Das Boot

In the movie, Das Boot, to avoid an encounter with a destroyer, a German U-boat had to dive dive dive, so far they were beyond the submarine’s rated limit. Like the homeless in Bucks County, PA, they were under great pressure, so much so that the sub’s chief engineer freaked out and had to be restrained.

Wherever the homeless in Bucks County go, they are under pressure. The biggest pressure is a place to lay their head at night.  Evictions are a way of life for the homeless. Even in my case, where I found a motel that gives weekly discounts that will allow my cancer stricken friend and I a place to survive for a time, we got evicted!

My friend fell when walking past the office at the Neshaminy Inn in Trevose one Monday. About 1 ½ hours before our paid week ended, we were told we had to move. Immediately! I told the Inn I couldn’t do that, with nowhere to go and high heat and humidity, and said the police would have to pull us out, and they wouldn’t like that kind of publicity. We were given a week, reluctantly.

A pastor and a social worker called the Neshaminy Inn to ask them to at least give us time until we find a place to stay, but like a prevailing mentality in Bucks, they didn’t care. What’s more, they acted like they were concerned for our welfare. To quote Pat Paulsen “Bull feathers!”

To quote from the official eviction letter from the Neshaminy Inn’s owner, Matthew Etzrodt:

“We are concerned for *** safety and believe she would be better relocating to a different location. We are not a healthcare facility and are unable to provide a safe environment for her. We feel the alcohol consumption combined with the drugs she is taking pose an immediate risk.”  

This is a lie and a gross distortion. She doesn’t take drugs, even prescription. Just seizure medicine. My friend even stopped taking sleeping pills weeks before this incident. And when she did, this, as is the case with the seizure medicine, it was never taken anywhere near the time she consumed alcohol. And she only drank in the room and quietly slept. She fell because it was hot and humid and she didn’t use her head.

Two officials on different occasions said that the living conditions and my help were suitable for my friend’s welfare. The only time the Neshaminy Inn was put out at all was when they called me when she fell.

Das Boot has become a trend in Bucks County, PA. For some people, the only solution to solve problems that occur where people stay is to boot them out! It’s like The Gong Show, where if the host doesn’t like the way people are performing, they get gonged off the stage. Booting people in Bucks is often just a matter of personal preference, as is the campaign to boot all homeless people from the public library in Levittown just because people don’t like them.

It’s sometimes arbitrary and even vindictive, as was the case with the queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Off with their head!

Lewis Carroll’s story could easily be set in Bucks County, with all the mad hatters and queens.

At a meeting the press covered at the Veteran’s Memorial in Levittown, where homeless advocates, the homeless, veterans and a Bucks County official met the day when the homeless were evicted from the government complex in Levittown, one advocate said “I understand what their (the county) concerns are, but I really don’t think their dealing with it the right way.,” and added “I called the phone number on the signs and there is no more room in the shelters.”

Instead of booting people from their “homes” when there’s a problem, people need to reason together and work out a solution to the problem other than das boot.

This applies to other problems as well. Shooting cops because you don’t think what a cop did was right is the wrong way to go about it. Dr. Martin Luther King preached and did the right thing through peaceful protest and well thought out persuasive arguments. The homeless problem in Bucks County PA is much like racial problems MLK resolved.

I feel like the chief engineer in Das Boot who freaked out under pressure and had to be restrained. The only thing that’s calming me down (a bit) is my faith in God and counsel and help from my Christian brothers and sisters.

The homeless are under pressure. It’s good that Christians have been reaching out to help. Besides helping with physical needs, the friends without walls, as one church that hosts community meals refers to the homeless, are loved by them unconditionally. For those of you in Doylestown, this means to care for people without expecting anything in return.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” -2nd Corinthians 5:20.

The answer, my friend, isn’t blowing in the wind, the bottle, or the pill you took today. It’s faith in God. Mine is really being tested right now.

Don’t Talk About Us; Talk With Us

Family Promise of Lower Bucks County, the organization that will provide temporary shelter for families will debut on April 2 at 10 a.m. at it’s day center location at 578 Main Street, Tullytown, PA. Churches will take turns hosting families each week in the 30 day program to help get families back on their feet. http://www.fplb.org/

In the 30 day program, families will stay at the church in the evening and overnight. They will be taken to day centers each day, where they do their daily routines, look for jobs, get job training, and go to school or work.

The program is designed for people who have undergone hardship and are serious about returning to normal. For the safety and well being of all guests, people will be screened before entering the program and there will be strict rules.

