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No More Bums in America: Noted in Passing on the Streets
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No More Bums in America: Noted in Passing on the Streets

No longer a problem in the way-new America.

We are a “Can-Do! Yes, we can.” society. One of the really amazing upticks in American society, as I noticed in a brief walk around various neighborhoods in sodden Seattle, is that we have almost completely cleaned up the streets of our cities.

How well I remember those tours through the other skid roads** of the cities I have lived in — Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and San Francisco –in days of yore. Gone now. All gone. And their wretched refuse along with them.

Take a walk in any sizable American city and you will see that it is true.

Nowhere in today’s brighter and more-caring American cities will you see those terrible social wrecks of yesteryear on the streets. Yes, no longer will you find “Bums,” “Junkies,” “Drunks,” “Bull-Goose Raving Lunatics,” or “The Hard Core Unemployed” on our sidewalks. Gone. They are all gone; all a fading memory.

Indeed all that are left, strangely rising up from the background noise of the streets, are the blameless and harmless; the “Homeless.”

The “Homeless” are the last social class left to be saved by our loving and caring society. Billions have been poured into the hands of the Homeless and yet they persist. Indeed their continuing expansion in our cities after we do and we do and we do for them is a mystery which yearns for a caring social solution.

My own cure is simple and solves two lingering social problems at once: “Feed the homeless to the hungry.”

Problem solved and it is a twofer. Paging Dr. Swift!


**The first skid row was Skid Road (Yesler Way) in Seattle, where logs were skidded into the water on a corduroy road for delivery to Henry Yesler’s lumber mills.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey Klahn January 15, 2019, 5:03 PM

    Forgive my out-of-practice understanding of what you’re saying. I have seen shitty-pants bums in SF and NYC in recent years. Seattle is forever etched in my mind as bum heaven, but I don’t know about nowadays because I can’t even get to the waterfront to see; it takes too long! I’ll be over in Seattle and tacoma this weekend. I’ll get some snapshots of homelessness while I’m there.

    Yes. Skid Road, the infamous. Just as interesting was peeing and spitting off the street down onto the lower-level sidewalks after the great fire. I wasn’t there for that shit show, but anyway “Seattle” is my new pet name for shit show.

  • PA Cat January 15, 2019, 6:07 PM

    Nowhere in today’s brighter and more-caring American cities will you see those terrible social wrecks of yesteryear on the streets.

    Of course not; they’re all in Congress now.

  • ghostsniper January 15, 2019, 7:17 PM

    The gov’t buildings are located downtown, as well as all the other nastiness one can imagine.
    Why in the world would any sane person go there if they didn’t have to?

  • John the River January 15, 2019, 7:37 PM

    In my earliest days of working phones and sound, I had to go into the late (lamented) mental hospitals.
    Nasty and smelly. Gross and disturbing. Frightening and indescribably sad.

    I once said to a nurse there, “Why do they have to be in here?”.
    She replied, “Would you want them walking down the street where your family lives?”.
    No, I thought. No.

  • Marica January 16, 2019, 7:58 AM

    We traveled to Washington late last October. Flew in, rented a truck and drove to Westport where we stayed for a few days. Off season, pretty quiet, many shops closed. Aside for local peculiarities in accents, mannerisms and food, it could have been any smallish town anywhere in the country. Friendly folks, courteous drivers, great local food, waitresses dressed up for Halloween.

    Drove to the conference hotel uptown Seattle. Ugh. We’d given ourselves and extra day at the end and friends– native Southerners who’d recently moved to Bellevue– took us on a tour up Widbey Island through Deception Pass to Anacortes. Stopped in a few touristy towns that again, could have been anywhere in the country (well, except for the goofiness of the west coast).

    Ended the tour at a restaurant in some swanky diverse neighborhood. Typically swanky & diverse.

