What Shall We Do With The Chronic Homeless?

What shall we do with a drunken sailor? [three times] 

Early in the morning. 

Put him in the long-boat and make him bail her. 

Early in the morning. 

What shall we do with a drunken soldier? 

Early in the morning. 

Put him in the guardroom till he gets sober. 

Early in the morning.” 

As the old sea shanty goes, knowing what to do with the drunken sailor or soldier is easy. What’s not an easy question is “What shall we do with the chronic homeless?” Especially at Code Blues, they get up  early in the morning. 

A satirical answer: 

What shall we do with the chronic homeless? [three times] 

Early in the morning 

Churn them in the Soylent Green plant to make Bucks County greener 

Early in the morning 

Fortunately, Bucks County hasn’t passed the Soylent Green initiative. If it were to pass, it wouldn’t be easy being homeless when the county’s Soylent Green! 

One thing Bucks County has tried is to send the homeless to the nuthouse. But this hasn’t worked out very well. Like the war on drugs, it just wastes tax payer money and perpetuates the problem. 

In the Friday edition of the Bucks County Courier times, an article mentions a couple people in lower Bucks County, PA who have been chronically homeless, one for 12 years, another for eight, both baby boomers. I know one of them. One problem I’ve diagnosed is that the 12-year homeless person has PMS (poor me syndrome) and has trouble working and playing nice with others.  

Attitude is a large factor in getting out of homelessness. I’ve known people who have, largely because they had a good attitude. I mention this in the book about homelessness I’m working on so I won’t steal any more of my thunder. 

Attitude towards the homeless is also a factor in fostering chronic homelessness. In Bucks County there seems to be a caste system, where once you are homeless, you are always homeless. Because of a few bad apples, some people judge all the homeless to be bad. Wrong! 

There is some hope. With the change in Presidential office, as least one program associated with Bucks Builds Bums/Build-A Bum has been defunded. And with this change came a change in HUD leadership. The new director is taking, unlike Bucks County, a housing first approach. This should help. 

http://www.pnj.com/story/news/2017/12/18/ben-carson-we-know-how-end-homelessness-and-housing-shortages/960784001/ 

Come on People!

It was a “rapid decent into a major mental health problem” that drove a 59 year-old man to snap out and try to kill his girlfriend but ended up having the tables turned and ended up dead, according to authorities. This outburst was just a “mental health episode”, police said.

http://levittownnow.com/2016/10/15/mental-health-crisis-led-to-fatal-birthday-stabbing/

Holy psychobabble, Batman!

The attacker was described as being peaceful and generous and suddenly, he went berserk? I think I could rule out having an alien taking control of him and attacking his girlfriend. I also don’t believe it was a right wing conspiracy.

Pastor and Christian counselor Jay E Adams had written about a similar situation where a man suddenly snapped out and committed violence. Dr. Adams pointed out that the guy was very angry about things that went wrong, and was mad (as do dogs) at certain people for what they did. He harbored resentment, anger. As Curly of The Three Stooges used to say, he was “a victim of circumstances.”

We don’t have to be a victim of circumstances, but, with a spirit controlled temperament, we can exercise self control, which by the way, is one of the fruits of the spirit.

Volcanoes just don’t suddenly erupt. Pressure builds up from deep inside until it blows. Sometimes volcanoes will spew out steam first. Likewise, pressure builds up in people. Sometimes, in the case of the man who flipped out, people vent out steam. The report said that neighbors had heard the couple yelling in the past, but there was no evidence of domestic violence or mental health problems.

There was a recent eruption at one of the community meals for the homeless and those in need in lower Bucks County, PA.  Ma Barker, a woman in a wheelchair, suddenly started cursing, loudly. Other guests were taken aback. After this initial eruption, she continued yelling obscenities and wheeled over to a guy down the next table over, facing the opposite way. She yelled “if you have something to say to me, say it to my face…” And then she reared up, and kicked the man on his outer thigh, almost falling out of the wheelchair. As was the case with the man with the rapid decent into a mental health problem, it’s believed that no alcohol or drugs were involved.

