Views From Within

Internet Political Prophecies And Subversive Material For Cool People

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 Full LA Times Story on Homeless Dumping

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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12 Responses to “Where’s the LOVE?”

  1. grey clay said

    Recent news reports have it that leaders of both major parties in the Congress of the United States, along with CEOs of some major corporations, have agreed that it is time to have health insurance for everyone. I’d like to see a comprehensive plan, although I’m doubtful how comprehensive any plan that would pass Congress would be.

    A question occurs: How will health care be administered to persons who don’t even have a home setting? After all, emergency room visits and visits to physician’s offices won’t take care of recovery, rehabilitation, taking of medications on a schedule, healthy diet, and other outpatient needs that depend on having a stable living sitation. Hopefully those designing health insurance changes won’t ignore the difficulties that homelessness presents.

  2. Hi,

    After all the obligatory statements about how swell it is that your just a big hearted guy, concerned for those with no home, no employment, not enough to eat and no hope, the condition of the have nots is an ancient constant. Jesus said “The poor you have with you always.”

    The natural response that the cause is laziness, drug and alcohol addiction, childlike entitlement mentality and reliance on the soft hearted nature of others to expend their hard earned resources on the most basic care of those who do not, or cannot, help themselves, for whatever reason is understandable.

    Barring charitable provision, there are after all a percentage of people who will never achieve home ownership, steady employment, a savings account or self respect. The converse reality is not, and should not be, the automatic subversion of our system and a safety net equivalent to the average hard working individual who earns the same status.

    America is vastly superior to say, Europe, in charitable giving and privately supported shelters, food banks and social services, all of which are intended to be temporary, not the ultimate in fine living. America does not, however, ask citizens to fund a cradle to grave system of provision for any but the severely physically and mentally handicapped, and should not.

    Every person with no options in life and living on the streets was at one time on par with everyone else. Someones brother, sister son or daughter. Just how the devolution to helplessness occured varies, but one must recognize a series of choices led to the current conditions.

    Collective guilt as motivation to give strains credulity. Here’s an idea. Why don’t we add another payroll deduction entitled “Help for the underpriveleged”? Only a small amount, at first, say $1 per pay period. Maybe a new program, beyond the deep and wide expanse of handouts and perks for the underachieving, and establish give away centers for cash dispersion to only those who can prove they have no home, no job and who don’t intend to start looking anytime soon.

    Stereotyping those who seem to lack sufficient empathy as cold, greedy and selfish brings us back to manipulating others using false guilt.

    Helping the widows, orphans and poor is something everyone does whether they want to or not through taxation. Feeling badly that others suffer is an appropriate emotional response. Implying doing for others what they ought to be doing for themselves is foolish, and destroys badly needed self respect and discourages self reliance.

    We already have a welfare system that subverts the normal course of respectable human existence which includes paying your own way. Let’s not add to that burden the poor already suffer with.

    The anecdotal example you quote is just that. Stiff fines and other penalties accompany neglecting treatment of anyone walking into an emergency room. Completely sufficient welfare is in place and available to those in need.

    You omitted the underlying point of your post: Socialize everything in America. Government should provide homes, employment, free health care and anything else a person might want because it’s the right thing to do, and you just can’t have people walking around uncomfortable and unhappy.

    I completely disagree. What a shock, huh?

    Thanks for listening.

    Hank

  3. grey clay said

    Adequate health care is not available to many; tragically, even many children do not have access to a minimally acceptable level of health care.

    Developing a comprehensive health care plan would not introduce government into any new major areas of involvement. Federal, state, and local governments are already involved in health insurance and medical service provision.

    From a practical standpoint, the inadequacies of the present health care systems end up costing all concerned more. But the human aspects should not be evaluated primarily in monetary terms.

  4. Kurt said

    I’m sorry. When I hear comments like those of icanplainlysee, I just want to get violent. I have always said break down complex matters into the simplest form.
    Situation: There are people who need our help.
    Solution: We help them.
    Now, let’s get to it.

  5. jeremiasx said

    Icanplainlysee actually does have a few valid points…but as a person who HAS seen the limitations of the welfare system, I must disagree as to the availability of help for those who are suffering, and here’s my take on what’s available:

    In the fall last year, my family moved here to Newton County, Arkansas, in the hopes of helping my grandparents to make it…it turned out that their finances were completely strained by the mountains of growing costs which were NOT covered by government care (especially the VA) and we felt it necessary to move out of their home and grab a rental property about a mile away, to be in closer proximity to help but at the same time to make it on our own.

    By our reckoning, we would be able to receive some form of government assistance to help us because my industry tanked the previous year (auto sales) and my wife was waiting for the necessary paperwork to do the home health care for our grandparents and others. (Paid, not just pro bono as we’d been doing thusfar…)

    When we looked into the options for IMMEDIATE assistance in finding a place to live and even emergency food money, there was a mountain of paperwork and layers upon layers of red tape and hoops to jump through, along with the ever looming possibility that the government might not approve of our ability to take care of our child, the light of our lives, and take him away if they saw fit. That didn’t sit well with me…as for it being paranoia, I assure you it’s not because we actually know case workers in the DHS system and have heard of some of the reasons they will take peoples’ kids away…it’s not always about drugs and abuse or neglect…

    Instead of waiting around to find out what would happen if we were to camp out in the city park and wait for help, we chose to move away for a few months and make ends meet on our own (I always know how to make money in a pinch on the traveling shows, carnivals as you’d have it, so I knew I could make a stake and get us back on track on my own.) Eventually we made enough money to move back on our own money and things have been slightly more bearable and tolerable ever since…my wife is working in the health care field like she wanted to (they finally came through with the paperwork a month after we left) and I was able to get enough odd jobs and income to help us make it through the winter.

