All Saints’ Day

Halloween is over! Goodness! It is such a weird indulgence of degenerate behavior! Children are actually encouraged and expected to dress in costume, perhaps ghastly or shabby by design, and tour their respective neighborhoods to engage in aggressive panhandling. Some of their parents, perhaps outfitted with comparably inappropriate attire, or worse, shamelessly attend debaucherous parties.

This is fun?! This is socially acceptable?! Well, it should afford significantly more respect for those who request donations on the Pacific Garden Mall because they lack other options. They waste neither resources nor effort on their possibly shabby attire. Nor do they come to our porches at night expecting handouts.

Anyway, it is now All Saints’ Day. It will be All Souls’ Day tomorrow. In many cultures, both days are All Soul’s Day, or something similar with a different name. Regardless of the name, All Saints’ Day is one of only six Holy Days of Obligation. Halloween is merely the day prior to All Saints’ Day. It is what Christmas Eve is to Christmas. However, although almost everyone in America knows what Halloween is, not so many know what All Saints’ Day is.

How many of us are aware of what Saint Patrick’s Day is? Why is Cinco de Mayo such a minor holiday where it actually has some relevance in Mexico, but is just another excuse for drunken partying here? Has partying become so important on the Fourth of July that we forget that it had formerly been Independence Day? Mardi Gras really should be a day for (responsible) indulgences, but has somehow become more important than subsequent Ash Wednesday and forty days of fasting and abstinence from such indulgence during Lent.

Society can be impressively creative with justification for unfounded indulgence. A few in society can be remarkably selective with such justification.

Live In Fear

“Bars on windows are a sign that I am in the wrong neighborhood.” I heard that a few times when I was a kid, mostly from people of my parents’ generation. It was not intended as disparagement of any particular neighborhood. It meant that relocation was a better option than installation of bars on windows.

I do not remember that anyone who said that actually relocated. Situations just never got that bad. Bars appeared on windows of a few businesses in some neighborhoods, but were eventually removed as people realized that the neighborhoods were not so bad.

Besides, some believed that bars on windows just informed potential burglars that there was something worth stealing within. Others believed that there was not much within their homes that burglars would be interested in. I believed that if a burglar wanted something within my isolated home, that bars would not stop him or her from taking it.

Most of us choose to not live in fear. We happen to live in an excellent place, and intend to enjoy it. It is certainly not perfect, and burglaries sometimes happen. We just do not allow such unpleasantries to dictate our lifestyles.

Those who choose to live in fear have the option of relocating to someplace where they do not need to live in fear. If they fear crime, they can go someplace where there is no crime. If they fear drugs, they can go someplace where there are none. If they fear houseless people, and believe that houseless people migrate to this region, they can relocate to someplace that is unpopular with the migratory houseless people whom they fear. Surely, there must be a place like that for them to go to. It is more practical than expecting those they fear to relocate for them.

Karen

From Karen

Seriously, that was her name. Karen. It was printed on her discarded baseball cap that was in the box of assorted trash that she tossed off the Graham Hill Road Bridge over Zayante Creek. There was some paperwork in the box too, which provided a bit more information. I was on the telephone and across the road at the gate of the industrial yard from where I work for part of the week when I saw her drop the box from the Bridge. I could neither yell to her while on the telephone, nor immediately end the call.

I did contact the sheriff though, as I walked across the road after ending the previous call. Prior to the discovery of identifying material, I doubted that anything could be done about the situation. Also, I did not want to trouble anyone with something that nothing could be done about. Nonetheless, I remembered that such crimes, even if minor, should be reported. The deputy who returned my call seemed pleased that I did.

Before I knew her name, I described Karen and what she was wearing. I also tried to describe a gentleman who was with her, but whom I had not seen much of. He walked ahead of her, as if embarrassed to be seen with her. I could not see a car that they drove there with; so they must have walked a considerable distance with the box of trash.

I also described how Karen and the gentleman she was with proceeded in the direction that they were going prior to dropping the box of trash, rather than back the way from which they came. I wondered if they had arrived from that direction previously, walked past, and then delivered the box as they returned. It was perplexing.

Of course, nothing could be done about this incident while it was necessary for deputies to prioritize more significant crimes. The box of trash was small enough to be collected and deposited into a dumpster within the industrial yard. Questions remain though.

Why did Karen drop her box of trash from the bridge?

Does Karen have a means with which to dispose of trash at home?

