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Postcard from the End of America: Lisa from Clayton, NJ
Lisa, Center City Philadelphia, PA
Lisa, Center City Philadelphia, PA

David Swanson, author of War is a Lie, declares, “Yes, I also want to say Free Mumia. In fact, I want to say Free all the prisoners. Turn the prison holding Mumia Abu-Jamal into a school and make him dean.” Now, only a white man living outside the city can even think of, “I want to say Free all the prisoners.” Most city dwellers, white, black, brown or yellow, would retch in disgust at such a statement.

The left tend to see all losers, even criminals, as merely victims of circumstance, but from the right perspective, just about any destitute person is a lazy bum who’s made too many wrong decisions. To a pure leftist, one’s birth traits override individual complexities, so if you were born into wealth, for example, then you’re inherently guilty of, well, just about everything, but if you’re black and living in a white society, then you cannot be guilty of anything, not even of racism, that most basic of human instincts. A black man doesn’t have to overcome his racism, since he can’t even be racist, according to many a leftist brain, but to deny such a moral agency to anyone is to see him as subhuman. One has to be a racist, or just plain stupid, to believe any man incapable of self love.

On just about every issue, immigration, race, religion or law and order, the American left has alienated itself from the lower class, one that it still pretends to represent, but the right is also out of touch, for too often, it downplays systemic reasons for individual failures. If you’re relying on food stamps, for example, you must be a parasite, but the fact is, with job outsourcing and a deliberate policy by our ruling class to not just allow, but import, cheaper foreign labor, it’s becoming harder by the day to put food on the table.

In April of 2000, the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate stood at 67.3%. Now, it’s 62.6%. Not only are far fewer Americans employed, the current batch of jobs also pay less yet inflation has only skyrocketed, if measured honestly. One of the funniest terms in our increasingly Orwellian epoch is “core inflation index,” for it leaves out the costs of food and energy, the two core necessities of life. Heartless, our masters sure know how to laugh in our faces. In 2008, 18% of American children lived in poverty. Just seven years later, it’s 22%. Housing prices are going up thanks to low interest rates, speculators and foreign buyers. Though this only shoves more destitute Americans into homeless shelters, garden sheds, garages and cars, if not under bridges and onto sidewalks, it’s trumpeted by Wall Street and Washington as a heart warming sign of the recovery. The latest housing trend is tent rental in someone’s backyard. For $65 a night, you can curl up in Chula Vista, CA, but it’s only $20 in La Verne. What’s next? Lean to? Air mattress under the stars?

Traveling to a poor country, Americans can be overwhelmed by the sights of beggars. Grimy children may pester you as you carve into your meat. Slumped on sidewalks, the deformed or maimed beg for their next meal. These impressions contrast sharply with the skyscrapers and gleaming boutiques that can be found now in even the most bankrupt and dysfunctional countries. Dysfunctional is not readily measurable, but debts sure are, so I’ll give you just one guess. Which nation is the most bankrupt in this galaxy? The US has dug for itself such a deep, wide and ghastly hole, nearly all of its wealth, capabilities and initiative have been sucked straight down to China.

In any case, beggars are always an indictment of a society, and their number, nature and even techniques are reflective of its condition. The March 18th, 1882 issue of the British Medical Journal has this entry, “SELF-MUTILATION IN CHINA”:

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“Dr. R. A. Jamieson of Shanghai has recently presented to the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons a pair of feet, to which the following remarkable history is attached. Some months ago, a Chinese beggar excited much pity, and made a very profitable business in the streets of the foreign settlement, Shanghai, by showing the mutilated stumps of his legs, the feet belonging to them being tied together, and slung around his neck. Warned frequently by the police, he was knocked down by a carriage one day when scrambling out of the way of a constable. He was brought into hospital, under Dr. Jamieson’s care, being slightly injured; and, on recovery from his bruises, he sold to his medical attendant his feet, which otherwise would have been confiscated by the police. He admitted that, for the purpose of making himself as attractive as possible to the charitably disposed, he had, about a year previously, fastened cords round his ankles, drawing them as tight as he could bear them, and increasing the pressure every two or three days. In about a fortnight, the bones were bare, and he had no more pain. At the end of a month and a half, the bones were quite dry; and, by this time, according to his account, he was able to remove the feet by partly cutting and partly snapping the bones. The feet were quite black and mummified; on the wounded surface of the right foot, the upper aspect of the astragalus was seen, no trace of the malleoli remaining; but the external malleolus lay in its normal position in the left foot, and it had evidently been removed by cutting and snapping, as the patient affirmed. The stumps were perfectly healed, and conical; the ends of the tibiae and fibulae were apparently fused, and both stumps were covered in with a good cicatrix, puckered at the centre, and admitting of a very considerable amount of pressure before pain was produced. Such instances of self-mutilation appear to be frequent in China; and, when performed for such a motive as in Dr. Jamieson’s case, they throw a light on that singular mixture of courage, deceit, and sacrifice of almost anything to advance low enterprise, which characterise the lower orders in that country.”

We can’t know how “frequent” such self-mutilations for coins were, but it’s interesting that from one “remarkable” and frankly freakish example, the writer could conclude that it “throw a light” on “the lower orders in that country.” It almost sounds like, “the lower order of that country.” Again, beggars are an indictment of a society.

Marty, from Winslow, NJ, Center City Philadelphia, PA
Marty, from Winslow, NJ, Center City Philadelphia, PA

In our land of fuzzy and often quite devious euphemisms, where a prisoner is a “detainee” and an illegal immigrant is just an “undocumented worker,” it’s only appropriate that we don’t have beggars, really, but only panhandlers. Though we have enough strange bodies on the streets, most of our beggars are remarkably normal in appearance and demeanor. Just today, I talked to Marty, a 31-year-old from Winslow, NJ. Reasonably well-groomed, clean and without tattoos, Marty wore a long-sleeve T-shirt, basketball shorts and Polo sneakers. He sat on his bedding next to a platic cup of soda. Marty served four years in the Army. He loves his brief glimpse of Berlin and the “brotherhood” of the military. Afghanistan was “a mess” and Iraq “not what we had been told.” Marty’s been homeless for three weeks. To gain an advantage over other beggars, Marty had come up with a clever sign, “FREE TO A LOVING HOME. HOUSE TRAINED ALREADY!!” In a tiny scrawl beneath that, there’s also, “Trying to Get a Buck to eat.” Two blocks away, I then found an old lady of about 80 dozing in a wheelchair next to two tote bags. I’ve seen men this ancient dumped on our sidewalks, so why not this woman? Most of our homeless shelters kick people out during the daytime, and there are no storage facilities. Here was your average greatgrandma nodding off on a comfy armchair in a cozy living room, except that there was no armchair and no living room. For the many hours that she’s out there, thousands of people, locals and tourists, walk by this exposed woman. This is the new normal.

An American who’s at the bottom is no less representative than Steve Jobs, though only Jobs’ biography is scrutinized. In fact, since the ratio of American “losers” to “winners” has become so askew, with the losing camp swelling to include just about everybody by now, one can understand nothing by ignoring the bottom. Let’s meet, then, Lisa from Clayton, NJ (population 8,216). I found her sitting on Walnut Street near the Holiday Inn. At the time, Lisa had been homeless for 10 months. It was a gorgeous spring day, warm and sunny. Freezing temperatures would not return for at least four months.

