I had a conversation the other day with a woman who sees the world with blinders on. I say this because she is one of those people who was born with the proverbial silver spoon clenched firmly between her rosy baby lips. She grew up sheltered and every once in a while she says something to me that makes me say something back that really makes her think. Take for example one day when she and I were discussing the homeless and she said,”I could never talk to one of those homeless people on the street we have nothing in common” My reply was a simple “how do you know that if you have never tried?
That homeless person could be the greatest guitar player you ever heard, he could be a rockin’ accountant or an amazing mechanic, or the best animal shelter worker in the world if people stopped passing him by because they had labeled him “homeless” if he was given a job instead of a social label he would also be given a chance to become a contributing member of society..
We say we want to help the homeless, but I really don’t see much actual useful help going on. Firstly, we only start hearing about the plight of the homeless when the weather starts to turn cold. You all DO know they are homeless year round right? Yet it seems no one cares about the homeless until October when the wind starts chilling and we know winter is just around the corner.
What homeless people need is help to find housing, and jobs, and a place in the community again. They need help in preparing for job interviews or finding schooling that will help them to get better paying jobs. They need their stories told because only by understanding the myriad of reasons why and how people become homeless can we hope to end it.
Normal working class people in this country can understand how someone could become homeless. Most of us live from pay check to pay check these days. Many of us are just a few pay checks away from homelessness happening to us. Yet still society labels homeless people as those who do not want to find jobs and would rather live on the streets and panhandle than get a job, or as drunks that can’t afford housing because they drink up their pay check as soon as they get it.
My Mother always used to say something when she saw homeless people on the streets before tossing them some loose change, she would say “There but for the Grace of God go I” I know I don’t usually quote my Mother but in this case I must because now in this day and age I could just as easily be among the homeless, it is with the grace of God that I have a roof over my head, and so suddenly my Mother’s words make perfect sense.
But I have gone off in a babbling direction haven’t I? When what I am really trying to say is we must start doing more for the homeless than merely bringing them in out of the cold during the winter months. Not that churches and community groups are not trying, they are and God bless them for it, but I think the government needs to step up and help solve the problem of their fellow countrymen’s homelessness. Everyone should have a home.
“I can’t breathe” those were the last words spoken by Eric Garner before he died. A breathless scream as he fought to draw breathe while an officer kept him in a chokehold. Later police claimed that they did not use a choke hold on Garner but video does not lie, and in the video of Garner’s arrest we can clearly see him being choked into submission. We can also hear Garner try several times to inform officers that he could not get breath, words those officers chose to ignore.It is a video that has gone viral, as might be expected due to the fact that the incident shocked the world both when it took place and again recently when a Grand Jury decided not to indict the officer responsible for Garner’s death.
It is the second such Grand Jury decision within the past three weeks coming on the heels of the Grand Jury decision not to indict Officer Wilson in the Ferguson MI shooting death of Michael Brown, and the second time an officer has gotten away with taking a life without accountability being placed upon that officer for the choice he made that cost someone their life.
Michael Brown was black, and so was Eric Garner, but even if their skin color was a factor in their death (I can’t say it was or wasn’t I was not there and do not know the victims or their killers)it was not the only significant factor in their deaths. Another significant factor is the fact that we are seeing a rise in instances of police brutality and excessive use of force by police answering routine calls. We are also seeing use of lethal force in situations that do not call for lethal force. There are many stories like those in the following links that make us ask the question “is American law enforcement out of control?”
An LA woman claims she was beaten by police at a traffic stop
A woman is attacked by police during a traffic stop
Unarmed Dillon Taylor shot in the back by police while walking away (shooting ruled “justified”)
There are many more if you look for them shootings, beatings, use of excessive force, even in cases where police have raided the wrong home family members have been terrorized and family pets shot in front of children all in the name of police work.
Where does it end? When do cops become accountable for their actions? How many more people have to die at the hands of power tripping cops before something is done about it?
I say power tripping cops because, there still are some cops out there that truly want to do their job without anyone getting hurt, unfortunately they are few and far between in the police state our world is becoming. I am followed by a few of the good ones on twitter and I know they are good people who still believe it is their job to serve and protect the public. But many of today’s cops seem to think they are both judge and jury as well as arresting officer and feel they can do as they please during the apprehension of a “suspect.
Cops must not be allowed to continue carelessly taking people’s lives. Law enforcement in North America needs an overhaul, and some serious oversight! Cops who kill people should not be cops.