    While my husband’s conference was going on, I walked around uptown and downtown Seattle quite a bit. I came to dislike the folk of Seattle– the fake friendliness of hotel and restaurant staffs contrasted with the “I don’t have time to nod at you” attitude of the uber hip. But what really bothered me was the change in my own attitude. I came to physically *resent* the homeless. Mind you, I conduct most of my business in a small Southern town, by necessity a bit in a bigger town with a university (!), and occasionally must travel to Jackson or (shudder) Memphis. In all these places, everyone I pass is a fellow human being. We nod at each other. We thank each other for holding doors open. We do the farmer’s wave. We wait to let a car into traffic (except in Memphis).

    I came to resent the homeless because in a very short time I stopped regarding them as fellow humans. I turned my head so as *not* to make eye contact. I know. It’s an awful thing to say. But human beings do not piss openly in front of libraries. They do not crouch like dogs in corners. They do not scavenge dumpsters for cigarette butts.

    Never so glad to be back on the farm in my life.

  • Marica January 16, 2019, 7:59 AM

    Had no idea I’d rambled that long. Apologies.

  • Will January 16, 2019, 8:33 AM

    You obviously haven’t walked around downtown San Francisco lately.

  • Vanderleun January 16, 2019, 8:41 AM

    Marica, It’s not a ramble if it is true. And urban rambles such as you describe always uncover some truth.

  • DrTedNelson January 16, 2019, 10:57 AM

    “Homeless” is a rather broad category that includes the temporarily domicile-challenged, the mentally ill, bums, and hobos. Some need compassion, some need compulsion.

  • ghostsniper January 16, 2019, 12:27 PM

    We were homeless once.
    31 March 2006, a Friday.
    I remember that day well.
    We sold our dream home that day. The movers had cleared out that morning, the truck had picked up our vehicles, we had the rental van and it was packed with 6 cats, 2 dogs, my wife and son and me, and some of our stuff. We were moving to the woods of the great white north with no specific home of our own.

    Our plan was to have all our stuff out of the house, ready for the new owners, and we were gonna order pizza and watch TV and then crash on the maple floors in the living room in sleeping bags. Then get up the next morning, Saturday, take showers and hit the road. But prior to doing that we were going to go to the closing Fri afternoon and pick up that fat sales check for our house, go pay the realtor, then head back to the house.

    Well, about noon on that fateful Friday our realtor lady came by and told us that the buyers of our house were inflamed that we were going to sleep in “their” house and threatened that if we were not out of there by 4pm that very day the sheriff would be called and we would be arrested for trespass. I was fit to be tied. This was the final straw. I almost snapped. Fortunately my wife staunched the explosion and we proceeded toward our eventual goal, but an hour earlier than planned. We were told by the closing company to be at their office at 5pm to pick up the check.

    We left our home at 4pm and drove around a bit then went to the closer at about 4:45pm. Guess what? No check. The guy that writes the check left early and no one else was authorized to do it. That check was for more than $300k. My wife explained the situation and the best that could be figured out was that they would mail the check to us.

    So we went out to the parking lot and tried to figure out what to do. We had no place to stay that night, Friday night. And we had 6 cats, 2 dogs, and 3 people. What to do. What to do. My wife called her brother, up here in the great white north, and since he’s a world traveler and knows everything, he told us that La Quinta Inn’s are pet friendly, so she called them. They are pet friendly but only 2 pets allowed. Oh dear. We had no choice. We got a room and smuggled like nobody’s business. What a fit. From a home with elbow room out to here to a motel room slammed to the rafters. wunnerful But we endured. And then we persevered.

    After a big breakfast of bacon and eggs at Mel’s Dinner next door (cept my wife, she don’t eat like that – I think she had toast. Yes, toast, that’s it, and maybe some grape jelly) we hit the road, Destination Lake Lemon, where we had arranged a month prior online to rent a house right on the lake for 2 months while we searched for a house to buy. At Macon, GA, the halfway point, we again solicited the service of La Quinta but the next morning we skipped the bacon and eggs, and toast, cause I was wanting to get this show on the road, literally.