Lisa, Center City Philadelphia, PA
Lisa, Center City Philadelphia, PA

“It doesn’t make sense to be anywhere else, right? It doesn’t make sense to be in Atlantic City?”

“No. Now that it’s getting nice, it’s OK to be in Atlantic City, but during the winter, no, and they really don’t have much to offer there.”

“Don’t they have a pretty good shelter there?”

“No, not for women.”

“Were you familiar with Philadelphia before you came here?”

“Semi.”

“It wasn’t too much of a shock, right?”

“Uh-uh, I’d been here a lot in my younger years, so I’d been around and I’d seen homeless people then, so I knew where the areas were.”

“Did you come over here for music?”

“Yup, yup,” she laughed.

“That’s what most people come over here for, you know, for rock shows.”

“Yup, yup.”

“Where did you go?”

“I was more into going to the Phillies games, and concerts. I was in South Philly. I went to clubs.”

“Which clubs?”

“I used to go to Egypt. That was a long time ago.”

“That’s on Delaware Avenue, right?”

“Yup.”

“That’s a nice one too!”

“Yeah. I was a normal person!”

“What kind of music were you interested in?”

“Club. I liked hip hop. Now I’m into country.”

“How old are you?”

“35.”

“I’m just wondering, you know, your generation.”

“Era.”

“So what kind of work were you doing?

“I was a secretary. I was doing billing, medical billing.”

“How long were you doing that?”

“Six years.”

“And before that?”

“Before that, I worked at a retail store. From there, I became a secretary, then from there, I ended up out here.”

“Did you have to get a degree?”

“Associate.”

“Did it cost you money?”

“Yup.”

“But you made it back.”

“Uh huh.”

“So when did it go bad?”

“Two years ago. Um, but for the first year, I was able to maintain still, and then, the last year, I just lost everything, so that’s what put me out here.”

“You had an apartment in Clayton.”

“Clayton, yup. I’m actually now trying to get back up, so, and get out of here.”

“So what’s the plan?”

“The plan is to get back to New Jersey.”

“So how are you straightening things out?”

“With the help of my family, and getting a little part time job, which I’m starting Thursday.”

“Wow!”

“Yeah.”

“Where?”

“In Philly, in Reading Terminal Market.”

“OK, cool!”

“Yeah. It’s something. It will help me get off here. I’m going to rent a room, and then from there, try to get home.”

“Was there a problem getting hired, ah, as a homeless person?”

“I didn’t tell them, no. Now they know!”

“Now they do?!”

“Yeah.”

“It didn’t hold them back?”

“No, they’re really, really nice there.”

“Were you nervous about…”

“Yes, it’s embarrassing.”

“You know, people make all kinds of assumptions.”

“I’ve been assumed to be everything, and no one knows anything.” We both laughed. “It’s crazy. I’d rather people not say anything at all than to just be mean. There’s no need for it.”

“How mean can they get?”

“Very! Yeah. They curse you out.”

“For no reason?”

“For no reason. And I don’t say anything to people. I’m not sitting here asking, I’m just sitting here quietly. So they just come by and say whatever they want.”

“Like, who are the meanest people? If you can generalize a little bit. Younger, older?”

“Younger. I’d say between, like, 19 and 23, that age group. Guys.”

“But, you know, they haven’t been out.”

“Exactly!”

“What do they know?”

“Exactly.”

“I wonder if it’s some kind of anxiety that they feel?”

“Could be.”

“Because they haven’t been tested.”

“Right! And I just don’t get it, because it’s always the same group of people, the same type of people, but I don’t pay it any mind.”

“What do you mean the same type?”

“Like, same age group. Guys, it’s always guys, never girls.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s so perverse!”

“Yup.”

“I mean, how do you get off insulting people you don’t know?”

“Exactly! And how do you know you’re not going to be sitting here one day?”

“You might not last until 35. You might be in jail or dead.”

“Exactly. You don’t know what the future holds.”

“Are they black guys? White guys?”

“Black.”

“Black guys tend to be a little bit more…”

“Yup! Even to the point of kicking your cup over.”

“Black guys will do that?”

“Yup!”

“You know, I keep hearing this shit about black guys.”

“Uh huh.”

“But black women tend to be nice.”

“Yes, very. Extremely, extremely. Ninety percent of my drops come from black women.”

“You know, I keep hearing that.”

“Yup.”

“Isn’t that amazing?”

“Yeah, they help immensely, immensely. It might even be ninety-five percent.”

“Wow, and they’re nice to, like, white guys too?”

“Yup.”

“That’s what I hear.”

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“Yup, very. I don’t know if it’s because they feel compassion because they grew up struggling, or they didn’t have things growing up, but they’re the ones who help the most. White people will walk right past me and look at me like I’m dirt under their shoes.”

“Well, black women also have to take care of a lot of people.”

“Yeah.”

“A lot of them don’t have husbands, right?”

“Yup, that is true.”

“And they also have to take care of people at their jobs, you know, like nursing care.”

“Yup, nursing, yeah.”

“Um, I know that Angel has Seth.”

“Uh huh.”

“Do you have a boyfriend out here?”

“Yup, right there,” and Lisa indicated with her head a man sitting across the street by the Korean owned buffet.

“So you’re safe that way?”

“Yup.”

“Do men try weird shit?”

“Yeah. Everyday.”

“Everyday!”

“Uh huh,”

“In the daytime?”

“Daytime, nighttime and they think I have six heads because I say I don’t do that.”

“Wow.”

“It’s expected.”

“They come by and say some shit?”

“Yeah, and if you say no, they’re like… They expect it. They expect that, if you’re sitting out here, you’re a prostitute.”

“Wow.”

“And I’m like, no, I don’t do that.”

“I bet you, like, are they older guys? Middle-aged guys?”

“Forty, yeah, forty, forty-five.”

“Creepy, huh?”

“Very.”

“And what do you say?”

“I just say, no, I don’t do that, and they look at me like I’m crazy. I’m like, I don’t do that!”

“You should say, You’re a fuckin’ loser!”

“Yeah!” She laughed.

“Do you ever say that?”

“I told one guy off because he just wouldn’t leave me alone. And I’m like, get away from me, you creep. Like, go get a life!”

“What did he look like? What did he look like?”

“He was, like, fifty. White.”

“Did he look, like, skanky?”

“Yeah, dirty. He looked like he was more homeless than me!”

“Well, I’m saying… He probably hasn’t been laid in, like, twenty years!”

“Yeah.” We both laughed. “Probably. Yeah. Desperate. He’s a weirdo. I see him every once in a while now, too, walking around, but as soon as I see him, I run the other way.”

“So what does he say?”

“Do you date?”

“Do you date?!” I cracked up.

“Yeah, do you date? No, I don’t. And he’d just stand there and stare at you.”

“Stand like right there?”

“Uh huh. Yeah, he’s a weirdo.”

“How is he dressed?”

“Sweat pants and a T-shirt, always, and sandals with no socks on.”

