As we saw last month as Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and much of Southeast Texas, when a category 5 storm strikes land, residents have precious little time to find shelter. Every second spent second-guessing or focusing on anything but safety is a second that could lead to casualties.
For Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the desperation of hurricane victims is not a call to save lives but an opportunity to jeopardize them.
The ultra conservative Sheriff who referred to the heinous crimes of Joe Arpaio as a “misdemeanor,” issued an ultimatum to any Polk County victim of Hurricane Irma with an outstanding warrant that if they show up at a shelter, they will be taken to jail. (Tweet below.)
For many who now face the choice of braving the hurricane or going to jail, this could be a death sentence.
Judd’s cavalier condemnation, it should be noted, is not directed at the seediest underbelly of our society or even convicted criminals (he issued a separate earlier tweet for sex offenders). By directing his ultimatum at all with warrants, he is threatening the accused, at suspects, including people with unpaid parking tickets or those who have failed to pay for minor citations.
In other words, he is threatening the poor and putting their lives at risk.
This is what you might expect from a Sheriff who seems to worship President Trump, but you would hope for so much better. You would hope for humanity, civility, and that in this time of great emergency, we could come together out of compassion for our neighbors in need.
Sheriff Judd’s inhumanity is truly despicable. If you are in the path of Hurricane Irma, please tend to your safety first, and if you want to support hurricane recovery efforts, you can find excellent organizations that need help here.
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com