“When you got an all-out prizefight, you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. ‘N’ that’s how you know who won.” -Al Capone in the 1987 movie The Untouchables
We all have our fights, often with ourselves, our situations, our addictions… The key is to not give up, no matter how impossible it may seem to overcome life’s obstacles.
At the end of the movie, after Capone was convicted for tax evasion, Elliott Ness approached Capone and mocked him saying “you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing…”
Homelessness is something many people are fighting, in places such as Bucks County, PA. People are homeless for different reasons, but no matter the reason, it’s a fight not to give into the temptation of giving up.
In my associations with the homeless in lower Bucks County, I’ve seen people overcome obstacles, including substance abuse as well as economic.
One of the obstacles is the nattering nabobs of negativism, who write off the homeless as without hope. Bucks County will not only not create additional shelter for the homeless, but will thwart private efforts to do so. All it offers is housing assistance, which generally takes one to two years to get. Getting aboard the mental health train, The Disoriented Express, is a ticket for more timely housing, possibly.
When I was looking for housing, one of the Bucks County Mental Health Hustlers tried to sell me a ticket on The Disoriented Express. In exchange for more immediate housing, he asked me to allow myself to be labeled as being so messed up mentally that I could no longer work. I didn’t participate in this fraud. For sure, I had problems – I had lost my job, my house, and started losing my mind – but I wasn’t going to write myself off this way.
Through the fight, I had people cheering me on. My mental state improved, noticeably to people who had known me when I was almost down for the count. I’ve had sporadic work, and I’m now a home healthcare aid, taking care of and cheering on someone with lung cancer. Early on, I volunteered in a food pantry, and when short staffed, ran the pantry myself.
Two people I know evidently bought a disability ticket. Their unofficial problem: Lazy and irresponsible. One of them quit one job, where he showed up for training and didn’t come back, and later another. He doesn’t want to work. Just wants to play video games, etc., and get handouts. He and his girlfriend live in the Land of the Lotus Eaters.
There are others who just keep swinging, like Odysseus and his men whom Odysseus drug away from the Land of the Lotus Eaters and faced responsibility as they continued on their journey.
One of them is a guy I befriended several months ago. He overcame substance abuse and is now working regularly and taking care of family as well as business. The guy once told me that he doesn’t want to be made too comfortable in his homeless situation because he would become complacent and not want to improve himself. He gets along well with everybody and doesn’t buy into the gossip, lies largely started by a former homeless woman to use a guy who goes to the community meals as a scapegoat. Instead of, like others, making someone a scapegoat, he concentrates on getting his own life in order.
The false witness fostered contention at the homeless community meals. At one community meal, The Redeemer Lutheran Church in Penndel, PA, a drunken homeless man verbally assaulted another man and started to attack him physically. Some of the hosts had to physically restrain the maniac. The police came.
Instead of blaming the attacker for the outrage, which disrupted the meal for other people, the victim was blamed. I believe that Christine, from the Advocates for The Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) twisted what happened and somehow convinced the hosts that the attack was the fault of the victim, who did nothing but a rope-a-dope. Consequently, the victim had to leave immediately and was banned from the bus, while the raving maniac who attacked him was not. This incident, as well as other assaults from “Tyrannosaurus Rex” on this man is now in court. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrannosaurus
At a later meal at another church, T-Rex went after me because I had called out his behavior at Redeemer Lutheran on my blog. In front of some AHTN members and hosts at the church, he cursed loudly at me. An AHTN member, who before didn’t listen to the victim or me about holding T-Rex accountable, sternly said that T-Rex needs to be banned from the bus. Later during that meal, he started yelling at me. Someone started escorting him away, but he got loose and started poking me, as someone from AHTN started pulling him away, the way Al Capone was pulled away after he went ballistic after being convicted. I put up my fists and told him that we have free speech in this country and to “go ahead, punk, make my day!” I was verbally restrained.
T-Rex was banned from the bus for two weeks. After this time out, he started acting civilly at the meals. But not for long. He was banned again from the bus, and the first day back, he attacked the same man, sending him to the ground, causing him a cut in the back of his head. Another guest called the police. Another guest told her not to.
Tyrannosaurus Rex, now on the run, has fomented trouble with other people at community meals. Awhile back, when I took the AHTN bus to a meal, he kept telling me to shut up when I was talking quietly with someone else on the bus. Once T-Rex staggered inside, he started making veiled threats. At one point, he followed me as I headed towards the restroom and threatened me. I spun around and put up my guard, waiting for him to throw the first punch. A host got between us and ushered T-Rex away from me. The host thanked me for “being calm” This was not the attitude of the hosts at Redeemer Lutheran. T-Rex was banned from this meal permanently.
As the false witness spread like a cancer, it created a lynch mob mentality. On one occasion, one homeless man started making snide comments about the victim of lies and distortions. He sneered that it’s good he no longer rides the bus and that he should be banned from the community meals and added that someone should beat him up! Others at the table aped him.
For some time, the community meals have been drama free. This is because some people stood up for what is right. The drama reflects poorly on the whole homeless community, exacerbating hobophobia.
The main problem in creating more housing for the homeless is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless.
There is hope for the homeless, as there is for the rest of us. Don’t give up, but keep punching until the fight is won.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4: 12-13