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[P]
A Man Who Was Homeless

By anon0865 in Culture
Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:57:22 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

We all know of the homeless. Every large city has a group of wandering folk with no home, people that sit on the corners of sidewalks and ask us if we can help a "brother", if we can just "spare a dime". We don't like them because they trap us in between our pity and sympathy for somebody without a home, and our brooding suspicion that they are loafers without a cause, parasites that are leeching off society to fund drug habits. And by and large, I have often wondered where my dimes and quarters have gone in the years before I became indifferent to their pleas.

This is a short story about how I met somebody who was not a homeless man, but rather a man that was homeless.


"WHOA!" I heard somebody yell as I rollerbladed down a hill. I skidded to a stop and turned around. I saw a man who looked about age twenty-eight running up and grinning as he looked at my rollerblades.

He had a neatly shaved head, a clean face, and startlingly green eyes that turned into a piercing shade of gray in the evening sun. His teeth were chipped and worn, but managed to retain some suggestion of ivory.

"I used to skate around on the lakes around here when I was a kid," he reminisced. "I would just stand up and put my arms out and let the wind blow me around."

It made me think about the days of my youth where my father would take me ice-skating on the local pond, with big red mittens and old leather hockey skates.

I balanced myself on the wooden fence separating us, and took a closer look at the man. His eyes gleamed with nostalgia.

"Say," he added. "It must be pretty tough to skate on those things. Do you ever fall?"

I gestured toward my knees and elbow, which were a bit pink from the injury that I had sustained a few weeks earlier.

"Yep," he said sympathetically. "I've got a few scars myself from falling." He pointed to his forearm. I could see the imprint of a long-faded cut running up and down, winding around like an unnatural vein.

"Where'd you get that from?" I asked, my curiosity piqued.

He grinned. "I used to ride a motorcycle," he said.

I've always been very fond of motorcycles, because I think that they represent a kind of freedom, the unbinding of the romantic spirit. They are the faithful horse of the modern man, and every time I see one roar on by, I am disappointed that I do not hear the tell-tale whinny of a stallion running free.

"Do you still motorcycle?" I inquired.

His smile faded, and the gray light in his eyes dimmed. "No," he said. "I lost my old lady, and than I lost my motorcycle, and than...well..." He waved his arm as if to cast off the series of misfortunes that had befallen him. His arm stretched out to the central park in New Haven, where a ring of tents stood like a giant circlet of green and brown mushrooms springing out of the grass.

"Now I'm there," he said with remarkable grace and dignity. "I'm homeless, but I work for a company out in Danbury paving driveways, seven days a week." He glanced over at a tall canvas tent in the distance. "That's where my work partner lives," he said. "I just give my money to him. Give me some time, and I'll have enough to get back on my feet eventually."

The city authorities had closed down the main homeless shelter, and it wasn't opening back up again.

"Aren't there any other shelters open?" I asked. His eyes widened. "There are a few out there," he said. "But they cost money. Most of the homeless don't have the three dollars to get in. And when you get in, they take away your cigarettes and your little possessions, and when you get out, they don't give them back. They tell you when to eat, when to sleep."

"Some of them are like institutions," he added.

"The church is letting us camp on its property," he said. "But we only get another week and a half, because a bunch of people messed up their bathroom with liquor and the Pastor is angry now."

"Well, a church is a holy place," I offered. He nodded emphatically in agreement. "Now whenever we see anyone with liquor, we just kick them right out," he said, illustrating with a swift motion of his leg.

I was silent for a moment. What could I possibly say to a man who had lost his wife, his home, and his vehicle?

"It must be tough," I said feebly. He shrugged philosophically. "It is tough," he admitted in quiet voice. "But I just take it day by day, you know? It'll get better."

"What's your name?" I asked him.

"Scott," he said. We shook hands. His hands were stained by streaks of tar. "The only way to get it out is to wash it out with gasoline," he apologized.

"Pleased to meet you," I said, and we parted.

As I left I realized, in a latent sort of way, that he hadn't asked me for any money. And indeed, he didn't need any of it. How could I possibly help a man who had lost everything that he had ever owned, the tangible possessions of materials and the intangible possessions of love, a man that didn't complain or admit to anything except that, yes, it was tough? He was the tough one, if anything.

He had given me some company in exchange for some of my company- that was that, but it was something more. Somehow it restored some of my faith in man and his ability to get back on his own two feet. I don't aspire to be a homeless asphalt worker, but I now believe that there is a good deal that we can learn from those who are put by chance in that position.

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A Man Who Was Homeless | 277 comments (258 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
Thanks for sharing. Well written. FP [nt] (2.37 / 8) (#3)
by SaintPort on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:36:23 PM EST



--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

Topical vs. Editorial (2.50 / 8) (#29)
by LilDebbie on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:32:08 PM EST

Your comment should have been editorial. Now it will stay with the story if it makes it out of the queue. Sorry for being a pedantic bastard but just keep that in mind for future comments.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I've considered your opinion... (1.50 / 2) (#86)
by SaintPort on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:44:06 AM EST

And I stick with topical.  I want to thank the author for his story and talent.

And I do not want the comment to disappear into the ether, as I might if I had said, "Excuse me, but you misspelled $whatever".

But your opinion does not make you a bastard.  You just do not appreciate my style.  I can live with that, and learn from it.

Have a nice day.

--
Search the Scriptures
Start with some cheap grace...Got Life?

[ Parent ]

It doesn't disappear (none / 0) (#140)
by J'raxis on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:49:28 PM EST

It does not disappear, it is just hidden by default. Set the View pulldown to All comments and it will appear even after the story is posted.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

-1 goes to Diary (1.17 / 17) (#4)
by tranx on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:50:21 PM EST

Wait... is already there.


"World War III is a guerrilla information war, with no division between military and civilian participation." -- Marshall McLuhan

Chicken Soup For The Digital Soul (3.42 / 14) (#5)
by krek on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:56:01 PM EST

Nicely done! Bravo!

There are three types of homeless in my experience: the bums who were too lazy or angry to help themselves, these are the ones you find asking for change; the people who are just not mentally stable enough to care for themselves and 'slipped through the cracks', these are the guys you see running after people with dead rats and preaching the end of the world; and, finally, those who were just too proud to have asked for any help, these are the people who both need and deserve our help, but, they will never ask for it, you rarely see these guys on the street.

I am not saying that the crazies do not need or deserve help, just that they are probably beyond help, and putting them in an institution does not seem like help to me, nor to many of them either. Until our society is better equiped, both technically and morally, to deal with the mentally unbalanced, perhaps they are better off on the street.

As for the bums, perhaps there is a bit of Darwinian Poetic Justice to it all, but that just seems a bit harsh, personally, I consider them as less sever cases of the mentally unbalanced.

there is still a problem (3.42 / 7) (#15)
by metagone on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:22:01 PM EST

see it is true that some bums are just lazy. but even if everyone tried to get a job the way the employement system works in the western world is that no matter how hard we try the system needs some people to be unemployed. besides there is always the practical reasons. there will always be someone that is fired on any given day except maybe holidays.

it is a sad system that is met to recycle the employement force. that is everyone should at one time or another have oppurtunity for employement. but the truth of it is that if your timing isnt right, your set of skills doesnt match the requirements or any other set of conditions to land a job, you will NOT get one. or if you get a job it is shitty and doesnt pay enough to get a decent place to live and food for yourself. though minimum wage is supposed to fix this. that is minimum wages should in theory allow any one to live at sub-optimal but within the range of standard living in a country. in practise that isnt true. minimum wage doesnt take into consideration our potential needs and requirements. medical. dietary etc. it is a sad situation. either you are constantly aware of changes in the economy which is close to impossible at any level but global levels (like when markets fluctuate...being aware of job oppurtunities as they are available BEFORE the news papers). or you give up. live as a bum. waste away.

in many ways it isnt the bum'st. but it is the bum's fault. because we can't blame luck since luck isnt a person or a tangible thing that can be sued. :(

.
.
[ Parent ]

that is not the problem (2.00 / 3) (#49)
by NightHwk1 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:49:19 AM EST

I don't believe there is really a lack of jobs available. Anyone can go out and dig holes, or sweep floors, or serve fast food.

The real problem is that the people who beg for change on the streets -will not work-. You could give them a new set of clothes and offer them a job, but they would turn it down.

Most homeless people do have jobs of some kind, like the guy in this article. It may even be their own choice to not take part in the same society as the majority of us. Usually, the ones you see are just too lazy to do anything else.

--
Jon
BandedArtists.com

[ Parent ]

I knew a guy (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by krek on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:40:54 AM EST

He was a first rate looser.

During the three years that we were aquainted, he got and lost four jobs. One was washing cars, but his boss was a dick, so he quit; One was doing city park work, but they would not let him use the truck for his own use, so he quit; One was as a security guard at a university, but his co-workers were not young enough, so he quit; and the last never really made it to the job level, he managed to get a bank to loan him fifteen hundred or two thousand dollars or so and enrolled in a transport truck driving school, he dropped out with four days out of eight weeks remaining, he says he probably was not going to pass anyway. He also, at one time sunk about four hundred dollars a friend of his loaned him into one of those door-to-door salesman scams, he made exactly one sale, to the friend that had originally loaned him the money.

For the whole three years that I knew this guy he always blamed someone else, the system was set against him, his boss is a dick, the standards are too high. But, in his defence, apparently his parents never really treated him well as a kid, and they were always on welfare, so it is not really very surprising that he turned out this way.

[ Parent ]
No Excuses (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by rdskutter on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:39:13 AM EST

But, in his defence, apparently his parents never really treated him well as a kid, and they were always on welfare, so it is not really very surprising that he turned out this way.

Great, there's no-one else to blame for his fuck-ups so blame his parents. Its his own fault that he never took the responsibility to manage his own life properly.


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE
[ Parent ]

It is not an excuse (4.00 / 3) (#89)
by krek on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:53:06 AM EST

It is a reason.

If a child has never been, in any way, exposed to responsible and reasonable behaviour, you cannot really expect that child to devolop into a responsible and reasonable adult. It does not excuse anything, it is just a reason.

[ Parent ]
Great point (4.00 / 2) (#111)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:12:30 PM EST

Great point. That is a very good reason why, morally, the poor simply must not be abandoned. It is our duty as a society to reduce poverty, because the children at the lowest rungs of the ladder do not have the same chances in life. Even if you think that some poor people deserve their fate in life (and I have some sympathy with this view in extreme cases, although I don't agree with it), surely their children do not.

In fact, studies show that reducing inequality is actually more cost effective at improving equality of opportunity than just funding special "at risk" programmes in schools and community centres, etc. I don't mean to diss these social programmes: some of them can still be a very good fallback, and can have a real positive impact. Indeed they are an integral part of reducing poverty and social exclusion (i.e. things like "sink estates" where kids have nothing constructive to do).


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

I know a guy like this (2.00 / 1) (#139)
by tzanger on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:46:19 PM EST

For the whole three years that I knew this guy he always blamed someone else, the system was set against him, his boss is a dick, the standards are too high.

I have a family member like this. (Not by blood) And it wasn't his parent's fault. His sister turned out wonderful. It's always someone else's fault in his eyes.



[ Parent ]
Sounds like he needs help (4.00 / 1) (#149)
by zocky on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:50:08 PM EST

He seems not to be able to hold down a job. But you know, it MAY not be his fault, really. He may have ADD, he may have a little fault in his brain or anything.

The thing is, there are many many people like that. Some just too stupid, some too hyperactive, others with other reasons that make them unemployable at a privately owned business. They make up a significant percentage of population.

We can either let them be and turn into homeless people that we can complain about, put them on welfare and complain about our taxes (forgetting that a single bomber could feed entire countries for a year) or employ them in the public services and let them feed themselves.

The problem is that for this to work public services should be organized in a way that allows that kind of people to work (short and flexible hours, non-time-critical tasks, not much personal responibility). That of course doesn't fit in with the current trend of privatizing public services and making them profitable.

As an aside: if public services like phone, water, roads, railroads, buses, gas and the health system aren't SUPPOSED to lose money then what on Earth are taxes for?

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

You are out of touch with reality (3.66 / 3) (#106)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:03:03 PM EST

What about the long-term unemployed? Apart from the ones who are unable to work due to illness or disability, are they all feckless, irresponsible, lazy good-for-nothings too? That would seem to follow from your logic.

I know for a fact that is not true.

Besides, how do you explain variations in unemployment figures? Seasonable variations are due to variations in the amount of jobs available due to the fact that labor demand varies seasonally in certain sectors. Other variations may be due to "good" or "bad" monetary policies, the state of the economy, or "good", "bad", or non-existent government programmes to lift people out of poverty and/or unemployment. I think if you went to any economist and said that unemployment is entirely a function of the quantity of lazy people in society, and no other factor, you'd be treated like some kind of lunatic.

It is my firm belief that people who think the long-term unemployed are all lazy, do not understand basic economics.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

It has been my observation (4.00 / 2) (#136)
by krek on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:06:23 PM EST

that there are more employed lazy people than unemployed ones. In fact, I just watched these two women walk by my cubicle for what seems like the nineteenth time today, these two, all they ever seem to do is walk around talking, going to get coffee, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and eating snacks. I have no idea where they actually work, where their cubicles are, because I have never seen them do anything other than actively avoid work.

The thing is, everyone here is like that, those women just happen to be rather extreme examples. When you walk around well over half of the employees are just standing around with a coffee in their hand chatting to other employees who also have coffee in their hands, of the other half, half seem to be browsing the web or just pretending to work, a quarter are sitting in meetings, and the rest can't usually be found. There only ever seems to be around half a percent of the people doing actual work, the kind where they actually look like they are thinking about something or have a look of concentration on their faces.

It seems that the main business of business is to waste peoples time.

As for seasonal workers, I know a bunch who would never take a full time job, regardless of what it pays. Being on unemployment, getting paid for sitting on your ass for six months, through the winter no less, is just, in their opinons, way better than additional pay. I can understand that, in fact, I envy it. It irritates the hell out of me that they get paid for doing nothing, and at the same time I have to recognize that there are simply some jobs that are seasonal, and most of them need to be done. Still irritating though.

[ Parent ]
i tried not to say (3.00 / 1) (#206)
by metagone on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:46:51 PM EST

that there werent people who were really lazy. what i tried to say is that the way employement works in the western world or anywhere on earth for that matter is that there will always be a group of people who are under-utilized or unable to get a job. whether they are lazy or not doesnt even matter. it is a fact of the system. people that use that as an excuse have some legitimate claim, but it is an excuse none the less which they use to justify their inaction.

the best thing is to keep trying. but that for some people is hard. there is one thing to have faith in god for example. but to have faith in the fact that you will eventually get a job is a much harder faith to have. though i guess if you are religious you can use your faith in god by-extension to give you faith in the possibility of a job soon. are bums religious do you think?
.
[ Parent ]

Type number one (3.75 / 4) (#54)
by gazbo on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:28:20 AM EST

I agree with the classifications. Unfortunately, by far the most common is type number one. Furthermore, many of these are not even homeless; for the past five years I have seen one man appear at a cashpoint in town early December, telling his sob story about how he's just lost his house and job, and isn't that terrible at Christmas? After Christmas he's gone again for the year.

It is these people who ensure that I never give money directly to beggars. Never. Sure, I'll give money to a homeless charity to build shelters or whatever, but I never give to the people on the streets, as they almost never deserve it.

It was the end of this story where he says how he wasn't asked for money that interested me. In Sheffield if a person comes up to you in the street and says anything at all then you know from the outset that you will ultimately be asked to give them money. Pretty fucking sad state of affairs really.

-----
Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

Sheffield Beggars (3.33 / 3) (#56)
by rdskutter on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 05:41:24 AM EST

I've noticed recently that the story starts with "I'm not a beggar but.." and normally goes on to mention at least one of the following:

  • I'm in breach of my bail conditions if I don't get back to <other city> before <some time> tommorow morning and I'm <some random amount of money> short of a train fare.
  • I've just finished a twelve hour shift and I've not got enough money for my bus fare home. (This man has approached me more than once on different days always carrying a hi-reflective yellow workman's vest.) He got quite hostile when I said "You're a liar, you approached me about a week ago with the exact same story."
  • I'm a big issue seller - *look I've got this scragy torn big issue ID card and I just happen to be holding it with my thumb over the photo.* Some other geezer nicked all my Big Issues when I went for a piss and now I haven't got enough money to get back to Leeds. (if you live in Leeds the why are you selling Big Issues in Sheffield?)??

Sometimes I think I should give them money just for trying so hard, but it really pisses me off when someone approaches me telling the same story as before. How hard is it to remember who you've already asked?


If you're a jock, inflict some pain / If you're a nerd then use your brain - DAPHNE AND CELESTE
[ Parent ]

Once (3.66 / 3) (#71)
by krek on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:28:15 AM EST

A guy stumbled up to some friends and I and said to us, "Spare some change, I'm not drunk enough yet!"

We each pulled out a couple bucks and gave it to him. None of us had ever heard that line before, and it was almost pleasant having someone be honest with you. It was the only time I have ever given any money.

[ Parent ]
pretty damn hard. (3.00 / 2) (#105)
by EriKZ on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:02:14 PM EST


Why should they remember you? You're just a target with cash.

I once was leaving a video store and stopped a guy to ask for directions to the nearest cash machine. I thought he was scruffy, but I didn't think he was a beggar on the account that he had TWO hearing aids.

After giving me directions to a nearby store he begged for a dollar "For his morning coffee". I figured "Why not" and gave him a buck.

After visiting the ATM, I was walking out of the store 10 minutes later. On the way back to my car I ran into him again and he started in with the "Do you have any spare change?"

I was surprised. "Hey man, you already got me."

I'm not giving another penny to beggars. If I can't find a job soon I'll be out on the streets in another two months.

[ Parent ]

Reason For Not Asking For $ (3.23 / 21) (#6)
by The Turd Report on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:56:19 PM EST

As I left I realized, in a latent sort of way, that he hadn't asked me for any money.

That is because he lifted your wallet while giving you his story. ;)

not funny... (3.50 / 4) (#42)
by ryochiji on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:49:36 PM EST

I'm assuming your comment was meant to be funny, but it only strengthens stereotypes and runs contrary to the gist of this story. Granted, a large portion of the homeless may be petty criminals, but that's far from being a general truth. Some people are unlucky, some people are lazy, and some people simply choose to be homeless. You don't have to give them anything, but the least you could do is to not equate them with thieves.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]
But most of them (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by skim123 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:00:17 AM EST

Just ask for $2 because their wallet was stolen and they need bus fare to get back home.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Must happen a lot (2.50 / 2) (#82)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:30:16 AM EST

Because I see the same people all the time. I guess all the money they get (and they do get money) gets stolen again before they can buy their bus ticket.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
A tale of woe (2.50 / 2) (#92)
by skim123 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:01:52 PM EST

I guess all the money they get (and they do get money) gets stolen again before they can buy their bus ticket.

Stolen by the guy who works at the liquor store, and all they get in return is a bottle of delicious burboun.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
very funny...... (none / 0) (#147)
by Mclaren on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:30:48 PM EST

i got a chuckle out of it. relax, he probobly didn't realize this guy was your cousin

[ Parent ]
Tough (3.00 / 9) (#7)
by dinu on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 04:57:34 PM EST

It is tough for people like this. What is tougher is that have paracticaly almost no asistance. What is the society doing for the ones that want to make it up again? Almost nothing! Would you pay 0.5% more tax just to give them a chance? Probably not.

