How do those with whom we have no prior affiliation perceive us? It is impossible to know without some degree of acquaintance. Yet, new acquaintance, while providing rudimentary insight of how others perceive us, or how we perceive them, also changes such perception in the process. Is that good or bad? It could improve a bad first impression, or ruin a good first impression.
Good or bad, it is more accurate. To most of us, such accuracy is considered to be an asset. Accurate perceptions of others are useful for knowing who is trustworthy and who is not. Mistrust that is justified by accurate perception of character or experience is very different from a lack of trust of the unfamiliar. Conversely, justifiable trust of the familiar is earned with familiarity.
Sadly, some prefer to mistrust and fear the unfamiliar rather than attempt to determine if such mistrust and fear are even justified. For some, their potentially unfounded but very real fear is what prevents them from exploiting opportunities to become more acquainted and perhaps more comfortable with the sources of the same fear. Some merely lack opportunities to exploit.
What is worse is that there are a few who seem to crave mistrust and fear, regardless of their ability to engage sources of their mistrust and fear, and potentially dismiss unfounded threats. Although they do not likely live in constant fear, they claim to in order to justify their disdain for the sources of their alleged fear. They try to convince others that they should be fearful too.
The same accuracy of information that the logical sort employ to dispel unjustifiable mistrust and fear is an incumbrance to those who intently crave the same sort of mistrust and fear. They therefore and merely abstain from the use of accurate information.
There’s no place like home. Most of us genuinely and justifiably believe that our respective hometowns are very special. There is no doubt that they really are. We can get a bit overindulgent with such belief though. We tend to assume that social problems of all sorts are worse within our own Communities than they are in other Communities that we do not identify so much with.
No place is perfect. Most towns of significant population in America must contend with some degree of poverty, unemployment and homelessness nowadays. Even more contend with some degree of crime. Addiction has become an epidemic. Mental illness continues to proliferate. Conservatives blame liberals. Liberals blame conservatives. Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!
To make matters worse, some believe that other Communities, both near and far, send the less fortunate of their respective societies here. Such Communities supposedly compel those who benefit from their generosity and willingness to assume the expenses of travel, to board airplanes, trains and buses to Felton. Communities within minimal proximity purportedly use Uber.
So, . . . where are they? Where are all those who arrived at the train station or airport here in Felton from somewhere else? Where are the airport and train station? Of those who ride local buses or use Uber, who got just one of their fares paid by another municipality who wanted them to leave? We are acquainted with all of the less fortunate here. These are simple questions.
When we help someone from here get to somewhere else, it is only because of some sort of opportunity at the destination, such as employment or a domestic situation. If the less fortunate of other Communities come here, it is likely for the same reasons. They are now likely employed and living in homes.
Cave paintings might be considered to be some of the oldest examples of what we now know as graffiti. Alternatively, such ancient forms of self expression might have evolved into the sorts of artworks produced by Lester Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt and Henri Matisse. Perhaps it all developed from the same primitive origins of more than sixty-four thousand years ago.
That is inconsequential now. Works of renowned artists are exhibited in museums. Graffiti defaces infrastructure until it gets painted over, or merely defaced and obscured by more graffiti. Except for several galleries of very compelling local art, and occasional touring exhibits, there are no formal art museums in Felton. However, there is more graffiti than only a few years ago.
Haters often blame the homeless for graffiti, merely because some of the homeless camp in some of the same places where graffiti is prominently displayed. In other words, the homeless did it because they were there. According to that logic, the haters must be responsible too, since they were also there. Otherwise, they would not have seen enough graffiti to blame others for it.
What makes anyone think that homeless people have any interest in the sort of elaborate graffiti that has been appearing around town for the past few years anyway? Homeless people have many more important issues to be concerned with. Drawing attention to their camp sites is not exactly a priority. Nor is spending limited funds on something as unnecessary as spray paint.
Besides, while graffiti has become more common than it has ever been, homelessness has become significantly less common. There are presently only a few homeless people in Felton. Most are not sufficiently agile to get into the situations where most of the graffiti has been displayed.
Homelessness in America has been increasing very slightly for the past three years. It has been increasing in parts of California for a bit longer, and at a slightly more accelerated rate. More substantial increases are concentrated mostly in urban regions, particularly Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. Homelessness really is a growing problem, at least for now.
However, for the decade prior to the
the relatively recent increase that began only three years ago,
homelessness had been decreasing at a substantial rate. Furthermore,
the substantially increasing rates of homelessness in urban regions
of California are sufficiently offset by decreasing rates in suburban
and rural areas, to average out to only a minimal increase for the
This is not about homelessness in all
of America though. Nor is it about homelessness in the rest of
California. Here in Felton, the rate of homelessness has decreased
significantly in the past seven years since 2012. Only a few people
became homeless here during that time, and most of those were not
homeless long. Several more who had been homeless have since found
So, why do haters so regularly and
predictably complain that homelessness is a growing problem in
Felton? Well, that is part of what they do. They perpetuate false
information intended to vilify their targeted victims, and exaggerate
any innate problems associated with them. They strive to be a
divisive force within an otherwise remarkably cohesive and inclusive
No verifiable statistical information
is necessary for a hater to claim that homelessness is a growing
problem in Felton. Conversely, any observant and sensible person can
plainly see that it is not. If homelessness really had been a growing
problem since 2012, there would be more homeless people in town
rather than less. It is that simple.
‘Misconceptions’ could become another category for this blog, like ‘Hypocrisy’. There is quite a bit to write about that could be categorized as such. It would be more relevant and interesting than the ‘Hypocrisy’ category, especially if the ‘Hypocrisy’ category is eventually deleted, as has been suggested. Furthermore, ‘Misconceptions’ would be less objectionable than ‘Hypocrisy’.
‘Immigration’, for example, is an
interesting topic that is unobjectionably relevant to homelessness,
but only because of the misconception that most homeless people here
immigrated with the intention of being homeless. This misconception
is obviously perpetuated by those who are not very acquainted with
homeless people, particularly the local homeless residents of Felton.
There are certainly more homeless
people in California than elsewhere. There should be. There are more
people of all sorts in California than elsewhere. California is the
most populous state. Because real estate here is more expensive than
all but only a few other places in America, a disproportionate ratio
of those who live and earn income here can not afford a mortgage or
Most homeless people in California
lived here while they were not homeless. They payed mortgages and
property taxes or rent just like anyone who lives in a home. Some
payed significantly more than average. Most had gainful careers here.
Some raised families here. Sadly, some who are homeless are in the
process of raising their families. Some have never lived anywhere
Of the few homeless people presently
in Felton, only one immigrated from outside California less than a
decade ago, early in 2013. Only one immigrated from outside America,
but did so for work in the early 1990s. All others are Californian,
and have been in Felton for many years. More than half are native to
the San Lorenzo Valley. More than half formerly owned homes.