One problem with today’s society, reflected in modern psychology, is blame shifting, blaming problems on other people. Some psychologists blame criminal or immoral behavior on someone being deprived of something by parents or society in the past.

A folk song illustrates this:

“I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalyzed

To find out why I killed the cat and blacked my husband’s eyes.

He laid me on a downy couch to see what he could find,

And here is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind:

When I was one, my mommie hid my dolly in a trunk,

And so it follows naturally that I am always drunk.

When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day,

And that is why I suffer now from kleptomania.

At three, I had the feeling of ambivalence toward my brothers,

And so it follows naturally I poison all my lovers.

But I am happy; now I’ve learned the lesson this has taught;

That everything I do that’s wrong is someone else’s fault.”

Here’s more:

http://gospelway.com/religiousgroups/psychology.php

As I’ve argued in previous blogs, modern psychology is not the answer to our problems, including homelessness.

Bucks County thinks homelessness can be solved by rounding up the homeless and sending them to a mental health center.  As is often the case with modern psychology, it’s a fraudulent diagnosis.

In the 60’s, a popular song cried out “come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another, right now.”

To do this, we need God. There’s a pyramid with humans at the bottom and God at the top. As people go up towards God, they become closer to each other.

“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘What commandment is the foremost of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ ” -Mark 12: 28-31

From Exile to Homecoming

“Evicting encampments without providing adequate alternatives is essentially lazy policymaking: you may feel like you are doing something about the problem, but you are really just wasting taxpayer money, without results to show for it,” said Eric Tars, Senior Attorney with the Law Center. “Elected officials should follow Indianapolis’ example and take positive steps to end homelessness, rather than using precious community resources on sweeps of encampments that only make things worse.”

The attorney from the law center that advocates for the homeless is talking about a new law in Indiana that requires the homeless be provided housing before they are evicted.

https://www.nlchp.org/press_releases/3.2.2016_Indianapolis

If Indiana, where Mike Pence is governor, can do it, we can in Bucks County, PA. It’s hard, however, to get a good idea, that helps all concerned, past the thick ideological skulls of progressives, who care more about image, rules and regulations and their own self interests than about people, especially the poor and downtrodden. We need to convince the powers that be the way the film, Under The Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness did to help create the new Illinois law.

Convincing people to help the homeless with shelter, the biggest need for the homeless in Bucks County, is my mission.

The biggest problem with getting the law on the side of the homeless is to reach the minds and hearts of people by letting them know who the homeless really are and offering viable solutions. Once minds are changed, favorable rules and pro homeless policy will follow.

“Don’t talk about us; talk with us.” –slogan coined by a group of homeless people. In Levittown, PA, people from the municipal building don’t want to go to the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial when they believe homeless people are there. They told the municipal building guard that, and he tried to shew the homeless away from the memorial, but they stood their ground. At the time, nobody was causing any problems. Maybe if they’d venture out and get to know the homeless, they’d have a different opinion.

In Portland, Oregon, after having standoffs with police and being forced to move from homeless camps, a group of homeless people were able to create Dignity Village, a self-governed community of tiny houses, with amenities such as water for bathing and cooking, just like other communities, run by the homeless themselves. Other localities are modeling homeless communities after Dignity Village.

As is the case in Bucks County, the bureaucracy was unable to resolve its homeless problem. It was the initiative of homeless people and volunteers who helped make a dent in the homeless problem in Portland.

Rather than just running people off of homeless encampments, Portland has been working with Dignity Village.

Dignity Village, now transitional housing, has plans to create a permanent community.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/-in-a-tiny-house-village-portlands-homeless-find-dignity-20160128

This is how they did it.

The group of homeless people, calling themselves Camp Dignity, through an advocate, challenged the municipality on constitutional grounds over being chased out of public land, as they were considered illegal squatters.

But it was civil disobedience and favorable press for their case that paved the way for the homeless to create and maintain a decent community.   One way of winning in the court of public opinion was the shopping cart parades, which homeless advocate Jack Tafari publicized and got the media to cover. One such parade was held on Martin Luther King Day, 2001. Handicapped people in wheelchairs, a grand marshal and two others led a march of 35 shopping carts along the road as they were herded out from homeless camps by armed policemen. This got a lot of press.

