Wednesday, December 6, 2023

From the Comments: Stay away from Homeless people

Maybe things have changed.

I met some people living in their cars, while still working and functioning.

EVERY person I met in camps (several thousand) over 15 years had mental health issues, and self-medicated on drugs or alcohol.

Stay away from them.

First, I am going to agree with you.

Things might be changing a lot. The Hoboes of the Hoover and FDR years were mostly men who had been pinched by a broken system. The number of people who are becoming "Homeless' seem to be swelling. Does that mean more people are becoming mentally ill or is it a symptom of a broken system that is nearing its end-of-life?

Consider this fictional character:

Billy Bramble was the manager of a Waltucky Mega Stores and made $80k per year. He had a nice home in a suburb. He went to his bank and got a home-equity loan to buy a camper to make his wife happy.

One night Billy told one of the associates to get to work. She went to HR and said Billy had called her "...a lazy black bitch...". HR did not care if the allegations were true or untrue. They fired Billy.

The bank did not immediately toss Billy and his wife out of the house when  he stopped making payments. His wife left him and took the kids with her. The judge set the child support payments based on the 1040 Billy filed when he was working.

Billy is screwed.

Is Billy mentally ill?

The end

You know, if Billy isn't emotionally destroyed by having been run through the meat-grinder then he is a logical person to be a point-person for a cluster of "tents" to rally around. Billy has the skill-sets.

But the Billys of the world need context and structure and goals and a few resources. Billy needs a mission, just like recovering alcoholics need to go out and "witness" their recovery to others suffering with substance abuse issues.

Billy is at high risk of self-medicating but most of the Billys out there can be saved if they are given a mission: context, structure, goals and resources. I think Billy is worth trying to save.

Some, maybe even many of his campers will be alcoholics or druggies. Some will be Vets with PTSD (which Billy will be grappling with to some degree). 

"V", our local homeless girl (now deceased after shooting-up in the stall of a restaurant bathroom) had parents who told her she could live with them if she dropped clean urine. She preferred to live on the street and "hook" for the cost of her next fix. 

"V" had signs of underlying mental-illnesses. She carried a soft teddy-bear in her luggage (two paper bags) and she wore a winter coat belted up tightly all four seasons of the year (evidence of self-soothing due to the swaddling effect).

A growing number of others will be people who were in the wrong place, wrong time and were asked to do something impossible and were hip-checked into the boards when they could not make a miracle happen.

Pragmatically, if Billy is managing his campers, those campers are less likely to visit your house in the middle of the night looking for loot.


  1. Many illegal aliens are reputed to be foreign countries emptied jail cell - psych ward residents, freeing the foreign government from their cost of care and making them someone else's problem. I can see that happening. Our own government does not take care of people with mental issues as well as they did because of the cost of housing and feeding them. Many are deemed by the courts as 'healthy enough to go out and fit in'.

    Couple with runaway kids and people who had drug use overwhelm them, the streets can be quite mean indeed.

    1. In my opinion, one of the Supreme Court decisions was that
      involuntary long term to mental hospitals was unconstitutional. Yes medication will restore a person to acceptable levels of compartment however, they will soon stop the medication because of it's side effects. Now they revert to the unstable state. Oh yes, it would be a great cost to recreate the previous mental health care system, as primitive as it was, yet what is the societal cost with the current state of affairs? Just a old retired engineer.

  2. Earlier in my life/career, I had daily contact with homeless people. They were all drug users, mentally ill or alcoholics.

    1. Winner winner chicken dinner!!!
      Delivered produce to restaurants at 2 in the morning. The stories....

    2. Indeed, the stories !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. You say that if they are "camping" together they won't loot?

    Nope. Where do you think they get their income? What feeds their addiction(s), be it booze or chemicals?

    The "homeless" are generally simply lower intensity criminals.

  4. Ok, I can certainly see your story happening.
    I have recommended your blog to lots of people over the years, many nice people with little experience with evil.
    If they took your earlier advice to heart and showed up at a camp with coffee, sandwiches and a smile and evil befell them, I would then feel really really responsible.
    Love your blog.

  5. ERJ, it is a tough issue to navigate for sure.

    We live in a large urban area that has a significant homeless population. I pass at least one visible encampment and likely more than one invisible encampment on my commute to work. The city makes minimal efforts to deal with the issue and it is up to the community to address this.

    At least one organization has tried to create an encampment as you describe, but zoning laws and community outcry made it difficult.