Keeping out of the way (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by godix on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:05:09 PM EST

"What is the society doing for the ones that want to make it up again?"

Not throwing them in jail, killing them, or making it so hard to get a job them MUST resort to crime. That right there makes modern society better than almost any past society in any country. Letting a man who wants to raise himself up do so is indeed a form of help.


Don't mind the plummeting noise, mojo always makes that sound after I post.


[ Parent ]
Millions of people already do... (3.14 / 7) (#32)
by NaCh0 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:41:56 PM EST

Just look at Europe.

Socialism at its best.
--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]

Assistance at whose expense? (4.33 / 3) (#113)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:17:25 PM EST

No, I would not pay a dime in additional taxes to give the homeless "a chance". Chances are to be taken, not handed out; help should be offered freely, not under threat of the government's guns.

Yes, I had help in getting where I am. But I never forced anybody to help me, and I never gave people the impression that they were obligated to help me. And when they freely chose to help me, I repaid them. Your tax to "help" the homeless would steal not only the money of the taxed but their right to choose whether to help the homeless or stay out of the way. It is not your place to make me somebody else's keeper, Dinu, no matther what your motives.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
I know Scott (2.45 / 11) (#8)
by hobo willy on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:00:32 PM EST

He makes an excellent Mulligan stew, and he'll never filch your bedding even when he's sleeping in the most terrible filth.

A good man, indeed, but he doesn't have much fashion sense.  Anyway, glad to see my fellow hobos grabbing the spotlight, even if only for a moment  in a boring article on an inconsequential website.

Those who deserve it (2.26 / 19) (#9)
by theElectron on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:07:03 PM EST

The problem with helping the homeless is that about 33% of them practice crime as a way of life, 33% are mental defectives, 33% are lazy, shiftless bums, and about 1% actually need/deserve the kind of help currently being provided.

--
Join the NRA!
The real problem (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by behindthecurtain on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:58:35 PM EST

Do you honestly believe the majority of homeless people who do use criminal means to get by actually enjoy it? I'm sure a great many of them would let go of that life if they could. Of course, many try and many don't make it because of alcohol/drug problems, mental problems, etc. So what's your brilliant solution? Stick all them dirty criminals in jail?

They all deserve your compassion, your love.

[ Parent ]

Take away free will (3.00 / 4) (#22)
by theElectron on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 06:27:57 PM EST

And all you've got left is a bunch of really lame excuses.

And yes, jail is a pretty traditional mitigation to the problem of crime.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

hmm (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by 5pectre on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:15:23 PM EST

and you'd prefer to pay to keep them in jail instead of paying to rehabilitate and help them?

your tax dollars/pounds pay for it either way.

jail is a short term solution, what are you going to do when they get out? most likely they'll receive no assistance and be back on the streets within days and eventually end up back in jail again.

its a pretty short sighted solution if you ask me.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Yes (3.00 / 4) (#35)
by theElectron on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:17:39 PM EST

jail is a short term solution

Good point. That's why we also have prisons.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

heh (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by 5pectre on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:37:39 PM EST

and you think you aren't paying for that?

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
Worth every penny (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by theElectron on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 11:27:37 PM EST

Sure they spend too much money on prisoners, but I'd rather have my tax dollars keeping them in the cage they've made for themselves rather than paying them to con their way though some farcical rehabilitation.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]
cost (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by 5pectre on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:50:56 AM EST

it costs roughly 60GBP per day to keep a person locked up. that's 21,900GBP per year and 547,500GBP for a 25year sentence, are you saying that a harmless drug dealer should be sent to prison for 25years at a cost of over half a million pounds to the taxpayer when no real benefit will be gained? it would be cheaper to put them up in a bedsit. rehabilitation costs less, lasts for a shorter time and the benefits are long lasting.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
Homeless costs. (none / 0) (#142)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:55:38 PM EST

It costs about $50,000 (That's in US dollars) per homeless person to provide the kind of facilities for the homeless that most cities provide. Looks like we'd be better off putting them all in jail.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#143)
by 5pectre on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:59:03 PM EST

that's about 10,000GBP more. sounds a bit excessive, what do they spend it on? it costs me 45GBP per week to house myself. where did you get that figure from?

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
Lucky you (none / 0) (#144)
by omrib on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 05:03:20 PM EST

You don't eat, pay bills or council tax, and your rent is 200GBP a month? You must be the luckiest person in the world!

[ Parent ]
indeed (none / 0) (#152)
by 5pectre on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:26:30 PM EST

I don't pay council tax (i'm a student). I have one room in shared private accomodation. I spend about 30GBP/week on food. I pay for electricity on a meter. ADSL is split between all of us in the house. Water is included into the rent. We don't use gas.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
Mostly on salaries... (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by zocky on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:58:44 PM EST

...of people working on the projects, I guess.

$50.000 a year is a ridiculous figure. That's $200.000 a year for a four-member family. People who work don't make that much. If they really are spending that money on homeless people, it would be more economical to buy them nice appartments and give them $3.000 in welfare every month for the rest of their lives.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

indeed [n/t] (none / 0) (#153)
by 5pectre on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:30:12 PM EST



"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
money per homless (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by jmd2121 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:59:47 PM EST

I've read that in SF,CA,USA -- the official estimate is about 30K USD/homeless person.

[ Parent ]
you must not get scam pitches as much as I do. (4.21 / 19) (#10)
by memfree on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 05:07:11 PM EST

The number of scam artists in my town(s) has rendered me remorseless when passing by on folks begging for money. In your story no money is ecxchanged. My stories tend to go like this: Guy claims he's a student from the 'burbs, his wallet is lost, and he needs train fare home. I offer a ride, he tells me that I shouldn't offer rides to strangers -- it is too dangerous. I spend 10 minutes arguing that I will take the risk and do him a 'favor', but I won't give him cash. After a half hour, he eventually leaves saying HE won't ride with strangers. The following week, he tries the exact pitch on me AGAIN. I tell him so, and laugh while saying I can STILL give him a ride to the 'burbs.

Woman begs for money food. I have food in my hand. I ask her if she'd like the food I have. Sure, sure, she says. I give it to her. I go to get more for myself, and as I'm rounding the corner, I look back to see her throwing the food AWAY so she can keep begging for money. I never give her anything again.

Woman bums cigarette. OK, I'll give that up. Not healthy for either of us, but direct and to the point. She then proceeds to others and begs for change. I move off, but return about 15 minutes later. She automatically asks me for chage when I return, and (fed up with this sort of thing) loudly announce, "F--k No. I already gave you a smoke." She retorts that she'd have paid me if she could, and I reply that she CAN, but she WON'T. At this point, she moves off because I'm messing with her game instead of being a good little mark.

Then there are the addicts and mental cases. I have actually stood and talked to a violent schizophrenic (judging by behavior) just to keep him from getting into fights for a while. It only worked for about 10 minutes. He'd been in people's faces when i arrived, and took off to get in someone's face when he was bored of talking with me. Some college boy knocked him down for harassing a woman wearing fur. Lots of blood. There are other examples, but I'm already going on too long. Point is: some folks are down on their luck, some won't be able to get back up by themselves, and some folks are just feeding you a line to get what they can.

actually (4.00 / 6) (#30)
by anon0865 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:33:01 PM EST

I worked for a long time in Detroit, and I live in New Haven. Believe me, I've heard it all. I think that was the chief surprising thing about this person- I couldn't believe that:

a) He didn't want anything
b) He actually had a job

Considering that so many of the other homeless are simply putting on appearences, it was very refreshing for a change.

[ Parent ]

it takes all kinds (3.25 / 4) (#38)
by majik on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:38:47 PM EST

i actually had a similar experience to you. i randomly met a homeless guy who actually enjoyed the life he was living. he was just content to drift to where ever, do what ever, etc. granted things are probably easier for the bums out here in SoCal, where the winters don't get too cold. but yeah, no request for cash and actually offered ME a cigarette! go figure.
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
[ Parent ]
Working is not such a surprise... (4.00 / 4) (#45)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:45:19 AM EST

Some estimates place the number of working homeless in the States at as much as 40% of the homeless population. Which is backed up by this survey for the costs of accomodation in the States - suggesting multiple minumum wages are necessary to rent in some places.



[ Parent ]
Ha (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:45:54 PM EST

Take that Mr. T.R. "Poverty does not exist in the US" Hurler!


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Great book... (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:53:25 PM EST

There is an excellent book about this called 'Nickle and Dimed' it tells the story of a reporter who decided to drop it all, and try to survive on minimum wage crap jobs for a few months. She tells the stories of the people she met, their situations, how her own experiences went, etc... It's very very revealing to find out that you can work 2 jobs, and 60+ hours a week total and not be able to afford more than a small room and a small car. And you HAVE to have a car because you are working after buses stop running, or away from places where the buses run, etc...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Scam Pitches in NYC (4.60 / 5) (#73)
by djdavetrouble on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:35:21 AM EST

In New York City, the big dirty apple, we certainly have a huge homeless population. Many seem to fend for themselves, others beg, some rob and steal. There is a certain breed however that ride the subway trains and have developed highly specialized techniques. I have watched these people operate and have come to the conclusion that their annual income is way more than mine. Here, for your pleasure, are a few of the classics: The plainly dressed woman: She doesn't look homeless. She has clean, normal clothes, clean hair, eyeglasses. Look at her hands though: they are calloused and filthy, the hands of a crack addict perhaps. Instead of a speech for all to hear, she approaches individuals with a quiet, embarrased, mousy facade, and mumbles how someone has stolen her wallet. This approach is very effective, I have never seen anyone give her just change, she gets dollars and lots of them, some fools give her fives and tens. She approached me and I asked her (loudly) how her wallet got stolen 3 days in a row, then announced to anyone standing nearby "her wallet gets stolen every day". She didn't say anything, but moved away from me very quickly. Still, the sheer numbers of people riding the train insure that she has a fresh crop each and every day. The entertainer: there are lots of these, and I actually appreciate these types, because hey, the subway is a miserable place, so why not sit down and watch a show for a few minutes. Some of the regulars you will see on you ride: Chap-Man: The bedreaded guitar player who plays one song per train car, wouldn't you know it if you saw a year since you last show, he's still raspily singing that same Tracy Chapman song. The three part harmony: These guys are great, one of them is at least 6'6" and barely fits on the train, you hear them before they even get to your car, singing spiritual favorites in amazing harmony. Usually 'This Little Light of Mine'. They get props. The Classic: He plays on the well heeled 6 line, which ferries white collar types up and down the east side. He looks to be of russian descent, and plays, what else, the violin. He softly works his way through classical favorites, and those that are wearly of the urban boom bip easily give up their dollars for the soothing accompaniment to their otherwise harsh subway ride. Breakin' Too: There are a few of these crews, since it has proven to be a winner. Usually 1 big kid and two smaller younger kids. They take turns dancing to the beats of their boom box, and have some amazing acrobatic moves where the big kid flips one of the little kids up to slap the roof of the car. They also do this amazing move where 2 of them link together in a circle (imagine a non-sexual 69, maybe?) and roll down the length of the car, deftly steering around the poles. It is incredible. They get lots of money, and work for every cent of it. Braxton: This guy will STOP playing his saxamaphone if you give him money. He has alien antennae on his head and is certifiably funny. I am not buying drugs or alcohol with this money: "Hi people, sorry to disturb you, I have been homeless for 5 years, and the shelter that I was in just closed down. If you have any change at all I would appreciate it if you could help me out. I need (medicine, surgery, etc), I am not using this money to buy wines or drugs, It costs (X amount) to get a room for the night and I almost have enough. If you have any food you could spare, that would be most appreciated too." This person is most certainly using the money for drugs and alcohol. Anyway, no matter what the schtick is, you can be sure that they have perfected it and that you will see them 5 years from now, STILL homeless, STILL telling the same old story to a new batch of rubes.
dig and be dug in return
[ Parent ]
Dude (none / 0) (#167)
by jcolter on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 12:18:56 AM EST

I live in NYC myself (Bushwick).  The sax guy was probably the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life.  I was on the 4 train and it was the evening rush hour.  When he started playing that sax I thought peoples' would lose their shit.

The flying kids are great, and I usually see them on the J in the afternoon.  The poster is right it is worth a buck or so everytime (market rate, not sympathy).

[ Parent ]

important distinction... (4.50 / 2) (#104)
by RevLoveJoy on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:00:46 PM EST

I grew up in Los Angeles; when I was in college there were a lot of "homeless" people around Westwood due to the great climate and the outrageously naive college population.

The important distinction in a place like this is that you have bums (basically, your box of mixed chocolates: mental patients, alcoholics, druggies, too lazy to work types, etc.) and you have an equal (or greater!) number of professional panhandlers.

Now the bums, if you kept your eyes open, you would come to recognize. There were about 20 or so in the dozen blocks that formed the "college town" of Westwood around the university campus. After a year you would recognize them. They were the same faces, usually talking to themselves about the same things.

The panhandlers would vary. They were easy to spot, but they didn't stick around. These guys (almost all men) are right up in your face with their practiced hard luck, no car, ran outta gas, wife forgot to pick me up after work need to take the bus story. After about 2 days you can spot them coming a mile away. They prey on young kids with mom & dad's money who don't know enough about the world to say, "hey buddy, piss off."

A number of television "exposes" have it that these people take in hundreds of dollars a day. Who knows if that is true, I have never asked.

If you have ever lived in the city, you know what I'm talking about. I liked your post, but I thought it was an important distinction to make.

Cheers,
-- RLJ

Every political force in the U.S. that seeks to get past the Constitution by sophistry or technicality is little more than a wannabe king. -- pyro9
[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#252)
by vile on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:19:36 PM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2002/9/23/162527/419/247#247

I've learned my lesson, too.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
How clever (none / 0) (#271)
by 6secretways on Sun Sep 29, 2002 at 02:31:06 PM EST

How clever of you, you out-witted a homeless person. Let the patting yourself on the back begin.

[ Parent ]
For some reason... (2.64 / 17) (#24)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 07:08:50 PM EST

For some reason, I kept thinking this would turn into a gay sex story by the end. Not like I've ever read one BTW, but I'm just saying.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
were you hoping that? (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by anon0865 on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:45:27 PM EST

Subconscious desires in the reader, you know [j/k]

[ Parent ]
heh (2.66 / 3) (#36)
by majik on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:31:37 PM EST

with a name like captainsuperboy, what would you expect?
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
[ Parent ]
Best thing I ever heard from a homeless dude... (2.00 / 9) (#39)
by skwelch on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:47:28 PM EST

What's Mozart's favorite food?
BA-NA-NA-NAAAA
I'm not sure if he meant Beethoven, but that guy ruled. Like my comment, this article lacks a real point, maybe expand on the homeless situation around you and why the city shelter was closed.

A man who is homeless (3.00 / 4) (#46)
by Apuleius on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:09:20 AM EST

Has a Blog, thanks to the local library.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
sydney (4.50 / 6) (#47)
by blisspix on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:35:48 AM EST

the really shifty 'homeless' here make it to the papers. everyone knows their stories. oh, I need money to get a train to coffs harbour/byron bay/ Newcastle, my wife left me, etc etc. Crap.

I really hate the people who sit on corners with their clean shaven hair, brand new jumpers and sneakers, and the little bits of cardboard, identical to everyone else, saying 'I need money so I can go to centrelink/get a job/get home'. Why don't you sell your brand new Nikes first, fool! They're not the real homeless.

There's this woman who rides the trains asking for money for her baby. It's all a sham and she's been banned from riding trains 5 times, yet she still persists, with those in the know heckling her as she asks unsuspecting tourists for money.

The fake homeless make me sick. It just makes it that much harder for me to give to someone who really IS homeless, because how can I tell they're not just spinning a line too?

i've seen that woman... (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by Lester Walker on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:33:38 AM EST

Infact, I gave her 50 cents..

bugger.


[ Parent ]

The clean bird gets the job (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by chigaze on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:15:38 AM EST

I really hate the people who sit on corners with their clean shaven hair, brand new jumpers and sneakers, and the little bits of cardboard, identical to everyone else, saying 'I need money so I can go to centrelink/get a job/get home'. Why don't you sell your brand new Nikes first, fool! They're not the real homeless.

If they really are aiming to get a job they would be a fool to give up any new clean cloths they have. One of the biggest obstacles homeless people have getting jobs is lack of personal care. If you're dirty and wearing old, worn clothes then you are unlikely to get past the door with most employers.

So perhaps the people you've seen are homeless and are just trying to get a job. They've saved what they can to get cleaned up and presentable for the interview and now they just have to get there.


-- Stop Global Whining
[ Parent ]
sell my Nikes? Fuck you. (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by Perianwyr on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:35:00 PM EST

The LAST thing I'd sell is my shoes. Shoes (well, shoes, decent jeans, and a good hooded sweatshirt) are the true fortress of the wanderer. If he's *smart*, he got the best picks of the thrift store castoffs. They look pretty good, don't they? Also, Nikes that may look new to you are probably secondhand- note that the resale value on shoes drops to near-nothing on the second owner, since shoes are a fashion-driven item.

[ Parent ]
The contradiction (3.14 / 7) (#48)
by kholmes on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:37:00 AM EST

"How could I possibly help a man who had lost everything that he had ever owned, the tangible possessions of materials and the intangible possessions of love, a man that didn't complain or admit to anything except that, yes, it was tough? He was the tough one, if anything."

In your honesty, you made a philosophical statement. I'm not sure if you're aware of it however.

You will eventually make a judgement if you and him are equals or if you are better than him. If you and him are equals, you won't give him anything without getting something in return. If you are better than him, then you may give him something hoping that he would make it up to your level.

This is why I don't give away money to people I meet on the street. Because I don't see myself as any better than people on the street. And if I was homeless, I wouldn't bum unless I consider myself lesser to other people.

Life isn't fair but I put human dignity before life.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

Dignity (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by RoOoBo on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:25:16 AM EST

Life isn't fair but I put human dignity before life.

What a pity that you can't eat dignity or use it at cold days.

I think most people uses to put life before dignity. Perhaps because without life there is no dignity either.

For me it would be better if this choice was not possible in any case. Why not both? Black and white arguments are proved to be wrong most of the time. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your dignity for your life, and you shouldn't have to sacrifice your life for your dignity.



[ Parent ]
A small question: (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:11:33 PM EST

What's the point of living without pride or dignity?

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Dignity (3.00 / 1) (#124)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:55:18 PM EST

When you assume that people in this situation lack dignity, that is your subjective assessment of the situation. It is not objective fact.

If you should read a few articles about real homeless beggars, in many cases you will find stamina, humor, and lots of dignity.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

A quick clarification. (3.00 / 1) (#125)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:02:17 PM EST

I don't think, QuickFox, that I made any assumption when I asked if there was a point to living without dignity or pride. On the other hand, you're right in that assumptions do not qualify as fact. However, I'll pass on reading about beggars; a new issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal came in the mail today and I've yet to get past Chapter 3 of Wolfram's A New Kind of Science.

Worse, I'm still in the middle of writing the first scene of chapter 2 of Voices from the Past.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Survival (none / 0) (#128)
by RoOoBo on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:07:02 PM EST

There is no law in nature (even in human nature) that says that for surviving you must have pride. And as any other living mean humans use to tend to survive (with some rare exceptions, I don't see suicide rates going so high to be seriously considered, and many suicides or suicides attempts are more to call attention that to truly end their own live).

Pride or dignity are human - culture, society - inventions. The world is plenty of examples of people living without 'dignity' or 'pride' that you talk about. What was the 'dignity' of living as slave in the ancient age, what is the 'dignity' of being a war refugee.