“Something goofy on the T-shirt?”

“No, just a dingy white T-shirt. It was during the winter time, and he didn’t have any socks on. I remember that.”

“And he always say that?”

“Yup.”

“He doesn’t vary it?”

“Nope. Just do you date?”

“I bet you hear ruder shit, right?”

“Not really, not with that. It’s more like, do you date? Or, do you want to take a ride?” I cracked up. “Do you want to do that? But I’ve been out here for ten months with him,” meaning her boyfriend, “so a lot of people see me…”

“Did you meet your boyfriend out here?”

“No, no, we… I’ve been with him for fifteen years.”

“Oh wow! So what kind of work does he do?”

“He’s a mechanic.”

“And you both just ran out of work?”

“Yeah. I stopped working before him, and then he got laid off. After that, we lost everything.”

“So you lost your job two years ago?”

“Yeah, and he worked for a whole ‘nother year. He worked under the table, so he wasn’t able to collect unemployment.”

“How old is your boyfriend?”

“Thirty-three.”

“Wow, it’s amazing, isn’t it, that people in their thirties… It doesn’t make any sense. I mean, Angel is in her twenties.”

“”Yeah, I think she’s only 23.” Angel is actually only 22.

Lisa then told me about Eli, a 28-year-old homeless woman from Pittsburgh, “She has a really, really interesting story. I tell her all the time that, once she gets out of this situation, she should go teach young girls, because she has an incredible story. I mean, she was, like, working with congressmen.”

“Lisa, I’m 51, and it used to be so easy to find work. I’m telling you.”

“Now, it’s a struggle.”

“I know, it’s insane.”

“It is. The whole economy is terrible, and the cost of living is higher, yet you don’t even make enough money to live.”

“And they’re lying about all the statistics.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Unemployment. Inflation.”

“Yup. It’s crazy. Even when I was younger, when I was 19 and 20, there were tons of jobs. From then until now is a huge difference, so I’m just hoping. I’ve got to take it step by step.”

“So how many hours will you be working?”

“Twenty, twenty-two, something to get me off here for twenty or twenty-two hours.”

Lisa and her boyfriend are hoping to move inside soon, “We’re going to rent a room. It’s by 22nd and, ah, Dickinson.”

“Point Breeze.”

“Yup. So we’re going to try to rent a room. We can’t afford an apartment now.”

“How much is it?”

“It’s about 130 a week.”

“Housing prices, too… 130 a week for a room, in fuckin’ Point Breeze.”

“Yup, and it’s just a room,” she chuckled.

“That’s kind of a pain, ain’t it? But what can you do?”

“It’s better than being out here.”

I told Lisa that in 1999, I had a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Philadelphia for just $350. Now, the same space would go for at least $1,100.

“It’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy. To get into an apartment, you need the first and last month’s rent. You need a major chunk to get even in the door.”

“So that’s hopeful, you have this job, and your boss seems nice.”

“Very. Very nice.”

“How did he know that you were homeless?”

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“Well, the way I got introduced was through a regular of mine that passes me all the time. He’s friends with him. At first, I didn’t say anything, but my regular said, you can tell him, he’s understanding, so I talked to him, and he said he’d give me a chance, and it didn’t matter that I was, you know… As long as I’m a hard worker, that’s what he cares about, so.” Lisa will be a cashier at her new job. “I’ve experience with it. I’m looking forward to it.”

“A couple more questions! What’s the biggest surprise that you’ve found out after being out here this long? Is there something you didn’t expect at all?”

“I guess. Really, it’s just that… the way people treat you is the biggest surprise. I used to be the person walking by that would give a homeless person a dollar, but I didn’t realize how people… It’s like you’re invisible. I don’t know how you treat people that way? I’m still a human being.”

“And the hostility is incomprehensible.”

“Yeah, yeah. I don’t know what the hatred is for. I don’t know what the anger is for. I’ve done nothing against these people. I get that if you don’t want to help me, you don’t have to help me, but you don’t have to walk by with such anger. That’s probably the biggest surprise, how people treat, and it’s not just me. It’s homeless people in general. I mean, I’m pretty fortunate. I’ve seen people get treated a lot worse. Um, a friend of ours just got, ah, beaten and he passed away. They beat him right over here by the Dunkin’ Donuts.”

“Really?!”

“Yup.”

“How old was he?”

“Forty-three-years old.”

“This happened recently?”

“Yup, this happened about a month ago. No paper, no news.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah, they beat him to death. He was in a coma, and they finally got in touch with his family, and they pulled the plug and he passed away.”

“What’s his name?”

“Kenny.”

“Kenny?”

“Ah, his last name, I believe, is Taylor. He’s from Delaware, but he was out here for a good two and a half years.”

“And you said there was no newspaper coverage. I wonder why? It’s a murder.”

“Yeah. There were actually three beatings of three homeless people.”

“Within a month?”

“Within a week. One of them was left at the level of a five-year-old, Kenny passed away and the other guy, they put into a rehab facility. He’s an alcoholic, and he got beaten so badly, they didn’t want to put him back on the streets, so they put him into a rehab. Three, within a week.”

“And how did the news get out?”

“We found out by the outreach. The outreach came by, especially to me and Eli, the other girl, because we’re girls and they wanted us to be careful. But yeah, no news, no…”

“And no arrest.”

“No.”

Broad Street Ministry, the shelter that Lisa used to sleep at, has been closed since April 1st. It only operates in the winter.

“If a woman doesn’t have a man,” I continued, “that’s pretty fucked up, right?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s almost essential.”

“Yeah. I don’t see how you can be out here without somebody, a friend or someone that you trust to take care of you. Otherwise, you’re in jeopardy every night, really.”

“I can see a situation where a woman is out here as a single, and then has to find a man.”

“Yes!”

“But that’s also weird, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Because that’s not… You don’t really want this.”

“Yeah, there’s a lady out here that’s like that, Tracy. She found somebody out here because she was out here by herself.”

“So it’s like a convenient boyfriend.”

“Right.”

“OK, one last question. What about your survival tactic? What have you learnt how to do that you didn’t know how to do before?”

“Ah, how to have thick skin! Thick skin and, ah, knowing your surroundings, knowing what’s going on around you. I used to be in this little bubble, you know, oblivious, but now I know what’s going on around me, a lot, and you have to, to be out here.”

“And being out here, you can probably observe people better than you ever did.”

“Yeah.”

“Because you, literally, have nothing else to do.”

“Yeah, and you do see a lot, when you’re sitting here. A lot of good, a lot of bad, but a lot.”

“So what have you learnt about people? I mean, aside from the nasty things.”

“Ah, there’s a lot of good people, though. There are a lot of good people who come up and are willing to help. I have a lady over on Chesnut that comes up to me everyday and just says hi and gets me coffee in the morning. There are a lot of good people in this city that outweigh the bad. The good outweighs the bad.”

“Oh, that’s good to hear.”

“Yeah. You tend to focus on the bad because it aggravates you and you don’t understand it.”

“And also for survival.”

“Right!”

“If you don’t focus on it, you might be dead!”

“Yeah! Exactly, exactly!”

