Lacking Compassion

Homelessness

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and see the light of compassion.

ref=”http://gatoraceae.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/1-1.jpg”> The gentlemen… minus a few.[/ca
I had a rather one-sided conversation the other day with a fellow cyclist. The conversation has been lingering on my mind ever since.  All I could think about during this conversation was how unkind, heartless and lacking in empathy this man was.  There were a handful of other men present and I could tell some of them were uncomfortable with this man’s words (he wasn’t ranting, but close to it), yet, none of us were willing to create a scene and bluntly call this man out on his rhetoric..  

Cyclists on group rides come from all walks of life, careers, educational backgrounds and political leanings.  This diversity can usually make for good, educated discussions on all sorts of topics.

[/caption]This individual stated that “all homeless people are drug addicts and that they chose that life”.  I don’t know how this conversation had started. I had just rejoined the group after filling up my water bottle and others were in getting a ‘Starbucks’. This comment is what made my ears perk up and I started to listen in more on the conversation.

Wow, just wow.  I sort of joined the conversation and I stated that I believed most homeless people ‘probably’ suffered from mental illness or had had unfortunate family life circumstances that had brought them to this point in their lives and that yes, some are now drug addicts. My belief and understanding are that no one “chooses” to become a drug addict.  Often it is a result of ‘said’ unfortunate life circumstances. Drugs are often an escape and there is more often than not, an underlying mental illness.

I think this man honestly believed all homeless people ‘chose that life’ and ‘got what they deserved’.  He said if he was homeless and lived in a homeless gathering in San Jose and another homeless person died, he wouldn’t call the police but he’d bag up the dead guy and dump them in a dumpster.  (I think this conversation started because the group was referring to a recent news story about San Jose homeless.)

Are there seriously people who are this cold-hearted?

This individual “appeared” to be affluent and he griped about all the taxes he has to pay in California.  And what did he get for that?  And he stated that all the states send their homeless to California.  Maybe it’s true that 1/4th the homeless live here. Anyone want to verify that number?  (See link below, I call BS on his comments.)

He also said he wants to move to Tennessee where it would be so much cheaper to retire. He said he’d keep his California home and be okay paying California property taxes.

I asked him what he’d suggest as a solution in regards to the opioid crisis and homelessness? Many of these individuals have had a work injury and ended up getting addicted to the pain meds.  Is this the life they chose? And whose responsible?  The families, the individual, the former employer, the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies?

Of course, he didn’t try to answer but diverted to mentioning how terrible it was that churches in the East Bay were going to build tiny house pods for homeless.  Clearly, he didn’t want this in “his” backyard.  I was preferring to not become a part of this one-sided conversation, but it was really hard to ignore.

I probably prodded with a few more questions, trying to elicit any sign of compassion or empathy.  Never saw any.

I mentioned to this person that I am a “pre-existing” condition, both by being female and by actually having a disease (I did not mention what that disease is).  Couldn’t illicit any indication of surprise or concern on his part.  I thought if he could put a face with a situation, he might show a level of empathy. Please note, I was the also the only female out of 10 riders on this group ride. 

As a married woman, my husband and I made the choice for me to forgo a larger more lucrative career and to work only part-time while choosing to raise a family and to put our children’s upbringing first.  It’s a choice we made, but in reality, for a woman to choose family over career means she will most likely forever be dependent on that man/partner to live a secure life or will most likely lead a life with far greater risk of leading to homelessness and poor health care.  This isn’t a blog post about equality and shared responsibilities, though I can see the connection.  The poor, the unlucky and the mentally ill sometimes need some assistance.  Again, whatever happened to the biblical rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12).  This is commonsense ethics.

I guess for an individual like this man, until it is him, his child or brother or best friend, that suffers a crisis, such as a mental health issue or injury that leads to an opioid addiction, they just can’t see the light of compassion. Or maybe they are so cold-blooded, they would just abandon their family member or friend.

As the following news story link points out, it doesn’t appear like most of these individuals are homeless due to their choice to be drug addicts.  In fact, sounds like a lot of homeless are not drug addicts at all.  I do think the homeless that people see and are aware of, are those who are mentally ill.  These homeless mentally ill individuals are mistaken for being on drugs.  Homelessness is a complex issue with many diverse contributing factors.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/30/san-jose-huge-surge-in-homeless-silicon-valley-youth/

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and see the light of compassion.

Government Data Report  Homelessness rates per 100K from US government data.

D. C. = 1,097/100K

New York – 453/100K

California – 342/100K

Note that Oregon is at 341/100K, basically the same as California.

I did not look at every state,  And clearly, if you even glance at the numbers, 1/4th of the homeless in the nation do not live in California.  One also needs to take into account the size of California and the total population relative to the number of homeless.

I think this man has believed a lot of propaganda that he has been fed and seen.

Another factsheet: https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/states/lauraslawindex.html#factsheets

28% of homeless suffer mental illness (General population, mental illness is 6%)

 

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

Vegetarianism – Veganism – is it a choice?

For me, eating gluten free is NOT a choice. It is a medical necessity to LIVE.

