Archive for the ‘begging’ Tag

08-03-2013   2 comments

I decided to write a few things about the never ending homeless issue not just in this country but around the world.  I’ll offer no personal opinions either way and let you figure it out on your own.  Most of the available data on the homeless is published by organizations created just to supplying them with food and shelter.  They seem a bit slanted to me but you can decide for yourselves. Let’s start with this:

  • A fifth of all homeless people have committed a crime to get off the streets.
  • A survey also finds that 28% of homeless women have taken an ‘unwanted sexual partner’ in order to find shelter.
  • One in five of those surveyed said they had committed ‘an imprisonable offense with the express purpose of receiving a custodial sentence as a means of solving their housing problems.
  • Unwanted sex has become a way out of homelessness for many. One in seven men and 28% of women had spent a night – or longer – with an unwanted sexual partner to "accommodate themselves".
  • Others have ventured into prostitution, with almost a fifth of women taking up "sex work" because this offered an opportunity to spend the night off the streets.

Do you feel more like opening your heart’s and your wallets to save these poor wretches?  If not keep reading.

  • While it is a common belief that people who end up being homeless do so because of their lack of interest in keeping a steady job, the truth is that many homeless people were actually working at the time they lost their homes.
  • A lack of affordable housing has been a primary reason for homelessness for the last two decades. This is especially true in large cities, where the cost of rent has increased to the point where people making minimum wage are no longer able to afford rent, especially if living on their own.
  • There are an estimated 5 million homeless in the United States, of which about 56 percent have some sort of shelter, such as a car or the ability to pay for a motel room, at least part of the time. Of the total number of homeless, 66 percent are single white males. Women, families and teenagers follow close behind. There is an equal number of whites and African American homeless but only a small percentage of Hispanics (11 percent) and Native Americans (8 percent) without a roof over their heads.
  • A high percentage (up to 25 percent) of people living on the streets suffer from some type of mental illness, with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia being the most common. Public-funded health benefits designed to help those with mental illness are in short supply, and many people who are not deemed a danger to others are left on the streets because there is no enough space for them in state clinics.
  • One common myth regarding homeless people is that they have been living in the streets forever. The truth is that a large percentage of homeless people are without a roof only temporarily.

I can only ask the questions I want answers to.  Who was responsible for the closing of mental facilities across the country?  Who decided to dump thousands of mentally ill people onto the streets?  Who is responsible for the continuing lobbying in Washington for tax money that is to be used to help them?  How much of each dollar of that tax money actually trickles it’s way down to the homeless.  It can’t be much since they all seem to be panhandling with a vengeance.

My last little tidbit is the story about one Gary Thompson.  Read it and weep. I’m not sure who is more stupid, Thompson or the morons who are slowly making him a millionaire.

He’s in a wheelchair, and gets his money by making you feel sorry for him. Gary Thompson, says he rakes in 60,000 to 100,000 dollars a year begging. He is in a wheelchair, because he has difficulty walking, but his speech isn’t slurred and his arms are fully functioning. Thompson is not the man he makes himself out to be.

"I appreciate you guys busting me," Thompson says as he laughs. "Yeah, I’m really good at it, really good. I clear about 100,000 dollars a year doing this." Thompson goes on to tell us, "I am normal, it just helps to be mentally handicapped." Thompson is banking on the fact you’ll feel sorry for him, enough to give him your hard-earned money.

Thompson has now been exposed, but he doesn’t seem worried, or remorseful. He was caught him on camera trying his act again, after he was arrested, right outside police headquarters. It doesn’t look like he’s going to stop this anytime soon: "Hey I love y’all!" Thompson says, looking right into the camera. "Keep paying me! I’ll see you on the street!"

On another note, Thompson used to be a millionaire. His mother sued Honda in 1993 after he was injured in a motorcycle accident. He got 2.4 million dollars, money he says he blew.

Remember all this information and also remember my cynical position the next time your approached and guilted or intimidated into giving them your money.

06-14-2013   Leave a comment

Today started out as a day to just lay back and take it easy.  That’s usually an easy thing to do if you don’t leave the house.  Once I’m out and about and see other people then my mind starts working overtime and sometimes not in a good way.  I love people watching but they  just make it so easy for me to criticize them.

I was heading to my bank for a little cash retrieval which should have been no big deal.  I pull in line behind one vehicle and made the incorrect assumption I’d be on my way  fairly quickly.  Not a freaking prayer.  I’m waiting and waiting and not moving.  I open my door and what do I see?  There’s a homeless guy standing at the drive-thru ATM getting some cash to carry him over for a few hours or maybe a few drinks.  If you’ve got an account with money in it at BOA why are you homeless.  I’ve seen that same dude every time I drive through this town standing at the side of the road at a main intersection begging for cans.  It’s entirely possible he’s making more goddamn money than I am and he too has an account at Bank of America. 

My better-half insisted after the ATM fiasco that we make a short visit to a local flea market.  If she doesn’t buy at least one thing every day she goes into a weird shopper’s withdrawal.  The flea market in question is well known for having some of the highest “bargain” prices in southern Maine. 

We arrived there and the place is crawling with tourists.  We got lucky and found a decent parking spot and then the fun began.   I never know what I might buy in places like this until I see it and so I spent the next hour diligently looking through mountains of so called antiques (junk) with nothing catching my eye.   I did notice one thing though.  The prices for this crap were through the roof.  I think we can thank those oh so popular American Pickers and the dozens of other TV programs that have convinced America that every piece of crap more than ten years old is a valuable treasure.   Thanks for nothing TV.

I saw one item of interest which was four inches high and maybe three inches square, a hard carved wooded block.  It was filthy dirty and had no price tag which is not a good sign.  If there’s no tag it means the seller first checks out the potential buyer and charges them a price he thinks they can afford.  I politely asked for the price and the guy tells me $80.00.  I could only stand there until the shock wore off.  I guess my comment" “you’ve got to be freaking kidding me” made him a little unhappy.  He then proceeds to tell me that he purchased that exact piece for $400.00 in Kenya three years ago and has the paperwork to prove it.  I then asked what the exchange rate was with Kenya at the time.  Probably $200.00 Kenyan dollars for each American dollar. I just laughed and walked away with him chattering in the background.

That’s two hours out of my life I’ll never get back.  It’s also the last time I’ll be visiting that place.  I feel for those stupid and gullible tourists from all over the country being bamboozled into buying this junk for outrageous prices.  Like P. T. Barnum always liked to say “there’s one born every minute”. 

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