Did Karen leave the trash there so that homeless people would be blamed for it?

What is with Karen?!

Hypocrisy – Fake Environmentalism

As I mentioned last week, other obligations presently prevent me from writing new posts, perhaps for several weeks. For now, this old article from May of 2019 will be recycled.

Fake environmentalism is a HUGE topic, so for now, will be limited to fake environmentalism as justification for the eviction of homeless encampments.

The yellow triangle in the picture above was the site of the Hero’s Camp, which was more commonly known as Ross Camp, and located behind Ross Dress For Less in Gateway Plaza in Santa Cruz. It is gone now. This satellite image was taken by Google Maps prior to the development of the Camp. I did not get pictures of the camp while inhabited, but you have likely seen enough other camps in the news to imagine what it looked like.

It really was as big as it looks, and really did exhibit all the problems that you hear about in the news, although not to such an exaggerated degree. Not everyone there used syringes to inject illicit narcotics. Not everyone there was an alcoholic. Not everyone was violent, from somewhere else, or a criminal. This is not about such issues anyway. It is about how the two hundred or so unhoused people who lived here affected the environment.

Was there trash? Of course there was. Was it more than what two hundred people who live in homes generate? No. Houseless people do not generate as much trash as the housed, simply because they lack resources to purchase the commodities from which so much trash is generated. The houseless certainly do not waste as much as the housed. Their trash just happens to be more visible for outsiders who do not know any better to see.

Furthermore, what is so typically described and perceived as trash is actually the belongings of those who live in such camps. Without closets, cabinets or furniture, our belongings would look about the same, except much more voluminous. When we take just some of the belongings that we don’t want or need and put them out in front of our homes, it is a garage sale, and likely amounts to much more than individual homeless people own.

The satellite image from Google Maps below shows the neighborhood where my grandparents lived in Felton, less than seven miles north of where the picture above was taken. Their old home is right in the middle of the picture. There were not so many other homes there when they arrived, just as World War II was ending. They lived a relatively modest lifestyle, on a small suburban parcel. They were not concerned about the environment.

Why should they have been? Even now, the people who live in homes here can generate as much trash as they want to, and no one will complain about it. They can fill their homes with their belongings, and put them neatly away in closets, cabinets and drawers. There are alcoholics in this neighborhood, as well as a few who are addicted to illicit narcotics. Some are criminals. Some are violent. Few are native. Again, this is off the main topic.

None of that is visible in this satellite image anyway. What it shows instead is how the lifestyles of those who live in homes are more detrimental to the environment than the lifestyles of those who lack homes. This picture is the same scale as the picture above, so you can see that only a few homes would fit into an area comparable to that in which about two hundred unhoused people lived. Only a few people live in each of these few homes.

What that means is that two hundred people like those who lived at the Hero’s Camp live dispersed over a much larger area, on land from which trees and vegetation needed to be removed. They all live in homes that are made of wood derived from trees that grew in forests. These homes are furnished with synthetic plaster, carpet, paint, glass, vinyl, metals and all sorts of materials that needed to be quarried, processed or manufactured.

It doesn’t end there. These homes consume energy for heating, lighting and whatever else that gas and electricity are used for. Cars driven by those who live in homes are also constructed from raw materials, and then need fuel to function. Water is consumed as if it were not a very limited resource. Much of it gets mixed with soaps and detergents before going back into the environment. Chlorine volatilizes from chlorinated swimming pools.

Then there are the landscapes and gardens, the parts of domestic lifestyles that we actually believe to be beneficial to the environment. They contain exotic (non-native) plants that compete with native species, and interfere with natural ecological processes. Irrigation of the landscapes stimulates growth of redwoods, and accelerates decay of oaks. Soil amendments, fertilizers and some of the pesticides change the chemistry of the soil and ground water.

Just compare these two pictures. As bad as the mess at Hero’s Camp was, the two hundred people who lived there were less detrimental to the environment and the local ecosystem than those who live in just a few of the homes visible in the picture below. Those who claim to be concerned about the environment should be more concerned about the ecologically detrimental lifestyles of those who live in homes than those who lack homes.

(Incidentally, the title was changed slightly from the original post [in another blog] to conform to the meme of ‘Hypocrisy’.)

Misconceptions – Accurate Information

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.

Political View

Why do local politician get blamed for homelessness here? Did one of them evict someone from a formerly functional domestic situation, . . . or several someones? Did a local politician cause people to become unemployed and consequently unable to afford their respective mortgages or rent? Did just one politician somehow contribute to anyone else’s personal social dysfunction?