For 'living' you only need a bit of water, food and some hours of sleep.

The problem with most people from a very developed culture (and I include myself here) is that we don't know how people lived in ancient centuries, or even live today in some places. The things we value today were very rare for some of our ancestors.

What I hope is that none would have to choice between 'dignity' and live.



[ Parent ]
Allow me to rephrase, then. (none / 0) (#130)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:13:51 PM EST

What good is living without the things one values? If I value my pride, or my intelligence, or my physical health -- and have them taken away from me for whatever reason with no possibility of regaining what I have lost -- then why should I continue to live?

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
I don't know (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by RoOoBo on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:27:34 PM EST

That is up to you to decide. And in any case I don't want you or anyone to have to decide about that.

But different people values different things. And there are many examples of people losing what you say you value and still living. People very sick, people who is paraplegic and so on. Are they wrong? Maybe. Or maybe none is wrong.



[ Parent ]
They're not wrong... (none / 0) (#133)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:33:20 PM EST

...if they made their own decision in the absence of coercion. I happen to think that a person has an absolute right to decide when or how he will die, and that no other person may deprive another of that choice. Hell, not even $DEITY has the moral right to tell a person that he is wrong to choose death.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
A different kind of pride and dignity (5.00 / 1) (#177)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:41:52 AM EST

If I value my pride, or my intelligence, or my physical health -- and have them taken away from me for whatever reason with no possibility of regaining what I have lost -- then why should I continue to live?

Since we're talking about homelessness and poverty I suppose you count homelessness and poverty as losing these valuable things. (Am I right in assuming this?)

Humanity has lived in caves and as nomads and in many uncomfortable environments. A majority of humanity lives in poverty. If you value modern comforts higher than your own life, it looks to me like you are very closely attached to modern comforts.

I certainly wouldn't want that kind of poverty, it seems horrible. But if I did fall into such poverty, I'm fairly confident that I'd adapt to the new situation, and I'm quite certain that I'd struggle.

I would not give up, and I'd take pride in that. There's my dignity.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

I will not tolerate poverty. (none / 0) (#205)
by Mr Incorrigible on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:35:01 PM EST

Just because the majority of mankind lives in poverty doesn't mean I am willing to do so. Nor am I willing to die a pauper. The majority of humanity also lives in fear of gods that do not exist, and they die in poverty. Me, I just give $DEITY the finger and say, "Do your worst!"

Losing my home is not going to automatically cripple me, make me sick, or reduce me to a drooling vegetable. Losing my material possessions will piss me off, but I can always buy more. I can deal with having to live on the street or crash on somebody else's couch. But I can't deal with being so broken that I don't even have enough pride in myself to want to work my way out of the gutter. I refuse to live in poverty; it is beneath me, and should I find myself in poverty I will use any honorable means necessary to get out.

Does that make any sense to you?

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
You may have no choice (3.00 / 1) (#210)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:18:49 PM EST

What if there IS no honorable way out? You can't buy more material possesions if you don't have a job. And though you might have enough skills & know-how to get out of poverty, what about the poor shmuck who dropped out of high school and doesn't have a family willing or able to help him?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
That "poor schmuck" isn't my problem. (none / 0) (#211)
by Mr Incorrigible on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:32:13 PM EST

The "poor schmuck" choose to drop out of high school. If he can't earn a living as a result, then that is his problem. I am not about to take responsibility for others, or worry about how others will deal with the consequences of their choices. I am responsible for myself and my own choices. The "poor schmuck" isn't my problem, and he isn't your problem either.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Different decisions (none / 0) (#258)
by QuickFox on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 12:30:34 AM EST

It certainly makes sense, but for myself and my own life, my decisions would be different.

I think you're saying that if you fall into utter misery you'll kill yourself. I might be wrong but I think you say that, judging from the parent comment and comment #133.

Maybe the difference is what we consider more dignified. The way I see it, struggling and doing your very best has more dignity, even if the conditions where you do this are not in themselves dignified.

You say "But I can't deal with being so broken that I don't even have enough pride in myself to want to work my way out of the gutter." To me the idea of being so broken is completely alien, that just wouldn't be me.

Let me compare with something else. If an explosion leaves me both deaf and blind, I'll learn Braille and work with computers. Give me some time and I'll work for a living, making software or websites. Or, if some accident leaves me paralyzed and I can move only one eye, if they'll just give me one of those computers you can manipulate with one eye I'll manage. I'll adapt and struggle. In that situation you're not productive enough to work for a living, but I'd still do something useful. One has to adapt one's goals to the conditions at hand.

If instead of losing my health I only lose all my possessions and comforts, and find myself in extreme poverty, then I have far more options than if I'm paralyzed or blind. Far more! In that situation I'll assess my options and possibilities, find out what can be done, adapt to the new situation, and start struggling.

I will find a way to stand on my own two feet, or to sit upright if I don't have feet. You just won't find me not struggling.

Of course I might see it differently if I actually fell into such a position, but judging by past experiences it seems very likely that I'd react exactly this way.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Bullshit (none / 0) (#151)
by zocky on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:09:56 PM EST

Pride, dignity and honour are highly valued in all human cultures, even more so in primitive cultures.

It's not a cultural thing, it's the way your brain is wired. An insult or a patronizining tone makes adrenaline rush down your bloodstream, regardless of your technological and philosophical development.

It's all about equality and status with your peers. Most homeless people have given up on the dominant society and don't consider themselves a part of it. So people you beg are not your peers but rather strangers to your society and do not compete with you for status, so dignity is not in the picture. It's a mental trick that opressed masses of the world have been using since ever.

For a good demonstration of this, try getting to know some homeless people (or a minority). Once you're recognized as an equal, all rules of pride, honour, and dignity work again and they turn out to be just the same as you.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Maybe that explains it (none / 0) (#175)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:48:59 AM EST

Most homeless people have given up on the dominant society and don't consider themselves a part of it. So people you beg are not your peers but rather strangers to your society and do not compete with you for status, so dignity is not in the picture.

Maybe this explains a surprising reaction that I once received. I replied to a beggar that no, I didn't have any surplus to spare, quite the contrary, I had great difficulties, could he spare some change for me?

Amazingly, he was offended and angry. I never expected that kind of reaction.

I'm sure my tone and attitude weren't offensive. It was intended as a friendly way to explain that I really didn't have anything to spare. I sincerely don't feel morally superior to these people or anything like that. Also my clothes don't make me look rich, faded jeans and a simple shirt.

Looking at your explanation, maybe I had suddenly made myself part of his society, and he felt that his dignity was at stake.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

No dignity (4.00 / 2) (#67)
by chigaze on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:07:38 AM EST

I think you are confusing position and dignity.

I may think that I am someone's equal but realise that my position in life is better than their's. I have a job, I have food, they don't. This does not make me a better person than them but it does put me in a better a position.

There is no dignity in leaving someone to starve.

My tendency is to judge as best I can if I want to give money to someone and limit what I give so that I can afford it. I also give more money to more general charities like our local food bank.
-- Stop Global Whining
[ Parent ]

Where did you get this nonsense from? (1.00 / 1) (#102)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:53:36 PM EST

Did you get this conflated confusion from reading that "genius philosopher", Ayn Rand? Or did you invent it yourself?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Interesting... (none / 0) (#164)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:45:16 PM EST

You give money to the homeless because you consider yourself their superior? That's funny. I've always kicked the homeless because I considered myself their superior. Other people's pain is funny. Well, to each his own...

With all due respect, I don't think you know what you would do if you were homeless. If you were really hungry you wouldn't give a shit if you were the "equal" to others. That's abstract shit. The pain in your belly is real and in your face.



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

Good critism, but consider (none / 0) (#168)
by kholmes on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 12:59:28 AM EST

I live in the US and we have a pretty good economy. So we all pretty much have an opportunity to make it ourselves (with several important exceptions). If I, to use the proverb, give a man a fish I am saying that he can not learn to fish. If I give a homeless man money I am saying he can't "make it".

Thats what I mean by dignity. And I think dignity is just as real as the hungary feeling in you stomach.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

A lesson learned... (4.44 / 9) (#50)
by dJCL on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:49:58 AM EST

I learned a lesson from a friend. We were walking in our town and someone asked for change. We asked what he needed it for, food was his response. My friend immediatly pointed to the row of fast food and better resteraunts nearby and told the man that we would buy him any meal he cared to order at any resteraunt he wanted, and even cover a doggy bag if he wanted. The man on the street refused.

Since that day, I have used the same script on anyone asking for money, and been taken up about 3 times, the rest have declined.

If you want to be charitable, just find out what they want, skip the middle man of the homless person and just pay the money to the owner of a business that provides what he needs. If he needs shelter, offer to donate money to local shelters, or to pay for some time at one of those pay per use shelters mentioned. I don't have a reason to trust someone who says he wants food, but I will trust the man who eats the food I offer.

my sig was too long, and getting annoying, so this is all you get. deal with it.

The problem with that (4.50 / 4) (#59)
by salsaman on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:26:21 AM EST

The person may want to spend the money on alcohol. I was once talking to a homeless man, and he asked me for some money to buy alcohol. I asked him why he spent money on drink, he told me he slept on the streets, and that having a drink was "the only way he could get to sleep at night."

I gave him the money because as far as I could tell he was telling the truth - it was quite late in the day, and he didn't appear to have been drinking up to that point. Anyway, he thanked me and said that many people refused to give him money for a drink, but he preferred to be honest with people, and if the money was for alcohol, then he would tell people.

Of course, I'm not saying that's always the case, but maybe it's something to think about.

[ Parent ]

I think you misunderstood the original comment (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by fraise on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:42:54 AM EST

The original poster seems to be suggesting to actually offer to buy food for the person instead of directly giving money, for exactly the reason that you point out. As you say, giving money to the person doesn't really help anything - but by giving money to someone who will provide them with food (such as taking them to a restaurant and ordering a meal for them), you know for certain that you've helped them out in some way. Seems like an all-around good deal, I know I tried it when I was in university with the beggars around the school. Most refused, a few only agreed to sandwiches and coffee.

[ Parent ]
It's uncomfortable (3.66 / 3) (#98)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:40:02 PM EST

I would say it's uncomfortable and even degrading to be forced, not only to beg, but to then be forced to have that money spent for you on an "approved" meal or snack. In their shoes I would feel very uncomfortable if I felt I had to lie to get what I wanted when asked "Are you going to buy food with it?" or similar.

For me the situation is rather odd. Being a vegan I certainly won't buy meat for anyone (except if somehow a mortal emergency demanded it) but I also don't wish to force a homeless person to follow my beliefs. I once was stupid enough to agree to buy a meal for a rather desparate-sounding woman begging in the London Underground, but when she then asked for a McDonalds burger I realised (as I should have realised at the beginning) that it would conflict with my strong vegan beliefs and had to change my mind (I didn't tell her why because I thought it would just upset her more, I just said "I'm sorry, I can't"). She became very distressed and followed me to the tube train door, pleading with me. I won't repeat that mistake again. Either I'll donate money or not, but not with strings attached.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

well... (none / 0) (#171)
by IriseLenoir on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:35:08 AM EST

McBurgers are cheap, she wouldn't have asked for some french cuisine, obviously. I'm sure she would have accepted something else. Would you have felt better giving her money knowing she would have bought that than buying it for her?

Maybe you should have said that's no good for you, and asked her how she felt about something better --- I don't know... all I know is I ate cheese tonight and I feel bad. Never again I say. Vegan is the only way. 'night
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]

Cheap is good... (none / 0) (#217)
by dJCL on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:07:40 PM EST

I'm unemployed... cheap is good when I offer someone a meal.

my sig was too long, and getting annoying, so this is all you get. deal with it.
[ Parent ]

Not forcing your beliefs on her (5.00 / 1) (#180)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 05:23:35 AM EST

Buying her a vegan meal isn't forcing your beliefs on her! It's just a single meal! You'd just buy her one meal with a type of food that's different from what she's used to (and probably much more nourishing than that hamburger).

If you start preaching veganism it's a different matter, then you're forcing your beliefs on her -- sort of. But not really, because she's free to just pretend to listen. And nothing forces you to preach in that situation. You could answer her questions in a neutral way and change the subject.

You made her a promise, you should have kept it. You could simply explain that what you wanted to give her was a real, nourishing meal of a special kind. She could choose to accept your offer or not. There's nothing wrong with that.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Yes agreed (none / 0) (#187)
by salsaman on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 08:40:25 AM EST

Yes that is the point I was trying to make.

I do agree somewhat with the original poster though. I gave the guy money for alcohol, because he was honest with me about what the money was for and why he wanted it.

If he'd lied and said the money was for food, I might have been tempted to do what the original poster had said, and offered to buy him a meal instead.

So I suppose in a way I am forcing my beliefs on others, i.e. the belief that people should always be honest in their dealings with others.

[ Parent ]

As the original poster... (5.00 / 1) (#215)
by dJCL on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:06:06 PM EST

I agree, I have never had someone say that they were going to get alcohol, but I think if they were to say that, I would give them the monies.

As for the vegan, who was forced to change his mind due to his beliefs, I probably would have believed that the woman wanted food, and given her the money. I'm not sure if that would hurt your beliefs in any way, but the suffering of a human comes before the suffering of an animal in my mind.

And just because i feel like it... The best one that someone has taken me up on was the steak house up the street, cost my about $25 to let that guy have a mediam rare steak and then some... Most just go for McD's (I hate that place, so I leave once paid) or a subway, because there they can order 3 or 4 subs and take them with them for later... which does happen.

my sig was too long, and getting annoying, so this is all you get. deal with it.
[ Parent ]

Freedom of choice? (4.71 / 7) (#62)
by zocky on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:27:14 AM EST

Yours and theirs.

When somebody's asking you for change, what do you care what they're going to spend it on? If you think the person is worth your help, give it to them, if you don't trust them, don't.

They're begging because they've tried the markets of life, love or workforce and decided they're better of at the beggar's market. What they do with money they earn is their own concern.

Begging is their job. Your job might be very different from that, but I bet it's also very different from Bill Gates' or GWB's.

And don't forget that all people will think of urgent basic needs first, a bit of luxury next and distant future last. It's just those that get past the bit of luxury and still have any money left that invest in the future.

These guys, after they get the tiny amount of food human body actually needs to stay alive for another day, go for the luxury of a bottle of liquor. Who can blame them?

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Begging as a market? How cynical. (3.50 / 2) (#120)
by hbw on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:47:37 PM EST

I think you're being very cynical by thinking of begging as just any other market.

I'd imagine that some people exploit the graciousness of others, but in general, I think mentally healthy people only see begging as a temporary means for surviving.

And if any person is unable to buck the trend, I think he or she needs help. Possibly with drug rehabilitation, or perhaps from a mental clinic.

Other than that, I can't see any reason whatsoever why any non-mentally ill individual would choose the "freedom" to beg for a life time.

I have discovered a truly marvelous signature, which unfortunately the margin is not large enough to contain.
[ Parent ]

Not at all (none / 0) (#148)
by zocky on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:33:31 PM EST

It is a market in some senses, utterly different in others. But I was using "market" in a figurative sense (note I also mention a market of love).

Most people who aren't professional beggars (and there is a lot of that around - and they are what makes the beggars' market a market, making homeless people compete for a bit of pity) don't think of begging as a job they could be proud of, but many succumb to pressures of life before ever getting an opportunity to sort out their lives.

Think of it this way - misfortune has forced you into begging. You loath begging and only do it to survive. As soon as you have enough to eat you get off the street, so you're short of cash and looking increasingly unemployable. And of course, you need some liquor to warm up the old gastrointestinal tract, plus it makes you forget your troubles for a while, so you get into a habit of drinking. After a winter, you're done for life.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

I agree, also from experience (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by Cannonfodder on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:18:52 AM EST

I know of a businessman who for many years gave a homeless man some cash for lunch, but one day the business man couldn't eat his own lunch and gave it to the homeless man. He became furious and demanded money, no wonder the businessman never gives him any money anymore...

[ Parent ]
How condescending of you (2.66 / 3) (#131)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:16:17 PM EST

So you immediately start off the interchange by displaying a complete lack of trust, as if these homeless are so unscrupulous they need you to babysit the use of their finances. I wonder how many homeless have become angered by your atitude. One thing I'll bet is that they have more dignity and aren't as complacent as you. It's pretty much a given they've lead a rougher life. Maybe that's why it surprised you when they would decide to save their dignity. And so what if they were lying? You know they'd get less money if they said they were buying booze. As if it's not hypocritical that it's alright for the rest of us to drink alchohol, but oh no, not those dirty homeless. They should learn to spend their money better than that.

[ Parent ]
assumption (none / 0) (#186)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:51:29 AM EST

it's alright for the rest of us to drink alchohol

Not everyone believes that.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
no, its simpler than that (none / 0) (#190)
by zzzeek on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 09:40:38 AM EST

its like: "can i have some money, im really hungry and need some food" "I cant give you any money, but here is a protein bar/sandwich/whatever I have" and they refuse it. This scenario happens over and over again. They are directly lying to me. People who are begging know very well they arent trusted for these very reasons. Its not like theyre so "shocked" and "angered" that someone dare not trust them. I do give money to some people who are begging, particularly those who are very old or clearly physically disabled, but never to anyone who tries to insult my intelligence with some ficticious story.

[ Parent ]
Possibly... (none / 0) (#212)
by dJCL on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:57:33 PM EST

If a person were to say that they were after alchohol, and give a reason, I probably would give them the money, but my point is that I will help someone stay alive, not feed an addiction.

my sig was too long, and getting annoying, so this is all you get. deal with it.
[ Parent ]

Here in Santa Cruz... (none / 0) (#274)
by vectro on Tue Oct 15, 2002 at 05:39:15 PM EST

There is a homeless person downtown whose sign says "Need money for booze and women."

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Your money... (4.00 / 6) (#51)
by SwampGas on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:27:22 AM EST

If you ever win copious amounts of cash (lottery and such), make sure you look him up and give him a cool million or something...

I've made a mental list of some friends and acquaintences who've never asked me for help, but could desperately use it.  If I ever win the Power Ball, I'll write checks for a million each with no hesitation.

My theory is, if I'm lucky enough to strike it rich, I may as well give out a couple million to the people who need it, charities, etc...what am I going to do with all that cash?  All you need is a few million to make a couple hundred thousand a year in interest.

Money don't make you happy (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:51:21 PM EST

Riches don't make you happy (not permanently, anyway). Don't give him a million. Give him a big enough lump sum to help him get a decent place and start a new life - and give the rest to people who need it even more than that guy. (Unless... unless you have a good strong reason to believe that he will be more generous and altruistic than you are. In that case, give him as much as you want! ;-)


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Try being happy without it. (3.00 / 1) (#109)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:05:56 PM EST

You know, I tend to get annoyed when people say that "money doesn't buy happiness". Maybe its because I tend to think of happiness in the sense of satisfaction and well-being. If the guy wants to give a million bucks to people who, in his eyes, have earned it, then why quibble about it? It's his money, right?

In the meantime, next time you think that "money can't buy happiness", imagine living without it.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
That's not what I meant! (3.00 / 1) (#118)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:38:47 PM EST

I didn't mean that you can be happy with no money (although in some scenarios this is actually true - in some societies that we call "primitive" for example).

Studies of lottery winners show that more money does not necessarily make you happy (permanently).


