A brief bio of Max R. Weller

By Max R. Weller

I’ve been homeless since September 30, 2002. That’s the day police in my small hometown back in Missouri arrested me after my 1 1/2 year career as a white-collar criminal (beginning at age 45). A lot led up to that: The death of my older brother in 1987, who had been a surrogate dad for me since our father died when I was only 4 years old; the loss of our family farm in Kansas in 1990, due to the expenses from a catastrophic illness suffered by my uncle (one of three partners including my cousin and I); my worsening disability due to venous insufficiency in both legs caused by heredity and a lot of physical labor over the years; my alcoholism; and the final straw being the loss of life savings belonging to my mother and I during her catastrophic illness in 2000-2001. Following her death, I embarked on a felonious scam to defraud the Social Security Administration. My ill-gotten gains weren’t even sufficient to keep up with utility bills and property taxes, however, and I became serious about suicide just a short time before a police officer figured out what was going on and moved in for the arrest.

I literally owe my life to Lexington, MO Police Captain Mark Lamphier — and I thank him here again.

Anyway, I pleaded guilty to state charges of forgery and was sentenced to 5 years in Missouri DOC. Interestingly, the federal government declined to prosecute and I was only too happy to voluntarily pay restitution from the proceeds I received from sale of our family home. After that restitution and paying probate attorney’s fees, I was flat broke.

I became a tutor in the prison GED program. Later, as a parolee, I volunteered and was also employed by several homeless services providers and shelters in Springfield, MO and Kansas City, MO. Since being discharged from parole supervision, I have moved to Boulder, CO and become a self-styled homeless philosopher and commentator. BTW, I’ve been sober since the day of my arrest almost 10 years ago.

I’ve not only been a family farmer and a farmhand/ranchhand working for others, I was a city councilman in my Missouri hometown from 1992-1993, a retail firearms dealer and gunsmith from 1991-1994, a Wells Fargo security officer from 1991-1995, and an activist in the politics of my hometown as a private citizen (who wrote dozens of letters-to-the-editor of the local newspaper).

Now, I maintain a positive attitude by existing at a minimal level in terms of consuming the bounty which is available to any homeless person; you’ll never see me feigning mental illness to qualify for a “crazy check” or otherwise using government benefits which I could apply for and receive. Having lost everyone and everything I once loved, I know that it’s my role now to live as an ascetic.

I will stress two things: The need for homeless men and women to accept more responsibility in their lives, and the need for the homeless services industry to stop enabling homeless people’s irresponsibility. I know many will disagree with my views. That’s great!

8 thoughts on “A brief bio of Max R. Weller

    1. homelessphilosopher Post author

      I think this goes back to the hippie days in the late ’60s and early ’70s; word of mouth has spread among homeless people across America ever since that Boulder, CO is some sort of Paradise — where Peace and Love prevail. This is hogwash, of course. Transients ca. 2012 are a violent breed who prey on those among them who are weaker.
      The broader community is sick and tired of this influx of bums, so we’re seeing great support for cracking down on all sorts of crime committed by the worst-behaved homeless people, including petty offenses. I don’t recommend that any homeless person come here as things stand now, but I personally feel like I’m stuck.

  1. Alex M.

    I’ve always wanted to get some back story for the ‘regulars’ to better judge how to compose myself around them in town IE be on guard, help them out, etc. ‘Really crazy’ or putting on an act, etc.

    In particular the last 9 months has seen a man in Carhartt overalls and a red jacket every day on the corner near where I work at 9th and Pearl. Seems lucid sometimes, but rants about skydiving other times. He was out daily during the coldest of the cold, and is now gradually losing his clothing with the heat. Know anything about him?

    Anyhow your writing is really interesting for a new-ish resident of Boulder, keep it up!

    1. homelessphilosopher Post author

      No, I don’t know anything about the homeless characters on Pearl — nor about those who hang out in city parks, the Boulder Public Library at 1001 Arapahoe, and University Hill — because I avoid those scenes. I’d guess that anyone who can come up with Carhartts in wintertime is doing okay for himself.

      Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment!

  2. Thundrefox

    Just stumbled on your website here when I was searching for information on the verdict of Jim Budd. I attended most of the trial. It was pretty interesting. I especially found the Computer Forensics and the DNA Tester testimony interesting.

    I never really cared for Jim Budd, he came across as a kind of rough and gruff guy, but I appreciated that he really did advocate for the homeless community. I met Jim in about 2009, when I worked at the Carriage House. He was just beginning BOHO then. I am grateful for BOHO, because now I am utilizing their summer sleeping program. I’m not sure if I’ll utilize it in the winter, unless the temperature gets below 25 deg. I have really good outdoor gear–so I might just wing it. I have a few friends that have opened their homes up to me because I have earned their trust, so I may utilize that if it gets real bad, but I’d rather not.

    I can do the shelter and use them for morning services. They are really strict there–they have a no tolerance policy for violence–even arguing. I get tired of the many disrespectful homeless people there, and can usually only sleep with earplugs there. I don’t care for the smelly few that choose not to bathe too. I don’t understand that. I can go for a couple days without showering, but not much more.

    Anyway, I was really interested in the little of your website I checked out (pretty cool!), and I may look into it again when I have some more time on my hands. I don’t want to use my real name because this popped up in a Google search, but I’ll be happy to give it to you through email.

  3. Ashley Hopko

    Hi Max, My name is Ashley and I’m a journalist working for News Corps at CU. I’m looking into corruption and advocates when it comes to housing for Boulder’s homeless community. If you’d be willing to speak with one on the subject, please reach out to me at ashley.hopko@colorado.edu Thank you for your consideration.


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