    It was dark that Sunday night when we pulled into the driveway at the lake house and everything was as it was supposed to be. Except for the coffee cream. There was none. I have to have cream in my mud. So I went down the road to the Porthole Inn and begged some cream and they graciously gave me plenty and refused payment for it. I met the owner there, a pleasant chap and he and I became friends and still are today almost 13 years later.

    The next morning, Monday, we deposited that fat check in the bank in Bloomington. Living on the lake was excellent. It had been many years since I lived directly on a large body of water and my wife never had. Sitting on the back deck that night, lights off, sippin suds and watching the residential lights all the way on the otherside of the lake. The moon. The stars. The owls. The coyotes. Amazing. The life. And just 3 days prior we were homeless.

  • JiminAlaska January 16, 2019, 2:17 PM

    I’ve my own modest suggestion; Feed the homeless, the progressives, and the SJWs’ to the hungry.

    One major caution though, before you toss them in the stew pot: Don’t, whatever else you do, say the word “WORK” anywhere that they can hear it. If you do, you scare the shit out of them and you ain’t got nothing left but the hoodies and the Nike’s.

  • Casey Klahn January 16, 2019, 7:21 PM

    Marica. Imagine the sweet change when I moved to rural Eastern Washington after having been in the Seattle area for @ 20 years. I realized the absolute inhumanity of that podge. What a bunch of absolute losers! When I first moved East, I had to work in Spokane. People were actually nice and in some “real” compared to Seattleites.

    I still have (sane) friends there, and must travel West this weekend. God help me.

    I need to develop a shtick for when I’m in Seattle. Something that tells them they aren’t *right* in the head, but that also says “I don’t give a fuck” very nicely. Any suggestions from this group?

  • Marica January 16, 2019, 9:31 PM

    Casey– There’s a phase used by cashiers here in the South that you may want to to try. As your transaction is being completed, and you are handed your change, they say, “Have a blessed day.” Not Bless’ed. Blessed. You could turn it around and say the same upon receiving your change.

    Thank you, have a blessed day.

  • Casey Klahn January 17, 2019, 6:12 AM

    Marica, I’ll think on that. Real people in the South I love to bits, as I’ve spent many months of my life there (army). Store clerks in the South are a different sort, as are clerks in New York (scared of your money) or LA. Seattle was a pioneer in the retail service creedo, but that shitz all gone, now. Now, a semi-feral horde occupies the streets and it’s scary. Note the YouTubes that you can watch of Antifa youth carrying AR-15s in Seattle or Portland and realize we’re reliving the Vietnam era unrest in new ways. Only there’s almost no social fabric in the cities anymore.

    When I say God Bless, I mean it to you.

  • ghostsniper January 17, 2019, 2:08 PM

    “Real people in the South I love to bits…”

    Now that’s inneresting.
    I lived 40 years in one of the southernmost places in the US and found almost everybody spiteful, arrogant, narcissistic and a real chore to be around. And that was the white folks! The negro’s? Don’t even go there. My poor wife, she was always sympathetic to the negro’s, read all the right books, watched all the right TV shows, etc. But everything she knew about them was not learned through direct life. Then one day we were in a department store and out of nowhere a large negro woman jumped slam in my wife’s ass. HARD. It was a mistake on the negro woman’s part but she wasn’t seeing it. I believed she was going to strike my wife and I interceded. My wife was very shaken and we had to leave immediately. On the drive home she was in tears. I watched those fake walls come tumbling down. That was more than 30 years ago.

    12 years ago we move here to the great white north and I frequented the city of Bloomington which is a very “diverse” college metropolis. We had not yet found our place in the woods so we spent a fair amount of time in this town until we got settled out in ruralville. I was stunned with how friendly everyone was. Especially the negro’s of both genders. There were still only 2 genders just 12 years ago, amazing. In fact I had a some engaging conversations with a few urban negro’s and was constantly amazed that this was happening.

    That was 12 years ago and I have not spoken to a negro since, of any gender. Rarely do I see them, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and that is usually at a distance of several hundred feet. I don’t engage many folk at all any more except for sales folk at the register.

