James Richard Verone of Gastonia, N.C., worked for Coca-Cola for 17 years. Diane Turbyfill of the Gaston Gazette reports that when his career as a Coca-Cola delivery man ended some three years ago, Verone was knocked out of his comfort zone. He got another job driving a truck. But that employment didn't have near the longevity, and Verone found himself jobless.
He lived off savings and sought a part-time job. Verone became a convenience-store clerk, not his first choice. But the bending, standing and lifting were too much for him. The man's back ached; problems with his left foot caused him to limp. His knuckles swelled from arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome made daily tasks difficult.
Then he noticed a protrusion on his chest.
Strapped for cash, Verone looked into filing for disability. He applied for early Social Security. The only thing Verone qualified for was food stamps. The extra money helped, but he felt desperate. He needed to get medical attention, and he refused to be a burden on his sister and brothers.
"The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept," he said. "I kind of hit a brick wall with everything."
What did Verone do next? He went about the methodical planning of a bank robbery so that he would get thrown into jail and get medical attention, shelter and food for himself. He robbed a bank for $1 and was promptly put in jail.
Verone expected to be charged with bank robbery, but because he demanded onloy $1, he was charged with larceny from a person. Still a felony, the count doesn't carry as much jail time as bank robbery. He plans to represent himself in court. If the penalty isn't stiff enough to keep him in jail long enough, then he will commit a crime again.
Talk about desperate measures. How sad is it that the only way this man can get the help he needs is by robbing a bank? What are you supposed to do when you have exhausted all options and have nothing left? Universal health care would have helped him on the health front, but what about shelter and having a job? Folks are in dire straits, and unless something is done about chronic unemployment and the ridiculous number of uninsured Americans, then stories like this will continue to surface.
Read more at the Gaston Gazette.
In other news: Clarence Thomas Faces Ethics Questions.