Thursday, April 07, 2016

Is that a chip on my shoulder?

So, yesterday's post made it to print in a remarkably short time.  Homelessness is such an urgent and contemporary issue.

A majority of responses--at the newspaper's site and as emails to me--are far from being civil and constructive.

Here are a few excerpts, along with my comments:

Hey, why not go after the writer's Indian background and engage with that distraction?
As someone ‘growing up in India’ what is the writer’s position on the fact that “Homelessness in India has been a problem for centuries; causing the average family to have an average of five generations being homeless.”
Or this from an email to me:
Dr. Khe, most of all, I am very sorry you have lived in our country so long without experiencing our kindness and generosity -- and I mean, as a whole people. 
Another wants to trade our homeless for India's homeless because that way "our social parasites will starve to death in India"
isn’t it amazing how people can travel thousands of miles risking death to come to America, manage to find jobs to not only support themselves but also send 1/3-1/2 of their paycheck back home to support their family, and yet right here in Eugene Oregon our citizens find it impossible to find work to support themselves. Surely laziness, apathy, and a dead end dead beat lifestyle has nothing to do with that. It’s obviously the 1% to blame. What Junior fails to grasp is simply put, let’s trade homeless for homeless. Bring in India’s homeless for ours. $10,000 says the Indian’s find jobs their first day and rise from poverty whereas our social parasites will starve to death in India.
Another claims they have homes where they "live rent-free"--the public parks!
Many of the so-called “homeless” are not truly homeless. Their homes are in our public parks, where they choose to live rent-free. Living in a place that charges rent would require some of them to take on the burden of a job, and it would require some to give up other expenses, such as alcohol, that they consider more important.
Comments and emails recycle the myths that have repeated so many times that people believe them to be facts!
I believe it is a fair assumption that most of them choose to be homeless rather than to make other choices more repugnant to them. Some people choose to live in the society whose values and personal responsibilities they reject. We have elevated our regard for individual liberty too far above our concern for civic comity.
And the piece de resistance:
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz want to secure our border and rigidly enforce our immigration laws. That would stop the flow of countless tons of illegal drugs coming into this country.
The homeless population is composed of three main groups in varying percentages: the drug and alcohol addicted, the mentally ill, and just plain bums who feed off the bleeding hearts.
Public policy No. 1 should state that no homeless person should be allowed to interfere with commerce in any way whatsoever, cause the expenditure of public money to clean up their mess, or cause the expenditure of public money to support a sane, able-bodied person in any way.
Every state should have a very isolated intake-detention center where street people are taken under a police civil hold for a physical and mental evaluation. Every city should prohibit social service agencies from serving those without a 5-year work and residential history in that city.
Any talk of involuntary commitment of the mentally ill sends liberals into a frenzy. Every person afflicted with a mental condition that causes a break with reality should have an implanted electronic chip that shows their doctor’s name and address, diagnosis, prescribed meds, and next of kin or some person designated by a court as their guardian or lookout, which every patient should have.
"should have an implanted electronic chip" ... my, my,  my!

There were a couple of people who emailed me wanting to work with me in order to address the problem.  And then there was this comment at the newspaper site:
It is crude and abusive to allow people to mock other humans without having to show a little courage and let the community know who they are. I spent years living at the Mission decades ago, and learned a lot. But I really, really doubt those who mock the poor are open to anything but their own need to dominate and humiliate. Hugh Massengill, Eugene
They mocked him for that comment.  How unfortunate!


Ramesh said...

Stop reading comments in the paper. That place seems to be full of trolls. Come here instead. You have some great commenters - Anne, Mike, Sara .....

Sriram Khé said...

I don't want to be trapped in my own comfortable bubble. So, this hermit ventures out all the time. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me and words will never hurt me ... and, as this post shows, they are helping me with words for my blog-post ;)
On the other hand, imagine what a wonderful world it will be if we can engage in constructive discussions ... I have never been able to understand why people are mean.

Sriram Khé said...

Oh crap, I hit the wrong button and it deleted that comment :(

Rosalie Brown said...

My comment?

Anne in Salem said...

Wow. The ugliness of humans is inexplicable.

You wrote in the previous post that "more importantly, its citizens even seem to be ok with it." You have made this charge before, and I still disagree. The lack of solutions does not mean people don't care (your newspaper commenters notwithstanding). Rather it points to the enormity of the problem. Most people feel impotent in the face of such a problem. Cities can provide emergency bandaids, but that doesn't solve the problem, just address the symptoms.

Yes, Knight could have donated significantly to homelessness rather than paying for an arena, but building and maintaining that arena mean jobs and tax revenue then and for as long as the building is in use. And, maybe Knight does donate to homeless causes, just without putting his son's name on it.

I was glad to see one commenter mention mental illness, even if everything else he wrote was abhorrent. I understand that mental illness may contribute more to homelessness than addiction, though they go hand-in-hand quite often.

It really is an enormous problem, which will require a massive joint venture to solve - religious institutions, medical professions, governments, private businesses, etc., including people who can negotiate the fine line between emotion and dissociation, being sympathetic and pragmatic at the same time. Politicians need not apply.

Sriram Khé said...

"Knight could have donated significantly to homelessness rather than paying for an arena, but building and maintaining that arena mean jobs and tax revenue then and for as long as the building is in use."

It is bizarre that we have developed a twisted system of "philanthropy" via tax-write offs. Knight gives hundreds of millions for entertaining (which generates business for his apparel company) and he is a "philanthropist" ... how awful!
Let me remind ourselves the dictionary definition of philanthropy:
1 : goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially : active effort to promote human welfare
2 a : an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes
b : an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes

The important idea in philanthropy is "humanitarian" ... a basketball arena for a quarter of a billion dollars is a f*ing twisted money-making interpretation of philanthropy. A travesty!

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