Well, like I said earlier, blame is easy.

Now that the rate of homelessness here continues to decline, will local politicians get the credit? Will anyone thank them for the locally declining unemployment rate? Should there be at least some scrap of acknowledgment of the effort devoted to improvement of local homeless shelters? Will we merely take all of it for granted, and find something else to blame local politician for?

Apparently, gratitude is not as easy as blame is.

Politicians have enough to be concerned about without being blamed for other people’s problems, and being expected to fix them. All they can really do is develop strategies and promote the development of opportunities for others to improve their situations. Implementation of such strategies must be a team effort that includes other governmental officials and the Community.

Yes, the Community. How many of us are willing to rent a vacant studio to someone who has been homeless, perhaps for less than market rates? How many of us would help an unemployed neighbor with overdue bills? Fortunately for our Community, most of us would silently do what we could when necessary. But of course, most of us do not blame politicians for homelessness.

The same minority who blames politicians for homelessness also does the least about it. Their irrational intolerance of homelessness is, individually, their personal problem, which should not be assumed as a problem of those who work for the entire Community.

Hypocrisy – A Predictable Pattern

Haters who stalk us are predictable. Their techniques are so similar. It is as if they all study the same standardized instruction manual for proper techniques of hatred, as well as hypocrisy.

For example, they all engage in stalking of some sort, in order to find information they can use to either irrelevantly shame their victims, or modify for the same effect. If they find nothing of interest, they lie to create scandal regarding fictitious nefarious behavior. Yet, anyone who questions them about their own similar but real and observable behavior, they accuse of stalking.

Some of us, years ago, were pursued by haters who took photographs of us to post and ridicule online. When a few of us photographed those photographing us, we were accused of stalking. The difference with how such photographs were obtained is that they were pursuing or stalking us, but we were not pursuing them. We merely photographed what was in our surroundings.

Furthermore, while they falsely accused us of all sorts of bad behavior that they somehow never got pictures of, we merely posted their pictures with explanations that they were taking our pictures. We did not lie about their activity when sharing pictures of them online. Yet, they insisted that posting pictures of them (as they took pictures of us) was some sort of harassment.

Stalking and harassment; so what about bullying? Haters are experts. However, any victim who so much as questions the need or relevance of their bullying is promptly accused of bullying. It is such a reliable pattern. Haters accuse their victims of their own behavior.

Many years ago, one of our friends investigated this pattern of behavior beyond direct correlations of discussion on social media, and into other publicly available information. After noticing that a particularly vocal hater repeatedly ranted about how the homeless exploit the resources of social services, he found that she had been prosecuted for fraud of Workers’ Compensation.

A similar observation was made in regard to a hater who regularly ranted about how homeless people who can not afford to live here must move away. While her home was on the market, one of our friends who had briefly considered purchasing it, realized that it had been in pre-foreclosure for more than a year. This pattern is so reliable that it prompts its own investigation.

While on Facebook, a neighbor noticed one of the familiar haters accusing someone else of establishing a ‘GoFundMe’ account, in a rather demeaning manner, and for no particular reason. Of course, he was compelled to search ‘GoFundMe’, and too predictably found that the accusatory hater had established at least two accounts, and her young daughter had established another.

There is certainly nothing wrong with establishing a ‘GoFundMe’ account when necessary.

A few of us know that pre-foreclosure is nothing that anyone actually chooses to be engaged in.

Even a fraudulent claim of Workers’ Compensation funds is nothing to be judged too harshly. Mistakes happen. Workers’ Compensation claims adjusters do not always agree with physicians.

However, the predictable pattern of haters attempting to shame others for their own behavior is hypocritical.

Hypocrisy – Hate Groups

How disappointing it is, that after so many historic atrocities performed by various hate groups throughout history, some of us continue to find such primitive barbarism to be appealing. We should be better than this. Yet, some of us continue to be prejudiced against those who are even slightly different from us. A few use this prejudice to justify discrimination and even violence.

Not too long ago, violence directed at local homeless people, although rare, was not as rare as it should have been. Until about 2014, people were still getting attacked and beaten up as they tried to sleep. One was shot at in her camper. Another was shot at with a flare gun, and a few weeks later, covered with paper and ignited as he tried to sleep. Verbal assaults were common.

