No good deed, it's often said, goes unpunished. The familiar observation is wry almost to the point of cynicism, and it's one Edgar Jackson of Columbus surely understands from experience even if the phrase isn't a regular part of his conversation.
But cynicism is something Jackson obviously won't let himself fall prey to, though God knows he's had good reasons.
Jackson is the owner of East Coast Body Shop on Farr Road, and he restores old bicycles. Thousands of them. He doesn't do this for a living -- cars are his business -- but for children. Since 2011, he's been fixing up bikes for needy children who might not otherwise find much, if anything, on Christmas morning.
"A bicycle perhaps doesn't mean that much to you and I," Jackson said, "but to a child, it means a lot."
Unfortunately, even though Edgar Jackson manages to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long, the Grinches among us are always around to steal Christmas even in July.
Early Tuesday, a thief took 15 bikes valued at about $500 from Jackson's body shop. It was the second such theft in as many years; last September, 14 bikes were stolen from behind a locked wooden fence. This time, the thief cut the lock on a chain that held the bicycles together.
Now Jackson is appealing for our help in helping the community's children. He's not asking for money, or this time even for bikes to restore; what he needs is a more secure place to store the bikes until Christmas so they can delight children rather than support criminals.
"It's just a temporary thing," he said. "It's for the community. It's just a way that an individual can let us use it for the sake of the children."
The case of Oskar Groening is a blood-chilling object lesson in why there is not and should never be a statute of limitations on willful human horror.
Groening, a former sergeant in Adolf Hitler's feared and loathed SS, was convicted Tuesday by a state court in Luenenberg, Germany, on 300,000 counts -- no, that's not a typo -- of accessory to murder. A guard at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, Groening collected and catalogued the money and property stolen from Hungarian Jews before Nazi guards herded them to the extermination chambers.
At 94, it's questionable whether Groening will even begin serving his four-year sentence, much less complete it. The near certainty of an appeal makes it even more improbable.
But it still matters, even after more than seven decades, that human beings are held to account for the grossest acts of inhumanity. Pol Pot's Cambodian killing fields, Josef Stalin's Soviet purges, Hitler's "final solution" are such massive evils as to inflict wounds on the whole human race that time cannot heal.