Compassion can assume many forms - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Compassion can assume many forms

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Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2005 6:26 am | Updated: 9:34 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Whenever I get lonely, all I have to do is mention Isabel Acosta in a column.

I’ve written about Acosta twice, and each time I was overwhelmed with phone calls and e-mails.

Acosta is the mother of the two children taken by their father to Mexico hours after police say he killed the children’s maternal grandparents and an uncle near Queen Creek. Upon being reunited with her children, Acosta lavished praise on the Mexican authorities while making no reference at all to the considerable efforts of U.S. law enforcement.

I wrote that Acosta should show a little appreciation, especially given her status as an illegal immigrant living in Arizona.

Some readers interpreted that as a call for her to be deported to Mexico. To those readers, her status is the trump card that makes her entitled to nothing, not even sympathy.

But as I think of Acosta, I also think of T.W.

T.W. is an aged, arthritic, half-blind, mostly deaf Chihuahua who lives with his master, Connie Sampson, in Chandler.

One June day, T.W. got out of the apartment without Connie’s notice. The dog fell into a lake and began swimming to the far shore. Each time T.W. tried to get out of the lake, he found the bank too steep. The struggling dog soon caught the attention of some people who were having lunch at a restaurant near the lake. Soon, a small crowd gathered on the bank, calling out to T.W. The dog was suspicious of strangers, though, and wouldn’t approach.

Finally, a businessman who had stopped for lunch before going to the airport to catch a flight jumped in and rescued the dog. Another person took the dog to a veterinarian, who treated the dog then sent him to an animal shelter. The folks there got in touch with Connie.

So T.W. and Connie were reunited, thanks to several folks, most notably the soggy businessman.

What’s that have to do with Acosta?

Just this: There were any number of reasons for that businessman not to jump into the lake. . . . And only one reason why he should.

I like to imagine that the businessman carefully considered the many reasons not to jump: It was an old, helpless dog who probably wasn’t going to live much longer anyhow. Jumping in the lake would ruin his expensive suit. He really didn’t have time to get involved. The dog had no business being in the lake in the first place. And, most certainly, it wasn’t his responsibility to rescue the dog.

These are all perfectly acceptable reasons.

But that businessman jumped into the lake anyway.

You see, for a good man—or woman — the trump card is always compassion.

That’s why I believe that Acosta, unappreciative though she may be, should be allowed to stay in Arizona.

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