At a recent Family Promise meeting, the speaker encouraged volunteers to interact with quests and act as a mentor.

This is the spirit that needs to blossom towards the homeless community.

It’s good to know that the churches in lower Bucks County are continuing to reach out and help those in need. That’s part of the job God gave the church. Physical, emotional and spiritual needs are something the church, empowered by God, can and should help people with.

One venue where the church is doing God’s work is at the community meals. The hosts sit down with their guest and let them know they care about them, develop relationships and listen to their concerns.

The churches in lower Bucks County are really needed to counter the  judgmental  school of thought towards the homeless, which must have come out of Wottsamatta U., certainly unchristian.

“As the homeless-run organization Picture the Homeless proclaims, ‘Don’t Talk About Us—Talk With Us!’ The homeless must be recognized as people worthy of empathy and respect,” wrote Joanna Laine in NYU Review of Law and Social Change. Right on!

One concern I found among the homeless people I started hanging out with two years ago is that people don’t want to socialize with them but keep them at a distance. Not all people do this. Interesting, it’s  mostly the churches and people of faith who have been showing empathy and respect towards the homeless.

Just as during  the civil rights movement, it’s the true church that will allow the homeless to overcome.

During the civil rights movement, there was a silent majority of whites that didn’t like the way blacks were treated. Dr. Martin Luther King appealed to these righteous people and woke them up, and demonstrated to the world that the status quo had to change. At the same time, he admonished his oppressed brothers and sisters to peacefully protest against the man, and to not, as is the case today, become an unruly, vindictive mob. MLK used the Bible as the argument for his cause. He challenged America to live up to it’s principles.

Likewise, homeless advocates can wake up the community by challenging people, pricking their consciences with scripture. I for one challenge the establishment to live up to it’s standards and show more empathy and respect towards the homeless.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, wrote Edmund Burke, and Irish statesman, whose writings influenced the Revolutionary War.

Family Promise is an example of the church shining God’s light on the world.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

— 1 Timothy 6:17-19

I Don’t Get Mad

“I don’t get mad; I get even” is a phrase an old girlfriend hated, even in jest. For the Christian, when someone wrongs you, retaliation is not an option, nor is resentment — pent up anger. Being human, I find it hard not to act this way when someone wrongs me or my friends.

In Bucks County, PA, as in other areas, there is prejudice against the homeless. One homeless friend said that a place he visited treated him much different after he started taking a bag with him when he entered the place. People there evidently judged him for being homeless.

When someone does wrong, it’s OK, even righteous, to call out the offender, just for what he did. Attack principles, not people.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to deal with a racist society. Yet, in 1957, he delivered the message of loving your enemies. “Begin with yourself,” he preached. “When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it.”

Black Lives Matter and other vengeful people should learn from MLK’s preaching.

So should I.

The principle of loving your enemies comes from the Biblical message in Second Romans 5:10 “While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.”

We were once enemies of God, until we were reconciled with Him. Likewise, we should reconcile our differences with those who wrong us. As it says in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”

This means that when someone wrongs you, the Christian, being a new creature, imitates Christ and forgives the offender and tries to make peace. We should hold people accountable for their actions, but not condemn them.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

— 2nd Corinthians 5: 20..

Indeed, I for one need to begin with myself. I’ve approached the line where I speak out against an injustice to where I get mad. This is counterproductive.

It’s easy to write off the homeless and others, some of whom can be problematic — even a royal pain in the ass-setts. As a counselor at a treatment center told visitors, never write off your loved ones with addictions, but set rules and create borders. This is righteous advice!

In order for the homeless in places like lower Bucks County, PA to overcome, they need to begin with themselves, and not succumb to anger or defeatism because of what judgmental people think of them. They need to get their act together. Years ago, a veteran’s counselor, whom I told about an unfair public official who tried to screw me over, told me that I will encounter A-holes, but don’t let them keep me down. Good advice!

Some of the homeless I deal with have the gimmees, begging rides, cigarette money, or other things, have threatened me when I called them out for inappropriate behavior in public, continued destructive behavior that hurts not just themselves but others after others and I have continually ministered to them, and some of them have just harassed me and others for sport.

Unlike Curly of The Three Stooges, who claims to be a victim of circumstances, I need to not let circumstances control my thinking. Instead, I need to continue to minister to the homeless community and not get mad, but put on the armor of God and defeat the enemy, starting with myself.

We Shall Overcome

“Judge a man by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin,” preached Dr. Martin Luther King. In places like Bucks County, PA, judging by the content of one’s character doesn’t apply to the homeless.