Today, I scoured the Reading Terminal but could not find Lisa. I also didn’t see her on Walnut Street. Perhaps she’s back in New Jersey. I’ve seen a few people climb out of the pit, but I’ve seen more lose their footing.

(Reprinted from Postcards from the End of America by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Poverty 
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  1. I live in a small city near the Canadian border, and I see homeless people all the time in my neighborhood. They’re mainly middle-aged white men, with a few American Indians mixed in. For the most part they’re polite and unobtrusive. A lot – maybe most – are healthy and able to all outside appearances. They just can’t find work, it seems. One way you can tell a homeless guy is when you see a guy riding a bicycle without that sporty getup in a place that isn’t bicycle friendly; i.e. he needs the bike to get around. Or when you see a guy duck behind a business to fetch some essential from a pack. Non-homeless only ride bikes and carry packs for recreation. Other than these subtle clues, you often can’t tell the difference.

    Homelessness in the US is a much bigger problem than we’re led on to believe.

    Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.”

    There’s an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I’m afraid we’ll pay for it one day.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realist
    "Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.”"

    You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent. .
    , @jimbojones
    Sometimes I wonder - just how atomized and lonely have people in America (and elsewhere) become? Am I to understand that neither Lisa nor her boyfriend has a brother, a father, a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a grandfather, a grandmother, a godfather, a former roommate, an old classmate, a buddy from the army, or just some really close friend who would take her in (and maybe the boyfriend) indefinitely no questions asked? I mean what is this?

    One other thing - what sort of people kick the cups of the homeless or beat on the defenseless? (I'm afraid the article answers this questions rather clearly. :/) It is truly vile to abuse the defenseless. I remember reading a putrid article in the LA Times once... Some monster in human shape took a homeless guy, doused him in gasoline and burned him. There isn't enough booze in this world and there aren't enough fiery pits in the next one...

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/29/local/la-me-homeless-murder29-20100429

    The thing is, abominations such as the one described in the article are even worse off than the homeless. The homeless have lost their homes and other material possessions. Some have lost much of their minds. But people such as that murderer have lost their souls.
    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    You should oppose immigration; it puts Americans in competition with the global poor for wages and with the global rich for housing.
    , @BubbaJoe
    "I live in a small city near the Canadian border"

    I don't mean to pry, but do you mean Bellingham? Your comment on the bikes and grace are, chillingly, spot on.
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  2. @Bill P
    I live in a small city near the Canadian border, and I see homeless people all the time in my neighborhood. They're mainly middle-aged white men, with a few American Indians mixed in. For the most part they're polite and unobtrusive. A lot - maybe most - are healthy and able to all outside appearances. They just can't find work, it seems. One way you can tell a homeless guy is when you see a guy riding a bicycle without that sporty getup in a place that isn't bicycle friendly; i.e. he needs the bike to get around. Or when you see a guy duck behind a business to fetch some essential from a pack. Non-homeless only ride bikes and carry packs for recreation. Other than these subtle clues, you often can't tell the difference.

    Homelessness in the US is a much bigger problem than we're led on to believe.

    Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is "there but for the grace of God go I."

    There's an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I'm afraid we'll pay for it one day.

    “Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.””

    You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent. .

    Read More
    • Replies: @woodNfish
    "You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent."

    Why? The government already steals thousands of dollars from me every year to give to people I wouldn't spit on. I have my own family to take care of and keep off the streets. I don't need to take care of more. If the government would stop destroying jobs, families and people which causes the need for charity, and get out of welfare because the government is causing generational welfare, then I'd give to charity. But the government has decided they know better than me, so F 'em. I'll take care of my own family and no more.
    , @marylou
    This raises the question, why do homeless people not qualify for welfare?
  3. @Bill P
    I live in a small city near the Canadian border, and I see homeless people all the time in my neighborhood. They're mainly middle-aged white men, with a few American Indians mixed in. For the most part they're polite and unobtrusive. A lot - maybe most - are healthy and able to all outside appearances. They just can't find work, it seems. One way you can tell a homeless guy is when you see a guy riding a bicycle without that sporty getup in a place that isn't bicycle friendly; i.e. he needs the bike to get around. Or when you see a guy duck behind a business to fetch some essential from a pack. Non-homeless only ride bikes and carry packs for recreation. Other than these subtle clues, you often can't tell the difference.

    Homelessness in the US is a much bigger problem than we're led on to believe.

    Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is "there but for the grace of God go I."

    There's an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I'm afraid we'll pay for it one day.

    Sometimes I wonder – just how atomized and lonely have people in America (and elsewhere) become? Am I to understand that neither Lisa nor her boyfriend has a brother, a father, a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a grandfather, a grandmother, a godfather, a former roommate, an old classmate, a buddy from the army, or just some really close friend who would take her in (and maybe the boyfriend) indefinitely no questions asked? I mean what is this?

    One other thing – what sort of people kick the cups of the homeless or beat on the defenseless? (I’m afraid the article answers this questions rather clearly. :/) It is truly vile to abuse the defenseless. I remember reading a putrid article in the LA Times once… Some monster in human shape took a homeless guy, doused him in gasoline and burned him. There isn’t enough booze in this world and there aren’t enough fiery pits in the next one…

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/29/local/la-me-homeless-murder29-20100429

    The thing is, abominations such as the one described in the article are even worse off than the homeless. The homeless have lost their homes and other material possessions. Some have lost much of their minds. But people such as that murderer have lost their souls.

    Read More
    • Replies: @animalogic
    Atomistion. Reminds me of a story about an american anthropologist. He went to live with a tribe of south american indians (20 odd years ago ??). Tribe was still largely untouched by "civilisation" . So, he falls in love with one of the tribal women, marries her and brings her back to live in the US.
    It didnt last. She returned to tribe. Why ? Well, she had no problem adapting to the material aspects of US life: traffic, tv, computers etc etc. No, what she couldnt adapt to in any way was the literal alienation of modern life, the way we all live in our boxes, our houses, apartments etc, seperated from community. I think she thought we were somekind of sick, somekind of insane. Maybe she was right ?
    , @Bill P

    Sometimes I wonder – just how atomized and lonely have people in America (and elsewhere) become? Am I to understand that neither Lisa nor her boyfriend has a brother, a father, a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a grandfather, a grandmother, a godfather, a former roommate, an old classmate, a buddy from the army, or just some really close friend who would take her in (and maybe the boyfriend) indefinitely no questions asked? I mean what is this?
     
    All you have to do is read some of the less charitable comments here to understand what this is.

    The people who are angry about welfare are totally missing the point. Often, government is responsible for people ending up on the street, and it rarely "helps" them. Why are so many veterans homeless, for example? Often, all it takes is one divorce, one misdemeanor arrest (felons are better cared for than homeless -- even after their release) or a default on a loan someone never should have been offered in the first place. Add in mass immigration and the accompanying lower employment and lots of people are guaranteed to be forced into destitution.

    We live in a predatory society, and I've found that the people with the least compassion typically are those who profit most from the predation. Turn the tables and they'd change their tune.
  4. Well, the story of the secretary who lost everything isn’t as lulzy as the Millennial who got an undergrad in psychology then wondered in amazement why his liberal arts degree wasn’t attracting employers. That was a few “postcards” back. I actually feel for this woman.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    I don't know. Young people are inexperienced, by definition. If he doesn't have a talent for math (ruling out much of STEM), what is he supposed to do?

