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Old 08-31-2008, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 17,242,826 times
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A couple of days ago I got a call from a friend of mine in Denver who I've worked with for years. She has a husband who has at least a half dozen DUI's who she doesn't live with although they're still legally married. For at least the last couple of years she's been talking about his encounters with homeless people and one very strange guy who lives around the block from her who's gay (her husband isn't) and how weird he is. Apparently he has been living in his parent's house who are dead and he gets some small monthly amount of money although he hasn't had electricity or water hooked up for a very long time. Anyway, her husband and this strange guy met up with another very strange individual who happened to be homeless. I've been hearing about the encounters with the police, hit and run accidents, etc. for months now between these three people. Then she called me up to let me know that when she got up to go to work that the police had blocked off the area and she went around the corner and the strange guy who lived in the house was laying out in the yard covered with a blanket and was dead. Fortunately her husband has been forced by the courts to wear an ankle bracelet and stay at his Mother's house but the homeless guy had been living there and it's been determined to be a murder and he's the prime suspect who fled the scene.
Any major American city has thousands of people who are homeless, incapable of holding a job and are roaming the streets. Mental illness is very common among this group of individuals as well as drug and alcohol addiction. They are responsible for a great many crimes, often against each other, and are generally ignored by society unless they hurt someone that society cares about like an innocent child. I realize that many of them don't want help and can't even comprehend how desperate their lives have become.
It all comes down to this question. Do American citizens have an obligation to take care of people who can't take care of themselves based on our collective ethics as a nation? I believe we do and we're doing a terrible job of it at this point in our history. I don't like the idea of handing out money to someone who simply doesn't want to work and is trying to abuse our welfare system or whatever the case may be but there are a great many people who are either mentally ill or are lacking the intellectual ability to function in society and many of them are also dangerous and commit crimes. Based on your personal ethical or moral point of view, what should we do with them?
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Old 08-31-2008, 07:42 PM
 
Location: SC Foothills
8,831 posts, read 10,334,125 times
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This was touched on in another thread but I can't remember which one now. Yes, I believe we do have an obligation to take care of these people. I don't say that because I'm a Christian OR an American. It's just the right thing to do.

Our mental health system is horrible. I don't know how it is in other states, but in SC they closed down the state run hospitals and these poor people are just roaming around getting into all sorts of trouble. They are shoved in and out of the day facilities with medication and a pat on the back, but have no real place to get the proper help and housing.

It's a problem that is of epic proportion and only the government can fix this.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:44 PM
 
2,790 posts, read 5,840,379 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DayoftheLord View Post
This was touched on in another thread but I can't remember which one now. Yes, I believe we do have an obligation to take care of these people. I don't say that because I'm a Christian OR an American. It's just the right thing to do.

Our mental health system is horrible. I don't know how it is in other states, but in SC they closed down the state run hospitals and these poor people are just roaming around getting into all sorts of trouble. They are shoved in and out of the day facilities with medication and a pat on the back, but have no real place to get the proper help and housing.

It's a problem that is of epic proportion and only the government can fix this.
This is what happened in Michigan too. I believe the moral thing to do is to reach out to any in need; unfortunately, the average Joe Schmoe doesn't have the training to interact with those most desperately in need.
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Boise
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Given that a great proportion of homeless are war vets, there is a large national responsibility issue there. My sister works at the VA and from what I gather a lot of the people that roll in there are homeless or practically so.

Then we have people like my father in law, who is a huge war supporter, but he despises homeless people because they don't do the whole bootstrap thing. long and short, I think that the homeless issue could be dealt with in ways other than homeless shelters and so on. To me, that is a HUGE ethical issue. But we don't do anything here but react then put band aids on half assed jobs, so I don't see the homeless issue going anywhere unless we all do a little more to open our eyes and look towards the horizon.

Now mentally ill on the other hand, have no choice in the matter most of the time (there are those who burned themselves out on drugs and those with cases of brain damage that usually get jammed under the mentally ill umbrella). I would say that considering how they were treated a couple hundred years ago (or hell 50 years ago for that matter) things have gotten a lot better for them. There is still room for improvement however.

All in all I think we could do more, but it would come at the sacrifice of others (mostly in the wallet), and no one wants to do that.
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:11 AM
 
7,844 posts, read 11,026,211 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DayoftheLord View Post


Our mental health system is horrible. I don't know how it is in other states, but in SC they closed down the state run hospitals and these poor people are just roaming around getting into all sorts of trouble.


It's a problem that is of epic proportion

June absolutely, positively, agrees!

Here's an example:

Let's say you are a 39 year old male who suffers from bipolar disorder. As such, you are delusional, (psychotic) and refuse to take medication. (And why would you want, in your hypomanic or manic state to take medication to begin with?) You don't believe there is anything wrong with you. Your family is at their wits end; all have given up on you with the exeption of your mother. Your mother is positively desperate, as she wants you to be safe from harm, and have some way of keeping track of you. You've been repeatedly hospitalized for short periods of time, (72 hours on a "three day hold") during which time it is determined that you are not a threat to yourself (not suicidal) and you are not a threat to others (homicidal.) You are simply a delusional bipolar individual who believes you are on a mission from God, and you are hell bent and determined to deliver that message to all mankind.