Awhile back, I posted about Burger King’s discrimination against a homeless friend in Langhorne and Bristol, PA.  The Langhorne Burger King is near the Oxford Valley Mall and the other is at Bristol Pike and Beaver Dam Road.

At the Langhorne Burger King, I had left my homeless friend, who has cancer and is very thin and looks sickly, there while I took handicapped people to the doctor. My friend bought food, and as she was went to get her free coffee refill, the manager demanded she leave before he called the cops. She called me and I told her to stand her ground. But she was intimidated and went to the nearby Boston Market, where she was allowed to wait for me to pick her up, without having to order anything. It was cold and rainy out, and the creep-manager, a foreigner, didn’t care.

At the Bristol Burger King, I had dropped off my homeless friend, where she ordered a meal.  Again, I had to take someone else somewhere. After I was done, I picked her up. The next time we went to this Burger King together, the shift manager relayed a message from the general manager to tell my friend she wasn’t allowed there. I had to press her for the reason. She said that the general manager, Rene, doesn’t want homeless people there because they panhandle.

My friend never panhandled or caused any problems. The floor manager confessed that she never had a problem with either of us.

I just read a comment on Facebook by  toadies of the manager of the Burger King at Beaver Dam and Bristol Pike in Bristol, PA, where posters offer a lame defense of this callous discrimination:

Desirae Hall I’m quite sure that she is not discriminating against your friend. She is only doing her job. Where else can you go to and sit all day and drink a cup of coffee. At that establishment there is a real problem with the homeless people panhandling as you are dining in. Thank you Renee for respecting the paying customers.

Like · Reply · 1 · December 17, 2015 at 4:54pm

Jakeria Martin She defy ain’t she’s sweet n kind hearted

These hobophobic comments are examples of narrow minded, judgmental people. For you hobophobes, here is a definition:  “(n) a person that is afraid of hobos. (adj.)hobophobic – to be afraid of hobos.

John is a really big hobophobe. Anytime he sees a homeless person walking on the street, he freaks out.”

Both at Denny’s and Wendy’s you can hang out “all day” after ordering food. The manager at Denny’s in Langhorne told us we cannot hang out “all day” just on weekends, when it gets crowded, and was apologetic. Unlike the manager at the Langhorne Burger King, who chased my friend out because her looks may offend the yuppie clientele, the staff at Denny’s ask how my friend is doing, and are concerned about her.

At Wendy’s in Levittown, we became a fixture. One night when we left about an hour before closing time, an employee remarked “are you leaving already?”

One guy, Mike, I believe a manager or the manager at Wendy’s, realized our situation. He said that he doesn’t have a problem with us hanging out at this Wendy’s and told us that we clean up after ourselves, are quiet and don’t bother anybody — that my friend does her puzzle books and I’m on my laptop. He also related a story about a Burger King where he used to work: Someone invited a homeless guy out of the cold and bought him a meal. A customer freaked out and exclaimed that a homeless person was in the restaurant and beseeched them to call the police. To this Mike  said “so?”  We’ve had some friendly conversations with Mike.

Not all homeless people are drunken bums. Some are and have caused problems in the community. Of the alcoholics, some had that problem before they became homeless, others use booze as an escape from their problem after becoming homeless. Druggies often end up homeless after they get kicked out of a recovery house, which is often the case in lower Bucks County, PA.

I think it is legitimate to profile druggies. Homeless people, if they are responsible, which many are, have their food and clothing needs met, thanks to gracious people who help them, and to the taxpayers for food stamps. Druggies steal, panhandle and wheedle money out of people so they can support their expensive addiction.

Unlike the average homeless person, druggies are a risk for problems, and if identified as such should be kept out of places.  What’s interesting about the Bristol Burger King is that, on one occasion it looked like someone was dealing drugs with one of the employees.

Rene and her toady argue the potential of homeless people panhandling and disrupting other customers. There were occasions where people disturbed us and other customers:

  • An “adult” brought in a little boy who bounced a basketball inside. He was so wild that I was afraid the ball might crash into my laptop. Yet nothing was said about that.
  • Some teenagers/young “adults” where paying their “music” , talking loud and blocked people’s way as they were dancing all over the place. They also got a pass.

The question is, how do people in charge of these establishments determine who is homeless and that they are a potential problem?  Hummmmmmm…

The Bristol Burger King has changed since I used to frequent it about a decade ago. Especially on weekends, it has taken on a gangsta rap atmosphere. The floor manager, whom a homeless person said was fired because she gave homeless people food in exchange for work, told me that loud altercations would break out and people threatened to damage cars, etc.

