Archive for the ‘poor’ Category

IS MUSIC CITY BECOMING THE MEANEST CITY IN AMERICA?

October 13, 2013

In July and August of 2013, I interviewed thirty-five homeless and formerly homeless individuals in Nashville, Tennessee. Virtually all of them say they have been harassed, cited and arrested multiple times for trespassing, sometimes while waiting for a bus, sometimes when standing near a bench where others were sitting and often when not acting any differently than other non-homeless persons in their immediate vicinity, who were not arrested.

At taxpayer expense, our morally bankrupt city leaders have removed some public benches the homeless used to sit on and otherwise, have installed new benches with bars in the middle so they can’t lie down. The homeless say there are no public restrooms for them to use, virtually no drinking fountains and there is literally no where for them to sit, walk or go to the bathroom without fear of being arrested and carted off to jail for trespassing. Most say they have been jailed two or more days multiple times and fined significant amounts for the ‘crime’ of being poor.

The homeless say some Nashville police officers try to be fair, while others are deliberately mean to them, going out of their way to constantly harass, cite and/or arrest them for trespassing, obstruction of a passageway and doing other things that tourists and the non-poor are not arrested for. A man who had only been homeless for two days told me he had already been harassed twice by the police when asking passers by for directions to the mission.

Many say they have been arrested for public intoxication when they were sober and carrying no alcohol or drugs. Several claim the police routinely search their belongings without probable cause, frequently kick them out of public parks and many say their tents, backpacks and other belongings have been confiscated or destroyed by authorities.

The homeless situation in Nashville is far worse than city leaders pretend. Most of the thirty-five I interviewed said they have been homeless over a year in the Nashville area; several said they have been homeless more than seven years. One day walking only a few short blocks from the downtown bus terminal to Church Street and then back, I interviewed thirteen people who said they were homeless, while many others passed by who appeared to be.

When tourist and other events are scheduled, the homeless say police conduct general sweeps of the downtown area, arresting groups of people for appearing to be poor. A homeless man on crutches said he was arrested for trespassing for walking across a store parking lot diagonally instead of going around the long way on the sidewalk. Several said they have been harassed and sometimes cited when selling a homeless newspaper.

One man told me he was arrested for obstruction while sitting on a downtown step because one of his shoes was touching a public sidewalk. A formerly homeless woman said she has witnessed numerous homeless individuals arrested for trespassing while walking in public alleyways and on other public taxpayer-funded property. She said the police rarely volunteer their name or badge number and some become angry when asked. Several say their shoes and other belongings have been stolen at the mission and some say they have been physically harmed.

Some told me they have been arrested even when not homeless at the time, just because they appeared to be poor. Several homeless veterans told me the police show them no respect for being veterans and harass them just as badly as the rest. We as taxpaying citizens of conscience should stand united and immediately demand that our city leaders cease and desist using our tax dollars to harass, cite and arrest people for the ‘crime’ of being poor.

We expect police officers to protect us from real criminals who murder, rape and steal, rather than to waste their time and our tax dollars harassing, citing and arresting citizens because they are poor. Does the mayor’s office and city council vainly imagine they can get away with such ongoing violations of basic human and civil rights, morality and common decency, without God in heaven and the rest of us noticing?

It is less expensive to house the homeless than for cities to repeatedly arrest and run them through legal and service systems, better for business and, much less of a public safety and health risk and expense when the basic needs of everyone are met. Music City’s lack of affordable housing, lack of basic common health sense and common decency to even provide public restrooms and ongoing harassment of the poor, is an open American shame. It was reported last year alone, over thirty citizens died in the Nashville area because they were homeless, including one who froze to death on a downtown church’s steps. And, that is over thirty American citizens too many.

May all citizens of the United States who fear God unite together and demand that our cities begin immediately constructing enough affordable housing and in the meantime, demand that our immoral leaders provide portable toilets so citizens don’t have to live in fear of being arrested for doing what nature requires of us all. Let’s demand that our cities immediately begin construction of facilities where the homeless can shower, be connected to job opportunities, health, food, shelter and other valuable services and freely congregate, without constant fear of physical harm, harassment, citation and arrest.

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ARE PEOPLE REALLY SHEEP?

November 29, 2009

Most men may not complain when young women these days wear their pants lower than where their mother’s pockets used to be, but it can be somewhat nauseating to see older females trying to keep up with their daughter and even granddaughter’s peer group. It reminds one of the sixties, when in order to be cool, boys had to wear Levi’s brand jeans, even though JC Penny sold a perfectly functional pair for half the price.

A Bob Dylan song back then touched on this “Mr. Jones” mentality of modern society and, what with large gas-guzzling SUV’s being purchased by American middle-class “McMansion” families in the midst of Middle East wars, oil shortages and looming planetary disaster, certainly nothing much has changed.

Liberal authors tend to blame corporate branding, but such a “keeping up with the Joneses” reality has existed since ancient Babylon and, traces back into the mists of prehistoric time. Tribal cultures on a global basis display culturally dictated rings, beads, feathers and other ornaments, paint faces and bodies in peer-pressure proscribed ways and, mimic each other in dress, speech and custom.

Ancient warriors often trimmed beards and hair in certain proscribed fashion and displayed specific tattoos and other body markings. Cultures throughout history display their own unique concepts of beauty, manliness and femininity, often directly contradicting what other cultures dictate. Heterosexual men in many societies have worn clothing that even the most overt homosexual male wouldn’t wear in our own.

Today, tattoos and body piercings are all the modern rage and women deliberately reveal bra straps they worked diligently to keep hidden not long ago. And, we are inundated with harmful food and “must have” gizmos and gadgets that no one in their right mind would consider purchasing for logical survival or any other purpose.

Are designs carved on ancient pottery and inlaid jewels on swords functionally necessary at all? And, was expensive architecture, art and sculpture purchased by kings and popes in the midst of massive poverty and famine during the Middle Ages, any less moral than modern Wall Street paper-shufflers earning 10,000 and more times as much as those who pick their fruit, cook their food, cut their lawns and pick up their garbage?

Does a wise society reward athletes with enormous sums to play games in the midst of rising poverty, homelessness and human suffering? Do wise people stand in long lines to see the latest film or to meet celebrities who really haven’t accomplished much of anything at all? How many Americans blindly believe we represent the greatest society in history, without even bothering to actually study much of human civilization, if any?

Culturally induced conformity might appear harmless, but it extends into endorsing the amassing of private wealth and consequent enslavement of the masses, supporting wars in a guise of false patriotism’ and, endorsing racism and classicism in order to “belong”.

Is it really true that “all we like sheep have gone astray”? You decide.

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