Your mother, meanwhile, is still utterly beside herself, as in your delusional, unmedicated state she never knows where you are, how you are, or what you are up to, as you tend to "take off" for days (if not weeks) at a time. It is absolutely safe to assume that you are (meanwhile) living on the streets, not eating, and incurring physical hardship and risk, further adding to your already extremely tenuous mental state. So mom phones your therapist. --Only to be told that no, her son cannot be admitted to a long term psychiatric hospital, as he is not deemed "mentally incompetent" by the state. (No history of ongoing suicidal/homicidal risk or actions.) As such, the court cannot and will not enforce any mandates to institutionalize you, or to court order you to take any medication.

Why? --Because even that 39 year old delusional individual has rights. Legal rights. He is protected under our "laws." --And besides, even if mom could somehow manage to get him declared mentally incompetent, (which she can't and won't) what would that accomplish? There aren't any state mental institutions around anymore; all the patients were discharged to the streets years ago, so unless mom can cough up enough money to somehow pay for a private institution (which of course, she can't) then mom is stuck in her worry and concern for the well being of her son. Meanwhile, everyone else in the family has had it with mom for the fact that they have long since lost all patience with their delusional family member who is scaring the living daylights out of the grandkids telling them that he is the Messiah, and that he needs to deliver the message about the end times.

--He plans to write a screen play and make it into a hollywood movie. But he's also very paranoid, as he knows, (or at least believes) that his family and the world at large are conspiring against him....Or so he tells his therapist each week. When he is able to get to see her. Because his mind is so disorganized that he can't really account or keep track of time...Besides, he's on a mision from God, so time is of the essence, at a premium for him. Meanwhile, he cannot work, cannot hold down a job, and apart from the occassional marijuana which he smokes, that's the extent of his "wrong doings" from a legal, societal standpoint. Meanwhile, he is not going to hurt any members of society; he is not going to rob you, he is not going to attack you, he is not even going to panhandle off of you.

--He is merely running around trying to "save the world."

And that, in truth, is how the story (all too sadly!) goes...





Ultimately, are we, as a society, as human beings, responsible for this human being, described above? June thinks so.

Last edited by june 7th; 09-01-2008 at 02:55 PM..
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:42 AM
 
2,955 posts, read 6,871,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DayoftheLord View Post
It's a problem that is of epic proportion and only the government can fix this.
I believe this, too. It's one issue that keeps me voting Democrat.

I grew up outside of DC in the Reagan era and I saw what happened when he cut government funding for the mentally ill. So many people were thrown out into the city streets only to become hated by the general public who could generally only see them as a nuisance. This was an understandable reaction because the city was suddenly full of homeless everywhere you turned and many of them were barely functional - they became just another urban threat to be avoided. This happened all over the country but as a child seeing this happen in the nation's capital, I was changed forever. Charity alone won't fix this problem - government assistance, while not the perfect solution, is defintely needed.
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,857 posts, read 45,795,790 times
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God said if you have two coats....give one away.
We can either give because it is the right thing to do or we can give because we are moved with compassion that another is cold.
Without that compassion nothing will change.
With that compassion....we could change the whole wide world in 24 hours.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Boise
2,008 posts, read 3,058,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b. frank View Post
I believe this, too. It's one issue that keeps me voting Democrat.

I grew up outside of DC in the Reagan era and I saw what happened when he cut government funding for the mentally ill. So many people were thrown out into the city streets only to become hated by the general public who could generally only see them as a nuisance. This was an understandable reaction because the city was suddenly full of homeless everywhere you turned and many of them were barely functional - they became just another urban threat to be avoided. This happened all over the country but as a child seeing this happen in the nation's capital, I was changed forever. Charity alone won't fix this problem - government assistance, while not the perfect solution, is defintely needed.
I have always found it very interesting that DC has as many problems as it does especially crime and the things you mention. It makes it interesting that that's what the whole world sees as the capitol of "the greatest nation on earth"...

My mom ran a home for the mentally ill. The people there could at least function on some level they were pretty much like really big 10 year olds. She took a few in when the local place lost its funding (she ran a small operation, so 4 extra was all that could be handled). But it was pretty sad to see these people with pretty much nowhere to go. It was even more sad to see them being hated for being homeless.
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Old 09-01-2008, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, Florida
3,412 posts, read 9,427,291 times
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How does one become homeless? No money, no job, no means to take care of themselves? Who is responsible? The society? The government? The people who's done it to "themselves", who??

You really have to look at the root of the problem, it's probably impossible to fix, really. No one wants to spend any more money, tax dollars, whatnot, to fix this problem, so who's going to take responsibility and make sure at some point, this kind of issue is eliminated for good? Any guesses?
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:07 PM
 
7,844 posts, read 11,026,211 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepsMom View Post

How does one become homeless? No money, no job, no means to take care of themselves? Who is responsible? The society? The government? The people who's done it to "themselves", who??



so who's going to take responsibility and make sure at some point, this kind of issue is eliminated for good?

Any guesses?

I think people actually can and do become homeless more easily than we think...I think I somewhat thought I "knew" that until I began working in community mental health.

How to eliminate it? Now that's the question...

Collective effort(s).
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