From my friend Pauline Barraza in California: "Yesterday while driving down the street I saw a woman on a bicycle in obvious distress, and as a result in serious danger of being hit by a car.
"I stopped to help her and she confirmed she was indeed very ill but couldn't articulate what was wrong. Then a fire truck was driving by and I waved them down and the woman went into hysterics at the prospect of the cost of an ambulance ride and hospital visit.
"It was the saddest most heartbreaking thing I've seen in a very long time, and this should not happen. Ever. This is a human being, with feelings, family, friends, and not some abstract freeloading 47 percent-er looking for a handout, and could be you or me."
Good lord, I told her. It's like living in a damn Dickens' novel.