Here's Daniel's post:
There is a lot of property crime out there right now. And most of us, myself included care about our stuff. It's what gets our attention. When we see a guy like that we're more concerned with what he's up to than with how he's doing. Upon some reflection, I think that's at the root of the problem.
Yesterday I went to a nearby nomad camp with some food and supplies and spoke to them on our behalf, today I'd like to speak with you on their behalf.
People are paying them to steal and they are paying them very little. The people paying them are keeping all the money, they pay them mostly in drugs that cost them almost nothing. If we were willing to pay a little more, to pay in food and in kindness and dignity, which cost us almost nothing, we could win. But we're divided, and we're selfish so we lose. Everyone loses.
Except the criminals, the ones that sell the drugs and sell our stuff. And the pharmaceutical companies and Pharmacies get a cut too, they make the pills that get turned into meth after all. And the cops that fight the never ending war on drugs, they get a paycheck from this madness too.
But most of us lose.
Here's what I know:
Drugs are strong, but they get their strength from our weakness. We can beat them. I beat them once, almost 20 years ago. But I didnt beat it alone. People helped me. And I didnt live on the streets then. I was young and healthy and I had a lot of bad life choices left to make. Most of these people are old and beat up. They havent got much candle left to burn.
The one recurring theme I get from homeless people is the shame. They feel like a burden and they either feel invisible or they wish they could be invisible. Just try to treat them like a person. Don't patronize them, don't try to be their best friend, just give them a little more human contact. Interact with them. Be genuine.
Being a good person is about more than just following the rules. It means every once in a while you have to go beyond that and help people who might be a little shitty. Im not just talking about dropping off your old mom jeans at the good will. I mean roll up your sleeves and go down to where they live and look them in the eye and shake their hand and learn their god damn name.
Make them a fucking sandwich, like the kind you would make yourself, with the good bread. Stay there for a moment and listen to them yak about how they used to be what things were like in the good old days. God knows their kids don't talk to them. Almost no one does.
I work a lot and I work hard. I work 12 hour days hauling junk, cleaning up your trash. If you're reading this, I'm probably at work right now. I doubt many of you work as long or hard as I do. If I can make time, so can you. We're a city, be a citizen, do your duty. Homeless people are our neighbors, they are our fellow citizens. We either stay together or we fuck each other. I'd rather buy some hamburgers and bring people some tarps than have my work van broken into. I hope I can convince you likewise.
As for the people selling our stuff, I have some good leads, and I'm going to follow them. It will take me a long time, but I'm a patient man. There may be a lot of them, and some of them may get away with it, but some of those assholes are going to get what's coming.
Thanks for sharing, Daniel. Together, we can fix this.