    I agree, this lady's in a much worse spot.
  5. @Bill P
    I live in a small city near the Canadian border, and I see homeless people all the time in my neighborhood. They're mainly middle-aged white men, with a few American Indians mixed in. For the most part they're polite and unobtrusive. A lot - maybe most - are healthy and able to all outside appearances. They just can't find work, it seems. One way you can tell a homeless guy is when you see a guy riding a bicycle without that sporty getup in a place that isn't bicycle friendly; i.e. he needs the bike to get around. Or when you see a guy duck behind a business to fetch some essential from a pack. Non-homeless only ride bikes and carry packs for recreation. Other than these subtle clues, you often can't tell the difference.

    Homelessness in the US is a much bigger problem than we're led on to believe.

    Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is "there but for the grace of God go I."

    There's an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I'm afraid we'll pay for it one day.

    You should oppose immigration; it puts Americans in competition with the global poor for wages and with the global rich for housing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SFG
    I agree.

    However, that alone will not be sufficient, and you know it.

    We've reached peak jobs, I'm afraid, and more and more people are going to have to be on some kind of welfare.
  6. How much more of this social collapse can America take? Will it actually end up like India? I know the 50s weren’t great for a lot of people but society still hadn’t begun to break down like this.

    It’s particularly disgraceful for a great power to treat its combat veterans this way. Order must be restored!

    Read More
    • Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist
    I know the 50s weren’t great for a lot of people but society still hadn’t begun to break down like this.

    Can we please can the "50's were bad" thing? Of all the leftist memes I can think of, this one is the stupidest. Every socio-economic indicator I've encountered shows it was the peak of this country in terms of a decent life for the most people.
  7. Dear Sean1:

    Not didactic, scolding, but as you don’t know “The Rest of the Story,” the following is merely something to consider…, ideally ponder?

    The “Millennial” (Dan) is my undergrad son; he was born premature (9-22-’91) with momentary deprivation of O2, six years later diagnosed with a mild case of Cerebral Palsy. Dan had share of physical and emotional battles, and although he works as “lulzy” clerk at CVS, I still would rely upon him for psychological insights & inspiration rather than that of successful members who belong to The American Psychological Association. Particularly those go-getters who helped design torture procedures for the C.I.A.’s professional implementation.

    In addition, Sean, over the years, while taking our son to multiple doctors, I learned about RESPECTED area pediatricians who recommend parents with defective children in-the-womb seek abortions. In fact, in 1992, an Old Forge PA couple stood fast against eugenicist advice to abort their child who was found to be deaf at birth. She went on to graduate at Marywood College and now works productively on the latter’s administrative staff. Be well my brother… for health and GOOD JOBS do not last forever!

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  8. I remember a disturbance at a hotel. Two hotel laundry employees had gotten into a fight and the other employees were trying to break it up. I asked one of the housekeepers what that was all about and she said there was a job opening and one of the guys fighting was from El Salvador and the other was from Guatemala and the fight was over which one of their friends or relatives would get to fill the opening.

    I assume this goes on all over America and why an illegal immigrant from Central America can get a job whereas a homeless native born American can’t. A lot of jobs are never advertised or made available to the public. They are filled by word of mouth and these immigrant communities control who will be allowed to fill them. Admittedly these are low paying service jobs but if you are sitting on the sidewalk 40 hours per week working in a hotel laundry with a lunch provided by the hotel to staff is a start.

    Read More
  9. “there but for the grace of God go I.”

    You must have a very low opinion of yourself then.

    Many people have had the kind of adversity these “homeless” people faced. I myself lost a good job in the energy sector once. It was a good job, great pay and benefits. And I (and many other people), lost these great jobs through no fault of our own.

    I took a big financial hit. So rather than look for another job, I immediately gave up. Stopped looking for work, stopped paying rent. Hit the streets with a “poor me” sign and worked on my sob story rather than my resume.

    Kidding. Actually, I did what I had to do. I lived off my savings. Looked for work like a man obsessed. Cut expenses to the bone. Cut off cable and sold the TV. Cancelled Internet and stole it from Starbucks. And since I was single at the time, dates consisted of long walks, concerts in the park, etc.

    Is any of what the above describes really so difficult? I mean, it just amazes me. Is this country really so weak and backwards that simple things like “saving for a rainy day” and “do whatever you have to” are foreign concepts? I’m an energy engineer and I worked at Wendy’s for god’s sake! This poor Lisa can’t work at Wendy’s? She can’t clean hotel rooms?

    What you describe when you say, “there but for the grace” is not humility. It’s permissiveness. It’s infantilism. It’s telling Lisa and Kenny every other homeless person that they can’t make it. That they aren’t masters of their own destiny. They are simply to be pitied. Blown about by fate like a leaf in the wind, helpless to change themselves or their situation.

    And that attitude is worse than any job loss, any substance abuse problem, any economic recession. Those can all be overcome. The attitude you have? Never can.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jeff Albertson
    Sorry, the fact that you could overcome diversity doesn't apply. A lot of these people are severely impaired, but some percentage can seem quite normal for even the time of a lengthy conversation; they have developed methods of coping, but cannot really function normally.

    My daughter just turned thirty, has car and a job, but could not maintain a real life without our providing a home for her (which she resents). She couldn't cook or clean house, has no idea what a trashcan is for, and many behavioral quirks too numerous to list. Obviously it could be because we brought her up "wrong", but she was more or less perfect through high school, and then just went kerblooey, probably because of drugs, although we've never seen any evidence of use.

    If we didn't help her, she would likely be sitting on the sidewalk with a little pathetic sign. I believe she has " borderline personality syndrome " from what I can gather (but I think psychiatry is "borderline" hooey). That girl Jackie of the UVA hoax seemed very similar. "There but for the grace of God" goes everyone.
    , @Suburban_elk
    The system is set up to have a large underclass, and a big part of that is going to be on the street. It is inevitable. They might be considered by definition to be losers, but most people are not too charming and have a mixed bag of personality problems. For instance this Wendy’s chicken guy comes across as a blockhead, and dull as dirt. Wow, working at Wendy’s and cancelling your cable, and internet at Starbucks, there is some real innovative stuff. If only everyone were such a creative problem solver, this country would be full of winners!

    I don’t advocate for empathy and compassion, as an attitude or emotional response to the homeless, as those traits are mostly inborn, but perhaps some basic common sense perspective on homelessness being a systemic reality of this modern life, might be useful so as not to present as a dullard.
    , @SFG
    You're lucky, smart, and disciplined. Good for you. Seriously.

    Most people are average.

    Besides, as Dinh has said, overall employment is falling. There are fewer and fewer jobs. What if you hadn't found another job?
  10. “To a pure leftist, one’s birth traits override individual complexities, so if you were born into wealth, for example, then you’re inherently guilty of, well, just about everything”

    The male offspring of alphas in ancestral tribal societies did not automatically inherit the power and perks of the parent, they had to compete for the top spot with all other able-bodied comers. Their biological/cultural descendants of the left share that belief.