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

OK. (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:44:10 PM EST

All the same, who in their right mind would expect that winning the lottery would make somebody permanently happy. After all, wouldn't such a person, if he possessed any ambition, want more and more and reach higher and higher? Lilith knows I would.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Altruistic Lottery Winnings (none / 0) (#157)
by spectecjr on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:52:32 PM EST

Studies of lottery winners show that more money does not necessarily make you happy (permanently).

Who cares about being permanently happy? I just want to win enough to create a couple of hundred jobs, and do some fun stuff at the same time.

(Movies, alas, cost money)

[ Parent ]

Riches can bring tragedy (none / 0) (#176)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:16:04 AM EST

Be careful before you give away those millions. Sudden large riches can bring tragedy, especially for people who don't expect them and haven't planned for them. Suddenly you're surrounded by envious people. Some of your friends turn into vultures and leeches. Among some people, for example drug addicts, riches are a serious threat to your life, unless you're very careful and know exactly what to do.

I read some article that said that for lottery winners it works out well in less than half the cases.

For some people a sudden million will be superb. For some others a fund that pays some regular money will be much better. For some it's far better if you help them start a little company, by making a risk investment in the company, where you expect repayment only if it works out (and if this happens you can use the money to help another person).

Also look at my sig. Also the last paragraph (before the sig) in this comment by epepke.

It's a difficult subject. Just be careful so your generosity doesn't inadvertently ruin someone's life.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Wait a minute... (3.16 / 12) (#53)
by tuxedo-steve on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:43:06 AM EST

JonKatz, is that you? :)


- SMJ - (It's not just a name - it's a bad aftertaste.)
Hey! (4.00 / 2) (#114)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:20:34 PM EST

There's no need for that kind of insult here.

Although Katz also writes articles without a strong conclusion, he is also guilty of many sins (such as making unsupported and unsupportable arguments, being generally clueless about what he is writing about and making basic mistakes, etc.) which don't apply here. There's no comparison, really.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

yes (1.50 / 2) (#123)
by anon0865 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:54:11 PM EST

I finally got PPP working on my Mandrake box. :-P

[ Parent ]
Giving change = bad karma (3.22 / 9) (#55)
by Fantastic Lad on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:32:52 AM EST

Those on the street are there, on a deep level, through their own choice.

When true effort is being made by a street person to elevate, and when help is then requested, then help should indeed be given by those similarly working toward their higher selves.

The problem is that, with a very few exceptions, I almost never meet a street person who is not specifically trying to be on the street, to self-destruct or hit rock bottom or what have you. Their asking for cash is often simply another way of pretending to theirselves and to the world that they are trying to rise when really they are not. (More akin to; "Seeeee!? I tried to do what you said, and it STILL doesn't work! You're wrong! I can't do it! I WON'T do it!"). Giving change to such people is only slowing that individual down from achieving their personal end objectives, which in many cases, is to learn those valuable lessons provided by occupying such perspectives in life as are only possible from the street and a dirty set of clothes.

The person who is, on the most basic levels, truly trying to rise, will do so, and probably isn't going to start from the street corner.

This doesn't, of course, mean that those who wear expensive suites and live in luxury are by contrast more enlightened. No no! But some good and selfless souls do reside in wealth. All perspectives are valid and we all must explore them throughout our many, many lives.

-Fantastic Lad

Now wait ... (3.50 / 2) (#69)
by pyramid termite on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:24:38 AM EST

Those on the street are there, on a deep level, through their own choice.

Some of them are too insane to have made a real choice.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Counter-productive. (5.00 / 2) (#146)
by Fantastic Lad on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:20:18 PM EST

I believe the insane chose to come here insane, and some of them gave themselves into the care of people who do not care so as to learn and teach in that way.

Miserable experience, I'm sure. I hope I've already done my time in that furnace! It certainly makes me hurt and want to make things easier when I meet people in those kinds of situations.

As it happens, I currently live with somebody who I more or less rescued from homelessness. But I wouldn't have done so if she hadn't been fighting and asking for real help. She's now working at a very productive job, but she still doesn't take care of herself well enough. At the moment, I get the feeling if I wasn't around, she'd sink again. I really have to work to hold back, because it's in my nature to do everything for everybody. Trust me. I've been fighting with this all my life.

The trick which I'm trying to learn, is to be there without interrupting the lesson. Interrupt the lesson well enough, and they'll just have to do it all over again, and on a deep level, it is very much unappreciated. Counter-productive, no?

It's a tough call.

-Fantastic Lad

[ Parent ]

wow (none / 0) (#185)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:47:50 AM EST

Interrupt the lesson well enough, and they'll just have to do it all over again, and on a deep level, it is very much unappreciated.

So that's why some kinds of "helping" can cause lost friendships? I have real trouble with this.

Ever read this book? The author "refers to himself as a 'co-helper'" and the book involves his "new perception of how to be truly helpful to others."

<sigh> I just get so frustrated watching some people. I'm sure some others feel similarly about me.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
what choice? (4.33 / 3) (#91)
by animal on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:00:27 PM EST

In a lot of cases in the uk, people do not live on the streets through choice, and sometimes the people  that can be said to have chosen to live on the streets had no real choice. Lets see, the choice is between staying at you place of residence and continuing to suffer physical and sexual abuse, or running away and more than likely living on the streets, is that really there own fault?
 You also have a large number of the homeless in the uk who are ex-service men and women, this is caused by these people losing there homes ( MOD properties ) and being unable to find work to pay for new properties. Once you are homeless it becomes very difficult to get out of the situation. On the top of every job application it asks for name and address, if you have no address your application goes straight in the bin. In areas where there is work, property is very expensive to rent ( even more expensive to buy), and to rent some where you will need 2 months rent ( 1 months rent up front + 1 months rent deposit) + tenency agreement fees before moving in. Where I live this  
 works out to be at least £700 or approx $1100 for a single room and finding this sort of money whilst homeless is very difficult, and I am speaking from experience here.
 Sorry about the rant but it pisses me off when people say homeless people are homeless through choice and just need to work their way out of it. you would soon change your tune if you lost your job, then your home ( through losing your job) and had to try to get yourself off the street.
 

[ Parent ]
Fate = Sum of previous decisions. (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:58:55 PM EST

Granting that shit can happen for no good reason, I've found that most people, if they look hard enough, can trace their current situation back along every decision they made in the past. Bad choices do tend to place people in bad situations, unless somebody saves them from themselves.

While there are homeless that are genuinely down on their luck through somebody else's action/inaction, a lot of them have themselves to blame. They either chose to abuse booze or drugs, choose not to work, choose to squander their money, or made any number of bad decisions.

The moral of this story is this: if you're miserable, then take responsibility for your mistakes and correct them. And if you're happy, then indulge in a bit of pride, because you probably earned it.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
no govt support? (none / 0) (#184)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:41:13 AM EST

I thought the UK had socialist policies to help with this kind of thing?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Begging is a service. (2.25 / 4) (#57)
by Meatbomb on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:10:24 AM EST

If you pay for it, you are saying "I support the begging industry, I want more of this in my tow." Market-oriented individuals realize that markets dry up when demand is absent.

If you are of a socialist bent, giving to beggars is a vote for the perpetuation of the system that has brought them there. If the beggars didn't get subsidies from the better off, they would rise up and crush their oppressors.

Don't give money to beggars! If you stop, they really will go away.

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

maybe (4.00 / 2) (#94)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:15:16 PM EST

maybe not. i can certainly see where giving money to beggars will increase the supply of beggars, but i suspect that just as there is an inelasticity of demand for certain goods (drugs), there is similarly an inelasticity of supply for beggars --- eg., you can reduce to a certain level, but beyond that, you can't, because there are people who really need the help, and who have no other reasonable options.

[ Parent ]
This man has an ego the size of Texas (2.00 / 2) (#122)
by hbw on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:53:22 PM EST

Don't give money to beggars! If you stop, they really will go away.

Yeah, if we're lucky, they will die.

I have discovered a truly marvelous signature, which unfortunately the margin is not large enough to contain.
[ Parent ]

no, you silly person... (none / 0) (#127)
by Meatbomb on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:06:52 PM EST

...they will do something else for their beer money, instead of shaking down strangers.



_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
Begging and the real income levels (none / 0) (#162)
by Bwah on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:42:14 PM EST

There was a newspaper story in Chicago a while back about some homeless guy shooting some other homeless guy over a better street corner begging location.

This prompted me to do a little bit of casual observation and analysis. I watched one particular guy working by traffic light on an expressway onramp (this was in DFW, not Chicago). The light cycled every 30 seconds. He averaged at least one hit every 2 cycles. I don't know exactly how much a hit was, but it was paper money so assume one dollar.

Now, I only watched this guy for around 40 minutes (my lunch break) but if you extrapolate this limited data you get some interesting numbers. $1 dollar per minute, is $60.00 per hour tax free. Since this is sounding really high, I'll assume lunch was a good time for him and that the morning and evening rush hours were also good (so were at $180.00 for the day) and he makes nothing the rest of the day. So, if we work this 5 days a week we get 900 a week which is $46,800.00 a year. Tax free. Not entirely a bad deal.

Now, take some other guy who works at a fast food joint for $6.00 an hour. This poor schmuck makes $48.00 a day pre tax. Which after taxes probably comes out to around $10,000.00 a year.

I can see why people beg on street corners. Some of these people either have serious crack habits, or aren't actually homeless. I realize this is an extremely limited amount of data, but still, I think I was using conservative numbers ...

--
To redesign an infinite ensemble of universes: what terrible responsibility, what arrogance ... It sounds just like the type of thing your average Homo sap would do for a dare. -- Stephen Baxter
[ Parent ]

Small point you missed: (none / 0) (#179)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 05:16:51 AM EST

The homeless guy no doubt has to "share" his income with the local crime boss. (Don't delude yourself and think for a moment that such a lucrative business goes without any control.)

I heard that 50% to 80% of the earnings made by begging go into financing the local crime cartel. (Note that these numbers may be bunk.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Good point (none / 0) (#230)
by Bwah on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:22:18 PM EST

I never even thought of that. No doubt you are correct.

--
To redesign an infinite ensemble of universes: what terrible responsibility, what arrogance ... It sounds just like the type of thing your average Homo sap would do for a dare. -- Stephen Baxter
[ Parent ]

Good story, bad comments (4.40 / 5) (#61)
by Rasman on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 06:48:58 AM EST

It's amazing how this is such a good story, but the sad nature and completeness of the story makes it so that almost all comments posted get voted down for being tasteless. Interesting how that is. We're so trained to post whatever thoughts come to mind that we often forget when to keep our proverbial mouths shut.

It's like how kaugrego was at a loss for words with Scott. There's nothing to say other than, thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

Those are my musings...I'll shut up now.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
I once worked at a parking garage (2.25 / 4) (#63)
by gr00vey on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:38:10 AM EST

with a guy who lived in the little booth. He wasn't at all nice like this homeless guy(in the article), he would tell you for hours how you should be living your life. Once I finally got fed up with him, and asked him to shutup, he went ballistic on me, and attacked me. He was really strong for such a skinny black guy. Anyway, I think it is very important to have sympathy for the homeless, even though many of them are mentally ill (as a former mental health tech, I have little symapthy for the mentally ill, especially those labeled "behavior disorder", though I do have SOME sympathy for those who properly manage their illnesses..). Also, I am in favor of welfare, though not corporate welfare. ;) ANyway, I thought I had a point when I started this post.. guess not, sorry....

Coupons for shelter and basic needs (4.20 / 5) (#66)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:06:27 AM EST

Maybe some of the problems could be solved with coupons.

One problem with begging is that some beggars seem to make loads of money, far more than anyone can earn on an ordinary job, and many of us don't want to give our meagre resources to people who are richer than ourselves, or who otherwise don't need it according to our opinion on what "need" means. On the other hand, there are people who need help to survive and get back on their feet, and some of us would gladly give if we just knew that it was meaningful and useful, again by our opinion on what this means.

Maybe this could be solved if shelters and charities issued coupons that you could buy and give to beggars. The coupons would be valid at shelters and similar special places as payment for shelter, food, a shower, washing clothes, buying clothes, and other basic needs.

An important disadvantage is that the freedom of the beggar is limited. They're almost treated like children. But in spite of that I don't think the system is entirely unreasonable. The giver wants to give only to people in this kind of need, not to people richer than himself. It is reasonable that the giver get to choose what he does with his own money, it is reasonable that he get some control over whom he gives his money to.

People who want to give freely and don't want to limit the freedom of the beggar can of course give cash instead of coupons.

Other comments here tell about beggars who deny or throw away food. Note that with coupons, even if the beggar throws away the coupon the money is not wasted. The shelter or charity has already received the money. They can put the money to good use even if nobody uses the coupon.

For this to work I think local buses and subways should accept the coupons as payment for fare, so when people beg for fare money you can give a coupon, and so the homeless can move around as they need, and people who are inadvertently stranded can go home if somebody gives them a coupon. This means that bus companies would have to have a deal with the charities so they get money in return for coupons.

Such arrangements (giving money for coupons) must be limited. If you can easily exchange coupons for money, this means you can still get rich by begging, and the coupon system loses its meaning.

Would this work? Is there some important disadvantage I haven't thought of?

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi

It doesn't work (4.33 / 3) (#76)
by kitty on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:05:26 AM EST

If you want to know why, read the second half of "Down and Out in Paris and London" by Orwell. The short version is that businesses use the fact that a person is paying by coupon as an excuse to charge him/her *higher* prices. Before anyone makes the vacuous claim that "large corporates wouldn't be allowed to do that, etc, etc", metered customers for gas, electricity, etc. are charged up to 30% more than customers who pay by monthly bill (this is in London / UK at least). The surcharge is justified by the company on the basis of an "administration fee" rather than a "screw the poor" fee.

[ Parent ]
Different attitudes in shelters and charities (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:17:21 AM EST

Good point. But it seems likely that shelters and charities would have a different attitude to such things. If they don't, it seems likely that newspapers would smell a scandal and react. Or homeless people would notice and react.

Handling coupons does cost time and resources, and these costs need to be covered, but I don't think they could calculate more than what's reasonable. And if they really wanted to take advantage they could do it in any number of ways, not just in coupons.

Bus and subway companies would have a PR problem if they seemed to take advantage of the homeless and the charities. For the sake of PR they'd need to keep the percentage down. Some might even choose to donate the coupon handling costs, for PR, since the sums are a trivial percentage of the money they move and the cost of bad PR can be high.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Sounds like Asylum Seeker Vouchers (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:16:56 PM EST

The UK government's proposed asylum seeker voucher scheme (I haven't been keeping track of what happened with that plan) was condemned by refugee support groups in that it stigmatised refugees and encouraged prejudice and discrimination against them. Of course, with refugees you have the additional problem of racism. Also, it doesn't deal well with specific expenses that weren't thought of by the designers of the system, such as perhaps travel costs, medical/dental/eyewear costs, smart clothing for an interview, etc. etc.

As for solving the problem, I think a good first step is for government to step in to ensure adequate homeless support facilities are available wherever they are needed, since quite evidently private charities in many parts of the world don't receive enough donations to do it properly themselves - and/or fail to provide support that all homeless people actually want to make use of. OK, given that many of them have so-called "mental health problems" (last I checked depression was a "mental health problem" - bear that in mind) - it may not be possible to satisfy every homeless person no matter what you do. But I think confiscating homeless people's personal possessions is bang out of order, for example. Even if they are killing themselves with fags or alcohol, such draconian rules will just drive them away, which is the worst of all possible outcomes.

Also, measures such as:

  • high enough minimum wages
  • high enough housing benefits (translation: that's "welfare to pay rent costs" for you USians)
  • the abolition of welfare penalties for performing unpaid work other than "job-seeking" or homemaking (unpaid work over a small number of hours per week is penalised in the UK benefits system for some claimants, because it makes a person "unavailable for [paid] work", allegedly)
  • and the abolition of workfare
should all be used to work towards the goal that no-one who works hard (like, presumably, the homeless man in the story) should have to go without adequate housing.

It might sound like I've veered off the point here, but I think tackling the root causes of homelessness - poverty and inadequate support services and/or social support - is more important than trying to force them to spend money on specific items in some misguided "nanny charity" fashion. If you don't want to risk being conned, there's a simple solution to that - just give money directly to organisations that are doing good work, and/or lobby for better policies to tackle homelessness.

Personally, I do give money to beggars some of the time - I'm certain that some of them really were in grinding poverty, and (*gasp*) I don't particularly mind if they end up making more money than I do - I know this is an unthinkable concept for many materialism-obsessed Americans.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Very different system (3.50 / 2) (#116)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:24:47 PM EST

Sounds like Asylum Seeker Vouchers

In my opinion it's not similar. If the welfare system gives vouchers that are limited in this way you get a completely different system. Then the welfare system is enforcing limitations on what the poor can do.

If individuals who give pocket change can chose to give it as coupons with limitations, then those individuals who want to give only for specific needs can do so. Not everyone would go through the hassle of buying coupons and keeping them handy for beggars. Many would still give money. But those persons who want to limit donations to basic needs could do it.

There wouldn't be a general limitation imposed. You'd just get more givers, you'd get an added option for those who will give only if this option exists.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

kinda arrogant and dumb (3.14 / 7) (#70)
by truffle on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:26:19 AM EST

I have to write this quickly as I'm late for work but, I found this article arrogant and dumb. The author basicly grabs onto this one experience with a homeless person who he obviously respects and feels is a kindred spirit. The homeless person is presented as if homelessness is something that happened to them (like an act of God), calmly accepting his fate, and working towards escaping it as if it is a short term accomplishment to do so. This presents a nice little package, homeless people can get off their asses and do some work paving and boom they are back as regular contributing members of society. This guy didn't even want money or anything. The article gives permission to people to ignore the homeless - they can take care of themselves. This does not describe the experience of most homeless people. It does not talk about why we have homeless people, why they in general stay homeless, what their lives are like, how they can be helped. The only issue raised is "will my money go to drugs or alcohol?" This article basicly highlight's the author's insensitivity to the true issues of homelessness, and his happiness to apply this chance enocounter as permission to not explore issues further, or actively help the poor.

meow

Speaking of arrogant and dumb (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by krek on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:49:29 AM EST

Care to explain what, exactly, these "true issues of homelessness" might be?



[ Parent ]
you are correct (3.50 / 2) (#121)
by anon0865 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:48:54 PM EST

First of all, I agree with the assertion that I am kinda arrogant and dumb. Aren't we all :-P

Second of all, besides the topical header [which includes what I believe to be a common perception among the public about the homeless], I am not passing any political judgment on the homeless, why they are homeless, or what we can do about the homeless.

I have never been homeless, and I am not qualified to comment on the above. This is obviously not a factual analysis with statistics and cited policy reports.

What I am commenting on is a single experience that I had that challenged a relatively mainstream view of the homeless. I do not say that we should or should not help the homeless. This article isn't really about the homeless at all. It's about somebody accepting great adversities with dignity, and my reflections on it.

[ Parent ]

I've been homeless. It's no fun. (4.73 / 15) (#72)
by johnny on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:28:38 AM EST

I've also been on welfare. I wrote about it here. I've never had to beg on the street, but I have begged from my relatives.

I'm not proud of having been in a rough jam that was mostly of my own making, and I would rather forget about it. The two reasons that I have written about it and keep the story posted on my website are

  • to remind myself constantly of what it was like, as an incentive never to go back there, and
  • in sympathy with those who are still out there, to put a human face on the person down on his or her luck.
Why are homeless people homeless? Some by choice, some by bad luck, and most by some combination of the two. ( Many homeless people are mentally ill. In that case I put "choice" in quotation marks, because I don't know how to think about the decision-making of somebody with a mental illness that has messed up the decision-making parts of her brain.)

