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mejane

"Bum" Bashing

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Can we, as enlightened human beings, at some point stop bashing 'bums'? I've got news for you...

there for the grace of God go I, or you, or your mom, your sister, your brother or your best friend.

You may think you're secure in your job, your youth, your inexperience, your ignorance or your

stupidity, but everyone except the ridiculously rich is just one crisis away from despair.

Add to that the fact that this country has not cared for it's veterans the way it ought to and those

who have fought bravely for this country often suffer from the experience physically, mentally,

and/or emotionally coupled with the closing years ago of hospitals for the 'insane' and you are going

to have a certain percentage of the population homeless or dependent on the mercy of the missions

and other charities. Then there are those who have been so beaten down by poverty, abuse, and

neglect, that when they look up all they still see is bottom. Do you have any idea what people are up

against when trying to pull themselves out of such deep holes?

I am thankful that this is generally a compassionate community who do what they can to help

the downtrodden and the poor. Poverty is rampant, and everywhere, not just on the streets

where 'you' want to live your cool city life. That people are hurting, and smelly, and drunk, and

drug addicted, potentially dangerous, and annoying as hell sometimes should eat at your heart,

not make you feel morally superior.

Downtown has been home to the missions for longer than many of you have been alive. Believe

it or not, for many, many years, nobody else wanted to be there. If you choose to live an urban

life, I suggest you work towards finding better solutions for the heartache that your fellow human

beings may be suffering rather than suggesting we "kick the bums out!"

PS Dad, if this belongs in the coffee house, please go ahead and move it. Thanks so much, Jane

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I must admit that your post is quite ignorant and fanciful, do you live downtown and work there?

A huge portion of the homeless are sex offenders, would you be kind to one after they edited?

WoodTv Cite

Article on homeless man assaulting child

/Sorry for the sharpness of my post but this is a serious problem

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Men With Broken Hearts by Porter Wagoner

You'll meet many just like me upon life's busy streets

With shoulders stooped and heads bowed down and eyes that stare in defeat

Or souls that live within the past where sorrow plays all parts

Where a living death is all that's left for men with broken hearts

Now you have no right to be the judge to criticize and condemn

Just think but for the grace of God it'd be you instead of him

One careless step a thoughtless deed and then the misery starts

And to those who weep death comes cheap these men with broken hearts

Oh so humble you should be when they come passin' by

For it's written that the greatest men they never get too big to cry

Some lose faith in love and life when sorrow shoots her darts

And with hope all gone they walk alone these men with broken hearts

Now you've never walked in that man's shoes or saw things through his eyes

Or stood and watched with helpless hands while the heart inside you dies

Some were propers and some were kings and some were masters of the arts

But in their shame they're all the same these men with broken hearts

You know life sometimes can be so cruel that a heart will pray for death

God why must these living dead know pain with every breath

So help your neighbor along the road no matter where you start

For the God that made you made them too these men with broken hearts

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Can we, as enlightened human beings, at some point stop bashing 'bums'?

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mifunboy is addressing criminal behavior. I am not.

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In the many discussions we've had about the homeless on this forum, it seems to come down to this: Most people in this community seem to understand and sympathize with the plight of those who are UNABLE to care for themselves either through a mental illness, war veterans with severe post-traumatic stress, chronic substance abuse problems, and those who temporarily need an assist to get through a rough patch. Where most people draw the line is where harmless vagrancy becomes harassment, or where someone has made a career out of being homeless. Unfortunately, for those who live and work downtown (and who maybe have lived or worked downtown longer than the new homeless guy on the corner), it's a real problem.

But I don't think you'll get carte-blanche respect for homeless people as long as there are abuses and harassment going on. In addition, when there is an issue in a part of the city that is costing hundreds if not thousands of potential jobs (maybe even for the homeless themselves), and potentially millions in developments (again, that could provide jobs for homeless), than it is something that should be discussed.

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...

Now look back...is any part of this post "bashing" the homeless? ...

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:huh: I thought the title of this thread had something to do with driving over the streets near the Grand Rapids Ballet/Bus depot.

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The "bash" came in another thread, "let's get the bums out of DT," to paraphrase. Mejane started another thread so as to give the issue more prominence.

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Dad, once again your thoughtful words bring balance to the issue. My objection isn't to the lack of

carte blanche respect for the homeless, it's the consistent line drawing of 'us' vs. 'them'. Clearly,

there are problems. But "kick the bums out of downtown?" To where, exactly? Also, while the example

cited by mifunboy is beyond heinous, his personal comments directed towards me as a parent

are offensive at best...took me a bit here, to get my breath back and not go after him in kind.

