Monday, July 13, 2009

Dangerous to be homeless: an apology

I wrote a post last month about the death of homeless Northampton resident Arthur Polier. Later I found a comment about the post on BlogoWogo that includes the following:
My son, the son of Arthur Polier read this story and took offence to you implying that his father should die...that is a terrible thing to say.

Despite whatever circumstance anyone person may encounter in their life, we as a society have no right to pass judgement and for your information, Arthur...affectionately known as David, his middle name was a warm and giving person who succumbed to his alcoholism and that does not give you or anyone the right to say they should die.
So let me say first that I apologize to Arthur Polier's family for any offense my post caused. I think the offending portion of the post was: "Police are saying he died of natural causes. What I guess we can say is that it's natural that a 50 year-old man living in a swamp on the edge of society, should die."

There's no such thing as a natural death when you're living on the streets. It is just plain dangerous to be homeless.

Homeless women are at quadruple the risk of sexual assault. Maybe that was in the mind of the homeless woman from Joliet, Illinois when she saved a 10 year old girl from being kidnapped and assaulted last month.

Homeless people are often robbed and beaten-- sometimes by each other. That's what happened when a homeless woman was beaten with a piece of wood last Saturday in Raleigh, NC. She's now listed in good condition at the hospital. (Hope they keep her a few extra days.)

Homeless people are the victim of accidents. Melissa Sjostrom, 33, was crossing the street in Tampa, Florida when she was hit and killed by a 17 year old driver who then fled the scene of the accident. Something very funky's going on with why it the case was closed without an arrest and then opened two months later after queries by the St. Petersburg, Florida Times.

Homeless people can die from exposure not just from the cold but also the heat. Pheonix, Arizona officials and agencies are opening cooling centers and handing out water to homeless people this week, where temperatures are expected to be about 115 degrees.

Sometimes homeless people just die. Back in Tampa, Florida, a homeless man was found dead last week only one day after another homeless man was found dead less than a block away. Neither death is considered suspicious by the police. In Anchorage, Alaska, yet another homeless man was found dead-- the eighth in just a few months-- and this death, unlike the others, appears to be a murder.

Each year on December 21st, the longest night of the year, cities across the country commemorate Homeless Persons Memorial Day, a remembrance of all those who have died without a home during the year. I wait for and works towards the year when the numbers decline-- but it won't be this year.


Anonymous said...

I am homeless.
Never did drugs, never drank, didnt over spend (I have good credit and no cc balance)
I left an abusive relationship and got cut off. I went without food, no showers, no nothing. Was never harrassed by police but got alot of comments. Opinions as to what I should do was very long, to bad it was unrealistic. The worst was a kind soul in the beginning that offered to help by watching my cat, now that I was almost on my feet she refuses to return her.
People also make judgements and ther alot of circle games (ie you cant get an ID without ID)

I still apply for work and have an impressive resume, but means naught. I get alot of your over qualified crap.

Homelessness wears you out physically, I have lost weight but not what anyone would expect. If i consume 500 calories a day I am suprised, I drink water and tea all day to ward of tummy pains. I shake and can not stop. I am constantly moving just to be doing something. My one blessing is the computer, and my dad puts gas in the car. I had a cell phone but because people are disrespectful I dont have one. If someone tells them they dont have minutes to talk they are probably not lying.

I just wanted to tell you that not all homeless are bad. I hear others out here and am appaled by what they do, drugs illegal stuff.

No one knows that I dont have a home except my family. I am the giver in the family and they just dont understand. I was just critisized for not attending a wedding, they dont get the small stuff. Even though I keep clean I havent showered in months. I was in a position where I could get my business licence back but it would cost me 500. I asked my sibling for help he said no, but he is online bragging about the 1000 gaming system he bought, I see where I fall on his list. Same brother I gave 10 grand to 5 years ago.

It is scary as hell out here I dont sleep much at night, I used to walk the grocers at night but that messes with your mind, and tummy.

My biggest mistake in life was being raised by a bully and not cutting her off earlier in life. She brags of my downfall, I pray God forgives her.

Anonymous said...

David was a very good friend of mine.
It is sad that I find news of his passing in this fashion. He will be missed sorely by those who really knew him. If he was camping, he was likely "homeless" by choice.
I wish his companion would contact me regarding the circumstances of his passing