    This is a conundrum.
    Why do you, Casey, from the north, like southern people, yet I from the south, like northern people?
    Are we on 2 different planets? Now, I’ll remind you my view may be heavily skewed because I just don’t many people at all any more, so maybe my memories of 12 years ago are no longer valid. But it does seem strange.

  • Casey Klahn January 17, 2019, 6:29 PM

    Ghost, since you asked my story, in brief, is that I fell in with some tremendous folk in So. Georgia in Columbus (Ft Benning). Still think about them and the great love they showed to us young officers and soldiers. Had a thing for one young redheaded divorcee, but I was too stupid to see that through. She later remarried and became a cop.

    Old Seattle: if you don’t like what you bought, we’ll take it back no questions asked. Eddie Bauer. Nordstroms. Georgia: WTF are you doing in my store??

    I have had 2 recent trips to the South, I guess in the past 5 years. I was teaching my workshop so I got the good treatment. I guess I’d have to say I was busting my ass every time I went South and good people rise to that.

    The last army school I attended, the highest level of infantry training, I had about 7 or 8 solid friends. When I got home, I realized they were all black guys. Officers. You know what I think? They were more humble than the stick up the ass white officers I was around, and maybe I gravitated to them.

  • ghostsniper January 18, 2019, 4:39 AM

    @Casey, speaking of the army.
    I was the best man at my best friends wedding on 17 June 1974 (I mentioned his dad several years ago, here, who was the pastor at the church I attended) and the next day, the 18th, a negro man I worked in concrete construction with and I went fishing on the Matlacha bridge going to Pine Island. Later I went home to my dad’s house and the next morning, the 19th, I entered the army and did not return until 4 years later.

    In the army they force you to live directly with people you would never consider otherwise. The army pup tent, made from 2 shelter halves contributed by 2 soldiers, not much bigger than the desk you are sitting at right now. 2 people, from varying races and backgrounds, exchanging breath in a sub-zero under a piece of canvas in the frozen snow in a foreign land. You learn how people are when all the societal bullshit is peeled away. I have seen, what many have never imagined. In the bigger picture, I honestly believe it is the stolen gov’t money that fuels the fires of discontent among the peoples of this country and as long as that fuel continues the fires will rage ever higher until they explode. And when it is all over with and almost everyone is gone then and only then will real life begin, again.

  • Joe January 18, 2019, 6:35 AM

    “All homeless people” is a concept. It’s not tangible, measurable, or understandable. “All homeless people” should be shorthand for the collective experiences and situations of millions of people. Each with their own story, family, past, and present. They’re people who’ve lived a life that, for any number of reasons, has lead them to live between the buildings we live and work in. I’d much rather talk about individual homeless people than all of them at once. It gives us something real to talk about. I’m not all-knowing enough to understand what “all homeless people” actually is.

    And yes, there are individual homeless people who have done bad things, are lazy, are fat, are angry, are loud, are whatever. But I’ve been lucky enough to sit down and talk with many in my life so far. Those that I’ve met are tired of the rat race, recovering from wars, dealing with severe mental illness, abuse, drugs, and violence. They were dirty, beautiful and human people who could use a hand. Clothes, good conversation and gift cards from grocery stores make the most sense to me. Maybe I’m wasting my time, but thinking back on my own life I’ve been given everything from a young age. My family, teachers, and friends have always supported me and given me the things I need. It’s time I do the same for others. I try my best to give each person the benefit of the doubt and assume that any action I take could be the thing that changes(or ruins) his or her life in the future. Could be 10, 20, 50 years from now. Maybe never. I don’t care. I just know, as you all do, that we have to do something to change the homelessness situation. We should just be careful that the path we decide to take is one we’re willing to be wrong about. I’d much rather be wrong about feeding someone, than feeding them to someone else. If I’m wrong, I can fix it later. If you’re wrong, you have to find a way to revive the dead.

  • Dave M January 20, 2019, 9:54 AM

    @Joe, your utopian romanticizing and rote SJW lecturing has already been skewered at the top. Sadly, but not surprisingly, you missed it.