And on that topic, I believe the statistics will bear out that most sexual crimes against children

are committed by someone the child or family knows. It's frightening to think someone can violate

the safety and sanctity of home and childhood innocence regardless of who the perpetrator is.

PS Many thanks to Veloise for stepping in.

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Dad, once again your thoughtful words bring balance to the issue. My objection isn't to the lack of

carte blanche respect for the homeless, it's the consistent line drawing of 'us' vs. 'them'. Clearly,

there are problems. But "kick the bums out of downtown?" To where, exactly? Also, while the example

cited by mifunboy is beyond heinous, his personal comments directed towards me as a parent

are offensive at best...took me a bit here, to get my breath back and not go after him in kind.

And on that topic, I believe the statistics will bear out that most sexual crimes against children

are committed by someone the child or family knows. It's frightening to think someone can violate

the safety and sanctity of home and childhood innocence regardless of who the perpetrator is.

PS Many thanks to Veloise for stepping in.

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PSS In regard to my 'street cred' I lived on College St between Cherry and Wealthy renting an upper with

four other girls in 1976. Next, I lived at 25 Lafayette for 90 bucks a month for three years. Then, I lived

again on College SE for one year, College NE for two years before moving to Germany for awhile.

Then for a time I rented on Jefferson for a year. Often I didn't have a car, so I walked EVERYWHERE.

I worked for Douma Art Supply for almost four years. In 1977 I was part of an artist's cooperative at

One Ionia where we had studios throughout the entire building. I painted murals there for the

Roaring 20's Pizza that held the Wurlitzer organ on 28th street before it became Damons - we had the space

to work before they were transported to the restaurant and put into place. This all before downtown

was ever considered viable or cool. We'd stop in across the street at Calypso's for a beer before

getting back to work. There were homeless and vagrants and crime and of course, us radical hippie

artists. And now, I know how to be unapproachable. Don't make eye contact. Walk with your head up.

Walk with a purpose. Don't walk alone at night - that applies to the entire city. Don't flash your wealth.

Don't walk and talk on your cell phone. Don't appear distracted. Be alert. Be smart. Is that enough

experience with downtown to satisfy?

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It probably also helps that the corridor's missions are being supported by some prominent families and foundations. Also, that Degage' itself is revitalizing its building: http://www.degageministries.org/capital_campaign.php.

Knowing that many well respected individuals and families support what is happening on Division Ave, and that these same people are also investing in the future of Heartside speaks volumes. Why would such investors pony up money to invest in current structures and organisations yet invest for profit in the same neighborhood? I don't see this homeless situation as holding back the neighborhood.

I'm really surprised that when ever UP has these discussions that Richa doesn't respond....

I'm understanding of the individuals that are genuine. Mifunboy makes a point though on the sex crime front. I don't care how many poems anyone recites, or how how its my Christian duty, I'm not particularly helpful to sex offenders.

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[quote name='Rizzo' date='Jul 16 2007, 03:34 PM' post='819319'

I'm understanding of the individuals that are genuine. Mifunboy makes a point though on the sex crime front. I don't care how many poems anyone recites, or how how its my Christian duty to help sex offenders.

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I agree, Rizzo. Sex offenders are sometimes let off by judges with far lighter sentences than if you were to

abandon a litter of puppies. I didn't make a point of bringing up the percentage of the homeless or downtown

population that should be in prison. Sexual deviants, sexual predators, rapists, abusers, can be found in

every segment of society.

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From the WOOD TV Cite - "Target 8 Investigators checked the Sex Offender Registry and found ten names in the 49503 zip code whose addresses are listed as "123 Homeless." The law allows sex offenders with no address to register as homeless."

Is 10 a "huge portion" of the homeless?

I must admit that your post is quite ignorant and fanciful, do you live downtown and work there?

A huge portion of the homeless are sex offenders, would you be kind to one after they edited?

WoodTv Cite

Article on homeless man assaulting child

/Sorry for the sharpness of my post but this is a serious problem

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In the many discussions we've had about the homeless on this forum, it seems to come down to this: Most people in this community seem to understand and sympathize with the plight of those who are UNABLE to care for themselves either through a mental illness, war veterans with severe post-traumatic stress, chronic substance abuse problems, and those who temporarily need an assist to get through a rough patch. Where most people draw the line is where harmless vagrancy becomes harassment, or where someone has made a career out of being homeless. Unfortunately, for those who live and work downtown (and who maybe have lived or worked downtown longer than the new homeless guy on the corner), it's a real problem.

But I don't think you'll get carte-blanche respect for homeless people as long as there are abuses and harassment going on. In addition, when there is an issue in a part of the city that is costing hundreds if not thousands of potential jobs (maybe even for the homeless themselves), and potentially millions in developments (again, that could provide jobs for homeless), than it is something that should be discussed.