To sway the court of public opinion, the homeless themselves have to maintain their dignity and show exemplary behavior. This is what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr encouraged in his mission for equal rights. This is how you earn R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

“You will earn the trust and respect of others if you work for good; if you work for evil, you are making a mistake.” -Proverbs 14:22

Come Out of The Dark

Someone once told me that when I wear my black poncho, I look like Darth Vader. Jokingly, I said that I crossed over to the dark side. Instead of helping the homeless, I lead the authorities to the homeless campsites in the woods, leading a wrecking crew to destroy the camps, as the Galactic Empire did with the AT-AT walkers, the four-legged transport and combat vehicles that resemble dinosaurs to stamp out the Rebel Alliance in two of the Star Wars movies.

Actually, the authorities in Bucks County, PA sent a backhoe to clear out homeless camps in the woods behind the Bucks County Technical School and across from The Bucks County Homeless Shelter back in April. It was a complete blitzkrieg; the county also forced the homeless from their camps at the nearby Veterans Memorial and by the District Court Building.

But I, or a guy who was falsely accused, did not rat them out. The woods were cleared out mainly because of complaints about drug use in the woods. Hypodermic needles were found. At least one druggie who overdosed had to be pulled out of the woods and taken to the ER. As far as the memorial and district court area, there were complaints about the homeless who camped there. Many of the problems were caused by druggies, some who had joined the local population and some who had come from some of the numerous recovery houses in the area. Some people who used the memorial sometimes kept their tents up during the day and on occasion their were drunken brawls and the police were called.

We all have a dark side. Christians are sinners saved by grace.

People destroy their lives by abusing drugs and alcohol and cause social problems. I went to the dark side after I turned from my faith and got messed up without the help of drugs or alcohol. As I told a Christian brother and sister recently, I did other bad things to make up for having problems via drugs and alcohol.

There are people I’d like to stamp out like a bug. People who cause problems in the homeless community, people who are judgemental about the homeless, thieves, liars, people who have slighted me, given me a raw deal, obnoxious drunks. Although it’s right to call out bad behavior and tell someone they are offending or hurting you, it is not up to me to judge. That’s God’s job.

I have to go to God and his Word to clean up my dark side. That’s a life long maintenance project.

In his Word, God teaches us to be more like Jesus. For example, the story of Jonah and the whale:

A long time ago, a man named Jonah found the people of Nineveh too much to take. When God told Jonah to go to this wicked town to minister to them, he blew God off and walked the other way.

As the story goes, Jonah gets aboard a ship and out of nowhere comes a storm. Jonah told the crew that his running away from the Lord caused this. They jettisoned him and Jonah got swallowed by a whale.

Time out!

Inside the whale, Jonah got to think about his attitude and his disobedience to God. He repented and asked God to guide him. Jonah returned to Nineveh and the town repented and turned to God and from their evil ways.

Jonah, however, didn’t like God’s compassion for the wicked city.

Jonah had written off Nineveh as a lost cause and wanted them destroyed. God didn’t.

Like a sibling who couldn’t wait to see his brother or sister punished, Jonah sat waiting to see God open a can of whoopass on Nineveh.

God made a vine grow over Jonah to protect him from the hot sun but then he brought a worm to chew the vine, leaving him exposed to the blazing hot sun. Jonah grew faint and wanted to die. He was angry at God.

God gave Jonah the message similar to the opening of the science fiction series The Outer Limits:  “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image; make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.”

God showed Jonah that He was in control.

He compared this demonstration  to the people of Nineveh and told Jonah: “You have been concerned about the vine, though you did not tend it of make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than 920,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

At a center for drug and alcohol abuse where I visited a friend, a counselor told the visitors that we have to set rules and borders for our loved ones with problems, but we should never condemn them.  I’ve been setting rules and borders for a cancer patient I care for and try not to condemn her. Occasionally, when she does outrageous, destructive things, I slip and start to dismiss her. I’ve prayed to God for more patience with her.