Some people don't believe in bad luck. They believe in a fair universe, where people get what they deserve. I think that this is like believing in Santa Claus: a nice tale that I want to believe in, but don't. I believe, rather, in the wisdom of the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter nine, verses 11 and 12: :

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

In other words, shit happens. And those who do not believe this, in my observation, are generally the smug and self-satisfied, the "TABs" (temporarily able-bodied) to whom shit has never happened. It's easy to talk about begging as a market phenomenon if you've never been a beggar. If you've never been disabled, it's hard to deeply understand that you're just a TAB, that someday you're going to be fucked too. It's easy to believe that your health, your happiness, your money in the bank are there because of your own hard work, that you have bread because you are wise, that you have riches because you are a man of understanding. But I believe that time and chance happeneth to us all.

So what does this imply about how we should respond to the homeless, especially the unpleasant homeless, those are hostile to our goodwill, who defy our honest efforts to help, who reward our kindness with anger and who seem to proudly choose their own misery?

I don't know. I don't like to reward behavior that is only keeping a person in a miserable rut. On the other hand, I try not to judge, and I try to have compassion. I try to see another human person in need.

There's one woman who has begged at the entrance to the Kendall Square T for a couple of years. She's young, always has a smile, is obese, and is dressed in filthy clothes. I've spoken to her a few times, and asked her if she has made any connections to the social agencies that might help her find an alternative to begging on the street. She's always planning to get her act together soon, just not today, because she needs money. I feel kind of angry with her sometimes. Why is she entitled to the money I've worked for? People want to help her; why won't she take her help? Is it only because that doing so would require her to grow, to change, to adapt, as everybody else must do? Why should she be exempt from the terms and conditions by which the rest of us must abide?

Like other posters below, I too have offered to buy food for panhandling people instead of giving them money to buy food, and have had my offer declined. I don't do this any more. I came to the conclusion that the reason I was doing this was mainly self-righteousness, to prove to myself that I had smoked out a con artist who was abusing my goodwill and that of everybody who gave him money. And then when that happened I would get all these resentment chemicals floating in my bloodstream and wind up in a bad mood for the next hour.

I don't like being lied to or playing the fool to a street hustler. But I try to remind myself that something must be wrong somewhere. Nobody would live like that if something weren't wrong somewhere. In any event, whether I give the person any change or not, I thank God that it's not me who's looking for that quarter from a passer by.

yr frn,
jrs
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.

quandary (4.75 / 4) (#80)
by Hakamadare on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:14:07 AM EST

i was wondering when somebody was going to mention her.  she's got another spot on Mass Ave near Harvard Square, and i've encountered her up near Porter Square later in the evenings during the summer.  as far as i can tell, she's been begging every day for the past seven years, since i noticed her when i first moved up to Cambridge.

it took me about two years to decide that i would no longer give money to panhandlers, and what made me make the decision was being repeatedly scammed.  i had to choose between spending the time and energy to try to determine whether each individual was honest or scamming, resigning myself to being fleeced again and again, or hardening my heart, and i chose the last.  it turns out that feeling like an asshole hurts less than feeling like a sucker.

unfortunately, this experience has made me feel generally hostile towards panhandlers and solicitors of all sorts, from the bums at the subway entrances to the guys who walk between lanes of stopped traffic with plastic buckets, asking for AIDS donations.  making a charitable donation does not make me feel good; it cuts into my cash surplus, which ranges from small to nonexistent for any given month.  i want to do something to help people who have fallen upon hard times, but i want to do something effective, and i don't want to assume more burden than i can bear.  

this is probably my cynicism and disillusionment talking, but the willingness to give charitable donations seems like a sort of "gullibility tax".  the impression that i get is that giving handouts to panhandlers is not necessarily enough to help them get off the streets, but rather is only enough to sustain them in their present way of life (since sometimes panhandlers do not actually want to get off the streets, believe it or not).  if five pedestrians pass a panhandler, and i'm the only one who feels obliged to hand over some change, then i pay the penalty for not being hard-hearted enough.

these days i confine my charitable donations almost exclusively to street performers, whether musicians, or jugglers, or magicians, or even mimes.  since i at least get the gratification of the performance, i don't end up feeling like i've been taken.

-steve
---
Schopenhauer is not featuring heavily on the "Review Hidden Comments" page at the moment. - Herring
[ Parent ]

food pantry work (4.33 / 3) (#88)
by johnny on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:50:52 AM EST

Since emerging from the worst of our hard times (I hope!!) in around 1995, my wife and I have spent a lot of time volunteering at the Island Food Pantry on Martha's Vineyard. Betty is also chair of the Vineyard Committee on Hunger, which raises money for the food pantry, for elder services, and to donate to off-island agencies that address hunger elsewhere.

The food pantry gives out food, so you don't have to deal with the concern that you're giving money to a scam artist. The first time a client comes in they get food; all they have to supply is their name. For subsequent visits they must supply a letter of need from a disinterested and credible third party. Clients can come twice a month from October to April, and generally get about two bags of groceries, depending on the size of their families. This helps people a lot, but it doesn't meet all of their food needs by any means.

My wife also coordinates the delivery of "surplus food" from the federal government. For bureaucratic reasons that I don't understand, the surplus food cannot be donated to the stores of the food pantry, but must be separately distributed. There has generally been about one such distribution a month.

Most pantry and "surplus" clients are recent immigrants from Brazil. Others have "substance abuse issues." And others are just people like me who got jammed. It feels good to give people food in a way that allows them to maintain some dignity. Most people get on their feet and no longer need these services.

My wife was instrumental in getting the food pantry to stock toilet paper and tampons/pads. Poor people can get food stamps to help them stay nourished, but you can't use food stamps for paper products. People who haven't got any money don't stop needing these items.

Over the last year the number of clients in the food pantry has gone up, as has the number of elders who have requested "meals on wheels" from Elder Services. Yet state funding to Elder Services has been cut back, and the distribution of "surplus food" has been cut back also.

These people are people in need, but not generally the "hard-core homeless." It feels good to be able to give a hand to them. It feels a lot better than donating to panhandlers. But I do that too sometimes.

yr frn,
jrs
Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices.
[ Parent ]

Two years--same here (3.00 / 1) (#198)
by Timwit on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:50:27 AM EST

it took me about two years to decide that i would no longer give money to panhandlers, ...

I had the same experience after moving to Cambridge--it took about two years before I became pretty hardened. I was scammed and lied to all over the place. Some of them were quite good at putting the pressure on you. Too bad they aren't functioning well enough to get a job--they would make excellent salesmen.

[ Parent ]
Yup (3.00 / 1) (#221)
by coryking on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:37:57 PM EST

unfortunately, this experience has made me feel generally hostile towards panhandlers and solicitors of all sorts, from the bums at the subway entrances to the guys who walk between lanes of stopped traffic with plastic buckets, asking for AIDS donations.

This about sums up what happened to me as well. It's really to bad, as I assosiate anybody who comes up to me for whatever reason as some scam artist. I almost always brush past anybody asking for anything be it Greenpeace (ya right guys), an a whole host of other people handing out gee-gaws, selling wrapping paper, batteries, flowers, newspapers etc. I just really dont know what the person coming up to me is going to ask, so I just ignore them and walk past them without making eye contact. It's almost like spam - now I dont even bother to read the body. If the subject looks like spam - I delete it, legit or not.

I've worked downtown for years, and I see the same damn people asking for change now as I did when I started working down here. Many have improved their lines for sure, and I think most people see through it besides the tourists, and those who dont normally go into the city (i.e. the soft hearted country folk). As somebody else said - most of these people would make great salesmen.

[ Parent ]

When you offer to buy food... (1.50 / 2) (#97)
by Fon2d2 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:30:53 PM EST

rather than simply giving money, you are being a "TAB".

[ Parent ]
How about this (none / 0) (#183)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:28:21 AM EST

Some people don't believe in bad luck. They believe in a fair universe, where people get what they deserve.

How about a perfect universe where everyone gets exactly what they need, and homelessness will cease to exist when no one needs it anymore?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
hi-tech hobo (4.00 / 2) (#77)
by GRiNGO on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:15:26 AM EST

I spent a year living and working in England ( which I don't recommend ) and while one day walking through Winchester I stopped by what appeared to be a homeless lady lying in a shop doorway with a blanket across her knees, begging. Just as I reached in my pocket to get some coins to give to her... I heard a mobile phone ringing somewhere under her blanket.... heh



--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


A mobile phone is nothing special (4.00 / 2) (#85)
by QuickFox on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:42:07 AM EST

Why shouldn't a homeless beggar have a mobile phone?

At least here in Sweden you can get a simple mobile phone for free if you just sign up for a subscription with a mobile phone company. (To be exact you pay a symbolic 1 crown for the phone, that's 10 US cents.) Of course a jobless person can't subscribe, but he may know someone who can subscribe for him.

Or he may know someone with a job who gets a new and modern mobile phone, and the homeless person might get the old phone as a simple gift, and use it with pre-pay cards. Most people don't sell their old phones so they aren't seen as having any value.

Of course he'll have to limit his outgoing calls to keep down the cost.

I can't see any reason why a homeless person shouldn't have a mobile phone.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

In the states (3.00 / 1) (#93)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:08:56 PM EST

mobile phones have not yet invaded the culture to the point where everyone is assumed to have one. Quite the opposite, in fact; mobile phones are still, for the most part, a sign of wealth; it's something yuppies have.

This is changing --- it's now a common accoutrement for college kids, for example, and the technology is penetrating lower income markets rapidly; i woudl expect only 2-3 more years before it *is* a commodity viewed as essential as cable tv.

However, I also suspect that most yuppies, not having contact with people who aren't yuppies, are aware of this --- so the 'only wealthy people have cell phones' meme will stick around in their cohort for some time yet.

[ Parent ]

Good point. (none / 0) (#135)
by tkatchev on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:45:43 PM EST

Although, three points:

1. The "free cell phone" plans are a scam. They sign you up with a "free cell phone" carrot and then proceed to screw you with outrageous payment plans. If you truly want a cheap cell phone, your best bet is to get a stolen one. Drug addicts, for example, are notorious for selling stolen cell phones for throwaway prices. I think that homeless people will have no problem finding enough drug addicts to associate with.

2. Where I live, we also pay for incoming calls; that means that outgoing calls are much cheaper (since you don't have to pay for the recieving person's bandwidth) but it also means that it's very difficult to use a cell phone without paying for it. You can get some sort of hacked phone and leech off of society, but that is difficult and dangerous.

3. You need to differentiate professional beggars (who can, in some cases, be fairly affluent and adjusted members of society) from those people who need to feed their progressive drug habit. I doubt drug addicts are going to find any use in a cell phone.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

One good reason... (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by spectecjr on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:39:39 PM EST

Why shouldn't a homeless beggar have a mobile phone?

At least here in Sweden you can get a simple mobile phone for free if you just sign up for a subscription with a mobile phone company. (To be exact you pay a symbolic 1 crown for the phone, that's 10 US cents.) Of course a jobless person can't subscribe, but he may know someone who can subscribe for him.

Or he may know someone with a job who gets a new and modern mobile phone, and the homeless person might get the old phone as a simple gift, and use it with pre-pay cards. Most people don't sell their old phones so they aren't seen as having any value.

Of course he'll have to limit his outgoing calls to keep down the cost.

I can't see any reason why a homeless person shouldn't have a mobile phone.

Just how, exactly, and remember this is hypothetical, did that phone get charged?

Phones run out of juice within a day or two.

I've got nothing against someone who is homeless having a cellphone -- and in fact, it seems like a great idea to me. However, something about this story just doesn't gel.

Simon



[ Parent ]
In an electric outlet, most likely (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:43:48 AM EST

Just how, exactly, and remember this is hypothetical, did that phone get charged?

She could use an outlet in a homeless shelter, in some other kind of charity, in the home of her drug-dealer or pimp or sister or some friend, in the cold and moist single-room apartment where she lives with her five starving and feverish children, or in the 20-room mansion where her servants do her bidding every minute of the day except when she is out doing the rounds to finance her life in luxury.

Anything is possible, from poverty to riches, a mobile phone gives no indication.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Re: A mobile phone is nothing special (none / 0) (#160)
by dsturnbull on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:14:25 PM EST

I bought a phone a year or two ago, it only cost $AUD100 outright, no monthy plan but prepaid. The best part is that you don't pay for receiving a call, so $20 of credit can last for a few months easily.

[ Parent ]
Re: incoming calls (none / 0) (#202)
by mikael_j on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:06:16 PM EST

I bought a phone a year or two ago, it only cost $AUD100 outright, no monthy plan but prepaid. The best part is that you don't pay for receiving a call, so $20 of credit can last for a few months easily.

Who (besides the USians) pays for incoming calls? I thought the rest of the world had realised that was a bad idea since it makes most people use their phones like pagers...

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

Here in Russia. (none / 0) (#207)
by tkatchev on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:57:10 PM EST

And actually, it's a good idea since it drives down the total cost of ownership.

(Although, to be honest, the real reason why Europeans have free incoming calls is because their rates for local land-line calls are absolutely outrageous -- they pay per-minute about as much as a U.S. resident would pay for interstate calls.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#209)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:12:02 PM EST

I'd rather pay more for calls that I actually make (and can choose not to if its costly) than to pay for an incoming call that I didn't even want if the first place! That's a major reason why I DON'T have a cell phone.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Hey. (none / 0) (#233)
by tkatchev on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 12:15:37 AM EST

Get caller ID and don't answer people you don't like. It's your choice, after all.

(Also, don't give out your number unless it's for business, so that random dumb people don't start calling you.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Personally... (none / 0) (#240)
by mikael_j on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 06:45:01 AM EST

...I prefer being able to answer all incoming calls, a lot of times important calls tend to come from unknown numbers or from people you didn't expect to have anything important to say.

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

And why not? (4.50 / 4) (#90)
by gyhujikolp on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:55:21 AM EST

Were I homeless, a mobile phone would be the first thing I'd get. In the UK you can get a cheap one for  maybe £50 new, less secondhand, on a pay-as-you-go plan. OK, so that's maybe a few days' food and accommodation, but it's a very important thing.

Think about it: if you're homeless, a mobile is your only means of contact. It can be a means to break out of the no home <=> no job cycle.


[ Parent ]

If you want a job (4.00 / 1) (#166)
by scruffyMark on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:55:41 PM EST

Just try telling an interviewer that they can't call you back because you're homeless...

[ Parent ]
I must add... (none / 0) (#239)
by GRiNGO on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 05:54:36 AM EST

... that this incident took place in the summer of 1999, which is three years ago now. Granted that today, a large percentage of the UK population owns a mobile phone... but surely this was not the case three years ago?



--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


[ Parent ]
Correlative homeless population increase? (2.66 / 3) (#79)
by mpath on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:55:47 AM EST

If the market keeps up this tanking, there may be more homeless out there.  Personally, I'd love to see one of those executives from the corrupt companys like Enron, ImClone, WorldCom, etc. out on the street after milking their investors to better their own lifestyle.

Kenny-boy Lay: "Can you spare some change?"
Me: "How about some of this Enron stock you forced on your employees?"

As a side note: How about volunteering at a local soup kitchen?

Work for free?! (3.00 / 1) (#100)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:49:18 PM EST

As a side note: How about volunteering at a local soup kitchen?

No thanks. I have more important things to do with my time, like earning a living so that I don't end up in need of a soup kitchen's generosity. Besides, I give at the office. Rather, I am forced to give at the office as my taxes finance welfare for these bums.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Taxes (none / 0) (#182)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:26:22 AM EST

Rather, I am forced to give at the office as my taxes finance welfare for these bums.

If people really cared about lowering their taxes, they'd volunteer their time and skills to help solve some of the problems that our reps insist on continuing to allocate money for.

I'm thinking mostly of the prison system... lawyers would do more pro bono work, and therapists and counselors and educators would help people get out of the system... but this could be applied to homeless, too.

Jesus christ, major motion pictures are produced, huge concerts put on... an entire army was mobilized and a war fought and won in less time, and with less fuss. So many skills, and what the hell are you using them for?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
I own my life. (none / 0) (#201)
by Mr Incorrigible on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 12:53:08 PM EST

Josh, why should people volunteer their time and skills to "help solve some of the problems that our reps insist on continuing to allocate money for." You have neglected to explain why people should work for free instead of working to support themselves and those for whom they've accepted responsibility (like their children).

You say, "So many skills, and what the hell are you using them for?" I won't speak for others, but I am using my skills to support my own life, as I have both a moral right and a moral responsibility to do. My life, my mind, my work, and the rewards for my work are my property, and the only check on my right to use my property I am willing to accept is the rights of others to use their property as they deem fit.

Stating that taxes would be unnecessary if I "volunteered" to solve "the problems" sounds like nonsense to me, Josh. The homeless aren't my problem, and neither are the prison populations. I gain no value by caring about these things, aside from working to see all laws against victimless crimes (like drug use/sale, prostitution, "wierd" sexual practices between consenting adults) abolished. For the homeless I give not a damn. And if one of them threatens my life, he dies. I own my life, and I will not allow others to take what is mine or tell me how to use it.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
That's nice. (none / 0) (#264)
by Josh A on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 07:48:06 PM EST

First let me clear something up... my comment was posted as a reply to yours because your comment got me thinking about the issue. However, it wasn't meant to be directed toward you necessarily. You may be just fine putting up with the taxes until (if) they are changed by some other means. In that case, you can skip over my recommendations.

I'm mainly concerned with the people who complain about how much taxes they are paying and are interested in effectively lowering them.

why should people volunteer their time and skills

I try not to be in the business of "should's". However, if people don't like the amount of taxes they are paying, they could try to lower them in a number of ways, including working to lower the costs that the state insists upon incurring.

We can probably both agree that the state generally has no idea how to spend money effectively. We can see this at work in our legal system in any state-run reform activity. I believe that there are effective ways to do things like lower recidivism, rehabilitate drug users, and help alleviate homelessness; I also believe that the people who are effective at doing such things aren't, for the most part, currently employed in those areas. Any of the people who fall into both groups (effective at such things and wishing to lower their taxes) could do as I've suggested to try to accomplish their goal.

Or, they could whine about it and philosophize and maybe vote or something equally ineffectual. Would you rather be right, or richer? (Not to mention safer on the streets with recidivism and drug use down.)

I am using my skills to support my own life, as I have both a moral right and a moral responsibility to do

That's nice. Don't expect a medal or anything. For the record, I don't think doing as I suggest is anything "great" or "moral" or "worthy" either. Just possibly more effective.

Stating that taxes would be unnecessary if I "volunteered" to solve "the problems" sounds like nonsense to me

I didn't say that, and I don't think I implied it. I certainly didn't wish anyone to interpret it that way. More like, they'd have to figure out some other line of BS to steal your money from you without the usual lineup of heartbreaking stories. Although I'd like to point out that what you claim I meant sounds like a bit of rhetoric I've heard before--"Social services should not be legislated, they should be handled through charity." You did say in your previous post Besides, I give at the office.... did you mean to imply that if they stopped taxing for social services, you would give some of your money or time to charity? Even if you didn't, no doubt some people feel that way, and I think I've suggested a good way out of the chicken-and-egg problem that attitude creates.

I will not allow others to take what is mine or tell me how to use it.

