We tend to think of criminals as really bad guys, and sometimes they are. It’s difficult to have sympathy for an individual who murders someone or steals another’s hard-earned money or belongings.
But occasionally, we get a glimpse into the life of ne’er-do-wells that reminds us how they’re people who’ve made poor, irresponsible choices. Just consider the case of a man charged in Robeson County, North Carolina.
His offense was an everyday traffic violation. However, what police discovered led to a whole new raft of charges.
Lopez’s car contained 35 grams of methamphetamine and 98 grams of cocaine. That was enough to get him busted on charges beyond mere possession.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page said that he was “charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, two counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a scheduled II controlled substance, maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Lopez was placed into the custody of the Robeson County Detention Center with a $250,000 secured bond.”
However, the story that captured everyone’s attention had nothing to do with the charges against Lopez. The Sheriff’s Office had shared his mugshot, and his appearance drew gibes galore.
The picture showed a swarthy stocky man with an unshaven face who stared directly into the camera. However, the right side of his skull seemed to be missing, the ovoid shape of his head horribly malformed.
Commenters were merciless. “Orlando?!? Have you lost your mind?” one exclaimed.
“Mind blown, well half of it,” another added. One person wrote, “When Photoshop is actually real!”
But the damage to Lopez’s head was anything but fake and certainly nothing to mock. He likely faced a life-threatening injury at some point and had to undergo a craniectomy.
Verywell Health describes a craniectomy as a procedure used during serious brain surgery. It involves the removal of a section of skull to alleviate pressure — and leaving it off.
“This may be due to trauma to the bone itself, because the brain is too swollen to permit the return of the bone flap, or because the surgeon feels it is in the patient’s best interest. If there is an infection in the area, for example, the bone flap may be discarded,” Verywell Health reported.
Nothing excuses Lopez’s crime. However, he obviously experienced some terrible injury or disease at one point, and it caused suffering that marked him for the rest of his life, which is no cause for mockery.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office seemed to realize the same thing.
It wrote, “EVEN THOUGH THIS INDIVIDUAL HAS BEEN CHARGED FOR COMMITTING A CRIME, HE IS STILL SOMEONE’S CHILD/FAMILY MEMBER.
“IT IS OBVIOUS THAT HE HAS SUFFERED SOME TYPE OF INJURY. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM MAKING JOKES/NEGATIVE COMMENTS. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM MAKING JOKES/NEGATIVE COMMENTS. HAVE A BLESSED DAY.”
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