So is this what it finally takes for us to hear the muffled cries of the homeless — an ex-con dead in the snow because it’s against the law for a sex offender to huddle up at either of two Grand Rapids missions?
Thomas Pauli didn’t choose to die alone in the cold.
He apparently froze to death because of a crime he committed nearly 20 years ago, and a law that’s dogged him ever since his release from prison.
In the days prior to the discovery of his body Monday morning at a recycling operation in the 600 block of South Division Avenue, he reportedly attempted to score a bed at either or both the Guiding Light Mission and Mel Trotter Ministries, just blocks away.
But officials at both facilities reluctantly acknowledge they would have turned him away because registered sex offenders can’t reside for even one night within 1,000 feet of a school, in this case, Catholic Central High.
Never mind that school isn’t in session during the hours a guy like Pauli would have been snoozing away on a warm cot.
Or that ex-cons — or anyone else — are more likely a threat to a neighborhood when they have nowhere to go. When they are desperate.