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

 

Where Have All The Homeless Gone?

The homeless have been cleared out of the woods near the public library in Levittown, PA.  Some of them got to where they needed to go — in one case, because of an overdose. In another the result of a Bucks County Ranger convincing a guy with a drinking problem to go to a place where he can get help.

I visited my homeless friend there and attended the orientation. I think this place will work, unlike Penndel Mental Health Center, whose snake oil salesmen round up the homeless as patients by hook or crook and rely heavily on drugs and psychobabble. At the orientation, the director said that God is an addict’s ultimate hope.

Except for a few instances, the woods were cleared out Roundup style, which kills everything — the weeds and the grass.

There is still the matter of where the guy will go to lead an independent, productive, healthy life after he’s done the program.

The ranger who sent the guy in the right direction was part of a team of people who had tirelessly ministered to him. This is how we need to deal with the homeless problem in Bucks County, PA.  People in the community need to develop relationships with the homeless, working with them for their betterment of the community to lend a hand up to help themselves, rather than using the one-size-fits all Roundup approach, treating all homeless like weeds.

Although some of the homeless, as is the case in any population, are problematic, especially the druggies, they are all human, fallen creatures like the rest of us but made in the image of God.

It’s good that the homeless guy in this case, with a little help from his friends, was able to find a good place, at least for the time being. For all the homeless there needs to be a place they can call home.

Some homeless only need a place to stay.

“If I did drugs, I could find a place. If I was an alcoholic, I could find a place. If you’re just on hard times, there’s nowhere to go.” said a homeless man about to be evicted from an encampment.

http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-02/news/31519830_1_homeless-tent-city-homeless-count-homeless-enclave

The so called “opportunities” section of the eviction notices posted in the woods is a bridge to nowhere.  One homeless guy told me he called all the numbers, and the best opportunity he found was they “could not do anything for him unless he had children. A friend with lung cancer I’m taking care of and I have been on shelter lists for months.  Fortunately, we’ve found an adequate place to stay, at least temporarily.

Not everybody is able to do this.

Bucks County has known about the homeless problem in Bucks since the late 80’s. People have been trying to match vacant property, which is greater than the homeless population, with people needing housing for some time. I emailed a county commissioner with the idea of designating some unused county land for the homeless, but the response was this would jeopardize their opportunities for the so-called opportunities listed on the eviction notice.

This situation reminds me of the Ronald Reagan joke: A shopkeeper asked a woman who was getting married for the third time why she would wear white. The woman explained that right after the first wedding, the groom had a heart attack. After her second wedding she had an argument with the groom and the wedding was annulled. The third time she married a Democrat. He just sat on the edge of the bed for four years and told her how good it would be.

Talk is cheap.

The Bucks County Rangers have a tough job. They are caught in the middle. The Bucks County Commissioners and other politicians, unlike the Rangers who have to go out and face the people who camp on public lands because they have no place else to go, are out of touch with the homeless.  Evidently, to them, the homeless are just weeds that need to be removed, wanting to have a manicured suburban lawn complete with the personal peace and prosperity including a white picket fence.

The ranger who convinced the homeless man to get the help he needs is a step in the right direction.

At the guy’s orientation, the director said he knew the guy who runs the local 12 Step Program, which my friend said he wants to attend.

It’s a step in the right direction.

http://www.12stepjourney.com/ 

Where have all the Homeless gone?

The bigger question is where will they go?