The same for some who are dairy free, nut free, avoid shellfish, fish or in some cases eggs,  or soy . IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

FOR SOME, IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

So, when someone chooses to be vegetarian or vegan you really piss me off when you make a huge scene demanding your food choice be met.  I’m sorry that a cycling event ran out of the vegetarian sandwiches. Just shows you’ve possibly chosen a healthy lifestyle like many others.  I know you also started the ride an hour late and you arrived at the lunch stop between 1:30 and 2 PM.  Is it really the organizers fault they didn’t have as many options that late? Besides, vegetarian was not even advertised though many events now offer vegetarian, isn’t that nice?

I don’t know you. And now I don’t really want to get to know you. That is maybe my loss. I suppose if I got to know you, maybe I would understand better what was really upsetting you. Was it really the lack of vegetarian sandwiches or is there a much deeper issue in your life and this is your way of asking for help. I probably should have been more compassionate and learned about your life but I was busy coordinating my group for the event.  I did offer you several of my food options from cheese, gluten free tortilla, peanut butter, cashews and two kinds of energy bars – all of which are vegetarian.

However, I bet you could have picked the meat out of those sandwiches that were being served and eat just the veggies, cheese and roll.  I absolutely CAN NOT just discard the roll and eat the filings.  You see, a piece of wheat bread, even the size as one grain of salt is enough to buckle me over, given me an unwanted colon cleanse and lots more, like chills and cramps followed by joint pain and a migraine that may last several days.  And God knows what damage is done to the villi of my gut that can lead to cancers, further bone issues from what I already have and many, many other serious complications of living with an auto-immune disease.

You don’t see me making a fuss at events because SAFE gluten free food options aren’t made available. I still pay the full registration fee like everyone else, even though I know I can’t eat any of the food offerings. If your diet is that restricting then by damn, take care of yourself and bring your own food.  Yes, it sucks to have to plan ahead and live with the anxiety of knowing where I will get enough safe nutritional calories to live.  But, you see, I don’t have a choice.

You don’t see me making a scene, demanding a refund or exceptions be made for me.

You see, I also have volunteered over the years for lots of fundraising events and I know how difficult it is to feed a crowd of a few dozen to hundreds or even thousands. This particular bicycling event had 600 riders.  It is a volunteer bike race team that plans and runs this event.  These cyclists (men and women racers) put on this event to do good in their community.  Profits don’t go to their team, they go to local charities.

They are putting on a fun event for us, the paying guest who receive numerous benefits.  Routes are planned, well marked, donuts and coffee, water, snacks, lunch and dinner are provided to those who can eat them.  The wineries are lined up and provide free tasting. Where else can you taste and compare world renowned wines at over a dozen winery’s for free.

Winery’s often extend event day discounts to us that are even better then their club rates.  The event sponsor (those men and women of the local cycling team), drive around all day during the event keeping us safe, carting our wine purchases from the winery’s to the finish of the ride and they provide sag for those who over estimated their abilities to ride 75 kilometers.

They provide us with a phone contact in case of emergency.  They have sag support vehicles on the course.  Of which you can be glad if you didn’t need them, but it sure is nice knowing they are out there.  My group of 12 was grateful for the sag support as one passed us while we were fixing a flat.  The sag guy stopped, took over and was way faster then us at fixing the flat and even had a top notch floor pump. And then, another of our riders realized he had a flat too.  Before we knew it, this kind cycling team race member, driving sag, repaired the second flat just as fast.  Cheerfully joking and visiting with us the whole time.

I’m sorry your dietary CHOICE wasn’t met.  I’m sorry you didn’t prepare and pack your own energy bar.  I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could purchase a snack for yourself at one of the winery’s.  Most of the winery’s had vegetarian food options available for purchase. I hope you have learned something from this event.

It’s nice to be taken care of, however, I sincerely wish many in this world would accept responsibility for themselves, their actions and words.

People are watching.  What example are you teaching?

I can’t find any research on the medical necessity for one to eat vegetarian.  If you are eating vegetarian for religious, environmental, you believe it’s healthier (research data is mixed on this), animal welfare, I get it.  But, that is your choice.  Again, if eating vegetarian is truly a medical necessity for you, then do what I do, and be responsible for your own dietary needs. (And maybe send me the scientific research showing the link to a medical condition thats treatment is vegetarianism. I’m open to learning.) EDITED: proof of a meat intolerance, learn something new everyday: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-gal_allergy

I found this quote.  Something to ponder.

“If any animal was hungry enough, it would cast aside any issues and eat you. Hunger must be fed in whatever form is available. If you are in a land hit by drought and the only thing standing in between you and death is a roaming chicken, your survival instinct would say eat the chicken. If you refused and died, that hungry chicken would certainly peck at your corpse.”

BTW if you’ve read this far, you maybe interested to know, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for several years, but it was my choice. I CHOSE to be vegetarian in hopes that if would improve my health.  It did not!  I have a neice who is vegan, by choice, and several family members are varing degrees of vegetarians and have been for many, many decdes.. They choose to eat this way do to economics, animal cruelity and environmental reasons.  I respect that and I love to serve them food that meets their WISHES/CHOICES. But to demand and make a scene if I don’t provide them vegan options, that would be just plan rude and disrespectful.

Humans have canine teeth and teeth for cutting and ripping meat.  As a species it appears we are meant to eat meet.  Dairy (besides a mothers milk) and gluten on the other hand, appear to be possibly harmful foods for ALL humans.