NYPD officer photographed giving boots to barefoot homeless man melts icy hearts online

An Article by Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News, Senior Media Reporter

A photo of a New York City police officer kneeling down to give a barefoot homeless man in Times Square a pair of boots on a cold November night is melting even the iciest New Yorkers’ hearts online.

On Nov. 14, NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo, who was on counterterrorism duty in Times Square, saw the older homeless man without shoes sitting on 42nd Street. DePrimo, 25, left and then returned with a pair of $100 boots he bought at a nearby Skechers store.

“It was freezing out, and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” DePrimo, a three-year veteran of the department who lives with his parents on Long Island, told the New York Times. “I had two pairs of socks, and I was still cold.”

The random act of kindness was captured by Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Ariz., who was visiting the city. Foster, communications director for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, emailed the photo to the NYPD with a note commending DePrimo.

“The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you,'” Foster wrote. “The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man.

“I have been in law enforcement for 17 years,” she continued. “I was never so impressed in my life. … It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost.”

Foster’s photo was posted on the NYPD’s Facebook page on Tuesday, where it received more than 320,000 “likes,” 77,000 “shares” and 20,000 comments—most of them praising DePrimo, who seems to have restored Facebook’s faith in humanity.

“This is one hell of a police officer,” Desiree Wright-Borden wrote.

“Wow,” Jack Horton wrote. “It’s nice to know there are still good people out there.”

“Angels truly do walk on earth!!!” Charlene Hoffman-Pestell wrote.

Some commenters, though, were skeptical, saying the photo could have been staged.
“Clever stunt!” Louis Zehmke wrote. “The hobo is ‘parked’ at the entrance of a shoe shop.”

But Foster claims DePrimo had no idea he was being photographed: “The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching.”

Mail and Me

A Letter by Tony Alexandre

Quite cool, Mr. Elliot,

I’m starved for missives from the mailbox. I’ll admit it, I even open junk mail. (Hey, maybe it’s a check with a lot of zeros at the end.) Such a sad existence for me when my just one a small rush of importance is ripping open junk mail. Bills can wait around, so a real letter sounds excellent. Will subscribe.


Cheers, Iris

On the Bus

A Poem by Joanna M. Weston

the smell of hot dirt
brought in with shoes
overlaid by cigarette butts
half-handled candy
stale under-arms
hair-spray
after-shave
exhaust fumes

the flurry of heat
as the door opens
on the pungent aroma
from the bakery opposite

Black Friday and the Greed of a Nation

Black Friday–

and I’m thankful for all that I have,
not what I do not need–
so I won’t be out shopping.

I have a great family,
wife, children, grandchildren,
shelter, clothing,
a way to stay warm, food
and good health.

What more do I need.

Nothing more.

Let me tell you this:

We will purchase no gifts this year
but instead make donations
anonymously
because the true work of this season
is to do good work.

Is world peace possible?

An essay by Kay Kasiske

Is world peace possible?

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121109-is-world-peace-possible

We have witnessed fewer and fewer wars between countries since 1945, and so there is no reason to doubt that they could disappear like other horrifying acts.

Psychologist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker at Harvard University thinks it is completely conceivable that wars between countries might go the way of slave auctions, debtors’ prisons and other barbaric customs.

He argues that while there is plenty of violence around the world, and more ways of killing each other, we have witnessed fewer and fewer wars between countries since 1945. Not only, is war is at an all-time low, rates of homicide are far lower than they were in the Middle Ages, and issues like domestic violence are no longer seen as being acceptable.

At the recent Singularity Summit in San Francisco, he told BBC Future about how we are predisposed to be violent but how we are also predisposed to be peaceful. There are some parts to the brain that impel us to carry out violence, such as the thirst for revenge, feelings of tribalism, or the quest for dominance. But packed into the same skull there are motives that inhibit us from violence, like empathy and reason that allow us to see violence as a problem to be solved instead of a contest to be won.

Bobby

A Short Story by Suvi Mahonen

Strands of light blue twisted, crossed over, then sank into the expanse of knitted wool only to emerge at the next stitch and repeat the pattern again. They ran in parallel symmetry, converging up to the pompom at the top of the cap. Around the circumference of the brim ran a border of yellow on which marched small embossed elephants, each holding the tail of the one before it with its trunk. Fine wisps of dark hair the same colour as Nick’s curled out from beneath the edge to cling to its fuzzy surface in places. When we’d bought it eight weeks ago I’d thought it was too small to fit anyone, but Nick had correctly guessed it would be the right size.

