The Senses of Charity/University District/Saturday May 20/11:06 am: Officer A. Kamalu reports: "CV (Complainant/Victim) met suspect downtown a few days ago. Suspect told CV that he was from New Orleans and had lost everything he owned during Hurricane Katrina. CV felt sorry for the suspect and befriended him. Yesterday, she arranged for the suspect to wash her neighbor's car to earn some extra money. It was raining yesterday, so the suspect did not have the opportunity to finish the job. It became late and the suspect told CV that he could not return to his residence because it was past his curfew. The goodhearted CV told the suspect that he could spend the night. At 8:30 a.m. today, CV awoke to find the suspect still sleeping. She then went back to bed for another hour and a half. CV got out of bed at 10:00 a.m. to find that the suspect had left. She also discovered that her bicycle that was previously in her living room was no longer there. CV called 911 to report this theft."
Clearly, the officer is on the side of the victim. To his mind, her act of charity makes her "goodhearted," and the suspect's abuse of that charity makes him an ungrateful little bastard. He bit her helping hand. But as the British sociologist Raymond Williams wrote in his invaluable book Keywords, "charity" as a word has two senses: one is positive, the other negative. In the case of this report, the negative sense must be considered. Williams writes: "[C]harity in [the negative] context comes from feelings of wounded self-respect and dignity which belong, historically, to interaction of charity and class-feelings...."
Move On/International District/Friday May 19/4:16 am: Officer C. Myers reports: "The Wing Luke Museum has an ongoing problem with transients setting up camp in the recessed entry of the property. The front entry is clearly posted with two signs prohibiting trespassing, and the management has requested police assistance with the problem. On May 19 at 4:16 a.m, I saw a man lying directly under the trespassing sign. I was in full Seattle Police Department uniform. I walked up to the man and said, 'Seattle Police, time to get up and go.' The man looked at me and said, 'Where?'
"'Get up and go,' I told him again. The man refused to get up. I pointed out the sign and the man responded, 'So?' I escorted him over to the car and conducted a routine record check—" I will stop the report at this point and go back in time, to the 19th century, to Dickens's second greatest novel, Bleak House (first is Little Dorrit; third is Our Mutual Friend), in which he wrote this relevant passage: "Mr. Snagsby descends, and finds... a police constable, who holds a ragged boy by the arm.
'...[W]hat's the matter?' [says Mr. Snagsby.]
'This boy,' says the constable, 'although he's repeatedly told to, won't move on.'
'I'm always a-moving on, sir,' cries the [homeless] boy, wiping away his grimy tears with his arm. 'I've always been a-moving and a-moving on, ever since I was born. Where can I move to, sir[?]
'He won't move on,' says the constable, calmly... 'although he has been repeatedly cautioned, and therefore I'm obliged to take him into custody... He won't move on."