Sunday, January 25, 2009

These Drifters

Letter writer, Dennis Ryan, also said "If Long Beach wasn't such a soft touch, perhaps these drifters would move on." Drifters? Drifters do move on; they may be the Carnival people, who are homeless for a short time when the season ends and leave the town when the next season begins again. Fugitives from Justice from other states, also are not likely to stick around too long. Sometimes they are caught hiding on the streets and returned to the state where they are wanted. Many veterans drift into Long Beach to use our Veterans hospital, because, they have told me, it is one of the best in the Nation. They have been trying to get their medical issues taken care of and finally drift here, hoping for faster and better service.

Other drifters are the people who drift between Los Angeles, Orange county and Long Beach. They are natives, either of Long Beach or one of the nearby cities. By native, I mean, born, grew up, lived and worked in those cities prior to becoming homeless. Yes, a number of them are criminals. Some may have went to jail for marijuana or harder drugs. Once released with "$5.00" and the orange jumpsuit, (they have to travel to a holding center to pick-up what clothes they had on when arrested), they have often have no place to go, except the streets and a cycle of homelessness/jail begins that they can not get out of, so they quit trying.

The majority of homeless become homeless in the city they resided in at the time everything or something went wrong and they were forced to their streets. I never met a homeless person who decided to be homeless in Long Beach because the city is "soft" and "enables them", as Ryan states. That thought is ludicrous, if he stopped to think about it, rather than spewing his hatred of people less fortunate than himself. He was probably never raped as a child, by an uncle, or step-father, or his own father, like some homeless men and many homeless women. Likewise his spouse never emotionally, mentally, verbally, physically abused him and his children.

Ryan also probably had no "bees buzzing in his head" and has no recurring nightmares about choosing to kill or be killed by 13 year old boys in Vietnam. Or watching a military buddy's bloodied body parts flying through the air after stepping on a landmine. I think serving the country in that capacity was punishment enough. 1/27/09

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