God can take us out of our dark side.

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” -Psalm 40:2

Inmates Running The Asylum

There’s a maniac running around Levittown, PA. It’s not a escapee from a mental institution but, believe it or not, someone who wears a badge. His name is Joe, last name unknown, and is a substitute guard at the municipal building in Levittown. Recently, a sign was posted by the nearby Veterans Memorial to warn the homeless people to remove their property by April 29.

Joe took it upon himself to launch a vendetta against the homeless at the memorial. He told these people, who have nowhere else to go, that they, not just their belongs as the sign says, have to go — that they can’t sleep at the memorial after April 29. He produced no documentation and said that someone forgot to write that the homeless, not just their stuff, has to be out of the memorial by the 29th.

He said this was by order of the Bucks County Commissioners.

Originally, this rogue guard told homeless people that he was going to “remind them” about this starting Monday. But this nutcase couldn’t wait and woke people up at 5 a.m. this morning. One homeless person told me that Joe called him by name and said he was there to remind him and others about vacating on April 29. Joe even brought two Bucks County Rangers with him.

Joe is just a substitute guard at the municipal building, yet, evidently on his own time, he’s been venturing out on his Quixotic mission. The difference between Joe and Don Quixote is that Joe is not attacking windmills, but people.

I think that Joe, who is short, has a Napoleon complex. For those of you in Doylestown, a “Napoleon complex” is a term describing a theoretical condition occurring in people of short stature. It is characterized by overly-aggressive or domineering social behavior, and carries the implication that such behavior is compensatory for the subject’s stature.

This is also known as “little man syndrome” ,a popular term for the inferiority complex that short men (under 5’9′) in society are commonly assumed to possess, which causes them—at least per theory—to overcompensate by trying harder than men of average height (5’10′) in life’s activities

For years the authorities, driven by intolerant, judgmental special interests have been marginalizing the homeless and have constructively been scheming to keep them out of public places, such as the library and the memorial. But this is the most egregious attack on the homeless I’ve learned of in the two years I’ve been associating with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA. This is harassment, plain and simple.

It’s ironic, hypocritical, that authorities would harass the homeless at the Veterans Memorial, a memorial to those who sacrificed for our freedoms.

The problem with the way homelessness is addressed on nationalhomeless.org: http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/civil-rights/  (WordPress link not working; copy and paste if interested).

Judgmentalism against the homeless is immoral. People who harass the homeless have rationalized their behavior.

“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.”

–Proverbs 16:2

 

Nowhere to Run

“Nowhere to run to, baby
Got nowhere to hide
I got nowhere to run to, baby
Got nowhere to hide”

Nowhere to Run

By Martha Reeves, Martha and the Vandellas

Places for the homeless to lie their heads is shrinking as fast as Alice in Wonderland after she took that pill. Increasingly, the homeless are being run out of areas they ferreted out. It’s getting harder for these nomads to find a place.

In many cases, people living in the woods, in cars and on walkways are responsible people who have jobs. They just don’t have the funds or simply just can’t find a place to live. The demand for housing in lower Bucks County, PA exceeds the supply, and property owners can afford to be fussy, even anal about who they rent to.

I recently met a guy who became homeless after his landlord lost the property.  Many people become homeless because, in the words of Curly of The Three Stooges are just victims of circumstances.

Some people become homeless because of addictions and other problems they created. Contrary to the psychobabble view that people are not responsible for their behavior, that “it’s not their fault”, they are responsible. The feds, who have dumped recovery houses on the community in Bucks County are also culpable for the Frankenstein like destruction and degradation of the community.

As Fats Domino sang “people come from miles around” to the recovery houses. It’s no thrill upon the hill, but the feds treat it that way and tell druggies “let’s go let’s go let’s go” and come to lower Bucks County.

In Ontario, California, the town helped the homeless by working with them to create an official tent city, where amenities such as toilets and running water for showers were put in. Camp Purgatory became overcrowded. To resolve that problem, only local people could stay.