Sounds like you already do that every April. Anyway, in the future while "not allowing others to tell you how to use" your property, be careful to distinguish between could's and should's. Last I checked, argument was still "ok". I hold no gun, only a dictionary, and I'm not judging morals here, only sanity. You're free to empower whatever you want, though. Enjoy.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
I meet a homeless girl in Perth (4.00 / 4) (#84)
by thogard on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:41:59 AM EST

She was out giving some punk kids a hard time about something stupid they were doing. I figured she was just picking on them but she was just keeping her home in order. If they get too out of hand the cops will clear out that area so its in her best interest to keep the troublemakers moving along. You could tell she had a strong attitude about life. She seemed to be a happy friendly person but has had a hard life.

She wrote a book called Streetkid In The City (1-86508-503-0 but Amazon won't have it but search for it there anyway, they might get the hint). Its several short stories in a volume. It will set you back $13 if your in the US.

There is a sample on the publishers page here. When I just read that, it occured to me that she knows several people that I know who are Buskers. Sometimes it seems like a small world even in a city 1/2 a world away.

is it any good? (none / 0) (#137)
by Mclaren on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:07:17 PM EST

how long is it? is it worth getting?

[ Parent ]
I think awarding creativity is important. (4.22 / 9) (#87)
by sawilson on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:44:38 AM EST

When I lived in Atlanta I got a t-shirt that said
"NO SPARE CHANGE" on it. This would usually
disuade all but the most ardent pan-handler. At
that point it was all based on creativity. The best
line to date I've ever heard is

"I'll let you kick me for a dollar".

I paid the dollar, and didn't kick the guy. In return
I got a great story to share with my friends
and it only cost me a buck.

And don't get me wrong, I've been very down
on my luck before. I went through a time when
I got kicked out of a house for something a
drunken friend did. I was in an unfriendly city,
two thousand miles from where I grew up, and
had no money. Things are different when you
are a teenager though. I spent a total of perhaps
7 actual days on the street and the rest on
friends couches or at girlfriends houses. After
about a month of having my head up my butt, I
swallowed my pride, shaved off my mohawk, and
got a job at Arbys. After a few weeks I got an
efficiency apartment. I'll never forget how
alone you feel when you are trying to sleep in
an alley or parking garage. I'll never forget
how it feels to be walking past restaurants in
the morning and smelling all the morning food
getting cooked and having no money. This short
month is what I remember every time I'm coming
even close to losing what I have, and it's also the
time I remember when I count my blessings.
I can still remember walking up to groups of
people saying "hey, wanna watch a dude with
a mohawk make an ass of himself for a dollar?"
or "I'll moon whoever you want for a dollar".
I learned that people are more receptive to
the idea of parting with some money if they
feel they are getting something out of it.
I also learned that people are more open with
you if you have a smile on your face, don't
threaten them, and seem upbeat. I also
learned some lessons on how far you can
stretch a dollar, and how to truly appreciate
what I have now.


Sig:(This is your diatribe full of your titles
and lame beliefs and causes so men are impressed
with you and women want to bear your childr

First hand experience (4.25 / 4) (#96)
by X-Nc on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 12:26:42 PM EST

There are many different levels of being homeless. I spent most of 2000 homeless. It was the whole wife left/lost my job/bankruptcy/foreclosure story that makes a good C&W song. I was lucky enough not to have to sleep on the streets, though. I slept on a mattress on the floor of the storage room at my brothers house (just me, the spiders and lots of boxes). It took a lot of luck and a little bit of timing for me to get back on my way to "normalcy". I'm not completely there yet but I am moving in the right direction. If I didn't have my son things would be easier right now... But then again, if I didn't have my son I don't know if I would lived through that year. It was the only time in my life when I even thought of the idea of eating a bullet.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
A burrito shop on Church street in San Francisco (4.42 / 7) (#107)
by forkbomb on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:04:24 PM EST

I was hanging outside a Mexican burrito stand on Church street a couple of weeks ago, waiting for a friend to get her food. A crusty homeless guy was sitting outside, with a cup in front of him for spare change. I started talking to him and this stuck with me:

Him: "Know what I hate?"
Me: "What?"
Him: "The next motherfucker who comes out of there and gives me a burrito is gonna get his ass beat. I've been out here for two hours and already I've gotten four burritos and a taco."

It makes me giggle whenever I think about it.

The ocean, she is strange and wonderous, filled with animals that disturb even a Frenchman.

Great story (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by greenrd on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:23:20 PM EST

Illustrates another valid point. Some homeless people might not want your food, not because they are con-artists, but because they don't want your food right this moment. The great thing about money is that it gives you flexibility - and so it's a bit unkind to take away that tiny (and very mundane to us) measure of freedom they still have by insisting on buying food, now.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

A study was just done in Toronto (none / 0) (#138)
by shakin on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 04:12:35 PM EST

After speaking with over 200 homeless people, the study revealed that the vast majority of homeless people spend about 50% of their money on alcohol and/or drugs. I'd hate to think that my money was going to pay for their habits. Flexibility my ass.

On a somewhat related note, the Toronto Sun dug up some city financial papers showing that the city spends about $50 000 per year on each homeless person. Most of that money is on shelters, councillors and other programs to help get them off the street.

Give me $50 000 per homeless person and I have 90% of them off the street in less than a year.

[ Parent ]

Makes you wonder (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by memerot2 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:46:03 PM EST

Why they don't just give them the $50,000 directly. End of homeless problem. I know, I know, impractical, but hell... what a lousy return on investment - 50k per year per person to make such a minimal impact on their lives.

[ Parent ]
Woah... (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by baniak on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 09:53:59 PM EST

Imagine the amount of drugs you could buy for $25,000!!

And you still would have $25,000 left over for... like... essentials!!

[ Parent ]

intoxication == privilege of rich (none / 0) (#181)
by Josh A on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:19:16 AM EST

I'd hate to think that my money was going to pay for their habits.

I heard some crap about this attitude showing alcohol/etc to be a privilege of the wealthy, etc., etc. I guess this was to try and help guilt us into giving our change to panhandlers?

So who here wouldn't even buy your friend's cigarettes or alcohol with their money?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
actually... (none / 0) (#226)
by anon0865 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 05:45:31 PM EST

...the answer is a probable "maybe." I once had a friend who begged me to buy him cigarettes for him with his own money because I was older by a few months or so. He was in pretty bad shape- age 17 and already coughing up a storm.

Needless to say, I said no. I might have said yes to alchohol [in regard to a friend], but when you combine the thoughts of a) giving up your own money and b) the threat of intoxication and c) somebody without a home to crash, you get some pretty bad mental imagery. That is why I would not buy vodka for someone on the street.

[ Parent ]

Total bullshit is my guess (none / 0) (#196)
by Timwit on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:22:51 AM EST

On the Toronto Sun's $50,000 figure, I highly doubt that is correct. Let's see a link, Mr.


[ Parent ]
The Sun eh? (none / 0) (#218)
by chivo on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:33:12 PM EST

I've read the Toronto Sun, and from time to time the Sunshine Girl is cute, but I would hardly call The Sun a hard hitting, well written newspaper.  Because of the often strange stories printed combined with the very obvious right-leaning views of the paper, I take everything I read in The Sun with a large grain of salt.  Perhaps if the The Star or the Globe and Mail had uncovered this sort of evidence and showed us said evidence, it could be used in a debate.

[ Parent ]
Food vs. Money (none / 0) (#174)
by Riktov on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:33:10 AM EST

In that case, how about taking them to the supermarket? Just keep them away from the beer & liquor section, though!

[ Parent ]
Cell Phones in California (3.00 / 1) (#108)
by Nex77 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:05:38 PM EST

Here in California, cell phones are ubiquitous, and have been for several years. I see homeless people using cell phones every day here in San Diego. 7-11 stores all carry prepaid cell phones cheaply. So does Cingular and other companies - pay as you go phones where you don't need a credit card or permanent address. Completely pervasive. Nex

Wrong place (3.00 / 1) (#112)
by Nex77 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:16:48 PM EST

Sorry - posted this in the wrong place - it was meant to be a response to a post by aphrael down below where he/she was saying that in their part of the US cell phones were somewhat of a rarity, used mainly by yuppies. I hit 'post comment' instead of 'reply to this' and can't see where I can delete this post and do another, hence this note. Anyway, great place - lurked here months ago, just came back to read the humility thread someone suggested I check out, and subsequently signed-up. First (uh second) post. Good to be here. Nex

[ Parent ]
This is great for the homeless (4.00 / 1) (#117)
by jaymz168 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 01:33:10 PM EST

Imagine how hard it must be to get a job when you don't have a permenant address and no telephone. Before it was possible to give out the number to the pay phone near the shelter regular sleeping area, but now payphones don't show their number, and most don't ring if you happen to call them. Pre-pay phones are great for the homeless finding work.

[ Parent ]
yeah me too (4.85 / 14) (#126)
by spacemoose on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 02:36:46 PM EST

I also was homeless for a couple years, but I was young and did it without getting the homeless stigma. I had some tough times, and just hit the road hitchhiking. Seldom had to beg for things. Often my rides gave me a few bucks, and I would raid the dumpsters behind donut shops, bakeries, and grocery stores for food. I actually once met a cute hippy chick who was doing the same thing, and we went on a dumpster diving date (I shit you not). That particular instance was in Valdez Alaska, where there is a bit of a different culture.

I slept under bridges, sometimes in peoples homes. Once, in eugene I asked a punk rock girl if she knew of a place I might be able to find a place to crash (this kind of thing works when you're 20 and cute. Probably harder when you're 50). She gave me directions to a communal house. I followed them and knocked at the door of a house. When someone answered I just said "Hi, I'm hitchiking to alaska, and someone told me I might be able to crash here for a day or two". At that point I had a hundred bucks or so saved up, so I went out for beers with some of the guys (all college kids). Had a good time. Wound up staying a few days. On the second day I decided to clean their kitchen (it was a big house with an institutional kitchen. I made money here and there washing dishes and such and had lots of experience cleaning a kitchen). I cleared off the floor, moved everything, flooded the floor, and got the whole maned place cleaner than it had been in years.

They loved me. When I left they told me to come back anytime. Someone asked me how I shoed up there. I told them this girl said I should go to "xxxxxxxxxx house " (I forget the name of the house now). The guy told "dude, xxxxxxxx house is two doors down. So I love Eugene. You can randomly show up at someone's door and you get a place to crash. Awesome.

In alaska I lived under a bridge for four months, and for 18 months in a hut in the woods. I lived in a tent for 3 months, and in a treehouse for 4. Fincally I got a regular job washing dishes at a construction camp, and they gave me a room. First time I had heat and electricity in 2 and a half years.

Anyway, I saved up money and went to university. While I was at school I would occasionally buy some beer, and walk to where some homeless people were sleeping (under the wide sheltered doorway of a law firm that gave them permission to sleep there as long as they didn't piss there and cleared out at business hours, which I think was pretty civilized).

The guys loved that. First, I bought them beer, which they thought was awesome, and second, I always came by and just asked if they wanted to havea drink with me. Which they thought rocked as well. The worst thing I think about being homeless, is the stigma. It seemed like the story of every guy there started with a woman. Ah women....

So instead of offering to buy a homeless guy food, drink a beer with them sometimes.

That being said, I've met some pretty screwed up homeless and panhandlers too. One guy was talking to me for an hour about how much he hated homosexuals, and then made pass at me... A lot of guys I met seemed like they belonged in institutions. But some of the guys were very clever and sad.

The worst thing I think is the working poor. Guys working 30 or more hours a week but don't make enough to live normally. I think that's really shit...

Anyway, this didn't have point to it did it? Just thought I'd share some of my experiences.

That was pretty interesting (none / 0) (#195)
by Timwit on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:14:45 AM EST

Very interesting! One question: if you had been more averse to living on the edge--for example, if you had had a lower tolerance for the physical discomforts that go with sleeping under bridges, not showering for several days at a time, etc.--do you think you would have scrambled to pull out of it more quickly?

Not to question your circumstances, but most of the homeless folks I meet here (Cambridge, Massachusetts) are either lifers with some kind of mental illness or instability, or runaway kids who live in Harvard Square for one summer then get back inside somehow. I'm wondering if you actually craved the adventure to some extent, thus prolonging it.

When you were living in the hut in the woods, did you view yourself as homeless?

[ Parent ]

no not really (4.75 / 4) (#203)
by spacemoose on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:23:18 PM EST

No I didn't.

In fact when I was living under the bridge those four months in Valdez I saved $2000 workign part time in a laundromat and part time washing dishes. I was having a ball. The only time it really got to me was this on time I brought this really cute girl to my little platform under the bridge (which I was actually proud of ) and she said in horror "homeless people live like this". That pretty much bothered me.

There were a couple other people living like that year round in Valdez. One of them, Doug, worked with me at Mike's Pizza Palace (the resteraunt where I washed dishes), told me about the hut that I eventually moved into when winter set in. He was living in a little camper nearby and I'd go by and listen to music on his shortwave radio with him.

I met a lot of kids living on the street when I was hitchiking, and I was always trying to tell them to look on the bright side. I mean most of us young guys could always find a shit job to work at and get a shit apartment to live in, but we didn't want to. I think it helped that in those days I was drug free. I guess if you are feeling bummed about your situation, and start taking drugs, that could lead to a bad kind of spiral. Probably why avoided it in those days (I started experimenting with drugs later, when I had a more conventional life, and probably was looking for some excitement).

There are a lot of reasons for being homeless. Or living outside of the system. If you live that way for a couple years, you get to meet a lot of people who are doing it, and they all have different reasons. Mental or spiritual collapse is one of them, and that can be kind of sad. For me it was a combination of things.

I had some pretty bad times right before I "dropped out". I lost my job, got arrested by the secret service for threating George Bush seniors life (didn't make it to court, it was political harassment, but scary...) had my apartment burn down, and my girlfriend leave me. I was having some trouble coping and didn't feel strong enough to live a normal life. But then I ran into an old colleague who was talking about hitchhiking to alaska.

It might have been idle talk at the time, but I was pretty desperate. I'd been wearing out my welcome at friends houses, and couldn't find a new job, and generally was just depressed and useless all the time. So I just grabbed onto that idea and kept riding him until we left.

I'd had a pretty controlling childhood with an abusive father, and wasn't really good at standing on my own two feet. I guess that's why I needed someone to travel with. But we didn't get along that well, and split up halfway there (got back together again in Vancouver ironically). So eventually I felt more independant.

After hitching with no money and no company for a few weeks, and generally having a good time, I felt really free: free from all that fear and worry about being broke and having nothing. I was pretty much at rock bottom, and it wasn't all that bad. You could always find something to eat (and that's true, but I discovered some restaraunts lock their dumpsters, and grocery stores slash milk containers and yogurt etc. to preven guys like me eating out of dumpsters. I think that's really shit. If someone is eating out of your trash let them. They wouldn't be buying your products anyway, I promise). So for me the whole thing was a liberating experience and rather than wallow in self pity I tried to make the most of my freedom. And it worked out pretty well. In contrast I felt that I sucked at living life normally, so I thought I should try and live an unordinary life. Perhaps I'd be better at that.

Now I have a more conventional life, and sometimes the stress kills me. Paying your bills every day, worrying about doing or saying something stupid at work, wondering if you are doing the right thing with your life (I always wondered that, but had more fun with it when hitching).

But the big thing I guess, is it's easier when you're young. My dream now is to buy a sailboat and live on that.

[ Parent ]

Wow, you have lived (4.00 / 1) (#228)
by Timwit on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:49:16 PM EST

Thanks for sharing your story. I have to admit that I am envious of folks who have managed to squeeze so much living out of life. I've always been unhappy, and at times that has driven me to take risks and make unorthodox decisions out of desperation, most notably in my late teens. Occasionally this lead to interesting results, but never once did I enjoy "the journey" at all, and dammit, I wish I did! But I'm just not made that way. It sounds like you were able to let go of worry and immerse yourself in the present--a prerequisite I think for making the most of it. I'm sure that skill will come in handy again.


[ Parent ]
Don't know if you'll read this. (none / 0) (#276)
by spacemoose on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:22:26 PM EST

But maybe you'll do a scan through of "Your Comments" and land on it.

Thanks for the kind words. As to "I'm sure that skill will come in handy again", I'm not sure. I'm going through a hard time again now... In the last six months, my girlfriend left me (that one hurt) I dislocated my shoulder (again) and had to get surgery, there were a couple of deaths in my family, I was laid off of my job, and have been unable to find employment in Switzerland because increased unemployment means denying work permits. Also the bilateral agreement means having to favor Europeans. So now I have to go back to the States in June. Something I'm not looking forward to.

Now really, things are better than they were then. But I'm older and more worried about conventional things. I'm trying to regain my youthful perspective, but it hasn't worked yet.

I don't know what's going to happen. We'll see. But whenever someone says words to the effet of 'with age comes wisdom' I just say NO. IT DOESN'T. It can, but some of us get older and more foolish.

I don't know what's happened to me.

[ Parent ]

Wherever you go, there you are... (none / 0) (#204)
by stormysky on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 01:32:48 PM EST

I've had a similiar experiences, though, unfortunately, sans cute hippy chick. :)

You've hit it well with what you do: Just spending time with someone is far more valuable than cash, unless you happen to be fabulously rich and able to set someone up with their own apartment, etc. Of course, those who aren't there by 'choice' wouldn't want that type of hand-out anyway: Just the chance to earn it for themselves.

Some of the people replying to this comment are heartless assholes. They should be forced to watch "A Christmas Carol" (with Patrick Stewart... arguably the best) until they grasp it. "And the correctional facilities are open, are they not?" Indeed.

How do I justify my perspective? After all, why should anyone give their hard-earned money to someone else? C'mon, darwism! Karma!

Bullshit. Darwism falls apart: Survival of the fittest works just fine, if you don't want to consider the individual a member of a humanity at large... a species can only be as a strong as the weakest members. So, we as a race suffer because of homeless. Hence, we should either help them, or kill them... and if you believe in the latter, then woe to you should you ever end up homeless.
Karma? Consider: If every action is karmically deserved, then while homeless people are suffering for past actions, YOU'RE picking up karma for NOT helping them... even though they 'deserve' it, you're going to get it in your next life, if you believe in this sort of thing. Same viscious circle.
And religion? What a hoot. It'd be fabulous to crucify all the Christians and carve up their carcasses, and serve them with a nice Chanti to the hungry. Let them serve a purpose for a change. It is far more disagreeable to me to be around people who would send $100 to Pat Robertson, instead of actually trying to help someone *in need*.

Lost though it may be, I have a point I'm trying to make: Very few people truly *want* to be homeless. Circumstances and bad decisions often thrust it on them, and the drug usage and alcoholism are a continuation of unwise decisions in an effort to deal. How hard is it to have some compassion, and see it from someone else's perspective?

So, yeah, in reply to those people that say the homeless are right where they should be are the same type of people that argued that black people should be slaves, since if they didn't want to be, they wouldn't. And, after all, they're own people sold them into it, so, what are they bitching about anyway? ::peers:: Separate but equal, separate but equal!!!

Regardless of the circumstances, the beggar on the street is as much of an equal as any of us. Until you've walked in their shoes, new Nikes or not, stem your arrogance in condemning them, lest you find out one day what it's truly like.

Woo, that sure was preachy, and I'm not even officially ordained by the choice of Satan!

As for beggars and the like, offering a meal is great... even better would be to offer that bloke needing a meal a place to stay, and some clothes you don't wear anymore, and a job referral. It's true you can't help those who are unwilling to help themselves, but, for those who just need the chance, why not give it to them; that is, if you truly want to help another human being.

