Categorized | Local, Opinion

The Unfortunate Aren’t Going Away

 

By Gerald Olesen
for the Humboldt Sentinel

 

I pray each day for the homeless, the aimless, the mentally ill, the laid-off and the evicted, the overworked, the underpaid, the undereducated and the prisoners, all of whom I have met at some time in my life.

I am a Humboldt County native who lived in Eureka from 1943-1950.  For the years 1949 and 1950, I worked for Eureka
Newspapers, selling the evening paper (The Standard) on the
streets.

In those days, no one EVER warned us (there were around 20 street sellers) of any dangers in any of the areas we worked, which included the “north of fourth” area, including every bar and card room in the area.  I do not recall any of us boys (yes, kids were doing that work in those days), who were usually 10-13 years old, ever being troubled by anyone on those “mean streets.”  Yes, there were some men who were drunken derelicts around, but they did no harm, except to themselves.

What has happened to Eureka?  As I see it, the advent of available drugs, the aftermaths of the Vietnam and later wars we have been involved in, and the closing of mental facilities, have changed our society and left us with many mentally ill and drug-laced people who are seen all over town.  Some of these have self-inflicted problems and others are simply victims of circumstances their minds would not tolerate, who were turned out upon the streets to live as best they could.  Whatever the cause of their troubles, they are REAL and are simply not going away and we who are unaffected should do what we can to ease their pain.

I have been retired for many years and have worked at the St. Joseph Pantry Shelf in Fortuna for a long time and have seen many of folks who, for whatever reason, are in need and we do what we can to give them a bit of food.  In our sort of business, judgments are best left to others (preferably God).  If one becomes too judgmental, one would probably not help.  I think the situation is pretty well summed up by this:  If you have two shirts, one belongs to you and the other to the person who has none.

This is a thorny issue and any of us will, at times, wonder if we are enabling such people to continue their lifestyle.  No doubt there are abusers, as there are in any human endeavor.  It is said that we should teach a man to fish, instead of merely giving him a fish.  That makes sense, as far as it goes, but if the man is hungry today, we need to, first, give him something to eat and then think about fishing lessons.  We who do this work will be called “do-gooders” by some and that is o.k., because that is exactly what we are attempting to do, some good.

In the recent article regarding the homeless day center that has been proposed by Betty Chinn and Catholic Charities (”Opening a door for those in need,” Times-Standard, Oct. 26, Page A1), those who are complaining would seem to be folks who have been fortunate to have received a rather large slice of the “stuff” of this life.

I do not doubt that they worked very hard to amass whatever they have, but to withhold aid from our brothers who have fallen upon hard times, regardless of the cause, comes off as a bit selfish.

Yes, some folks can be very thoughtless and destructive and we certainly wish they would do better, but they are still members of our imperfect human race and we should do whatever we can to help them and, if possible, change the course of their lives.  I think Betty Chinn and Catholic Charities are trying to do just that in the best way they know how.  We should support their efforts.

I believe in this, from Luke 12:48: Everyone to whom much is given, of him much will be required.

* * * * * * * *

Gerald Olesen resides in Fortuna. He kindly gave us his permission to reprint his letter which first appeared in the Times-Standard news on November 4, 2012.

We read much material and many letters in the course of our day.  This one hit both the mark and struck home.

Thank you, Mr. Olesen.

(Images by the Humboldt Sentinel.  Posted by Skippy Massey)

One Response to “The Unfortunate Aren’t Going Away”

  1. Nicholas says:

    From an Ayn Rand POV. No one is under any obligation to help anyone. However, a strong community of people who are compassionate and benevolent towards each other reduces societal problems such as crime. Whether you choose a WWJD attitude or the Objectivist attitude, helping others get back up on their feet is just a good thing to do. I trully hope Eureka stops trying to follow Arcata’s Homeless Playbook and actually starts helping these people.

    Also, the one thing that the homeless need the most is self-esteem. Most have given up and need to rediscover a purpose and regain pride (a pillar of self-esteem) in themselves!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Word: Scott Walker
    The Hill"If Scott Walker sees 100,000 teachers & firefighters as his enemies, maybe it's time we take a closer look at his friends.” - Elizabeth Warren In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Walker said, “If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the world.” […]
  • How to help save a million gallons of water
    Eco WatchIn honor of World Water Day on March 22, Surfrider Foundation launched Every Drop Counts campaign. The nonprofit says that if 25,000 people take the pledge to reduce the amount of water they use each day and skip their shower on World Water Day, nearly one million gallons of water will be saved...North American faucet brand Moen found that the avera […]
  • Loretta Lynch's secret prosecutions
    Johnny Dwyer, NBC News - The office headed by the woman poised to become the next attorney general has used an unusual method to keep many of its prosecutions hidden from the public, an NBC News investigation has found.Federal prosecutors in New York's Brooklyn-based Eastern District pursued cases against secret, unnamed "John Doe" defendants […]
  • Bank fines a fraction of what the government spent bailing them out
    Dirt Digger's Digest - Investment bank Morgan Stanley has disclosed that it will pay only $2.6 billion to settle U.S. Justice Department allegations that it deceived investors in the sale of toxic securities in the run-up to the financial meltdown.I say “only” because the amount is substantially lower than the figures paid by Bank of America ($16.7 bill […]
  • Top scientist predicts polar thaw by 2050s
    Daily Mail UK - The Arctic could be completely free of ice in just 40 years as a result of global warming, one of the world's leading climate change experts has warned.Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Oleg Anisimov said there is evidence that temperatures are rising four times faster in the frozen region than the rest of the planet.This means that the […]
  • Bringing urban farming to Pennsylvania
    Sustainable Cities- The Hilltop Alliance, a Pennsylvania nonprofit, is working on a project that could drastically advance urban agriculture in the state. The organization wants to turn a vacant 107-acre lot into Hilltop Village Farm, a multi-use development that would include 120 townhomes, a 20-acre urban farm incubator, a youth farm and CSA. If the plan i […]
  • Word
    The past is never dead. It's not even past. - William Faulkner […]
  • There, I fixed it
    Fail Blog […]
  • hilltop pennsylvania urban farming
    […]
  • Phiadelphia police stop tens of thousands illegally
    ACLU - The ACLU of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg filed a report as part of the monitoring process of the 2011 consent decree in Bailey v. Philadelphia, a lawsuit filed in 2010 alleging that Philadelphia Police Department officers had a pattern and practice of stopping and frisking pedestrians without reasonable sus […]
  • The real economy
    Michael Snyder, Activist PostAccording to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.According to resea […]
  • Word: Jihadi John
     Djelloul Marbrook -  This guy is getting more attention in the press than the underlying causes of the Middle East turmoil. The press has kept a constant focus on him, for example, while failing to give us a clue as to what happened to the thousands of troops Jordan moved to its Iraqi border and the implications of that move. There is a reason and it, as us […]
  • Revolutionary visionary
    In short my dear Friend you and I have been indefatigable Labourers through our whole Lives for a Cause which will be thrown away in the next generation, upon the Vanity and Foppery of Persons of whom we do not now know the Names perhaps. — The War that is now breaking out will render our Country, whether she is forced into it, or not, rich, great and powerf […]
  • Furthermore. . .
    Adjunct professors fighting back […]
  • How to take on standardized testing
    World Prosperity - Ways for teachers to fight the standardized testing movement: • You can prepare your students for the tests, but then get back to concentrating on real learning.  Keep it clear in your mind that these are two different objectives.  Whenever possible, help others to see the difference (in letters to parents, for example). • Don't devot […]