    The descendants of the pharaonic culture, the right, brought about the inheritance of wealth and power.

    Read More
  11. Let 1/20 of homeless & beggars be randomly picked up by police each month to be publicly cat-o-9-tail’d to an appreciable level of pain each month – in public….. I promise you, these homeless will re-compute the incentive-budget; and re-adjust their attitude. Those who cannot do that, are damaged goods. Not worth saving. I’m not advocating killing them – just not saving them.

    Providing “opportunity” is fine, but there also needs to be a negative incentive.

    Read More
    • Replies: @eah
    negative incentive

    Your comment is a "negative incentive" for me -- I won't bother reading any future comments by you, dick.
  12. @HandledWell

    “there but for the grace of God go I.”
     
    You must have a very low opinion of yourself then.

    Many people have had the kind of adversity these "homeless" people faced. I myself lost a good job in the energy sector once. It was a good job, great pay and benefits. And I (and many other people), lost these great jobs through no fault of our own.

    I took a big financial hit. So rather than look for another job, I immediately gave up. Stopped looking for work, stopped paying rent. Hit the streets with a "poor me" sign and worked on my sob story rather than my resume.

    Kidding. Actually, I did what I had to do. I lived off my savings. Looked for work like a man obsessed. Cut expenses to the bone. Cut off cable and sold the TV. Cancelled Internet and stole it from Starbucks. And since I was single at the time, dates consisted of long walks, concerts in the park, etc.

    Is any of what the above describes really so difficult? I mean, it just amazes me. Is this country really so weak and backwards that simple things like "saving for a rainy day" and "do whatever you have to" are foreign concepts? I'm an energy engineer and I worked at Wendy's for god's sake! This poor Lisa can't work at Wendy's? She can't clean hotel rooms?

    What you describe when you say, "there but for the grace" is not humility. It's permissiveness. It's infantilism. It's telling Lisa and Kenny every other homeless person that they can't make it. That they aren't masters of their own destiny. They are simply to be pitied. Blown about by fate like a leaf in the wind, helpless to change themselves or their situation.

    And that attitude is worse than any job loss, any substance abuse problem, any economic recession. Those can all be overcome. The attitude you have? Never can.

    Sorry, the fact that you could overcome diversity doesn’t apply. A lot of these people are severely impaired, but some percentage can seem quite normal for even the time of a lengthy conversation; they have developed methods of coping, but cannot really function normally.

    My daughter just turned thirty, has car and a job, but could not maintain a real life without our providing a home for her (which she resents). She couldn’t cook or clean house, has no idea what a trashcan is for, and many behavioral quirks too numerous to list. Obviously it could be because we brought her up “wrong”, but she was more or less perfect through high school, and then just went kerblooey, probably because of drugs, although we’ve never seen any evidence of use.

    If we didn’t help her, she would likely be sitting on the sidewalk with a little pathetic sign. I believe she has ” borderline personality syndrome ” from what I can gather (but I think psychiatry is “borderline” hooey). That girl Jackie of the UVA hoax seemed very similar. “There but for the grace of God” goes everyone.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jeff Albertson
    oops, diversity should have been adversity (don't know where that came from, paging dr freud!) Restless leg syndrome, I mean borderline personality syndrome, should be borderline personality disorder. The "border" being between neurosis and psychosis, which is what I was implying by characterizing those that can act somewhat normal when necessary but really can't live a normal life. Full disclosure: I never give them anything, but only because there are just so many of them. I am weak (pity, empathy) but Gnon is strong. Hail to thee, Dark Lord!
  13. @Jeff Albertson
    Sorry, the fact that you could overcome diversity doesn't apply. A lot of these people are severely impaired, but some percentage can seem quite normal for even the time of a lengthy conversation; they have developed methods of coping, but cannot really function normally.

    My daughter just turned thirty, has car and a job, but could not maintain a real life without our providing a home for her (which she resents). She couldn't cook or clean house, has no idea what a trashcan is for, and many behavioral quirks too numerous to list. Obviously it could be because we brought her up "wrong", but she was more or less perfect through high school, and then just went kerblooey, probably because of drugs, although we've never seen any evidence of use.

    If we didn't help her, she would likely be sitting on the sidewalk with a little pathetic sign. I believe she has " borderline personality syndrome " from what I can gather (but I think psychiatry is "borderline" hooey). That girl Jackie of the UVA hoax seemed very similar. "There but for the grace of God" goes everyone.

    oops, diversity should have been adversity (don’t know where that came from, paging dr freud!) Restless leg syndrome, I mean borderline personality syndrome, should be borderline personality disorder. The “border” being between neurosis and psychosis, which is what I was implying by characterizing those that can act somewhat normal when necessary but really can’t live a normal life. Full disclosure: I never give them anything, but only because there are just so many of them. I am weak (pity, empathy) but Gnon is strong. Hail to thee, Dark Lord!

    Read More
  14. “This poor Lisa can’t work at Wendy’s”

    of course she can but homelessness pays better, probably much better AND she gets to make her own hours.,

    Read More
  15. To me it’s not that it’s wrong to give charity, but that it’s not government’s job to give charity. It’s the job of family, church and community, i.e. volunteers. I don’t believe in stealing wealth from some people by gunpoint in order to distribute it to others.

    Read More
  16. @Bill P
    I live in a small city near the Canadian border, and I see homeless people all the time in my neighborhood. They're mainly middle-aged white men, with a few American Indians mixed in. For the most part they're polite and unobtrusive. A lot - maybe most - are healthy and able to all outside appearances. They just can't find work, it seems. One way you can tell a homeless guy is when you see a guy riding a bicycle without that sporty getup in a place that isn't bicycle friendly; i.e. he needs the bike to get around. Or when you see a guy duck behind a business to fetch some essential from a pack. Non-homeless only ride bikes and carry packs for recreation. Other than these subtle clues, you often can't tell the difference.

    Homelessness in the US is a much bigger problem than we're led on to believe.

    Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is "there but for the grace of God go I."

    There's an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I'm afraid we'll pay for it one day.

    “I live in a small city near the Canadian border”

    I don’t mean to pry, but do you mean Bellingham? Your comment on the bikes and grace are, chillingly, spot on.

    Read More
  17. Ron,
    I just want to thank you for bringing this writer to my attention- I probably wouldn’t’ve heard of him if not for here. A gem, I hope to read more.

    Read More
  18. I live in San Francisco and I notice it is extremely rare to see a homeless Asian person sleeping on a sidewalk or on a bench, even though Asians make up 33 percent of San Francisco’s population. It has to do with the fact that Asian families are close knit and help each other out, meaning when a Asian person is going through financial hard times he or she can always count on another family member letting them crash on their couch until they financially get back on their feet. These White panhandlers obviously do not have a good healthy relationship with any of their family members, so crashing on their couch until they financially get back on their feet was never an option for them. Also a lot of White panhandlers are drug addicts and or alcoholics, so that hurts their chances of being taken in by their parents, cousins, aunts, or uncles. That is the negative aspect of White Western individualism, if you are too socially distant from your family that means no one is there to help you during the rough times.