This post is probably mostly moot, since, under the current Skull and Bones administration, we'll be seeing far less homeless people and a smashingly delicious new "all the protein you need" food supplement, called, appropriately, Soylent Green.

Btw, back on topic, "With Honors"(IMDB Link) is, I think, the only movie I've ever liked Joe Pesci in, and where I've actually seen him act.
We can face anything, except for bunnies.
[ Parent ]

My experience with homeless folks... (none / 0) (#241)
by Kintanon on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 09:30:43 AM EST

My Dad used to be a construction foreman, in the Summers me and my brother would work with him for a few bucks a day, framing houses, roofing, stuff like that. Every once in a while my Dad would see some guy with a sign that said 'Will work for food', or something like that. He would pull the truck over, ask the guy if he wanted a job, occasionally the person would say yes and we would take him out to our job site and my dad would put him to work doing cleanup stuff, holding boards, not even the heavy labor that me and my brother were doing (We were between 11 and 15 ). My dad would buy the guy lunch, and at the end of the day pay him what usually came out to about 7$ an hour, the same as me and my brother got paid. So the guy would get around 50$. My dad would always tell them, if you want to work again tommorow just be in the same place and we'll pick you up.
Not a one of them worked with us a second day. We would sometimes see them in the same place, sitting there with their sign, the day after we knew they got 50$. Whenever we stopped they would refuse the offer for work. Eventually my dad stopped offering.
I personally have given some cash to a guy I'm pretty darn SURE wasn't homeless, but he provided a valueable service by showing me and my friends how to get to a place in Atlanta, so we gave him like 4$ from the group. But I don't give people money for nothing.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

But did you ever steal from people? (none / 0) (#253)
by vile on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:24:22 PM EST

My first encounter with homeless people taught me a valuable lesson that has harmed everyone else whom I have ever and will never give money to. The 'down on their luck' people that I've encountered won't ever get the benefit of doubt in my mind, ever again. I hate to stereotype, but for my own safety, to me, every homeless person is a theif, a liar and a manipulator of people and society.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
No, You're just stupid (none / 0) (#277)
by spacemoose on Sat Apr 26, 2003 at 11:04:13 AM EST

A homeless person steals from you so now you hate all homeless people? That's not mean or heartless or any of the other things listed in your posting. It's just stupid.

Why not hate all people? It was a person that stold from you. Or all women since it was a woman? or all whites if she was white? Jesus what a moron.

[ Parent ]

A Homeless Guy's Weblog (5.00 / 2) (#129)
by sebpaquet on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 03:12:58 PM EST

linked to from here. Pretty interesting guy. Blogs from public libraries.
----
Seb's Open Research - Pointers and thoughts on the evolution of knowledge sharing and scholarly communication.
I couldn't read it (1.16 / 6) (#165)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 11:02:00 PM EST

I couldn't read it because I could get the homeless guy smell out of my head as I read it. Seriously.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Be careful, your screen will get dirty [nt] (2.50 / 2) (#169)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:10:30 AM EST



Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
QuickFox, So do you like my sig? (n/t) (1.00 / 1) (#214)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:01:58 PM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
What I think about your sig? (none / 0) (#243)
by QuickFox on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 11:43:22 AM EST

Let me put it this way. That homeless guy's blog is way better than your sig. And your screen won't get dirty. Or smell. I promise.

Go there. Don't be a wuss.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

You taught me how to make sigs so it's your fault (none / 0) (#246)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 04:51:08 PM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Oh no, it's your fault, so there (none / 0) (#259)
by QuickFox on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 01:08:53 AM EST

I also taught you to go to that blog, so it's your fault.

I'll try to remember from now on that whatever you chose to put in your sig is my fault, and that the two users Big Sexxy Joe and bigsexyjoe are the same person.

Somehow, I don't think I'll really remember the first one. There's something there that isn't quite right...

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

The real truth about being homeless (1.50 / 4) (#145)
by premier on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 07:18:40 PM EST

Hey, speak for yourself, buddy. I want handouts! I want other people's money, I want it in my pocket, and I don't want to work for it!

My friends might be willing to work for food, but I say fuck that! If I wanted to work, I wouldn't be homeless, and who's going to hire a filthy guy like me anyway? You? Are you gonna invite me into your house to smear pus on your davenport and cough my unimaginable halitosis on your daughters?

No, I think not, and that's where the handouts come in. I want to spend your money on the booze my body craves. So please, don't give your money to those homeless charities and shit. Ever try getting a pint of Thunderbird out of Habitat For Humanity? Good luck, Charlie! While they're busy printing up pamphlets, I'm standing on the street corner trying to steady my D.T.'s enough to keep from dropping my change cup. Thanks a lot, you living saints! More like Middleman For Humanity.

What do you think, I shouldn't be given a cheap, painkilling shot of fortified wine because I didn't punch a time clock today? I'm a human being! I need some kind of release and I need it regularly, like twice a day, minimum. If I can't kick back and relax with some alcohol and forget about my back pain and the huge, running sore on my leg for an hour or so, I start going nuts. Last time that happened, I punched a guy and got arrested. And you know what? I was back on the street in two days. All because some yuppie prick wouldn't give me the handout that would have prevented it all.

Gimme gimme gimme!

So can you fork over some cash, man? Whatever you can spare will go a long way. Like, do you have maybe a dollar? Any amount at all will be appreciated. As long as it's a totally free, unearned handout and not some enlightened, New Age, "second chance at life" bullshit.

This is from "The Onion" (none / 0) (#173)
by harald74 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:08:18 AM EST

Read the rest here: http://www.theonion.com/onion3539/homelessness.html Harald


--
Harald Hansen (SW engineer, gamer, Land Rover owner and all-round nice guy)
[ Parent ]
Move to Canada (nt) (none / 0) (#208)
by atrowe on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:10:01 PM EST



[ Parent ]
i never knew we have comedians on this forum (none / 0) (#227)
by martinchmiel on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 07:11:24 PM EST


martin.. waterloo.ontario.canada
[ Parent ]
sheesh (3.00 / 3) (#154)
by danny on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:37:32 PM EST

Maybe they have enough food and they're not hungry - people leave a lot of food around, so that's rarely the biggest problem. Maybe they're trying to get money so they can buy clothes for job interviews, or buy a newspaper, or who knows what?

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]

this story (4.00 / 3) (#158)
by jmd2121 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:56:20 PM EST

reading this story, and the following stories and
comments -- makes me well with a familiar feeling:

a feeling of shame and disgust at
humanity.  it makes me honestly
ashamed to be a human.

-

Cheer up. (none / 0) (#191)
by derek3000 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 09:42:10 AM EST

It's not all bad. Honest.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

I'll share some stories... (4.25 / 4) (#163)
by DranoK 420 on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 10:45:16 PM EST

I remember the first time I really started thinking about homeless people. I was about 9 years old, my ma picked me up from school. I don't even remember how, but she made a joke about some homeless guy eating dogfood under a bridge. And I just got this image stuck in my head of a family with a kid living under a tiny bridge, rejoicing that they were able to afford the 'good' type of dogfood this week...

From that day until I was about 13 I gave money to every begger I saw. I grew up in Montana, so I s'pose this wasn't too many. But I almost always had spare change on me, and would always give it. My parents would always try to explain they were probably faking it to get the cash, but I wouldn't have it. And so they'd give up and just keep a close eye on me to make sure I didn't get abducted or some shit.

From then on I rarely give anything to the homeless or charity. In fact, since I moved to California I don't think I have once, although I make more money here than I ever have before. I guess my own theory is that I don't like being reminded of how much pain there is the world. And I know giving someone five bucks ain't gonna help, and doing its just gonna make me feel terrible later. So I look away, pretend like they don't exist, and put the pain out of my mind. Just like I do for the impoverished I read about. But I don't always succeed, and too many times the pathos of a situation has just got to me. I'll share a few.

The first incident I clearly remember is when I was 12. I was alone outside a supermarket and this woman comes over to me with her dog. She's so skinny -- that's what hit me first -- like she was being pulled along by her dog. The dog was going from spill to spill on the ground, licking wildly. The dog pulled her right up to me, and started nudging at my feet. It was a big black dog, forget now the type. Anyhow, she's trying to pull the dog away from me, appologizing for her pet. I don't know why, but I could tell she was starving. But the supermarket was far from the freeway, which is where most homeless were. She didn't ask me, but I ended up giving her five dollars, the only money I had left after renting two SNES games a few minutes ago. She seemed so frustrated at taking the cash, but she still did. And she didn't say the normal 'god bless', just tied her dog to a bike rack and went into the store. I start walking home but keep looking back to see if she comes back for her dog. Soon she emerges, cramming a snickers into her mouth. I think she ate it in two bites. She also had a small bag of dog food -- by far where the most of the five dollars went -- but she had nowhere to put it. She just sat there grabbing handful at a time while her dog hungerly lapped it from her palm. I was depressed for the next week.

The next incident was at the same store incidently, a few years later. A man in his 40s or 50s was hanging around the bike rack. He was obviously not completely there mentally. I was with a friend. He grabbed me and harshly barked that he'd blow a square bubble for $2. So my friend an I each gave him a dollar, and using a straw he did indeed manage to blow a square bubble, enclosed by four normal bubbles. I dunno why this incident sticks in my head, it just does. Something about an old gruffy man who needs mental care blowing square bubbles...something's just so human about it.

One of the most horrifying encounters I've seen was between two homeless folk. This kid, he couldn't have been more than 14, was subtly seeking handouts outside the Missoula mall (if you could call it a mall). He'd hide every time the mall security truck would drive by. So I'm just sitting there, waiting for my friend to get off work, my window unrolled smoking a cig. And he's walking around asking for families for spare cash as they leave the stores. I think most kids can find city shelters easier than adults do, but for whatever reason this boy was obviously hiding from authority. Anyhow, from around the corner comes a more typical homless man. You know, the three layers of ugly patchwork clothing. Anyhow, he comes up to the kid like he knows him, and drapes his arm over his shoulders in a suggestive way. The boy pushes him off. This ensues a few more times before the boy says, trying to be quiet (but failing miserably with the echos) forcibly explains "I'm not free you fuck". He pushes the man off him harder this time then quickly walks away, I can only assume to the other side of the mall. My spine still shivers when I think about it...

The last incident I can think of happened just before I moved to California. I was coming off the interstate and a man in his 30s held a sign on the off-ramp. It read: "Why lie? I need a beer...". I gvae him two bucks. For some reason, that one almost made me feel good.

I just don't want more incidents like these. I don't want to admit that the world isn't as happy as we like to think it is. That even my own US-centric warm-fuzzy image of reality is horribly wrong.

I just don't wanna be depressed anymore. So I don't give money. And I don't look at the homeless. Because maybe if I ignore it long enough, it will just go away.

Ignorance truly is bliss.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


why lie, I need beer? (none / 0) (#223)
by auraslip on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:51:04 PM EST

Thats so trendy......
I saw one the other day, same thing. Then the same week same guy, "Good condition, 50. Buy me! or somthing like that".
It makes you wonder if their is some homeless underground that thinks of clever things to say.

[ Parent ]
How could you draw such sweeping conclusions (none / 0) (#224)
by John Miles on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 05:38:57 PM EST

I just don't want more incidents like these. I don't want to admit that the world isn't as happy as we like to think it is. That even my own US-centric warm-fuzzy image of reality is horribly wrong.


... based on encounters with 0.00001% of the US population?

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#232)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 12:05:05 AM EST

I make that conclusion based on the fact that the other 99.99998% of the US population hasn't stopped these encounters with 0.00001% of the US population.

Seems to me, if the problem is so simple and small, and the world really is a warm-fuzzy image of reality, then why the fuck does this happen?

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
amazing post [nt] (none / 0) (#255)
by anon0865 on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:31:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
happens here too (none / 0) (#265)
by blisspix on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 10:20:09 PM EST

my partner gives to people who are honest. If they say, 'hey man, I really need drink/drugs', he'll give them a dollar. Because it sure as hell is better than him having to break into someone's house to steal something to afford it.

Unlike this one woman who can turn the water works on and off like a tap 'I need 2.25 to get the bus to bankstown' etc etc. I've seen here quite a few times. Why lie?

[ Parent ]

Here in Portland (1.75 / 4) (#170)
by SkullOne on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 02:24:35 AM EST

Here in Portland, Oregon, we have one of the largest homeless populations in the country.
When I walk to lightrail everyday to go to work, I pass easily 35 homeless teenager and older adults who constantly ask for money, hassle me, yell at me, and once got violent with me.
These are teenagers, who at one point had a family and a home, but had chosen to actualy LEAVE their family and home to live on the streets.
These kids openly admit that they had nice lives, but would rather live on the street, using drugs, and living the street life.
Now, explain to me why its all of the sudden my fucking job to give handouts to these losers?
I work 10 hours a day to afford the things I need, and want. These people practicaly spit in my face if they dont get a handout from someon who actualy works for their money.
If homeless people were actualy MOTIVATED, I would hire them in an instant to do work for me. I need my gutters cleaned out, my lawn mowed, garbage taken out, house painted, etc. etc.
But instead, they choose to sit on their filthy, disrespectful asses, and "blame society" for their problems.

Quite frankly, besides a few exceptions, I wish homeless people would just all die of a drug overdose. The exceptions; people who have honestly lost it all. It happens to a few of them, they have had a life, but due to injury, accident, or just a freak mistake have just lost it all.
But you find people that have lost all they have will generaly work hard to regain everything they had, and not just bum around for handouts.


Ugh... (5.00 / 1) (#189)
by derek3000 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 09:36:26 AM EST

Quite frankly, besides a few exceptions, I wish homeless people would just all die of a drug overdose.

Wow. People make mistakes, all the time. Once you start deciding the value of another human being, you start down a very slippery slope. The only thing it usually accomplishes is a degradation of your morality. They might be assholes, but jeez...

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars
[ Parent ]

You don't get it do you... (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by iidkyimys on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:50:03 AM EST

A lot of the kids are on the street for reasons someone like you couldn't possibly comprehend. Most of them come from families that rape and abuse them to no end. Alcoholic, drug abusing parents put thses kids through hell daily.The only way out is to go to the streets. They have no other choice. Yeah they are angry. Yeah they turn to drugs in order to numb themselves to thier lives. What else do they know? It was how they were raised. It may be a tough life on the streets, but at least they are hanging out with friends that care for them. that is what they are really lookiing for. Instead of being an asshole to these kids when they ask for some help, give them a buck or buy them a burger. If that is still to much for your self centered ass to do, give to Portland's kids homeless shelter. That'll help to get them off the streets so you can walk around without being 'bothered' With a little help, these humans can get on their feet and be productive.

[ Parent ]
Hi SKULL!! (none / 0) (#229)
by rayab on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:21:14 PM EST

This's raya from #503 I was scrolling through the comments and suddenly I see "Here in Porland" by SkullOne :)

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
[ Parent ]
re (none / 0) (#236)
by SkullOne on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 02:17:13 AM EST

Hey Raya. I dont go in #503 anymore. All anyone talks about there now is ratemy*.com and d7's obsesion with children. Not my idea of a good conversation.

[ Parent ]
true true (none / 0) (#245)
by rayab on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 01:28:13 PM EST

But it is a good way of staying in contact with old and new friends. We just had a small get together at desp's house with e-fx, opus, deathlock, alien2 and myself. But I definetly agree that K5 is much much better source of a good conversation.

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
[ Parent ]
aside from the troll... (none / 0) (#238)
by samfoo on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 02:25:29 AM EST

Living in Portland would make almost ANYONE hate most homeless people. You can't walk to a convinience store half a mile from an apartment downtown without be accosted 10 times. I couldn't believe how many teenagers there were either. In Seattle we have an average bum population. Portland will really suprise you.

[ Parent ]
real homeless (2.66 / 3) (#178)
by parasite on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:54:05 AM EST

Now THIS sounds like a real homeless guy -- though
I can't say for sure given we don't know his whole
situation. But doesn't it ENRAGE you that such
legitimate "homeless" people are grouped together
with the other kind ?? Yes -- there is something
perversely wrong here. Our sickly moral relativistic
society has done away with the accurate though
non-PC terms "hobo" and "bum" and replaced them with
the neutral-term "homeless". So now there is no
longer any differentiation between a person who has
lost their home throuh a natural disaster or very
bad set of circumstances and the worthless piece of
shit who sits in the corner begging and harassing
people for dimes -- taking advantage of the sickly
teachings of Christ which make people feel "guilty"
for not giving their change to worthless scum.

A value exchange is the only moral means by which
men should deal with each other. Obviously your
"real" homeless guy understands this, and is
working diligently -- exchanging his physical
labour for the material weath that can put him
into an environment (ie, apartment) more suitable
for a decent human being. The worthless shit on
the street who crys out to me, is a sore sight
to my eyes and a cacophonous noise to my ears, a
negative value which I only hope will soon negate
itself -- ie, curl up and die. So I beg you all --
realize the difference, use the proper moral terms
to describe the situation ie "hobo" vs "homeless",
and make a proper value judgement before you let
your wrong-headed emotions get the best of you.

the distinction (none / 0) (#192)
by anon0865 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:07:05 AM EST

I tried to make a distinction between "homeless people", and "people who are homeless", but I'm not too sure about its legitimacy. After all, when comparing the homeless who work, and the homeless who beg, I must concede that they are both "homeless" in the purest sense of the word.

I strongly agree with you in that the "real" homeless are the ones who are hurt the most by the illegitimate beggars [those who create fictitious stories, scam artists, etc.] Our society is so jaded to con-men that we cannot trust anyone who is "homeless". And of course, this only hurts those who need aid the most.

This, I think, is the real tragedy, for they are doubly betrayed; initially by the scam artists, and then by us.

[ Parent ]

Hobo vs bum (none / 0) (#199)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:56:18 AM EST

Actually, I read somewhere that many hobos paid their own way, doing chores while hitching rides across the country. Bums, however, are good for nothing loafers.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
"Lumping them together" (none / 0) (#235)
by fluffy grue on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 01:40:30 AM EST

The thing is that "homeless" means "doesn't have a home." It doesn't matter how someone ended up without a home, they are still homeless just the same.

For a while there was a euphemism used for the "good homeless," namely "disenfranchised." It's the same sort of euphemism as "collateral damage," though.
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
<mrgoat> that's not an ass,
[ Parent ]

Other incentives (5.00 / 1) (#188)
by PixelPusher on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 08:43:53 AM EST

Thinking about ways to get those homeless who are really trying to get back on their feet, puts me in mind of something I saw while I was in Toronto last summer.

I belive it was arranged through some local shelters.  A small local-news paper that they could grab a stack of and sell instead of just panhandling.

Anybody know if it's still going?

Magazine sold by the homeless (4.00 / 1) (#193)
by QuickFox on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:36:17 AM EST

Here in Stockholm, Sweden, there's a magazine that the homeless sell on the streets and in the subway. They can't just grab them for free, I think they pay half the price, so they get to keep half of what the customers pay. I don't think it's enough to live on, it doesn't appear often enough for that. Even so it seems like a good arrangement, it's real work, and if you work hard you earn more. If you're both jobless and homeless I suppose it's nice to have some real work from time to time.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]
Magazine sold by the homeless (4.00 / 1) (#244)
by Nex77 on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 12:35:33 PM EST

San Diego, same thing, Phoenix same thing since about a decade. Except they don't pay half the price, it's more like 10% according to the sellers I've spoken to. I buy one every week. Nex

[ Parent ]
In Seattle (4.00 / 1) (#194)
by ScuzzMonkey on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:56:29 AM EST

There is "Real Change". Seems they have a website now, too:

Real Change

It's largely sold by homeless vendors, and, at least in the past, most of the content in the paper was contributed by the homeless, as well.


