig Sumner Elliott, 68, is charged with manslaughter after ‘filming himself killing homeless man sleeping on sidewalk near Disneyland’: Police say victim threw a shoe at suspect before being shot three times https://t.co/Pn3rcFQVLX pic.twitter.com/c9bndmsint
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 22, 2023
Provoking a homeless person and then responding with fatal force — if that is what Elliott did — is never a good solution. In this case, it looks like one man is dead and another risks dying in prison because of a lack of respect for human dignity.
We live in a world where Christianity is desperately needed. Christians hold human dignity in the highest esteem and are taught to hate the sin but love the sinner. If Elliot put more store in human dignity than his own convenience, he wouldn’t be charged with a crime and a man would still be alive.
The devil hates that.
Guns aren’t the problem. A lack of respect for human life is.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.