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%)

 

Pickup stuck on bridge bike path.

We know we have bad drivers here, but this takes the cake.  Thankfully in this case no cyclists were injured.  This video is a must watch.  It will have you scratching your head and pondering “what the heck?” Pickup stuck on new Sellwood Bridge bike path