Every local area could take care of it’s own homeless problem. Unlike many other areas in our country, Bucks County’s answer to the homeless problem is to just get them out of the way, as if they were cockroaches, by hook or crook. One way they hook them, as I’ve said on other blogs, is by shanghaiing homeless people and bringing them aboard the taxpayer funded Disoriented Express.

Bucks County is reluctant to create more shelter for the homeless.  In homeless territory, it has been posting the phone number for housing assistance. There is a one to two year wait for assisted housing. When I emailed Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia to suggest using county land for official shelter, like that of Camp Purgatory, she responded that this would jeopardize opportunities for public housing assistance.

This is thinking akin to that of the Soviets during the Chernobyl nuclear accident. The engineers on the scene told Moscow about particular malfunctions and alerted the Russkie leaders about the danger. Moscow didn’t head the warning “Moscow, we have a problem,” but insisted, from their remote reasoning from their Ivory Tower, that what the engineers saw wasn’t happening.

“Doylestown, we have a problem” is likewise ignored.

One of the reasons Bucks County doesn’t cotton to the idea of relinquishing land and letting the homeless become self reliant is the one-size-fits-all mentality. Because there are a few bad apples in the homeless community, largely the druggies, the county views all homeless people that way. They also, like Joseph Stalin, believe the average person is a miscreant who can’t manage his own affairs and needs Big Brother to create a government program even for just wiping his behind.

The best bet for finding shelter for the homeless is the private sector. Earlier this month, Family Promise of Lower Bucks County, lined up its first family for it’s program, where churches take turns feeding and sheltering homeless families who are taken to the day center where they can take care of laundry, shower, get job training and help finding jobs, etc. One think I like about Family Promise is that it screens people before they get into the program. And there are strict rules.

The “emergency” shelter in Levittown, PA has a revolving door of druggies and drunks, which creates problems for other guests.

Bucks County, we have a problem. We need somewhere for the homeless to run to.

Passing on Goodness

Our late sister, Martha Dayman, a baby boomer, survived homelessness. She was an excellent example of someone being homeless who still maintained her dignity. I don’t remember her lashing out at anyone; she kept the interests of others in the local homeless population in Levittown, PA at heart and helped make sure they were alright.

Martha cared.

“She was like a grandmother to me”, said a member of her adopted family in the homeless community, when he learned he wasn’t able to get a ride to her burial. Although donations to the family went to the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need, AHTN did not provide transportation for any of  Martha’s  local homeless family to go to the viewing/funeral or to her burial. Some members of “The Memorial Mob”, as many of the friends in her circle were affectionately called, missed paying their respects to their beloved friend.

AHTN doesn’t care about these matters, but only about their own self-aggrandizement. AHTN didn’t even mention Martha’s passing after a bout with cancer on their website or Facebook page, let alone not showing their respects by attending any of the events to honor her. AHTN likes publicity that trumpets how wonderful they are.

All I found on AHTN’s Facebook page shortly after Martha’s passing were  links with psychobabble: “The number (of homeless people) will never get down to zero since people have the right to live outdoors, one advocate said” and “Bucks County’s homeless population continues to climb six years after the federal government declared an end to the recession”.   Liberal spin

I am considering writing and book about the homeless and donating some of the proceeds to help the homeless. I would not donate a penny to AHTN!

There was, however, a former member of AHTN, who ministered to “the library people”  and was always there for Martha. On one occasion, when Martha was in the Levittown library crying about something bad that happened to her, Donna went right over to her to console her. Donna also resolved Martha’s problem.

Donna, who has moved with her family to Arizona, like some other caring people in the community, has ministered to others in the homeless and needy community.

It’s cold outside and the homeless do what they can to survive. When it’s very cold — and Code Blue has been open to shelter the homeless overnight — the homeless at least have a place to stay warm at night. But places to go during the day are limited to the hours they are open. And some public places limit the time the homeless can stay at their establishments.

