I thought of a man living on the street I saw two days ago. He was sitting on the sidewalk, with an ambulance parked at the curb. The EMT was saying to him, “Do you want to lose your leg? You seriously need to have that looked at.” I saw the man’s leg. There had been a gash in the shin, and the skin had healed over it, but that was not so disturbing as seeing that the leg was swollen and discolored with gangrene. His story begins and ends with the word neglect.
I had told my roommate about the man I saw. She told me that she had seen a homeless woman walking with a shopping cart. She clearly had a broken leg, and was trying to walk on it.
I thought of an EMT I had worked with who wore rugged warn steel toe boots. He called them his bum kickin boots. He was disgusted by the drunken bums he had come across on a constant bases when he worked on the ambulance. He wanted to work with people who had real medical needs, not situations with people who had brought their problems on themselves.
I watched on the news as angry citizens argued over where the state prison should be. No one wants the outcasts of society too close to their neighborhoods. No one wants to think of them, as people with a history worth considering. We can pay for the prisons to keep the dangerously sociopathic off our streets. We should; but the homeless woman walking on a broken leg, or the man with gangrene in his leg are not likely dangerous sociopaths.
I thought of how easy it was to put me in the streets, and the possible motive behind it. Even with a job, at the rate of pay of entry level, I could not afford rent. I like to consider myself high functioning. I thought of survivors of a cult that violates and tortures children, then throws them away in the street, where no one cares to consider their suffering, or if they disappear. Few care to consider the suffering of one without shelter. Even if there are those who care, they are helpless to correct the situation.
The situation needs to come in the form of funds provided by fair taxes. There needs to be resources for anyone in need; without judgement, or restrictions based on bias toward the disease of addictions. Addictions are often the self-medication for human suffering. The people need to stop worshiping those who have more money than them, and start demanding that the resources of the people belong to all the people, not just those who are lucky enough to have the resources of wealth beyond their ability to count in a day, and accountants to do the counting for them.
I have heard it said that the reason people can’t bear to care about the homeless is because they can’t face the unconscious fear that it could easily be them. Face it. It could easily be you. I have also heard it said that most people are two missed paychecks away from homelessness.
The homeless have no place to shower or brush their teeth. They lack the funds for medical or dental care. They have no place to sleep. The homeless are despised for their suffering.
I asked the woman who sat on the bus bench with me the other day, why she thought it might be that 25% of the homeless are vets. She chose to deny it. Perhaps it is because the obvious answer is that extreme trauma makes life too difficult to function, and society would rather victim blame and call them alcoholics, then see their suffering and care for them.
You may say, that I’m just rambling because I’m scared. You may be right. Perhaps you should be too. I plan to face my fears. What are you planning to do with yours?