No relation to Happy Monkey (User #5786)
[ Parent ]

They have those in Albuquerque (none / 0) (#234)
by fluffy grue on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 01:33:54 AM EST

One time my brother bought one, and it was full of homophobic fundamentalist-Christian evangelizing, though.
--
"Is a sentence fragment" is a sentence fragment.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
<mrgoat> that's not an ass,
[ Parent ]
Um, what? (2.00 / 4) (#200)
by psychophil on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 12:16:44 PM EST

"That's where my work partner lives," he said. "I just give my money to him. Give me some time, and I'll have enough to get back on my feet eventually."

Ok, could someone explain this to me? What is a work partner? It seems to me if he kept his own money, he'd be a little better off.

My Guess..... (none / 0) (#219)
by shftleft on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:02:25 PM EST

...would be that his "work partner" is the guy who got him the job in the first place. As for wh he didn't keep his own money, some people aren't very good with money and need other people to hold it so they won't spend it frivilously. Just a guess though. :-)

[ Parent ]
Holding money (none / 0) (#220)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:08:33 PM EST

That assumes that his "work partner" is reliable & trustworthy. If not, he'd be better off holding his own money, even if he DOES wind up blowing it.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
i had the same question (none / 0) (#225)
by anon0865 on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 05:39:27 PM EST

I asked him why he didn't keep his money in a bank, and he shrugged in a way that made me think that this was an impossibility for him.

I am still curious why he cannot open an account with the local bank, though.

[ Parent ]

I still am curious... (none / 0) (#249)
by vile on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 07:55:04 PM EST

what a work partner is.. sounds like he gives the guy all of his money for nothing. At first I thought, hmm, it's his boss.. then I thought, hmm, it's his boyfriend.. and then I thought hmm, he's slaving for a place to stay. Then I thought that maybe the two of them are working together to earn enough to get places, or whatever. Who knows.

He doesn't need a bank account to keep his money at. Who knows what he's thinking. If he's just giving his money to a 'work partner', he's lapsing in judgment. What would happen if that 'work partner' just took off? Heh, fucked again. Maybe he's addicted to being homeless.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
i believe... (none / 0) (#254)
by anon0865 on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:30:12 PM EST

...that in the context of the conversation, the "work partner" implied his best buddy, not his boss. But I could be mistaken on this point.

I did come on the verge of telling him that he should really keep his own money himself [or at least try to set up a bank account], but I gathered that he could not do this. I suppose that it really was none of my business, although it is kind of strange having the tables reversed :-P

[ Parent ]

He needs it more than you or me (none / 0) (#261)
by QuickFox on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 09:18:55 AM EST

He doesn't need a bank account to keep his money at.

He certainly needs a bank account, much more than you or me. We can hide away our money as cash somewhere at home if we need to, he must carry everything around. If he's saving up in order to get out of the situation, he may need to accumulate some capital. If he carries everything around he'll be robbed every now and then, losing everything. Then he can never accumulate anything and so he never gets out of it.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Re: Um, what? (none / 0) (#237)
by Shaun on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 02:19:13 AM EST

I'll admit that I don't know very much about the homeless culture, but from what I've seen and read, many homeless tend to be rather territorial. It's possible that the work partner "owns" the tent - either literally, or in the sense that he was the first one to stake a claim to it - and that the payments are rent of sorts.

As for why he doesn't open a bank account, most if not all banks require that you provide a valid physical address in order to open an account (IIRC this is stipulated by federal banking regulations). Makes it tough for someone with no real address.

[ Parent ]

heh (none / 0) (#248)
by vile on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 07:50:38 PM EST

I have a real address and no bank account. Actually I have two. I'm not homeless and prefer not to bank. Why bother letting someone earn interest off of your cash? I live fine on cash.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
Safety (none / 0) (#262)
by Cro Magnon on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 12:05:47 PM EST

I'd be afraid to have all my money in cash. If I had a burglary, I'd lose everything, whereas, with most of my money at the bank, I'd at least have that left.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Unless (none / 0) (#266)
by vile on Sat Sep 28, 2002 at 04:10:58 PM EST

your bank was robbed.. in which case you're "insured for up to $100,000".. which does *not* mean that you would definitely get your money back.. only means that you're insured up to that amount. If you had $100k in your account, you might be lucky to see a 1/4th to a half of it returned. Banks get robbed every day.. just like homes. Get a safe. Hide it well. Tell noone about it. Best way.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
The odds (none / 0) (#272)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:52:45 AM EST

I've never heard of anybody loosing their money from a bank robbery. I have, however, had several burglaries, and know quite a few other people who have had at least one. The odds are much better keeping my money in a bank, than in my house.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Cash in a bank (none / 0) (#270)
by 6secretways on Sun Sep 29, 2002 at 12:11:22 PM EST

If you used a bank, you would still have your $92 bucks though would'nt you?

[ Parent ]
That's just not true (2.50 / 4) (#213)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:00:15 PM EST

It can be very difficult to improve your economic situation. Most of the public schools suck so bad that the people who go to them can barely read. It is pretty expensive to go to college and getting even more so. There's tons of hard-working, decent people who just can't get ahead.

I admit that most homeless people are probably drug addicts or insane. However, once someone is homeless it is pretty difficult for them to get a job.

Consider this: the Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates for the expressed purpose of making sure that the unemployment rate stays near 5%. Lots of uneducated working class people end up in serious debt because they end up unemployed or they can't pay medical bills.

I don't give money to homeless people on the street, but I don't think that to give people finacial assistance is to say that they are not as good as you. Property rights are just a social convention and when they interfere with the interests of man they should be ignored.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

This was supposed to be inside a thread, sorry (nt (none / 0) (#216)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 03:07:07 PM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
OTOH, Germany... (none / 0) (#250)
by thesync on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:16:57 PM EST

Germany has 10% unemployment.

[ Parent ]
I don't know if he was homeless... (5.00 / 2) (#222)
by jforan on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 04:41:23 PM EST

but I was always encouraged by this guy in Kansas City on the part of Brookside where it enters the Plaza.  He spent a couple of bucks each morning on windshield wiper fluid ($.99 per gallon at Home Depot style stores (it makes a great cheap replacement for windex)) and would wash peoples' windshields at the lengthy stop light.  Very rarely did he make it up the street of waiting cars without finding a taker.  I think most people gave him at least a quarter, usually a dollar - he actually did a good job, getting under the windshield wipers and everything.

Anyway, eventually, he seemed to be working around there less and less... I haven't seen him in years, now.  Hopefully he got a real job or just retired; he probably made about $15 bucks an hour after (without) taxes.  If he could keep it up 8 hours a day, this is about the same as a taxed $35-40K per year.

The only place I have ever seen this is at that one intersection in Kansas City though.  

Perhaps there is a negative stigma to windshield-washing as Hollywood has often portrayed the case where a guy with a ripped off windshield wiper goes up to your car and just starts washing your windshield.  After doing a crappy job, he says "that'll be five bucks."  If you don't pay, his next 'customer' might get their windshield washed with your wiper.  The effect is enhanced when there is a small pile of ripped-off wipers on the side of the road, or a crow bar sticking out his back pocket.

Jeff

I hops to be barley workin'.

Safety Net. (3.00 / 2) (#231)
by Wulfius on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 11:29:58 PM EST

Safety Net.
A foreign concepts to most Americans.

The national religion, Capitalism has so warped
peoples beliefs of what is right and what is not
that the notion of CARING for those worse off is
thought of as UNAMERICAN. Something that only
evil socialists like the French and the Swedish do.

The only homeless in civilised countries you will
see are hitchhikers or mental institution patients
let lose onto the community by adopting the IMF
and World Bank policies of 'Market Driven Health Care'. The notion of poverty so abject and complete
that you do not even have a roof over your head
is a foreign concept, limited only to poorly developed countries like the US.
Oh yes, US is the largest global polluter and has
the largest military. But when it comes to GPI.
Genuine progress Indicatore the US is up there
with the 3rd world countries.

http://www.gpiatlantic.org/
http://www.newcentury.org/publications/vitalsigns1999/vitalsigns1999_assessing.pdf

The US culture polarises people.
There are the 'worthy' ones who were lucky enough
to prosper and the 'unworthy' ones who 'dont have
it what it takes to succeed. There is no middle ground.

For the sake of paying a small proportion
of your income for government programs to help
the needy you get the assurance that should
misfortune strike you, you will not have to
suffer more than necessary.
Where religious dogma and IDEALOGY dictate
how you should mistreat you fellow man
all suffer. The nation is poorer as a whole.

We have to abandon our middle ages attitudes
and move forward this is the 21st centry. Compassion for your fellow man WILL ultimately
triumph.
---

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!

oops (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by corian on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 10:54:10 AM EST

The national religion, Capitalism has so warped peoples beliefs of what is right and what is not that the notion of CARING for those worse off is thought of as UNAMERICAN. Something that only evil socialists like the French and the Swedish do.

I'm guessing from the tone of this that you're not American.

I think you've missed a major conception of American culture in your analysis here. Many Americans do care for those worse off than them. There are tons of charity groups, donation centres, church shelters, soup kitchens, and the like.

However, many while Americans may be caring, many American's don't feel that such "caring" is the proper role of the government (especially as concerns "the mere redistribution of wealth". Many of us feel this an appropriate role for private or religions groups and/or non-profits. Many would prefer to donate their time or provide a service rather than giving cash. This isn't a question of "caring". Many Americans "care" and "give" of their own initiative. What they don't want is the government _forcing_ them to do so, especially if they don't _trust_ the government to do a good job of distributing funds or setting up services on their own.

[ Parent ]

Ah but you DO trust the government. (5.00 / 1) (#257)
by Wulfius on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 10:17:58 PM EST

Your elected officials have a power of LIFE AND DEATH over you which they frequently exercise.

I believe US is one of the few civilised countries
(and I use the term losely here :) that still has
the DEATH PENALTY.

Your govenment has a massive stockpile of
weapons of mass destructions capable of purging
this planet many times over.

I think we have allready established UNDISPUTABLY that you DO trust your government implicitly, without a question or a shadow of a doubt.

Claiming that you do not and that Americans chose
to do it out of their own accord is just a comfort zone you are erecting.

Americans, due to their religion (Capitalism)
live in a state of denyal about the role of the
Government in civil society.

Case in point, Dubbaya squealing about big government, cutting taxes; then creating a mega government department for Homeland security
and going to war (taxfunded). Thats whats called
HYPOCRYSY. Something politicians excel at.
If what you just said is true, Bush should have
cut the security expenses from the budget.
Outsourced everything to Armaguard and only
people who could afford to pay Armaguard
would be protected from terrorists.

Yes its impractical because you are Citizens.
As such you get some rights in modern civilised
democracies. One right taken for granted
in other civilised coutries is FREEDOM FROM ABJECT POVERTY.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

what in the name of bleep are you talking about? (none / 0) (#268)
by gregholmes on Sat Sep 28, 2002 at 05:26:59 PM EST

Every time I go shopping, someone in front of me is using funny money coupons to buy stuff. Or things that are supposed to look like credit cards. And all they have to do to get it is have children and don't get married. There are supposed to be time limits and such, but they are constantly waived.

We do have all sorts of government programs to help the needy. And I pay a large proportion of my income to the government to pay for all of it. A lot gets siphoned off along the way, though. I'd agree to pay them what they actually get, if we could scrap the programs. I'd save big.



[ Parent ]
Homeless... hah (3.00 / 1) (#247)
by vile on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 07:45:19 PM EST

I do not stereotype.. at least I try my best not to. When I meet someone, I give them the best benefit of any doubt in my mind that they are good people. My judgement was proven wrong recently.

Homeless girl. We had this party.. a good 8 people showed up. One of the girls that showed up brought along another girl, 'Sissy'. I didn't know she was homeless at the time. But she walked in.. with very black feet.. and someone asked if she could use the shower. So, cool.. no biggie. She used the shower. We had a lot of beer.. so it was no big deal to let her drink a good bit of it. She's almost as big of an alcoholic as I am, I soon found out. We ended up making 3 beer runs that night.. at least one as a result of her.. (and at least one as a result of me.. but hey, I was paying for it.). Cool. So, everyone leaves. She doesn't. So, she obviously wants to crash here. She crashes here.. along with two other 'homeless' people that were also brought along.. called parkies. I'm out in the living room.. I crash, too. I left my wallet where I always leave it. I wake up the next morning, not even thinking about my wallet.. I go next door.. later that day, I notice that I no longer have a wallet. I'm pissed. I figure I just lost it.. here 3 months later, I've still not seen the first sign of it. Obviously it was stolen.

So, homeless? I give a fuck less these days. If I open my home to someone, offer them my food, offer them my cigarettes, offer them a place to stay for any number of days.. and I get repaid by being stolen from.. hey.. fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Sissy went on to move next door where she was kicked out for stealing & not paying rent. Ray (one of the other people who stayed, who doesn't bathe even though he has a place to stay, but by choice refuses to, stinks up the house every time he comes in.. as in a sickening smell.. one most of you will never encounter..) went on to do whatever, but still returns every now and then just to have me shut the door in his face.

On the note of Sissy, she used the people next door just like she used us for a place to stay for a few days. She lost her kids because she took them down to live in rusted tin shack out in the middle of nowhere, subjecting them to cruel living conditions. She drank. And she didn't keep a job. Good riddance.

Insensitive? Uncaring? Mean? Asshole? I dunno.. sure.. but I definitely learned something and am now limiting myself from being stolen from. Hit up the next door buddy.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
And.. (none / 0) (#251)
by vile on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:19:25 PM EST

not to mention, I had $92 in my wallet. Which was going to bills that needed to be paid. I had to borrow money (which I paid back within a week) from a friend to pay these bills. It was the last of my cash. Go figure. At least the homeless fucks could've left my family photos.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
wow (none / 0) (#256)
by anon0865 on Thu Sep 26, 2002 at 08:44:18 PM EST

You should post a counterpoint story with more details. Violating the host-guest bond, especially one given by charity, is despicable in all cultures that I have encountered.

I should note that this is an interesting philosophical point. Are stereotypes justified, and if they are not, what is the basis of our knowledge? I have been cheated out of my money enough to know that I will not personally give any stranger any money without getting to know them in depth- and I am not a stingy person. It's not about the dimes and quarters, it's about the ugly side of human nature. Sad to say, the only way I have found to respond to this ugly side is with more ugliness. In other words, "No change."

Yet it would be a bleak world if everything were based on experience, not hope. I think this was why this encounter was important for me- it gave me some hope that there is some good, that some of those people out there on the streets have such force of character that they can endure things that I myself couldn't.

Ironically, this will probably lead to me giving somebody a quarter in the future. Probably to a shelter or something.

[ Parent ]

guilty until proven innocent. (4.00 / 1) (#260)
by dvchaos on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 02:09:30 AM EST

IMHO. like fuck is it the other way round.

--
RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
[ Parent ]
The Fallacy of Stereotyping (none / 0) (#263)
by ellF on Fri Sep 27, 2002 at 01:16:40 PM EST

You walked into it.

A girl you didn't know showed up at your place, and you left her in sight of your valuables. Yes, it shouldn't be the case that someone violates the hospitality that you have extended - but you didn't know this person, or her motives. Suck, learn, move on.

What's a shame is that you've closed your mind to people not because of their personality traits but because of their financial situation. By saying, "I definitely learned something and am now limiting myself from being stolen from", you're putting forth the notion that you will only associate with people who are not in a particular income bracket - namely, those in the bottom-most strata.

However, financial conditions do not reflect upon personality. Some people are broke because they're lazy, sure - but some people are rich because they were born that way. Closing your mind to someone based on something as trivial as whether they have cash in the bank isn't a very sound decision, especially not when it comes from a judgement made about a group of people, based upon a single experience.

Live as you like, but realize that you're being illogical and prejudicial. If you're cool with that, hey - whatever floats your boat. May you never need to ask anyone for help, though.



[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#267)
by vile on Sat Sep 28, 2002 at 04:16:12 PM EST

Sure I walked into it. And I learned my lesson. And have moved on. I've been broke before. Plenty of times. I understand the need to chill at a place for a few nights.. or borrow a couple of bucks.. or bum a smoke. If it's needed, I don't have a problem asking.. I prefer not to. I haven't closed my mind off to friends who need a place to crash.. just to people who I don't know.. can't trust someone you don't know.. especially if you've been proven by someone in that 'class', as you put it, that you have the possibility of being screwed over. No sense. It floats my boat.

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#269)
by ShrimpX on Sat Sep 28, 2002 at 07:28:27 PM EST

you gotta love extremism.

homeless person => society sucks, down with the US, capitalism is bad

palestine => israel sucks, down with the US, capitalism is bad

george bush => down with the ...

the truth is that NOTHING is as clean cut as we'd like it to be. problems related to humanity are never uniform and can never be solved as units, if at all. finding uniform solutions is directly dependent on humanity's uniformness.

homelessness used to be a social problem, in the sense that social stratification in a capitalist society is bound to push some people down into its lowest levels, where ascension is made impossible. nowadays, homelessness is something more than that. at least, it's not as clean cut as it used to be. homeless culture does not imply losing your family, friends and job due to some unfortunate event. if it does, it's only partially, and VERY partially. homelessness is a way of life like any other, in most cases, chosen. some of my family is homeless, and not because they've somehow been forced to become homeless. homeless culture, the homeless people, are more "up their alley" than the rest of the world. they don't have it easy, but then again, who does? the fact that they don't have to work makes up for most of it.

try to ask a homeless person to work for you next time they beg for change, and see the reaction you get.

i guess what i'm saying is that stressing out about homelessness isn't much different than stressing out about the social situation of the workforce, for example.

Been homeless. (4.33 / 3) (#273)
by Marasmus on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 10:44:29 PM EST

After dropping out of college and quitting a tech support job I had, I ended up being homeless for a few months. At first, I enjoyed it simply because it was something different. Something fresh and new after the stale and completely fucking mind-numbing idiocy that was being pawned off as accredited-University education. Then, I enjoyed it because I had to live with very little to work with. It was an exercise in self-control, humility, and respect (for MANY things).

Then I ran completely out of money. I no longer had even $2 that I found around. I rolled pennies so I could eat. Then I ran out of pennies... so I didn't eat. And it was the best feeling of my life.

Nothing before and nothing since that point has made me feel more alive. There's a breaking point where you just suddenly realize that all you truly own in this world is yourself, and even that is only yours on lease. It teaches you that there are a VERY few things one should give a shit about in their life, and none of them cost a thing.

I never begged or asked for help. I did crash on a friend's couch for a while, but returned to my car because I felt like a puppet to pathetic groveling greed by staying there. So I got a job. THAT simple. End of story.

Those who do not want to be homeless will not be homeless for long. Those who want to be indefinitely homeless? They have chosen that life. NO one chose it for them.

You are such a troll! (1.00 / 1) (#275)
by babbling on Sun Nov 10, 2002 at 02:22:12 AM EST

Oh, puull-eeze! Am I the only one who sees that the emperor has no clothes? This is a joke article! It reads as badly as a Saturday Night Live skit spoofing "lessons learned from homeless people, film ateleven." Screw you, dude. I cannot believe all these people took you seriously
If I were at full slayer strength, I'd be punning right about now.
A Man Who Was Homeless | 277 comments (258 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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