The skin of Bobby’s forehead not covered by the cap was furrowed as if caused by a frown. This accentuated his eyebrows, delicate lines of barely there hair on the ledge of his sockets, inclining medially upwards to form an arc at the top of the bridge of his nose. His nose was short, more like a nubbin, tilted slightly upwards at the end like mine; its tip was a little raw, as if wiped by a tissue one too many times.

I ran my finger over the smooth and doughy surface of his swollen lips. Velvety glossed skin a few centigrade cooler than mine. Drooping in loose repose, colour not right, a dusky shade of purple.

He lay in my arms, loosely wrapped in a green flannel blanket, the back of his head resting in the crook of my left elbow. His body was both light and also strangely heavy. I held my arms still though there was no reason why. Looking at him I tried to align our eyes. His lids were parted slightly, a hint of blue between moist lashes. As I sat there, propped with three plastic-covered wipe-down pillows between my back and the bed’s head, I kept wanting, almost waiting for those eyes to blink.

Nick sat on the edge of the bed, arm on my shoulder, looking at our Bobby. Afternoon light angled in through the window and cast Venetian-striped contrasting shadows on our son’s already mottled cheeks. My finger moved downward tracing his chin, then onwards across his jaw to his left ear, curving to avoid an open patch of sloughed skin. It wasn’t the only one. There were two on his right cheek and a large one on the side of his neck, the full extent of its angry margins concealed by the collar of his Peter Rabbit jumpsuit. Made of the softest white cotton, it was the outfit I’d planned for our baby to wear on his first trip back to our home. Across the garment multiple little rabbits sat on their haunches, cheeks puffed with chewing, holding a large carrot whose tip was missing. Sewn into the outside seam of the left shoulder was a tiny blue tag saying this was a genuine item. Matching mitts and booties were still in the bag.

I moved aside a fold of blanket so I could see more of him. His left arm was angled, bent at the elbow, resting on the front of his chest. The embroidered cuff of the suit’s sleeve was hitched a short way up the forearm. Between the rim of the cuff and the base of Bobby’s closed fist circled a thick clear plastic band fastly secured. In the pocket of the band a slip of paper had words typed on it in small letters, the portion visible to me saying, Baby of Alicia Rus. The bend over his wrist’s bony prominence obscured the rest. A vein line of discolouring more pronounced than that of the skin went up the back of his hand to the fourth knuckle dimple. Lifting his hand gently I straightened his four fingers and thumb from their loose clench. The webbing between them was puffy and wrinkled, like he’d been soaking in a tub for too long. Such small and frail digits despite their also waterlodden state, the creases over their joints swollen to mere faint lines. On his distal pads were enlarged whorls of print. Opaque slivers of flesh were peeling back from around the nails. I closed his fingers again, covering his hand with mine.

We remained in silence.

Me, my husband and our baby.

I was conscious of sounds from outside the room muffled voices, the ping of a call bell and the diminishing roll of a trolley. But these didn’t enter my reverie. The only noise that was real to me was the whistle of breath from my nostrils and the clicking of the clock’s second hand. A mere moment in time, yet this seemed like forever.

Would you like an autopsy to be performed? Dr. Taylor had asked us.

Is it necessary? I said.

It’s your choice. But it may help to find out exactly what went wrong.’

We’ll think about it, Nick said.

Dr. Taylor stood there by the side of my bed. His gaze kept shifting between Bobby and the green blanket. From the edge of my eye I saw his hands move to cross each other and rest at the front of his belt. Speckles of blood soiled the cuffs of his white shirt. I wanted him to leave but also needed him to stay. It was as if I had the delusion that he was somehow able to reverse this. He remained there for a few more awkward minutes then made his excuses and left the room with a final Sorry’.

It was then that Nick had put his arm around my shoulder, and we stayed that way with Bobby cradled against my swelled breasts that were aching with the need to lactate.

You haven’t called my mum yet, have you? I asked Nick as I held onto Bobby’s hand.

Do you want me to? ’

I shook my head. Once our families knew, it would be real.

I stared across the room at the wall opposite. Glints of slatted sunlight reflected off the glass that protected a framed painting. A lamb standing on a hill’s green slope. Underneath it against the wall was an empty cot on wheels. It was the one in which the midwife had brought Bobby back in to me once she had cleaned, weighed and dressed him.

I looked back at my son and squeezed his hand gently. His soft nails pressed into the folds of my palm. I turned to look into Nick’s bloodshot eyes.

Can you ask the midwives if there are any nail clippers around?’

Why?’

I don’t want him to be buried with long nails, I said.

I started to cry.

(Author’s note: This story was originally published in the Australian literary journal “Island”, and then went on to appear in “The Best Australian Stories 2010.”)