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  19. @HandledWell

    “there but for the grace of God go I.”
     
    You must have a very low opinion of yourself then.

    Many people have had the kind of adversity these "homeless" people faced. I myself lost a good job in the energy sector once. It was a good job, great pay and benefits. And I (and many other people), lost these great jobs through no fault of our own.

    I took a big financial hit. So rather than look for another job, I immediately gave up. Stopped looking for work, stopped paying rent. Hit the streets with a "poor me" sign and worked on my sob story rather than my resume.

    Kidding. Actually, I did what I had to do. I lived off my savings. Looked for work like a man obsessed. Cut expenses to the bone. Cut off cable and sold the TV. Cancelled Internet and stole it from Starbucks. And since I was single at the time, dates consisted of long walks, concerts in the park, etc.

    Is any of what the above describes really so difficult? I mean, it just amazes me. Is this country really so weak and backwards that simple things like "saving for a rainy day" and "do whatever you have to" are foreign concepts? I'm an energy engineer and I worked at Wendy's for god's sake! This poor Lisa can't work at Wendy's? She can't clean hotel rooms?

    What you describe when you say, "there but for the grace" is not humility. It's permissiveness. It's infantilism. It's telling Lisa and Kenny every other homeless person that they can't make it. That they aren't masters of their own destiny. They are simply to be pitied. Blown about by fate like a leaf in the wind, helpless to change themselves or their situation.

    And that attitude is worse than any job loss, any substance abuse problem, any economic recession. Those can all be overcome. The attitude you have? Never can.

    The system is set up to have a large underclass, and a big part of that is going to be on the street. It is inevitable. They might be considered by definition to be losers, but most people are not too charming and have a mixed bag of personality problems. For instance this Wendy’s chicken guy comes across as a blockhead, and dull as dirt. Wow, working at Wendy’s and cancelling your cable, and internet at Starbucks, there is some real innovative stuff. If only everyone were such a creative problem solver, this country would be full of winners!

    I don’t advocate for empathy and compassion, as an attitude or emotional response to the homeless, as those traits are mostly inborn, but perhaps some basic common sense perspective on homelessness being a systemic reality of this modern life, might be useful so as not to present as a dullard.

    Read More
    • Replies: @HandledWell

    Wow, working at Wendy’s and cancelling your cable, and internet at Starbucks, there is some real innovative stuff.
     
    I never suggested it as innovative. I suggested is as necessary. It's pretty dull, yeah. But maybe something dull is what the homeless need. Stop the drugs and alcohol. Work whatever job you can. Form a community and pool your resources. Build- slowly and steadily.

    You know, like every successful civilization in the history of the world has done. But, nah. Too boring!
  20. @Suburban_elk
    The system is set up to have a large underclass, and a big part of that is going to be on the street. It is inevitable. They might be considered by definition to be losers, but most people are not too charming and have a mixed bag of personality problems. For instance this Wendy’s chicken guy comes across as a blockhead, and dull as dirt. Wow, working at Wendy’s and cancelling your cable, and internet at Starbucks, there is some real innovative stuff. If only everyone were such a creative problem solver, this country would be full of winners!

    I don’t advocate for empathy and compassion, as an attitude or emotional response to the homeless, as those traits are mostly inborn, but perhaps some basic common sense perspective on homelessness being a systemic reality of this modern life, might be useful so as not to present as a dullard.

    Wow, working at Wendy’s and cancelling your cable, and internet at Starbucks, there is some real innovative stuff.

    I never suggested it as innovative. I suggested is as necessary. It’s pretty dull, yeah. But maybe something dull is what the homeless need. Stop the drugs and alcohol. Work whatever job you can. Form a community and pool your resources. Build- slowly and steadily.

    You know, like every successful civilization in the history of the world has done. But, nah. Too boring!

    Read More
  21. @The Anti-Gnostic
    You should oppose immigration; it puts Americans in competition with the global poor for wages and with the global rich for housing.

    I agree.

    However, that alone will not be sufficient, and you know it.

    We’ve reached peak jobs, I’m afraid, and more and more people are going to have to be on some kind of welfare.

    Read More
  22. @Sean the Neon Caucasian
    Well, the story of the secretary who lost everything isn't as lulzy as the Millennial who got an undergrad in psychology then wondered in amazement why his liberal arts degree wasn't attracting employers. That was a few "postcards" back. I actually feel for this woman.

    I don’t know. Young people are inexperienced, by definition. If he doesn’t have a talent for math (ruling out much of STEM), what is he supposed to do?

    I agree, this lady’s in a much worse spot.

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  23. @HandledWell

    “there but for the grace of God go I.”
     
    You must have a very low opinion of yourself then.

    Many people have had the kind of adversity these "homeless" people faced. I myself lost a good job in the energy sector once. It was a good job, great pay and benefits. And I (and many other people), lost these great jobs through no fault of our own.

    I took a big financial hit. So rather than look for another job, I immediately gave up. Stopped looking for work, stopped paying rent. Hit the streets with a "poor me" sign and worked on my sob story rather than my resume.

    Kidding. Actually, I did what I had to do. I lived off my savings. Looked for work like a man obsessed. Cut expenses to the bone. Cut off cable and sold the TV. Cancelled Internet and stole it from Starbucks. And since I was single at the time, dates consisted of long walks, concerts in the park, etc.

    Is any of what the above describes really so difficult? I mean, it just amazes me. Is this country really so weak and backwards that simple things like "saving for a rainy day" and "do whatever you have to" are foreign concepts? I'm an energy engineer and I worked at Wendy's for god's sake! This poor Lisa can't work at Wendy's? She can't clean hotel rooms?

    What you describe when you say, "there but for the grace" is not humility. It's permissiveness. It's infantilism. It's telling Lisa and Kenny every other homeless person that they can't make it. That they aren't masters of their own destiny. They are simply to be pitied. Blown about by fate like a leaf in the wind, helpless to change themselves or their situation.

    And that attitude is worse than any job loss, any substance abuse problem, any economic recession. Those can all be overcome. The attitude you have? Never can.

    You’re lucky, smart, and disciplined. Good for you. Seriously.

    Most people are average.

    Besides, as Dinh has said, overall employment is falling. There are fewer and fewer jobs. What if you hadn’t found another job?

    Read More
  24. @Realist
    "Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.”"

    You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent. .

    “You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent.”

    Why? The government already steals thousands of dollars from me every year to give to people I wouldn’t spit on. I have my own family to take care of and keep off the streets. I don’t need to take care of more. If the government would stop destroying jobs, families and people which causes the need for charity, and get out of welfare because the government is causing generational welfare, then I’d give to charity. But the government has decided they know better than me, so F ‘em. I’ll take care of my own family and no more.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Realist
    "Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.”

    There’s an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I’m afraid we’ll pay for it one day."

    Ok perhaps I misread your comments. It appeared you were for more government assistance.
  25. @woodNfish
    "You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent."

    Why? The government already steals thousands of dollars from me every year to give to people I wouldn't spit on. I have my own family to take care of and keep off the streets. I don't need to take care of more. If the government would stop destroying jobs, families and people which causes the need for charity, and get out of welfare because the government is causing generational welfare, then I'd give to charity. But the government has decided they know better than me, so F 'em. I'll take care of my own family and no more.

