As I write this letter, I still have a bit of dried blood on my hands. A few minutes ago, I came across a man lying on the ground on San Ildefonso Road, covered in blood, his mangled bicycle under him.
Car after car ahead of me drove past this man before I could get to him. I ran out of the car, asked how he was, and tended to him as best I could. His injuries didn’t appear too serious and I tried to mop him up a bit as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. Meanwhile, cars kept passing us. Many people slowed to gape at the bloody man sitting with the frantic middle-aged woman trying to mop up his blood with a Wet Wipe. Not one person stopped.
Not one person stopped.
Later, when the police called to get more details from me, the officer said, “Thank you for stopping to help. It’s nice when civilians do that.” To me, this is like thanking someone for getting out of bed in the morning or brushing their teeth. It’s not heroic to help a human being in clear distress. It’s what human beings do.
Except, it seems, in Los Alamos.
This time last year, just after our family had moved to Los Alamos, I got caught with my family in a sudden, violent thunderstorm. My husband, kids, and dog ran ahead toward the parking lot a mile ahead where we were parked. I tried to flag down a car to get a ride so I could pick them up more quickly. Lightning was everywhere, I was frightened, and I was sodden. At least a dozen cars passed me, ignoring my attempts to flag them down, before one kind woman finally stopped.
Are these small-town values? Is this what I should expect from Los Alamos? Is this the kind of community we want to be?
I think we can do better than this.