Yet a homeless person is banned because she might panhandle!

The Bristol Burger King has become a den for lowlifes. Rene seems to be OK with that, evidently because like her, they are the quintessential Noble Savage. To borrow a phrase from Tom Wolf, they  “like pimps, are a member of a spurious aristocracy,” as is that general manager.

Many homeless people come to the public library in Levittown PA and read books, use the computers to look for jobs and educate themselves. Some of them, as a result of their dogged search, have landed jobs and have moved on up. I’ve heard homeless people discussing Shakespeare and have joined them in other intelligent conversations.

Like Selma Alabama before civil rights, the white cracker establishment ruled tyrannically over blacks. As Anne Coulter pointed out in Mugged, most of the folks running the show during Jim Crow were descendants of the barbarian Celts. Today in places such as the Bristol Burger King, barbarians are running the show. The only difference is the color of the tyrants.

But, as writers and protesters shamed America and brought about positive change, I will do the same for the homeless.

We shall overcome!

Reach Out in the Darkness

I’m a great believer in truth in advertising, so I think we should be up front about the attitude Bucks County PA has towards the homeless.  Therefore, we need labels.

We can start with the water fountains by the restrooms in the library. One can be for the homeless, and one for those who have homes.  The labels can be “homeless” and “homes.”

Just as the original Jim Crow laws were based on white supremacy, the Bucks County adaptation touts the superiority of those with houses over those who don’t.

When Jim Crow Infested the South

In 1885, journalist T McCants Stewart, who was black,  wrote “I can ride in first-class cars on the railroads and in the streets. I can stop in and drink a glass of soda and be more politely waited upon than in some parts of New England.”  The Republicans, who championed freemen’s rights and fostered equal protection under the law created this climate during Reconstruction.

But as we know, the good times are invaded by the Blue Meanies, as they did in The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Meanies_(Yellow_Submarine)

In this case, the Blue Meanies were southern Democrats, who stripped the black’s equal rights away ten years after federal troops left.    Although there were isolated moments of positive change, blacks lost all they had gained during Reconstruction.

The denial of the rights of blacks became official and was codified in a series of racist statutes called Jim Crow laws.

Jim Crow, a slur for a black man, came to be known as any law that was passed in the south that established different rules for the white man and the black man.  Likewise, in places such as the Levittown library in Bucks County, there are different rules for the soccer moms (the ones who are an amicus curiae of the librarian) and the homeless.

The homeless cannot have a civil,  adult discussion with the librarian about how they are treated.  They are tacitly told to shut up and if they get uppity, they are threatened with being in trouble with the man.

As was the case in the south after reconstruction, it is the Democrats who oppress those whom they consider an underclass.

In fact, it was the Democrats who were responsible for much of the discrimination throughout the 20th century in the United States.

President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, segregated the military.  The military wasn’t integrated until 1952, by IKE, the Republican.  Democrat President Truman tried integrating the military, but chickened out, for fear he’d alienate the southern Democrats.

FDR rounded up Japanese Americans, without even a shred of evidence that they were aiding and abetting the Empire of Japan, just because they were Japanese and put them in internment camps.

Today in Bucks County, PA, the homeless are treated like prisoners when they visit the Levittown Public Library, just because they are homeless.  The librarian, as well as others in the Bucks County liberal Democrat establishment, would like to round them up and send them somewhere away from the rest of the population.

The homeless in Bucks County need to follow the example of passive resistance that Dr. Martin Luther King practiced.  There are people who have been putting pressure on a local security guard to roust the homeless from the Veteran’s Memorial near the Levittown public library, even though they respect the place, because “they are uncomfortable” with visiting the memorial when the homeless hang there.  The homeless should form a chain and make the police physically remove them from the memorial if their civil rights to peaceably assemble in a public place are violated.

It is the people who demand the homeless get rousted who disrespect the memorial and what it stands for.

Instead of shunning the homeless, people should talk with them to see what they are really like.  They may find, as in the song Reach Out in the Darkness by Friend and Lover:

“I knew a man that I did not care for

And then one day this man gave me a call

We sat and talked about things on our mind

And now this man he is a friend of mine

Don’t be afraid of love Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid to love

Everybody needs a little love Everybody needs somebody  That they can be thinking of”

Reach out in the darkness, baby, you may find your preconceptions of the homeless may be wrong.  The main difference between you and them is that they don’t have a home.

We at Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless want to change that:  http://www.timespub.com/2015/04/30/working-for-a-place-to-stay/#more-45529