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I have worked downtown for 28 years and have never had a problem with a homeless person. I have fed some, given rides to a few, given money to fewer, and avoided only a couple. There is a concentration in some areas of Heartside that may influence redevelopment, but the down and out are rarely an issue north of Fulton.

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I have lived close to downtown for ONE year and I have had multiple problems with homeless people in various sections of downtown. And I don't even work in the city.

While the majority of the problems have been minor, they have still been significant to have to call the police department a few times.

I don't have a problem with a person being homeless... but when they cause problems for others... then I have a problem. If they need a place to sleep there are shelter, if they need a job, they should contact a job search facility, a church, or one of many of the regional farmers who are in constant need of day laborers.

Problem is we as a society have become too accepting of homeless people asking for money, sleeping in our garages, and drinking on the streets. They also contribute to the largest amount of litter and broken glass on State Street to west of Division. I am a fan of the Grandmother rule... ask yourself if your Grandmother would uncomfortable or not safe... if so, there is a problem.

More so, as I have said several times before, if a LEGAL immigrant can come to this country with nothing and become a multimillionaire... then a homeless person can get a job and a place to live.

*As Dad said... there are understandable situations where exceptions apply such as mental illness, but stupidity and addictions are not illnesses in my book... they are just proof that some people have no discipline for anything.

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...but everyone except the ridiculously rich is just one crisis away from despair.

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As I've posted previously, this is not a "new" problem in downtown. I can remember in the early 60's it was Lower Monroe where City Hall and the new DeVos place are. Then it was Bridge Street from the river to the RR tracks. Then they moved to Heartside when the Guiding Light & Mel Trotter located there.

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Can we, as enlightened human beings, at some point stop bashing 'bums'? I've got news for you...

there for the grace of God go I, or you, or your mom, your sister, your brother or your best friend.

You may think you're secure in your job, your youth, your inexperience, your ignorance or your

stupidity, but everyone except the ridiculously rich is just one crisis away from despair.

Add to that the fact that this country has not cared for it's veterans the way it ought to and those

who have fought bravely for this country often suffer from the experience physically, mentally,

and/or emotionally coupled with the closing years ago of hospitals for the 'insane' and you are going

to have a certain percentage of the population homeless or dependent on the mercy of the missions

and other charities. Then there are those who have been so beaten down by poverty, abuse, and

neglect, that when they look up all they still see is bottom. Do you have any idea what people are up

against when trying to pull themselves out of such deep holes?

I am thankful that this is generally a compassionate community who do what they can to help

the downtrodden and the poor. Poverty is rampant, and everywhere, not just on the streets

where 'you' want to live your cool city life. That people are hurting, and smelly, and drunk, and

drug addicted, potentially dangerous, and annoying as hell sometimes should eat at your heart,

not make you feel morally superior.

Downtown has been home to the missions for longer than many of you have been alive. Believe

it or not, for many, many years, nobody else wanted to be there. If you choose to live an urban

life, I suggest you work towards finding better solutions for the heartache that your fellow human

beings may be suffering rather than suggesting we "kick the bums out!"

PS Dad, if this belongs in the coffee house, please go ahead and move it. Thanks so much, Jane

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Actually, my views are the opposite of this. Although, I understand the concept that since the rich are getting richer, the middle class is forced with an ever-encroaching threat to keep up "with the Jones'" or die. That's where morality comes into play, which thankfully a lot of Americans still have...even if they don't have a lot of money.

There is a fine line when casting prejudice upon "the bum" but just the same as the justly-compensated, self-sustaining Joe Schmoe. :)

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I didnt read all of the posts but to respond to the first post, what bum bashing are you talking about? OK yes they are people and it is a problem but I havent heard of any bum bashing or degrading locally unless I missed something. I tollerate homeless people and feel bad for SOME of them, but I do not like being regularly harassed for money and tresspassed looking for things to steal by homeless people when I am a poor sollege student.

If your saying that people look down on them as a societ, thats probably true. I am the type who ussually feels sorry for someone like that, but I am very scepticle about homeless people . There are a number of them out there that are probably sane, unlucky and have nowhere to turn and genuinely deserveing of donations. But there are so many stories of "bums" asking for money that they live normaly off of, and even more who turn around and use it to buy drugs and alcohol instead of putting it to good use, and there are many who are insane and should be given mental help by the state because they can't live a self-substaining life.

This homeless problem is not new and probably will never go away, and if you think GR is bad, it is worse in about every other MI city and always the college towns. MI bad economy and 10 cent bottle return will probably keep the bums here for a long time.

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