    “Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.”

    There’s an enormous amount of callousness and brutality built into the system here in the United States. I’m afraid we’ll pay for it one day.”

    Ok perhaps I misread your comments. It appeared you were for more government assistance.

    Read More
  26. @jimbojones
    Sometimes I wonder - just how atomized and lonely have people in America (and elsewhere) become? Am I to understand that neither Lisa nor her boyfriend has a brother, a father, a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a grandfather, a grandmother, a godfather, a former roommate, an old classmate, a buddy from the army, or just some really close friend who would take her in (and maybe the boyfriend) indefinitely no questions asked? I mean what is this?

    One other thing - what sort of people kick the cups of the homeless or beat on the defenseless? (I'm afraid the article answers this questions rather clearly. :/) It is truly vile to abuse the defenseless. I remember reading a putrid article in the LA Times once... Some monster in human shape took a homeless guy, doused him in gasoline and burned him. There isn't enough booze in this world and there aren't enough fiery pits in the next one...

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/29/local/la-me-homeless-murder29-20100429

    The thing is, abominations such as the one described in the article are even worse off than the homeless. The homeless have lost their homes and other material possessions. Some have lost much of their minds. But people such as that murderer have lost their souls.

    Atomistion. Reminds me of a story about an american anthropologist. He went to live with a tribe of south american indians (20 odd years ago ??). Tribe was still largely untouched by “civilisation” . So, he falls in love with one of the tribal women, marries her and brings her back to live in the US.
    It didnt last. She returned to tribe. Why ? Well, she had no problem adapting to the material aspects of US life: traffic, tv, computers etc etc. No, what she couldnt adapt to in any way was the literal alienation of modern life, the way we all live in our boxes, our houses, apartments etc, seperated from community. I think she thought we were somekind of sick, somekind of insane. Maybe she was right ?

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  27. @Realist
    "Whenever I see these guys, the first thought that goes through my mind is “there but for the grace of God go I.”"

    You should start giving money to charities that help the indigent. .

    This raises the question, why do homeless people not qualify for welfare?

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    • Replies: @Realist
    All charity and welfare should be private and NOT governmental.
  28. @marylou
    This raises the question, why do homeless people not qualify for welfare?

    All charity and welfare should be private and NOT governmental.

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  29. @Karl
    Let 1/20 of homeless & beggars be randomly picked up by police each month to be publicly cat-o-9-tail'd to an appreciable level of pain each month - in public..... I promise you, these homeless will re-compute the incentive-budget; and re-adjust their attitude. Those who cannot do that, are damaged goods. Not worth saving. I'm not advocating killing them - just not saving them.

    Providing "opportunity" is fine, but there also needs to be a negative incentive.

    negative incentive

    Your comment is a “negative incentive” for me — I won’t bother reading any future comments by you, dick.

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  30. The majority of the homeless in my area have major mental malfunctions. These are the people in the past who would have been housed in state run mental institutions, but as a society, we don’t do that anymore.

    Occasionally they do something bad, get arrested, and get put on meds. I have been told by someone who deals with these cases that the medication normalizes some of them enough they could hold down a job. The problem is when they get ‘better’, they stop taking the medication and go right back to being crazy again. Some of the homeless actually have homes to go to, but don’t as part of their madness. A case in point: A guy who worked for me had a brother with schizophrenia. His brother lived with him and their mother. His brother received Social Security disability (even though he recently came to the USA from Cuba) and could function enough to hold down a menial labor job when on meds. His brother one day stopped taking his meds and just disappeared. My employee went searching for his brother, finding him living on a park bench in Central Park, Manhattan. Why was he sleeping on a bench exposed to the elements when he had his own room at his mother’s apartment? Because the voices in his head told him to do that.

    The other group of homeless I have noticed recently are white, young, suburban types with needle tracks on their arms and ankles. Heroin has made comeback as a drug of choice for white people I guess.

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  31. @BubbaJoe
    "I live in a small city near the Canadian border"

    I don't mean to pry, but do you mean Bellingham? Your comment on the bikes and grace are, chillingly, spot on.

    Yep. Bellingham it is. You live up here too?

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    • Replies: @BubbaJoe
    No, Seattle. The rent is crushing, so decamping is in the cards fairly soon. Bellingham's a beautiful town though. Small-town WA in general is wonderful.
  32. @jimbojones
    Sometimes I wonder - just how atomized and lonely have people in America (and elsewhere) become? Am I to understand that neither Lisa nor her boyfriend has a brother, a father, a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a grandfather, a grandmother, a godfather, a former roommate, an old classmate, a buddy from the army, or just some really close friend who would take her in (and maybe the boyfriend) indefinitely no questions asked? I mean what is this?

    One other thing - what sort of people kick the cups of the homeless or beat on the defenseless? (I'm afraid the article answers this questions rather clearly. :/) It is truly vile to abuse the defenseless. I remember reading a putrid article in the LA Times once... Some monster in human shape took a homeless guy, doused him in gasoline and burned him. There isn't enough booze in this world and there aren't enough fiery pits in the next one...

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/29/local/la-me-homeless-murder29-20100429

    The thing is, abominations such as the one described in the article are even worse off than the homeless. The homeless have lost their homes and other material possessions. Some have lost much of their minds. But people such as that murderer have lost their souls.

    Sometimes I wonder – just how atomized and lonely have people in America (and elsewhere) become? Am I to understand that neither Lisa nor her boyfriend has a brother, a father, a mother, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a grandfather, a grandmother, a godfather, a former roommate, an old classmate, a buddy from the army, or just some really close friend who would take her in (and maybe the boyfriend) indefinitely no questions asked? I mean what is this?

    All you have to do is read some of the less charitable comments here to understand what this is.

    The people who are angry about welfare are totally missing the point. Often, government is responsible for people ending up on the street, and it rarely “helps” them. Why are so many veterans homeless, for example? Often, all it takes is one divorce, one misdemeanor arrest (felons are better cared for than homeless — even after their release) or a default on a loan someone never should have been offered in the first place. Add in mass immigration and the accompanying lower employment and lots of people are guaranteed to be forced into destitution.

    We live in a predatory society, and I’ve found that the people with the least compassion typically are those who profit most from the predation. Turn the tables and they’d change their tune.

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  33. @Richard S
    How much more of this social collapse can America take? Will it actually end up like India? I know the 50s weren't great for a lot of people but society still hadn't begun to break down like this.

    It's particularly disgraceful for a great power to treat its combat veterans this way. Order must be restored!

    I know the 50s weren’t great for a lot of people but society still hadn’t begun to break down like this.

    Can we please can the “50′s were bad” thing? Of all the leftist memes I can think of, this one is the stupidest. Every socio-economic indicator I’ve encountered shows it was the peak of this country in terms of a decent life for the most people.

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  34. @Bill P
    Yep. Bellingham it is. You live up here too?

    No, Seattle. The rent is crushing, so decamping is in the cards fairly soon. Bellingham’s a beautiful town though. Small-town WA in general is wonderful.

    Read More
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