By Max R. Weller
I’m not here to be Pollyanna. The Homeless Philosopher calls it as he sees it.
The spate of violent crime in 2013 involving the homeless as both victims and perpetrators in Boulder and its environs is alarming. The do-gooders don’t acknowledge their role in creating this hostile environment, where the bad actors lack any self-control and act out their rage without fear of consequences. And more of ’em keep arriving in our fair city every day!
The biggest problem with the local homeless shelter/services industry is a lack of oversight by Boulder City Council — which has simply given over the issue of homelessness to the private nonprofits like Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Bridge House, along with the quasi-governmental Boulder Housing Partners. Hard to understand, in view of city council members’ micromanagement of almost every other issue facing Boulder, CO.
You say you want to be able to take the family to Central Park and enjoy a leisurely stroll along Boulder Creek Path? Maybe visit the nearby Main Library at 1001 Arapahoe, or Pearl Street Mall just a couple blocks away? We know you can’t do so without being harassed by bums, most of whom have no ties to Boulder, and come here during the course of the year to grab all of the Free Stuff being handed out at various charitable venues. I overhear their conversations in the morning at BSH where I go to take a shower:
Bum #1: Man, let’s go to Deacons’ Closet and get some more clothes this Thursday.
Bum #2: Cool! I don’t like doing laundry. I need new pants, a couple of shirts, maybe some boots, another coat . . .
Bum #3: Then we’ll go to Bridge House for lunch. Sometimes they have gear to give away, too. We can hang out at the library after that. Watch porn on the computers, take a nap . . .
Bum #1: You ever stay at a warming center? I hear they don’t have as many rules there.
Bum #2: We can stay there, then catch the SKIP bus up here in the morning for breakfast. If you tell the driver you’re disabled, it only costs $1.10, and I always tell him my dog is a service animal, too.
Bum #3: You ever fly a sign on the corner over there (pointing toward N. Broadway & U.S. 36)?
Bum #1: I tried it, but all I got was granola bars and dirty looks. A couple of drivers asked me where Max was — who’s he?
Bum#2: That’s the asshole who writes the blog. He hates the homeless, always telling us to go back to Denver. I’m not from Denver — I’m a traveler.
Bum #3: Somebody should beat his ass! Hey, where did you get that sleeping bag?
Bum #1: I got it from Boulder County Cares the other night, when they drove me to detox. You remember, I passed out on the sidewalk in front of the strip club next door. I wasn’t bothering anybody, they just walked around me, but the cops came and I don’t remember much after that until the next morning.
Bum #2: What were you doing in front of the titty bar?
Bum #1: I got drunk inside, paid for several lap dances, and spent my whole crazy check — $700!
(Bums laughing again)
Bum #3: I think I might get into the Transition Program here. I need a break from the streets, long enough to recuperate.
Bum #2: I don’t know, man, there’s a lot of perverts in that program.
Bum #1: What, you’ve never screwed a 14-year-old girl? Get ’em drunk, they’ll do anything!
(Bums laughing some more)
Boulder Shelter staff member: Guys, I’m hearing some inappropriate conversation here. If it continues, I’ll have to give you a Warning. And if I still hear it after that, I’ll have to consequence you.
Bums in unison: What the f*** is a consequence?
^^ Of course, this is a composite of statements I’ve overheard at various times from homeless clients and staff at BSH, but it serves to give you a good idea of the bums’ mindset.
I see no reason NOT to believe that things are bound to get worse, much worse, in 2014.