Staying dry is perhaps a bigger problem than just staying warm. Some homeless people only have sneakers, mainly the new ones. Gracious churches and benevolent organizations such as No More Pain Inc. has helped out with footwear, clothing, and food. After I lost my job and couldn’t find regular work, someone from a local church gave out gift cards at a Christmas party for the homeless. I used the card to get a pair of warm, waterproof boots.

People in the community have pursued using vacant property to house the homeless. I’m a publicist for a nascent organization which has been trying to make this a reality. This idea has been stonewalled by the Bucks County establishment, which only offers lame excuses as to why this can’t happen.

When the homeless get wet, they can’t just go home, remove their wet clothes, shower, and change into something warm. This is something people with homes take for granted.

Martha was an excellent example of the way many homeless people are. Some people in the homeless community continue her tradition of caring for others and bonding together, like the characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

Some people and the government of Bucks County are indifferent to the plight of the homeless. They say that they care about the homeless and want to help them, but talk is cheap.

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?…” -James 2: 15,16

Except for some friends, all the homeless  have is each other.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3 New International Version (NIV)

This is the motto the homeless community needs to take to heart. Martha did.

Wossamotta U.

I keep finding people who must be students at Wossamotta U. For about a year, I’ve been trying to help someone who had pneumonia, has COPD and lung cancer, but she continues to smoke. She’s also abused wine, sleeping pills, and other substances. She must have learned this from Wossamotta U.

http://rockyandbullwinkle.wikia.com/wiki/Wossamotta_U

Another student of this school of thought, instead of going to an exclusive school, decided to live on the street and use drugs, with the subsequent stealing and alienation from true friends.

There’s a lot of people, some of them homeless, who are letting booze ruin their lives. They are also wasting their money on tobacco and hurting their health.

I’ve met some people who dropped out of Wossamotta U. They have put their addictions at bay and are getting their lives in order, including finding a job and helping others.

I recently met some homeless people who seem to have overcome their addictions. Most of them have attributed this to going to God for help. One of them said that not being able to stop an addiction is a matter of weak mindedness and that God gives you the strength to get straight. Another guy told me that the first step of the 12 step program was to take to heart that God will give you the power to overcome problems.

A recovering addict said he found graduates of Wossamotta U. intolerant of his rejection of their university’s teachings and his getting a life. They don’t even want to hear views outside their alma matter, Wossamotta.

A guy with a drinking problem left Wossamotta U. and started getting his life together but got homesick and returned to Wossamotta U. Another guy at the same treatment center told me that, unlike the guy who prematurely left the nest and got drunk and had subsequent problems , he needed to stay the course, staying in the program as long as needed.

“Like a dog that returns to its vomit, so is a fool that is insane in his foolishness.”  — Proverbs 26:11, Aramaic Bible in Plain English.

I too have been to Wossamotta U., but have realized this school teaches the wrong things. I am a recovering Romantic. I sometimes see things the way I would like them but not the way they are.

Awhile back, I met and helped a homeless woman whom I became romantically attracted to. She was cute, could be charming, witty, bright, and could hold interesting, elevated conversations. But her dark side came out. I kept thinking that Darth Vader could be reformed. I was in denial.

After being dry for a season, she started hitting the bottle. Usually neat, she became a slob, throwing empty booze bottles all over the woods by her tent. She also frequently used the F-word and justified using it. She was a chronic thief and a pathological liar. After she tried to steal my cell phone, we went our separate ways.

Now that I’ve left Wossamotta U. I am learning, with God’s help, from my mistakes. About 1 1/2 years ago, I met a troubled homeless who came to me. She literally cried on my shoulder and was shaking. She seemed to blame her problems on others. Some things she claimed didn’t check out.

I didn’t aggressively seek the woman’s company and didn’t see her for several months, until I started seeing her at community meals. She had gained much needed weight, looked healthier, and her attitude seemed to have improved. Upon seeing me, she quickly snuggled up to me, asking me to sit at her table. When I’d run into her, my heart fluttered. We’ve embraced, sometimes kissed and held hands.

Still, I decided to keep my distance. Before long, she went downhill, looking bad and had a negative attitude, much like when I first met her.