What is such behavior supposed to accomplish? Why do minor social groups condone and even encourage such behavior? Why do these very minor social groups believe that they represent the rest of civilized society that wants no association with such barbarism? There are so many questions. Unfortunately, hate groups innately lack proficiency with providing logical answers.

Back in about 2014, the car of a homeless lady was vandalized repeatedly. After each occurrence, pictures were promptly shared online among those affiliated with hate groups who target the homeless. It is how they believe that they benefit society, by vandalizing a car that a homeless lady needed to make a good impression with when she went out to try to find employment.

Not long prior to that, immediately after a hate group claimed to be concerned that homeless encampments were fire hazards, one such encampment was soaked with gasoline and ignited. Predictably, before and after pictures were posted online. The homeless involved were still homeless for about a month afterward, but relocated farther out into the more combustible forest.

Why do those who hate the homeless so much want to make it more difficult for the homeless to improve their situations, and perhaps eventually not be homeless? Is their consuming hate that precious to them? Do they really thrive on such dysfunction? Again, there are more simple but unanswered questions that haters are not concerned with providing relevant answers to.

NPD

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – NPD – is a chronic behavioral pattern that involves exaggeration of self-importance, strong desire for admiration, and lack of empathy. Those afflicted with it obsess over the achievement of success and power, and are notoriously exploitative of others. This is of course a very brief description of a very complicated disorder. A bit more information can be found at Wikipedia.

This may not seem to be relevant to many of us, but it does seem to explain some of the more typical behavior that distinguishes haters and collective hate groups. The symptoms associated with NPD are eerily consistent with their standardized craziness that is so very irrational to us, but seems to be quite appropriate to them. These are the main symptoms:

– grandiosity of self-importance.

– indulgence in fantasy that is consistent with delusions of grandeur.

– craving for constant admiration

– sense of entitlement

– shameless exploitation of others

– frequent demeaning, bullying and intimidation of others.

Assigning a name to the disorder certainly does not make the behavior that it causes any more tolerable. In fact, it is saddening to consider it to be a disorder that is doubtlessly more difficult for those afflicted with it than their victims. Nonetheless, it is impossible to deny how accurately this brief list of symptoms describes some of the behavior that we encounter with haters and hate groups.

Furthermore, it is odd to notice that haters often accuse us of exhibiting some of these same behaviors. We are regularly accused of ‘entitlement’ and ‘bullying’, but without any explanation of how we exhibit such behavior. Some might describe this technique as ‘psychological projection’. We are more likely to perceive it as more hypocritical bullying. Sadly, it is easy to not recognize it as mental illness.

Needle Mania

They seem to be everywhere. Needles, or carelessly discarded used syringes, are supposedly found everywhere, especially where children play, and on beaches.

There is no doubt that carelessly discarded used syringes get into some very inappropriate situations. Nor is there doubt that such syringes are very dangerous because of their potential to inoculate innocent victims with communicable diseases.

However, credible and relevant information about such problems is scarce. This certainly is not because there is any deficiency of information. It is because the credibility and even relevance of available information is limited by certain predictable patterns in how it is discussed on social media. It is impossible to know what to believe.

These are a few examples:

All homeless people are blamed for all carelessly discarded used syringes. Are we expected to believe that all homeless people inject illicit narcotics? Furthermore, are we expected to believe that everyone who injects illicit narcotics is homeless? There are presently only a few people in Felton who are homeless. If every homeless person here carelessly discarded used syringes, and no one else did, it would not be such a serious problem.

No one seems to know exactly how dangerous carelessly discarded used syringes are; but we all talk about them as if they are actively killing people. Has anyone here actually contracted a communicable disease from one? Has anyone died from such a disease? We know that communicable diseases are transmitted by promiscuity, but no one seems to be complaining about it.

The same few but very vocal people constantly find almost all of the carelessly discarded used syringes. I do not know many other people who have ever seen one. I work in landscapes in some of the most notorious neighborhoods in San Jose and Los Angeles, and occasionally in San Francisco and Oakland, but have NEVER found just ONE! Why is the problem so exclusive to those who enjoy bragging about their scores?

Some of the pictures of carelessly discarded used syringes are simply ridiculous, and sometimes recycled. One such picture that was supposedly taken on the shore of the San Lorenzo River in springtime showed a syringe laying on freshly fallen autumn leaves of quaking aspen, which is not endemic here. Another showed a syringe laying on an outcropping of serpentinite, a geologic formation that is likewise not endemic here.