    My point is this: not everyone has the capital to MAKE IT from the time they fall out of favor with creditors and get their utilities shut off, get evicted, and get their kids taken away while the system decides IF it’s going to help and then HOW it’s going to help…also, once you receive ANY aid from the government you become their chattel…they can do with your family and your freedom as they please. It’s not a good system, and it needs to be fixed.

    It would not take a rocket scientist to figure out that with sufficient funding and staffing, including people who are concerned with seeing people actually SUCCEED instead of becoming permanent welfare cases, we would see some pretty amazing changes and reclamations of those who have fallen through the holes in the floor of this unsound and sometimes unbearable economy.

    I posted a few weeks ago that Bush’s new budget is more preoccupied with military spending than domestic issues, and I”ve seen the evils that this tightening of social programs can inflict upon families who weren’t even “welfare cases” before…my grandparents are a great example…before the massive hospital bills and associated costs diminished their retirements and savings, they were utterly conservative capitalists, business owners and investors, and some of the most outspoken critics of government subsidies and entitlement programs…they believed Reagan should have been deified, they’d gladly admit…for a long time, my grandfather wouldn’t even darken the door of the VA if he could avoid it. He was very much against any type of “hand-out.”

    Most ironically and in the most tragic sense of betrayal of social compact, they have learned the hard way just how important these entitlement programs can be when the broken medical monstrosity that our health care system has become attacks and offends the senses of all reasonable expectations with incredibly high bills and the merciless depletion of personal wealth which invariably ensues…

    I’ve seen more than one good Republican destroyed by the lack of the very entitlement programs they’ve fought so hard to diminish…I know another friend in the town I moved from who lost everything and was bankrupted by bills his insurance wouldn’t cover when his wife succumbed to cancer a few years back…if people who assume these things can’t happen to them look to the future with an open mind, instead of being blinded by the opportunism of the present, perhaps they might see the inherent dangers of such short-sightedness. (This goes for Social Security as well.)

    I don’t imagine that I’m a socialist, I don’t believe that I am…in some ways I’m more reactionary which is actually ultra-conservative, but usually on foreign policy matters and personal liberties and even then when you look at my political philosophy as a whole it’s all just a matter of “labels” that never work in all cases. I believe in what works for the betterment of society…if it’s capitalism and free enterprise in most cases, that’s great…if it’s heavy federal controls on other lifesaving issues and social compacts with the downtrodden and such I’ll go along with that too…I just support the idea of a society which takes care of those who become unable to help themselves…this seems charitable and beneficent to me, and not insidious and overbearing as some would like to presume.

    The poor we always have with us, indeed…but I don’t believe that Jesus meant to just accept it and turn a blind eye…never…here is further evidence of the same.

    Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me…”

  6. I think that the bottom line is that there are Americans who are homeless, hungry and lacking in healthcare in the richest nation in the history of the world. It is an embarassment that we can’t take care of our countrymen.

    President Bush gave hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts to the richest people. But has done not one thing to increase the availability of healthcare to the poor nd working class. In fact, the number of uninsured people has increased dramatically during his presidency. Its nuts.

    Oh, and BILLIONS of dollars were sent in cash to Iraq and its now MISSING. I wonder how many Americans could have been provided housing with that amount of money?

  7. jeremiasx said

    It is a disgrace…and it should be shouted from the rooftops…but again, I have about 10-15 readers per day…sad, huh?

  8. hairybeast said

    jeremia

    you will get more readers because you are doing what you need to do to grow the blog. Put up substantive posts every day – it’s a good sign that readers are commenting – not only to YOU but even to each other. Keep responding to them and they will keep responding back.

    Soon you will have built a community. Good job.

    THB

  9. Hi Jeremias,

    Your response, not your original post, did much more to make your ideas plain and understandable. You provided a broader basis for your positions on the matter and were much more persuasive. While I realize some write just to divest themselves of frustration, you exhibit persuasive ability and a genuineness that’s appreciated.

    Without droning, health coverage is not a guaranteed right of American citizenship. This benefit was offered beginning in the 50’s in leiu of salary increase but has now become the expected provision of employers, though what once was completely paid for is now a shared cost.

    Count me in the “insidious” and “nefarious” camp because of my stated repugnance for government wealth redistribution, which is the only way to view taking from the have’s and handing off to the have not’s.

    I agree, if my family were in the straits some of your family and friends were in, I may drop my principled disagreement and readily recieve someone else’s money to meet my needs. Why pretend I would never? And, I admit even the most hard working and conscientious among us might lose their footing.

    I appreciate your sense of responsibility to your fellow man.

    I also think your writing skills have rolled up a notch. Nice to see such rapid improvements which obviously come from the pleasure you derive from doing it.

    Personally, I love ending sentences in a preposition.

    Hank

  10. jeremiasx said

    And you just did! (“in a preposition”) That was quite talented of you! So glad to have you guys regularly popping in on this blog and offering all the comments…I’ll always try to return the favor.

  11. Homelessness is becoming criminalised. Homeless people are disappearing from the streets. Panhandling in some cities is becoming illegal, and the homeless are getting ticketed for being poor. Loitering, spitting, are things they get ticketed for in some cities, and the rest of the population does not. They are being forced to go into institutions and to be medicated against their wills. They are being forced to show id, and if they don’t their can be hell to pay, and when they do show id, their records are kept and used to push them from one area to the next, or ban then from some areas.

    The poor and homeless are getting snuffed out and we are not noticing it, we are not paying attention to their dissappearences.

  12. jeremiasx said

    This doesn’t surprise me a bit…I heard rumors of the same when I lived on the street.

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