Another Brick in The Wall

One of the myths about the homeless is that they are all mentally ill. Another myth is the way people are labeled as “mentally ill.”

Some experts don’t think “mentally ill”  is an accurate term. They don’t think that people with mental problems should be labeled as being ill.  For them, “illness”, such as the flu, is caused by a virus. They ask what is the source that causes mental illness?

At the community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, PA, there are a few guests who act in a bizarre manner. Some observers have postulated that they have mental problems. Are these people “mentally ill”, and not responsible for their behavior, the way a cold makes you sneeze? Well, we are more than just a connected series of organs, nerve endings, etc., that respond to stimuli. We are a special creation. We can reason and tell the difference between right and wrong.

There are some people who can’t, or won’t distinguish between right and wrong. One character, known as “Birdman”, goes from table to table at community meals, as people are finishing up their meal and asks them if they want various items that were set out for their table, as he reaches for the items. Last night at every table he tried to get ice tea, people turned him down.  A defeated predator, he slinked away and whined  “everyone has to keep it for themselves.”

At one meal, we told him we wanted what was on our table. I added that this is for our table; “go to your own table, leave us alone, you are annoying.”

At a meal after that, as I approached him at the back of the room as I was getting my drink, he asked “Am I annoying you?” I said he wasn’t. He then asked me how he annoys me. I responded “I’ll treat that as a rhetorical question.”

Birdman doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. Is he “mentally ill?” No. He just has bad manners and doesn’t have borders. He evidently subscribes to the concept of “The Noble Savage”, where one ignores the restraints of civilization and just follows one’s animal instincts. This concept most recently became vogue at Woodstock, where unruly spoiled brats invaded the farm country at all hours with their revelry, disturbing people in the community.

When I was in elementary school years ago, when the Bible was read in the classroom, at recess we had “out of bounds”. This was an area marked off where we were not allowed to go. We weren’t just afraid that a safety or even our peers would catch us. It was just somewhere we did not dare go. Like the ladies room in the Star Trek Enterprise, a place where no man has gone before, it’s a place kids were reluctant to enter.

Birdman is oblivious to the concept of out of bounds.

There’s another nut – I use the term just to identify bizarre behavior – who goes to the community meals who also selfishly thinks she is a special privileged character who, not content with what the hosts graciously prepared for everyone else, demands a custom meal. I call her “Queen Nora.” At one meal the Queen asked “Do you have anything with beef?”

Both Birdman and Queen Nora think that anyone with a car is obligated to be their chauffeur, simply because they have a car and they do not.

While I’m on a roll, he’s another anecdote about another nut who has gone to the community meals. I don’t have a name for her yet. This one doesn’t like anyone to touch her or even walk behind her, especially when she sits at the table. On one occasion, as we were finishing a meal, another busload of guests came. The hosts were rolling a desert tray down the aisle.  Wanting to leave before the other people entered, she chirped “I’m finished my dinner; just give me my cupcake and I’ll go.” Nobody complied. “Does anyone speak English?”, she stammered. She held up her hand and repeatedly demanded “give me my cupcake!”

Even the few examples, whom some people on casual observation may conclude are people with mental problems, are not representative of homeless people.

The homeless are just a microcosm of society. And they are not all alike.

Today, society has become Godless. The Bible was taken out of the public schools. Pink Floyd got it right when they sang:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

Indeed, in our society you are just another brick in the wall. This is the case with the mental health industry in Bucks County. It’s representatives canvas the homeless community like Jehovah’s Witnesses and shanghai the homeless. Their bate is housing. One representative told me that he doesn’t believe in “housing first” because the homeless have to get straightened out first. This presupposes that they all have such big drug, alcohol or mental problems that they need “professional” help before getting housing. Wrong!

The Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) also treats the homeless as if they are just another brick in the wall. Unlike others who hold the homeless accountable for their behavior, they’ve been known to give unruly homeless people a free pass, evidently reasoning that it is the way homeless people are supposed to act. This mentality fosters negative stereotypes about the homeless and contributes to hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, which, incidentally, is not tax deductible.

Hummmmmm…

But not with God. He made us in his image and has taught us right from wrong. There are absolutes!

“Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.” – Isaiah 51:7

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.