When I occasionally see the woman, like Odysseus and his men who were attracted to the Sirens, the women on shore who lured their ship in, but got back on course and avoided shipwreck, I’m attracted to her but steer away, as I could end up in a destructive relationship.  http://hackthesystem.com/blog/odysseus-precommitment-and-the-siren-song/

Like Odysseus, in order to resist temptation, I have decided ahead of time what I would do when I see the woman.

Just the other day, I met a woman who said she overcame alcohol abuse. According to a recovering addict who knows her, she’s not out of the woods; she’s in the woods with others who could pull her down to their level if she lets them.  She’s been seeking out good friends, which would help her get her life in order.

We hit it off. Right after talking to her at the public library in Levittown, PA, I saw her at a community meal. She’s been very friendly. I’ve been thinking a lot about her, and I realize I need to keep my romantic nature in check. Like Robert Palmer, I’m addicted to love. One of the steps in the 12 steps program is to face it.

I just saw a program on PBS about prohibition. Like today’s war on drugs, it was a wasteful, expensive battle, and, which the documentary implied, contributed to the Great Depression. The country realized that banning alcohol because of the addictions of a few didn’t work.  Enter Alcoholics Anonymous’, which over time  created the 12 Steps program (it started with six steps) to deal with peoples’  drinking problems by changing them from the inside.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

The narrator in the documentary said that the founders of AA returned to a belief system from a century before — worshipping God and following his ways.

Today we can resolve the rampant drug problem the same way, by returning to God. Drugs and other problems are symptoms of a culture that has turned away from God.  Fighting addictions is a constant battle, and we must be diligent to keep us, as it says in Proverbs,  from returning to our foolish insanity.

As Neil Young sang in The Needle and the Damage Done “there’s a little bit of it in everyone.”

Right here in Bucks County, PA is a free, drop in 12 Steps Program, which is modeled on the original AA program but addresses other addictions as well as problems such as anxiety and anger management. Based on their knowledge of and connection to God, the people running the program know what’s the matter with you. God certainly does.

Check it out: http://www.12stepjourney.com/

T-Rex is Back!

Tyrannosaurus Rex is back, running around Levittown, PA, bullying anyone who does something he doesn’t like, or just for sport. The root of his first name translates “tyrant.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrannosaurus

Lately, T-Rex has been temporarily contained in cages but, once free, in some public places he has been docile, on pain of not being fed. At a community meal, I almost accidentally sat down across from him. When I noticed him, he elicited a menacing warning, a look that could kill, and I kept away.

The most recent episode occurred at the Veteran’s Memorial in Levittown. When I arrived, just missing the Christmas party there, T-Rex had a smirk on his face. Initially I took this as a friendly greeting but then realized that he was drunk. And disorderly. Yet he orders me, a veteran, to leave the memorial because he doesn’t like my blogs.

Talk about tough critics!

I missed the Christmas party because I was visiting a friend who is getting treatment for alcohol addiction. He was vacated from the same neighborhood where T-Rex used to live. In his case, he finally came to his senses after being convinced by a Bucks County Ranger to get the help he needs.

At the memorial, the inebriated T-Rex started closing in on what he thought would be his prey, uttering inane grunts and groans. It sounded like he was saying that this grunting and groaning was the content of my blogs. An ex Marine got between us, trying to keep him at bay. I didn’t want to fight — just to be left alone. But I don’t like bullies and I was tempted to knock him out! I guarantee you, he won’t find overpowering me as easy a task as when he attacked mentally and physically weak prey.

People at the memorial also tried to convince him to stop his irrational rage — that I am not the enemy.

Not only was T-Rex bullying me, he was hurting his fellow homeless who visit the memorial. He was one of the ones who had gotten everybody banned from the memorial after the authorities came because some individuals were drunk and disorderly. It took some persuading the authorities to convince them to let thing go back to the way they were.

The woods by the library have been cleared of overnight campers, but the “all clear” sign is not out. In fact, the rangers are aggressively patrolling the woods for campers camping in a no camp zone. It was the mainly druggie homeless who triggered the raids on the homeless. Warrants for people also precipitated the raids.

