Tuesday January 17, 2006

Gone clubbin'

[Contributed by Steve Klotz]

It’s not that hard to understand, is it? It’s only when something lurid and reprehensible like this happens that homeless people get humanized. Otherwise, they’re nuisances at best, disposable rubbish at worst; bad for the neighborhood, dangerous, potential criminals. They stink like shit, they pis their pants, they’re covered in vermin. Some are burned-out druggies, others are stumble-down drunks, and some are just fuckin’ Pluto. Losers. Parasites. I hear this every day, don’t you?

Unlike dumb, ugly critters like Muscovy Ducks, they’re not even covered by environmental protection or animal cruelty laws.

So what’s to inhibit a pack of kids, inevitably picking up on all of this, from having a little fun? Who’s gonna care? Looked at this way, they’re doing the rest of us a favor, like cleaning out a pigeon’s nest in someone’s crawl space. The real surprise is it doesn’t happen more often.

I’ll leave the hand wringing and the moralizing to those who do it best (see your local newspaper: they’re just warming up), just as most of us (including myself) leave the hard work of human services to The Salvation Army, Broward Outreach Center, Camillus House, Miami Rescue Mission, etc. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty helping out, maybe just send a check. And I don’t mean the newspapers.

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  1. john    Tue Jan 17, 03:01 PM #  

    Anybody who has read my blog knows that I have worked with community agencies (and know why I wouldn’t suggest giving as a wooden nickel to Camillus House). The hospital, which is affilited but operates separately is a GREAT, well run and underfunded organization. (Dr. Pedro Greer, Jr. should be mayor!)

    Alesh should be Vice Mayor for bringing the issue up. There are so many homeless people and still more who are on the verge of homelessness you wouldn’t believe it.

    Clothing is a big thing. www.careergear.org/index.php Also Dress for Success would like to start something in Miami. Whereas some of the clothing winds up on the backs of staff at SOME organizations, they are on the level.

    Think about some of the government policies that create or exacerbate the problems. Cuts for funding of state hospitals and assisted living programs results in releasing people who do not have the ability to make it in the world.

    Rehabilitation programs for first time non-violent offenders that clear records after a certain time, allowing people to work again have also been cut. Not only does this result in homelessness, it results in more crime.

    The best thing we can do is prevent homelessness. I have worked with the homeless and it can be hard as hell to put a life back together when someone has been on the streets. (When drugs are in the picture it can seem impossible.)

    We need increased access to education, job training, microlending programs, aftershool programs, funding for financial aid, and Section 8 would help to prevent many people from ever sliding into homelessness. Here is one you wouldn’t expect- college loan rehabilitation- you’d be surprised how many people have dropped out of some college program (for whatever reason), couln’t pay their loans and don’t have marketable skills but would love to get off the streets and back into school.

    Again, big-up to Alesh for his post. Blog of the year man.

  2. mek    Tue Jan 17, 03:11 PM #  

    OY! Harsh. You are an excellent writer regardless of whether I agree with your daily column or not. Yes those Muscovy ducks crap all over and are disease infested, but i would not club one to death if it shat on my big toe. Caging and relocating, now that’s another story. Guiliani did this during his administration in NYC. Bus them out, people. don’t know where, just get them out. Clean things up. (not the ducks, the homeless silly). Although media coverage will not delve into the issues and problems of homeless, murder is a separate issue entirely and that which sells papers or improves ratings.

  3. john    Tue Jan 17, 04:24 PM #  

    Ya know I meant YOU Steve. I’ll make it clear on the plaque.

  4. BAM    Tue Jan 17, 10:05 PM #  

    Everyone knows Muscovy ducks are excellent on the rotisserie when prepared with my special seasoning!

  5. Mean Alice    Tue Jan 17, 10:13 PM #  

    Hey I’m just glad they’re not after us. Those drive by clubbings were nothing to laugh at during the 80’s.

  6. Anonymous and Invisible    Wed Jan 18, 11:26 AM #  

    Hmmm. Dunno who Mean Alice is talking about when she says “they’re” not after “us.” Personally, we’re not relaxing.

  7. "Gypsy" Ed Romany    Wed Jan 18, 11:36 AM #  

    I could write whole books about being homeless: my people (including me) haven’t had a place to call home for centuries. We were driven out of one country to another, living on streets and cardboard boxes in back alleys, in cars, vacant stores, abandoned houses, etc. But I’ll just state this: no matter who you are, what you know, and how much you have, the moment you find yourself out on the street for any reason at all, you’re marked. You’re looked at and treated a lot differently, all for the worse, than anybody else. You feel yourself slipping below the place where the rest of humanity considers you fit for inclusion as a human being. And once you’re out there, it’s damn hard getting back. Damn hard.

  8. us    Wed Jan 18, 12:45 PM #  

    we all know its us vs them. we need to keep them down and if it comes down to it convince our children that a little clubin now and then is good to take your teenage aggression out. don’t bring it in the school and shoot your fellow students while you can just club the underclass. we all know their almost animals right?

  9. Pastor Thomas Robb    Wed Jan 18, 02:30 PM #  

    Right on, “us!” Couldn’t have said it better myself. You’re evidently a kindred soul—please visit our website, and welcome to the Knights!