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saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
That's the name of a homeless guy that I've seen about town for about 15 years. A few months back I had a novel thought, "He's such a sweet guy, why don't I feed him?" Duh. He's no dope and often roots outside of grocery stores, so when I see him I buy him something and shoot the breeze for a few minutes, which communication is poor due to the facts that he's crazy and doesn't speak English, and neither do I speak his tongue, most likely SE Asian. So I never learn much about him despite that I ask, but I think we're close on his name.
He's got his belongings inside a tarp, which he carries on his back. I happened to see him driving home from scoring my nightly 2 pints of Ben and Jerrys, so I drove home and got him the usual, 3 cans of Hormel Chili and drove back to find him encamped in a large space between two houses, he saying that the owners gave him squatter's privileges, and transferred the victuals.
He's such a cute guy with love on the mind, often repeating the word as he speaks, and he does a dozen or so thankful bows by bended knee saying thank you, and otherwise. It's so cold that it breaks my heart that he will sleep outside. He said he has blankets.
Did his family throw him out?

 

ron123

Member
Jan 28, 2015
205
47
The story brings back a fond college memory. I had a self righteous asshole roommate in college. To mess with him, I brought home a bum one night while the roomie was out, and put him in this guy’s bed...then went to the tv lounge and waited for him to come home and see what a kind deed he had unwittingly done.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
Hard to say, 40, 50? It's so cold out I thought about having him sleep indoors, but there's too many unknowns:
crazy

homeless

thus behavior prediction is impossible

language barrier
He's frustrating because of the above but a delight to talk to. Such a sweet guy. But it could turn into a big mess, perhaps harmful, so I didn't.

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
31
I'm with Ashdigger.
There was a guy who was quite bright and interesting who could often be found around a bookstore a few blocks from me. Musical, adept at sailing, well informed, very bright, and could be quite charming. I suspected that he was a "sleeper of opportunity" by the state of his clothes and semi-scraggly hair, but never asked. Figured anyone could be down on his luck and he was making the best of it. I talked with him face-to-face for probably six or eight hours total before one day he suddenly disappeared.
I asked the bookstore owner some time later if he knew whatever became of Sully. He sighed, looked down, shook his head, and said things had gotten ugly. That Sully was gone for good. Pressed to explain, he said he'd talked someone into letting him sleep in their backyard because the police had stopped cutting him slack on the street (a few people had complained, apparently), then, when he got drunk (or drugged) and rowdy in the guy's back yard and the homeowner told him to leave, Sully attacked him. As in major significant injury & extended hospitalization required. (Sully was a stout dude) Then, he attacked the police who showed up in response to THAT incident, and managed to rack up aggravated assault on a cop charges because he landed several shots with a weapon that did some damage.
Was anyone surprised? Yes, everyone was surprised. Then, several months later, someone discovered that Sully had done something similar about ten years before, plus had actually SHOT someone with a rifle who was walking down the street minding his own business about ten years before that. Why? Because he'd felt like it. In short, he was as stable as 40-year-old nitroglycerine stored in a hot warehouse, and as manipulative as hell. He'd come to a new town, and for a while anyway, fooled everyone.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,302
10
There was a homeless guy who used to roam and live in the area by where I work. As the homeless situation worsens in the area, I'll say he was one of the very few decent ones who never caused any trouble. Some of those having violent tendencies. But this isn't about them. His name was Tony and I chatted with him quite often, as I saw him nearly daily. I asked him once about his situation as I had heard he had family that lived nearby, and didn't have to live the way he was living. We had some cold winters for a few years and I'd see him sleeping on a bench with his sleeping bag or taking shelter under a building's overhang during a thunderstorm. I hated to see him like that because he genuinely was a pretty decent person. But when I asked him why he didn't get himself a job and perhaps move in with a family member, try to get off the streets, he explained he didn't want to. He said he'd rather live on the streets than have to worry about the responsibility of paying rent or bills. That made absolutely no sense to me, and it still doesn't. If faced with that choice I know I'd rather have four walls and a roof over my head than living in the elements, or worrying where my next meal was coming from or whether I'd be warm in the winter or cool in the summer.
We have hot summers in Texas. Tony also had diabetes and quite a few times, especially during the summer, he'd have a spell and was lucky enough for paramedics to show up and give him insulin. I always wondered if someday he'd have a spell, and paramedics wouldn't show up in time to save him in time. A couple summers ago that did indeed happen and he was found dead in a parking lot. I certainly didn't agree with his life choice, but he was always happy and always offering encouragement to others. I was sad to learn of his death.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,439
219
Ashdigger is absolutely right. If you want to be helpful, try to find an organization or government agency charged by law to assist/contain such individuals. Then you wash your hands of the situation and know you've done what you can. Recent events, newsworthy ones, have caused these agencies to become much more interested in doing as they are charged.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,412
3
I'm very concerned about you, Salt. Not so much because of the potentially homicidal urban outdoorsman, but two pints of Ben & Jerry's a night? You need to talk to someone!

 

sittingbear

Member
Jul 20, 2015
291
50
I've worked a lot with the homeless. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving someone food. It's better than giving them money. However, the best thing is to get him connected with a social workeror some kind of program. There are programs in place to help people climb out of systemic, chronic homelessness. The challenge is getting them to go, and to cooperate. Sometimes the best you can do is give them a meal, and that's okay!

