Today's newspapers have on their front page huge spreads about two subject matters: "imprisoned, unprotected", deals with sexual abuse at the SeaTac prison; and "Teacher in sex case lost jobs before Tacoma, Lessons not learned".
Both, garnishing huge front page spreads sitting here in my morning writing station emotions pass by me that evoke tiredness to all the desensitization I am forming towards hearing about all these crazy sex cases. When I read the articles I became instantly upset with the information written about. Not the issues, but the fact that many of these articles are dehumanizing about what appears to be a real issue at hand, that rape, as a form of fortunately forbidden sex, sells news papers. With rape laws being so broadly brush stroked we are finding what was once based on circumstance is now based on prosecutorial discretion.
Lets review all the news in the last few days, news about some disturbing guy from Washington, who may be back on his way to Washington, who went to California preached about his not illegal views (not old news of course for even South Park has done a similar skit for a different group). But, this guy got run out of that state and is on his way somewhere and people on the net are trying to do a GPS internet style track of his migration. Then on Friday, I can not leave out the news about the guy who in Florida has been given the death sentence, his father was a catalyst in some of the changes in law as of late. But, a role model not, since amongst other things, his own past and his youngest sons present has proven that sex laws written to broadly can possibly make a mess out of what once was a prudent restrain from overzealousness.
I have to admit, for the first time in over a year, I dug into my pocket and paid the .85 cents to buy these papers. But, what does this all have to do with the plight of my homelessness?
Well, actually a lot, for one - and this may be politically incorrect to say - but in my limited and judgmental opinion I do not see a plight in homelessness. For in my case of homelessness, I am only inconvenienced by having to walk from one shelter to another in order to shower and being bombarded by Christian values. Besides the fact I find myself surrounded by so many people who appear to have mental health issues, and apparently no place to live, I see the rest as being no different than the regular customer who in my pasted visited my cafe for a cup of coffee, an hour or two of Internet, and a warm place to sit during a bad and long Portland rainy day. From the drug addict perspective, I find very few here and in fact saw far more coming down addicts in jail. There of course is a drug addict issue, especially some who are homless, but that issue to be is completly distinctive than the occassional drug addict or alcoholic who stays at a homless shelter.
What I see do see here, are people who have serious mental health intervention issues, who have may have always been homeless and ex-cons! This sounds like a mental health crises and a penological abuse issue wedded together and packaged as a form of governmental housing plight to me.
I am strong believer in organization's like ATSA who in a 2005 was advocated about and provided sourcing about the creditability and repercussions of Residency laws:
'The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, as their website says, "is an international organization focused specifically on the prevention of sexual abuse through effective management of sex offenders." It lists its goals as: "Elimination of sexual victimization. The protection of our communities through responsible and ethical treatment of sex offenders. The prevention of sexual assault through effective management of sex offenders. The maintenance of high standards of professionalism and integrity within its membership." Its website, which is choke full of interesting information, is here. Check it out.' Published an Amicus Brief on the issues surrounding homelessness and sex offender's which include, ""Sex offender residency statutes increase the risk of harm to children." The main reason is that residency restrictions increase isolation, unemployment, depression, homelessness, and instability, which are risk factors for sexual offenders to re-offend. It's worth pondering: if those who treat sexual offenders are opposed to residency restrictions--if they argue that such laws put potential victims at greater risk--why would states pass these laws?
You mean why would state or government agencies provide the very triggers that make people oppressed? Then say they are protecting there people? As one Senator in this state said, "it makes people feel better?" Well, with all due respects, if this state has created feel good legislation that not only persecutes but prosecutes people who are accused of sex crimes, and these "solutions" make people "feel good?" then aren't you in fact perpetuating the very same triggers that make people prone to commit the crimes?
Isn't this a form of the same same logic used when this state adopted the "constructive possession laws"? Which hold you accountable for everything and anything that could be in your possession without you knowing? Transferring the logic in this case to if you develop some form of feel good legislation that does exactly the thing that created crime, you should not as well be held accountable?
I have seen homelessness in Brazil, India, Shanghai, Korea, Thailand, Colombia, Mexico, and throughout Europe. Although, I did not go there as a tourist or as a humanitarian. I went there on business, lived in 5 star hotels and turned my usual blind eye to who lived in the squalors below my lavishly decorated and services windows.
But, what I did see was true homelessness. Homelessness not propagated by a governmental organizations attempting to gain power over its ward, or people who chose drugs over paying their landlord, or dealer, or people who distrusted their "payee" and went homeless in defiance. Or what I think more disturbing people who post Regan's dismantle of the social mental health system where lost or put into prisons, perhaps the people I am seeing here today are the fallout of these very same governmental programs? But in these many third world countries I am starting to visit the idea that quite possibly maybe I saw something in many ways more humanitarian?
What I saw was a way of life. A life that wasn't self perpetuating for it was a born right. A right in many countries inescapable. People have often asked me of all the countries I have been to which one was the most memorable? I immediately answer with the same Country; India. Then I immediately explain why: 'I think I admire the people the most, for I saw something I will never forget. I saw a true classless society built into a caste system.'
I know that may not make sense, but let me explain my point. In a classless society, Marxist theory, everyone is the same, and in India there was no question the poor knew their position in life, knowing very they could not move easily from it, I saw what I think was peace, A peace you never see in the average American. I not only saw this in many people living in cardboard boxes next to brand new American corporation buildings, which I often looked out from onto the people, but I saw this in the Corporate people who shuttled me around, who were of the other caste group. I saw their maids and house keepers happy with their ability to serve their employers. (Something I remembered dearly when my own grandmother used to come home from work wearing the maid uniform she wore working for a local doctor).
I was extremely saddened by the homeless kids running around pretending they didn't have tongues, trying to gain sympathy from me so that I would give them a dollar or two (this being 1999 I only had to pay chauffeur's $3 a day to drive me around all day). Although these young eyes always moved me to sympathy, I never gave them a cent, taking the advice of a fellow traveler in Brazil, that kids who beg like this often take money back to their boss's who protect them. Instead, I smiled at them spoke English to them, recognizing they most likely knew English, and got them to laugh by teasing them by making a joke about myself, "What you think I can't tell you don't have a tongue, and I am a stupid American?" Which of course would elicit a response, a response that they shouldn't have given me if they didn't know English. Then I'd tell them, "See your a smart guy/girl take that to your books, and you will not have to beg from a crazy American like me." With a smile, that let them know I knew their game, but wouldn't tell.
Even though, I knew Brazil was not India, I knew that if children where doing this then there had to be an adult encouraging the activity. In fact this was confirmed by the driver when I asked him why so many kids do this, his reply 'Because, most Americans give them a $2 to $3, that is the same amount as you pay me for a days work."
One of the reasons I love this cafe I am at is that often I can hear some of the music I love. For example, as I am writing this entry I have just been taken back 25 years to 1982, the first concert I have went to post Born Again Christian and my Coming-out! The song "London Calling" by the Clash. The song of my rebellious coming-out youth.