    Our church has a homeless ministry on Sundays, where they serve breakfast, offer clothes and a shelter, and help with paperwork. My brief interactions with them in this environment are that they are always polite and courteous. To what extent self-policing of such behavior occurs is unknown to me.

    Even with that, there are issues. There are people that have stayed on the property that have been asked to leave, and some have been flat out told to leave because of mental issues that present danger.

    It is a hard issue.

    I will say that it strikes that any actual solution will actually have to come from the "private" sector (be it charities, churches, or interest groups). The government seems to have no actual plan for restoring people to functional , producing citizens.

  6. Some time back, a group of homeless established a camp less than a mile away from my parent's home. Vandalism and burglaries skyrocketed. The police warned against retaliation. Then my elderly mother was mugged walking down the street. The nice policewoman who came to take the report the next day repeated those warnings. I asked her if she knew a certain sergeant (childhood friend). "Oh, he's my lieutenant now." "Excellent. Tell him that my mom was mugged, and the family is unhappy. Also remind him that his mother lives three houses down. It could have been her."

    The camp was cleared out the next day.

  7. Travel with a companion or two. One should be named ruger, or smith&wesson.

  8. Bill in your example probably won't be homeless for long, he is literally a victim of circumstance compounded by malice. He also won't be totally unhoused, I expect he will find a place at a shelter if there is one.

    The problems lie with the homeless who refuse to use any provide services because their next high is more important than following any rules.

  9. Many of the homeless are there by choice- Portland, Seattle, San Diego, LA, SFO... They literally have a 'circuit' the travel at will depending on the time of the year. And it is only the deaths that keep the 'number' on the circuit down. I've seen the bodies in San Diego and SFO personally.

    1. So, I know a little bit about you and Mr B.

      You guys have your heads screwed on straight.

      What might be happening outside of your focal-plane is that towns like the 10k and Eaton Rapids (5k) is that we flipped a switch from Otis-the-town-drunk to multiple tent camps.

      Anonymous 10k town and ER are on NOBODY'S "circuit".

      It is not absolute proof but it is strong circumstantial evidence that something changed IF those tent-camps actually exist.

    2. I have interactions with homeless and drug addled individuals on a weekly basis at work. Most of these folks have fried themselves with drugs and will never be rehabilitated. Most of them have been in the prison or jail system at least once. A lot of them are manipulative predators. Kindness will be abused by most of them, and viewed as weakness by the worst in the bunch.
      The large metro areas have non profits and city employees doing fun things like giving transients $100 and bus tickets to elsewhere. The junkies only make it so far before they need their fix or they do something crazy and get kicked off the bus. I would draw a circle on the map representing four hours or six hours. It might help you figure out where they are coming from.

  10. Advent confession with my priest, discussing sins, habits, concerns, anxiety about the future state and all the warning signs out there just happened last night.

    His response: prepare to suffer, and prepare to alleviate suffering of others best you can. Leave the rest up to God.

    So there’s that!

  11. Bowling green, KY just had a woman working as a front desk clerk get sexually assaulted by a homeless guy why had tried to sleep on the lobby furniture. Come to find out the police in a neighboring town had dropped him off there a few hours earlier. Nashville has also been bussing homeless folks an hour north th the same small city.
    The source of your problem may be 15 or 50 miles away, not 4-6 hours.

  12. Billy needs to sue Walmart for wrongful termination. Being fired for calling an employee a "lazy black bitch" makes it incumbent on Walmart to PROVE he indeed made that remark. In an at will state no reason for termination is required but when a reason is given it MUST be backed up with proof. Employees need to learn the laws controlling labor and employment and use those laws.

    1. Fictional story to illustrate the point.

      There is no Billy Bramble and I used Walmart as an example of a large corporation operating with thin margins that is vulnerable to baseless slander.

      I will change the name in the text so Walmart does not feel slandered by me.

    2. I grasped that it was fictional. The point being too many people don't understand that employment is not a one way street with ge employer having all the power. Employees re to know their rights, know the laws governing the relationship, keep and maintain records and evidence of employer malfeasance and seek competent counsel if they are wronged. Too often employers get away with abusive and frequently illegal actions because employees don't understand how things work.

  13. Most states are "at will" states in which an employer doesn't need a reason to fire an employee. Walmart doesn't have to prove anything.

  14. Once in a while, I wonder if the newer neighbors out back(row houses with adjoining yards) get annoyed by my 100-watt yard light. Then I look at the sliding glass doors on the backs of those houses, first and second floors with redwood decks, and remember the fence jumper from a few years ago, and I tell myself, nah, I'm good.
    Stay safe


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