Where’s the LOVE?
Posted by jeremiasx on February 10, 2007
I rarely choose to quote the Bible in my blogs…but I feel compelled to do so in the case of today’s item of interest that I’m blogging on…the plight of the homeless and downtrodden in today’s society.
Matthew 24:12 “Because iniquity doth abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The source of my general outrage stems from several years of actual first-hand experience with the subject of homelessness…as many of you may or may not know, I was a vagabond for a few years, albeit by choice, which is a far better position than many of the people who live on the streets find themselves in. I’ll not go into the reasons for my personal choice to live amongst the downtrodden, because that is a story for, as they say, another day.
The source of my specific outrage (today) is this story I happened across in the AP breaking news…I don’t know how much mainstream media focus it will get, as most of the newsworthy stories today are eclipsed by the NON-news that Anna Nicole Smith died and now more paternity suits are being filed by her various lovers who are all digging for the same gold that probably led to her untimely demise…the irony runs thick.
This story brings my ire back to the front of my mind when I consider what a needless tragedy this truly is…and apparently it’s not an isolated incident:
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — A hospital van dropped off a paraplegic man on Skid Row, allegedly leaving him crawling in the street with nothing more than a soiled gown and a broken colostomy bag, police said.
Witnesses who said they saw the incident Thursday wrote down a phone number on the van and took down its license-plate number, which helped detectives connect the vehicle to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site.
Police said the incident was a case of “homeless dumping” and were questioning officials from the hospital.
“I can’t think of anything colder than that,” said Detective Russ Long. “There was no mission around, no services. It’s the worst area of Skid Row.”
The last reports (official) that I saw claim that now over 700,000 homeless people exist in the United States. I imagine that’s an understatement because many people like myself never got counted by any census because I didn’t seek any type of aid from the government while living on the street, sometimes it’s less of a hassle to ‘rough it’. Let’s break that number down to try to give you a perspective or how many “confirmed” homeless people are out there…even though geographically speaking, many of you probably never see the homeless with any regularity.
With those numbers…1 out of 428 people in the United States are currently living out in the cold…or roughly .03% of the total population of the U.S.: to put it in a clearer perspective, enough people to populate the city of El Paso, Texas. That’s a lot of homeless people. It’s enough to fill the Superdome 10 times over. Then again, we saw the Superdome filled not long ago with TEMPORARILY homeless folks and saw the way the government didn’t respond in a timely or effective manner to their needs.
What is the solution to homelessness? I don’t know. All I can tell you is what the solution is NOT…
- The solution to homelessness is not to move homeless shelters into obscure and hard to reach areas of a city; such ridiculous reasoning has been implemented in many metropolitan areas in this country. Little Rock, Arkansas is a great example of moving a shelter away from the areas normally habitated by the homeless as a means of obviously trying to sweep the problems of homelessness “under the rug” and therefore gets a big “THUMBS DOWN” from yours truly.
- The solution to homelessness is not to criminalize the feeding of the homeless which is being done in major tourist venues such as Las Vegas and Orlando. In case you didn’t know it…handing a homeless person a sandwich in the park in those cities is actually breaking the law. It’s not against the law to throw bread crumbs to pigeons, but it is against the law to feed a fellow human being. This gets another big THUMBS DOWN.
- The solution to homelessness is not to sit on a moral high horse and show disdain for the plight of those less fortunate and make lofty and factually baseless claims that “no one has to be homeless” because that’s bullshit. There are, believe it or not, many people I met during my time on the street who had absolutely NO safety net to catch them in their fall from society and basically had no other option but to be homeless. Mentally defective and physically handicapped people can easily slip through the cracks when society turns its eye, even for a moment.
- Finally, the solution to homelessness is not to turn a blind eye to this growing tragedy which is an affront to the senses when viewed in light of the fact that we will spend a couple hundred BILLION dollars on a war to “stabilize Iraq” when that same money could equate to $285,7xx dollars per homeless man, woman, and child (to aid in buying each of them small mansions and feeding them steak and lobster dinners every night for a year, perhaps.) I KNOW THIS IS AN OVER-SIMPLIFICATION, an argumentum ad absurdum…I don’t want to hear about how my “logic is flawed.” I’m merely trying to point out the IRONY of what could be done if we diverted funds away from a war which does not, and will not achieve its stated purposes and could be used for much greater causes right here at HOME.
It is a sure sign of the collective goodness of a society or lack of said goodness when one views the plight of the population of a nation at its base, instead of its apex. While folks like John Edwards who “champion the poor” are living in gilded multi-million dollar mansions, there are people literally dying on our streets and if you think it’s not your problem…well…you choose to ignore the crime statistics, increased tax burdens due to ER visits for boils, gout, walking pneumonia, etc., and other various factors (not counting the obvious moral ramifications) that all say that it IS OUR PROBLEM.
Some have said to me, “If you care so much about the homeless, invite them into your home.” This is an absurd argument as well. In the coming weeks there is a (remote) possibility that my own family could be homeless if I can’t find better employment, so I might just use your argument against you when I come knocking on your door. :^P
Thanks for listening.