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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Less than a mile from the White House

I shot this on Wednesday in Dupont Circle. He somehow looked sort of comfortable, but I assume things could get significantly more cushy for him. It's an outrage.


Anonymous Billy Dennis said...

Yes, I agree. It is an outrage that our politically correct society will tolerate such antisocial behavior as refusing to take personal responsibility for one's own condition and for "sleeping it off" in the doorway of someone else's private property.

I am willing to bet that within a mile of where this guy was sleeping it off, there are one of two shelters, or perhaps a church that would have been happy to find this guy a warm place to sleep.

The fact of the matter is that you know NOTHING of this individual's personal story that lead to his sleeping in some doorway. But the opportunity to criticize a Republican is just too sweet to pass up, isn't it?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandasaurus, did you live in DC when Bill Clinton was living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., because I did. I can assure you that there were just as many if not MORE homeless people there. Frankly, having survived a mugging by a homeless man in DC and having my gas ciphened and my house broken into all via homeless people, I was outraged. I don't think that any one person is responsible for this and I don't think that this 1 homeless man is indicative of one administration failing our nation. Let it go.

Blogger Buck B. said...

To both commenters:

I must have missed the part where J.B. mentioned Republicans or George W. Bush.

The White House is the seat of our nation's executive branch, and I do think it's a commentary on the sad state of how our nation cares for the least fortunate that a man sleeps in the cold near the home of the most powerful man in the world.

You're right, not every problem is the fault of Republicans. And not every commentary on the failures of our society is a criticism of the current administration. Knowing Julie Beth, I can confidently say she would be equally outraged no matter who was inhabiting the White House.


You know no more of the man's situation than Julie. Yet you seem confident in accusing the man of "sleeping it off" and ascribing his condition to a lack of "personal responsibility" rather than other much more likely explanations, chief among them mental illness and debilitating substance addiction.

Do you really think that most homeless people live on the streets by choice? As difficult as this might be to believe, it's a really hard and generally shitty life.

I am a strong proponent of individual responsibility. But I feel far more justified in criticizing society for creating the situations that lead to homnelessness than I do criticizing someone for sleeping in a doorway.

If you want to read a clear-eyed view of homelessness and some outside-the-box thinking on how to solve it, check out this Malcolm Gladwell article.

Blogger J.B. West said...

I (J.B. West, not Mandasaurus), could have easily replaced "White House" with "Lincoln Memorial" or "Capitol Building" or "Washington Monument." I wasn't even thinking of Republicans when I did it. I rarely think of Republicans at all.

We could talk forever about the causes of homelessness, but if there is a government solution here, it lies with the District of Columbia, not George W. Bush or even Dick Cheney. In fact, it's now Mayor-elect Adrian Fenty's responsibility and he's a Democrat.

And while billy dennis assumes correctly that I know nothing about that man's story, he assumes incorrectly that he was sleeping on private property. It was on a public sidewalk outside a CVS Pharmacy.

Blogger Chance-86 said...

I think that I am both pissed off and physically sick at the same time as I see the picture, read the comments, and get barraged by homeless people on my own way home.

Since when is it the government's responsibility to take care of homeless people? I have no doubt that the very question pisses off every liberal, but really...where? I can't tolerate the growing socialistic tendancies that start as innocent programs to help those in need, but end up abusing the taxpayer by creating a total dependance on the government. This goes far beyond the homeless (which, BTW, a huge percent of the world is homeless by our cushy standards). This thought reaches into all of the social programs that cause dependance rather than to teach independance. Why the hell should my tax dollars go to a welfare program that only creates more people on welfare. You want government welfare, I'll give you government welfare: put 'em to work for it! you want healthcare, no problem, work 5 hours a week cleaning up a neighborhood. You want free housing, thats another 15 hours a week busting tail on rebuilding and remodeling schools. You want food, help cook and serve and clean up one day a week. Only when people work for what they are given, will they develop the sense of self-worth that a job well-done brings with it. If someone had to work harder at getting welfare than they would at flipping burgers at McDonalds, then much of the welfare problem would solve itself. And then, amazingly, there would be extra tax dollars to help pay for programs to help the few who actually need it. I grew up in a small town that had a program to put people with special needs to work in a pen-building factory, which old the pens to the community. Profitable? No. Worthwhile to those who worked in it? Hell, yeah!
I believe that the needs of the many really do outweigh the needs of the few. It is a shame when those who need it fall through the cracks, but that is what churches and philanthropists are best at. That is NOT what government was designed for.

Chance for President in 2012!!!

Blogger Buck B. said...

Chance, read the article I linked to in my comment and then come back and post again.

Blogger Chance-86 said...

Jesus, could you pick a longer article next time?
I have to say that I was surprised to see a few of the statistics in the article. And you know me, that's saying a lot for me. However, if you read my post, you'll find that I went far beyond just the homeless. I have issues with the entire way our government deals with problems of indigency. As a healthcare professional, believe me, I understand the financial burden of the issues at hand. My hospital scaled back its ER status, so that we are no longer a level I trauma center. We did it solely because the trauma center was losing about 8 million dollars a year. It jeapordized our ability to care for the community as a whole.
Am I a heartless asshole? *be nice, buck* No (at least in my humble opinion). But let me ask you this: If one of these homeless people, like the one in hte first article, has been offered help over and over and over again, but refuses to change...why is that the responsibility of the government? I'm a tough-love advocate, and I'm the first to admit it. Outlaw pan-handling. But don't throw the offenders in jail, put them to work for a few hours on community projects. The few that are truly mentally or physically challenged, clean them up, find out what their needs are, use the program monies on THOSE people. Instead, we ignore the pan-handlers and dish out welfare money to many, many people who don't need it: to able-bodied men and women who just don't WANT to work. The whole system is flawed. And it's flawed because of our entire outlook on government. Government was formed to protect our borders, to resolve inter-state conflict.... It was never formed to 'take care of us' socially. Government has gotten so big that it has become a self-aware and self-serving ogre, and the ogre loves nothing more than to make people dependant on it...because as long as we are dependant on it, it is necessary and, therefore, self-preserving.
Extreme cases are always the ammunition fired by the liberals to try to get their point across. A conservative says that they don't believe in third trimester abortion, and the liberal accuses them of stealing rights from the 13 year-old who was raped by her father. It's a tactic designed to stir up emotion and empathy and keep us from being centerists and realize that there is a bell-curve in nearly every social situation. We need to concentrate our efforts on what will do the most good to those in the middle of the curve, and not base our policies on the fringes.

Now, by God, I think I need another Mountain Dew...just to make sure that I have no change in my pocket as I head outside.

Blogger Buck B. said...

Thanks for taking the time to read the article, Chance. I know you're busy, and it is a long one.

This is one of my favorite topics: the role of government in society. I put a high premium on personal liberty, and am wary of the dangers of big government. But since I also believe that society, and government is part of that, has an obligation to care for everyone. That's what civilization means — without it, we're just animals with opposable thumbs and large craniums.

I'm looking forward to debating this in the weeks ahead. I believe government can be a force for good — we just have to figure out how.

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