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
I will talk to him about coming in from the cold, but with the psychosis and the language problem I'm not sure what the takeaway will be for either of us. I could find out what language he speaks and try to arranger an interpreter, but I see him irregularly, so they would have to be available 16/7. At any rate he strikes me like the type of guy whose wings won't be clipped.

 

brian64

Preferred Member
Jan 31, 2011
5,256
184
with the psychosis and the language problem I'm not sure what the takeaway will be for either of us.
That is a valid point, but I still find the forum to be a nice distraction nevertheless.

 

lasttango

Preferred Member
Sep 29, 2012
870
2
Wilmington, De / Ithaca, NY
In my younger years, I worked with the Homeless Mentally ill in Miami and in London. Warren is right... best thing you can do if you care is hook him up with social/Mental Health services.
As for being dangerous... that's your call... Maybe you can handle yourself. If you have a family however, I would caution you -

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,271
495
Boy, this is a whole study. Giving food is usually a good thing, if you are alert to negative signals or problems. Getting professionals in touch with the problem is best. There are bureaucratic jerks who sometimes are only drawing a salary, but most people involved with addressing the homeless, and their substance and mental health problems are some of the best people. They are steeped in all of the various situations and possibilities, so are least likely to be threatened or taken by surprise. This applies to the panhandlers outside Walmart, and often over-friendly people who show up at church services to work the crowd. It's a balance between not being cold-hearted but not getting scammed or hurt, and managing not to have isolated people dying of hunger or being assaulted themselves. Obviously this is a whole study and issue. salt', you are good-hearted and your instincts are good. Let the pros help you and help your friend. One important point, just to address stereotyping, the mentally ill are no more or less likely to commit violence than the general population.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,166
545
Back in my small college town there was a guy named Rufus. He wasn't homeless, because we were in such a small town, everyone has someone where they "stay." Rufus had family, but just liked his gin. When we would be at a party or walking late at night to the grocers, Rufus would approach people to "dance" for cigarettes. Of course, everyone's first run in with Rufus is filled with self loathing for having someone walk up and offer to degrade themself by dancing for a cigarette. But, he was funny, lively, and very entertaining, with eyes that seemed to roll around in his head like loose marbles. And, he was old as dirt. I have to admit, I have given Rufus many a cigarette and applauded with glee at his stylish gin soaked dances.
At a reunion, we were all setting around reliving memories of Rufus and his cigarette dances. And, someone offered up that he had passed away. Someone else offered up that Rufus was in fact one of the Tuskegee Airmen. So, we all dropped by to visit his grave, which was covered in whole unsmoked cigarettes, and sure enough, it was memorialized that Rufus was one of the airmen.
None of us felt sorry for him. He never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him. His family didn't feel sorry for him. He was exactly what he wanted to be, and lived exactly as he wanted to live. Generations of University students there knew Rufus and his crazy antics, and he will live with fondness for the simple life that he wanted for himself. Not everyone measures quality in the same way. Every man a man. :puffy:

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
Thanks for the warnings. I'm going to disengage as underneath his chanting love love love is probably huge distrust and the attendant anger, fear and shame. Clearly we have drawn closer by my giving, and although delightful now, in future probably will provoke him. Psychotic and homeless-that's a lot of damage. He's been around time for so long that's hard to believe he is unknown to social service. He's not complaining and would seem to just want to be free. Thanks again.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
0
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I would be more than willing to buy a homeless person a sandwich or a burger etc but I'm afraid I would never proffer money. There are too many things to spend that money on that would only exacerbate their predicament, and a predicament they may well find themselves in through no fault of their own.
History shows us folks can tumble in fortunes from having everything to having nowt for no reason of their own doing....well worth thinking about.
Saltedplug, whatever you gave to matey I'm sure it was much appreciated.
Regards,
Jay.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,439
219
History shows us folks can tumble in fortunes from having everything to having nowt for no reason of their own doing....well worth thinking about.
True. History also shows that many people consciously select such a lifestyle. Conventional society simply can't believe many make such a choice willingly. Perhaps they prefer a less regimented, less complicated life (no nine to five, no crowds, no taxes, limited social intercourse, etc.). Whatever the unknown reasons, "normal" society wants to "help" them.
There was a time such people could "go west" and escape the pressures of social interaction. Back then people had or quickly learned the necessary frontier survival skills. Now days, in many cities some have learned different survival skills, living under the bridge, the refrigerator box home, professional begging, wearing the required subservient demeanor or the obverse, being a "PITA," more than few have learned that claiming to be a veteran of a war is helpful when soliciting/extorting money. You know them ... down to the surplus store, find a jacket with a unit patch and the correct ball cap and they are ready to let others provide for them with only a modicum of effort on their part.
Making the decision as to who really needs assistance and who do not want nor seek such is a poser. Most of us would rather err on the side of "needy". There are basically three types of "needy." The truly down on their luck, actively working to regain their bearings. Second, those who have made a choice to live on the edge of society. And, the third, those without the necessary mental capacity to thrive at a level society will accept.
The first can be helped in various ways. The second do not want to "measure up" to societal norms. The third usually need the intervention of government to survive and perhaps thrive.
Do not misread me. If society ever loses its compassion for others, even misplaced compassion, then we have lost something special. Something even many animal species possess.