posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 11:38 AM
I see "homeless people" every damn day.
I use the term sparingly because, while it's true that these people do not have homes per se, I believe most (but not all) of them do so by choice.
For the majority of these people, I prefer the more traditional and accurate term "bum". I have even tried referring to these people using the term
"beggar", for some strange reason I get horrified looks in return, as if I were referring to old Calcutta, or medieval times or something....go
Since I work in a city that caters to the ultra left-wing (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the bums of this region have it pretty good. One has only to do
a simple Google search on "cambridge ma homeless" and you will get my drift. Being a bum in Cambridge is not a tragedy, its grants you access to a
large social circle replete with benefits, accomodations, free meals, jobs, medical care.......things that most third world peoples literally would
kill for. But despite all these programs and benefits, designed to bring these people off the street........they steadfastly refuse.
Instead, they congregate on the same damn streetcorners...day after day, week after week, month after month...with their signs and change cups. Most
are outfitted with some form of backpack or tote bag, a few have bikes that they ride. Some even have cell phones on their belts......I kid you not.
At night they all camp out in the woods near the subway station and drink and do drugs and generally whatever else they want. Mostly, though, it
involves alcohol and heroin. And despite all the help, care, and thoughtfulness of the legions of social-welfare types that live around
here.....the bums simply prefer to live in the woods, get drunk and high, and beg for money at the roadside.
While homelessness is not my preferred charity (I prefer the March of Dimes and the Jimmy Fund), I would have no problem giving a donation to a local
food pantry, homeless shelter, or house for battered women. There are truely "homeless" people out there who need a break and good assistance.
However, I will never give money to a bum in the street. I find the thought of paying for an alcoholic's vodka or a junkie's smack too
repulsive to bear.