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.