The homeless are very close to us, daily. They are present in just about every place that is visited, traveled to and from, stopped at, and even avoided. With all the instinctive familiarity with and knowledge of the ways of the street, they direct their energies and presence to get there, be there and, sometimes, menace there.
These would be growing individual and clustered presences of the homeless roaming the streets and alarming citizens, including fellow streetwalkers.
Many citizens are fearful, especially the womenfolk, since they have to be watchful, on high alert. This is not the healthiest state of existence, when the routine affairs of life become so tormenting.
The apprehensions over being victims of violent crime that could lurk anywhere are further intensified by the wretched brethren, who make the naked street their home. They could be menacing presences sometimes, where ‘no’ or silence or simply ignoring or going along one’s way may not be the safest of situations.
For anyone of those hurried responses offered in the mildest of tones could trigger a range of trouble, which includes the abusive, the vulgar, the intimidating, and ultimately unnerving.
These fallen fellow citizens have nothing to lose. Some have already lost to the demands of life, whether it was lived here or overseas. In terms of the latter, more than a few are involuntary returnees, who have missed out the grand chance that many crave for, are doomed to-or have settled for-an existence on the street that hurtles ever downward.
It is the paltriest of living, with eating and clothing and sheltering rising to daily existential traumas. Further, too many live in the hazes and throes of various conditions-alcohol, narcotics, and other psychological and physical pains-that make them still more reckless.
They have abandoned the responsibilities of life, abandoned family, abandoned the anchors that hold in place and set right for tomorrow and continuity. Their continuity is the next moment, the rare charitable hand, the other kindnesses that may come, or which can be so far apart on many an empty, grueling day.
It is the skimpiest of manners in which to go from now to then, from morning to midday. The beacons are those passersby, who pause and extend a little something, the pittance that carries to somewhere for access to something. Refusing them that ‘little something’ could be perilous.
They say it is for bread and coffee and medicine, and always the good and positive things needed, and for which there could be only responsive kindness, save from the heartless or the similarly penniless. The street savviness and personal craftiness are never so well disguised nor so overwhelmingly convincing that the help sought is not for the destructive ingredients that did lay low, which proliferate in many places in this country, and which have made many good men mad.
It is that madness, which must be tensed against and steeled against through ongoing vigilance, for if it is otherwise, then that one moment of ease can lead to the unsuspecting or trusting being blindsided.
Being blindsided can take several forms and be of different degrees. It could be through slight or serious damage to property, which may prove difficult to replace or restore. It could be through actual bodily assault, from which other nonphysical ills may arise, as victims remember the moment and ordeal. Regardless of the manner or level at which circumstances unfold and impact, some damage is done, which is never less than costly, no matter how minimal.
The hurt walk around with the baggage on either body or mind, and this interferes with their quality of life, and the peace that is their rightful due.
Retaliation is pointless, as that only subjects the self-protecting to more insult in the form of likely confrontation with authority, unnecessary expense, and loss of time. Punishment for the homeless uncontrolled solves nothing, since they just don’t care, and have nothing to give, go to, or lose.
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