A ranger asked me that if I see a certain individual who has a warrant against him to ask him to turn himself in. It will go easier for him, the ranger said, if he turns himself in than when they catch him.

Places for the homeless to go keep shrinking. Caring people have been trying to create shelter for the homeless but have been hitting roadblocks. Part of the problem is a result of hobophobia. For those of you in Doylestown, “hobophobia” means, according to the Urban Dictionary “The extreme and utter fear of hobos, or the homeless. This is usually caused by the lack of exposure to the homeless throughout the world. A dose of homelessness is an easy cure to hobophobia”

Whether T-Rex realizes it or not (he probably doesn’t), he is contributing to hobophobia.

Most people don’t know the homeless like I do. Bystanders witness a rucus among a group of people they perceive as being homeless. Not knowing the people in the group, or any homeless people for that manner, they tend to judge all homeless by the actions of certain members of the group.

There are people scattered out there who genuinely want to help the homeless find shelter. They have had some success in piecemeal fashion.

A guy who works for Bucks County who used to be a fixture at the Levittown Public Library — maybe my dangerous blogs scared him away (holy the pen is mightier than the sword, Batman) — told me he doesn’t buy the “housing first” stragedy. He said that people need to get themselves straight before they move into housing.

Assuming someone needing shelter needs help with serious problems, this would be a good strategy. But many homeless simply need a place to stay; they are not all addicts or nutcases. But as concerns the public perception of the homeless, the homeless need to get their act together, and hold problem people accountable for their behavior.

Homeless people at the memorial when T-Rex started acting up handled the problem the right way. But if the problem people don’t want to shape up, throw the bums out!

In Jurassic Park, a scientist argued that dinosaurs can’t co-exist with people. In the case of T-Rex, I think he may be right.

Who Put The Bomp?

“Who put the bomp
In the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
Who put the ram
In the rama lama ding dong?
Who put the bop
In the bop shoo bop shoo bop? “

In the song, Barry Mann asks “Who is that man?”, and adds

“I’d like to shake his hand…”

I, like the author of the song, don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know who put the “community” in the community meals. And I’d like to shake their hands. They made me baby think more positively! Yeah!

The community meals for the homeless and those in need in lower Bucks County, PA have been a blessing. Churches in the area take turns serving the homeless and the needy, providing prepared, sit down meals.

As I’ve said, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, these meals are not hosted by Jeff Dunham’s Walter, who said that if he was a Walmart greeter, when people walked in he’d say “welcome to Walmart; get your sh** and get out!”

Like the pubs in Ireland, which are not just a place to get a drink, especially in rural areas, the community meals are a social center, where homeless and needy people congregate and engage in pleasant conversation, at times scholarly. The hosts seamlessly join in.

At a recent meal, one of the hosts sat down at the table with the guests. We didn’t know she was one of the hosts until after we talked with her for about ten minutes. Reminds me of the joke about mosquitos in Vietnam.

“How big are the mosquitoes in Vietnam?”

“They are so big that when they’d land at the airfield, we’d refuel them and let them take off before we realize they were mosquitoes.”

At the Restoration Church meal, one of the hosts always says “I see you’re smiling.” By nature, I tend to worry — I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression most of my life. It’s good to have someone notice that I can, as James Taylor sung, have my cares drift into space. Actually, it’s the Lord who comforts me.

God sends people to help and comfort others.

It’s the hosts who reach out to their guests and the guest who respond to them and break bread with each other that puts the “community” in community meals.

I’m still trying to figure out

“Who put the dip
In the dip da dip da dip?”

But in the scheme of things, that’s not really that important. As a Christian brother used to tell me, “that’s that liberal arts stuff taking up space in your head.”

When I was in the Navy, I got the nickname “Drifty Drinnan”. Although I sometimes drift off course, like a ship’s helmsman, I correct my course, with God as my Captain at the con.

References: http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/barry_mann/who_put_the_bomp_in_the_bomp_bomp_bomp.html