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?
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
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’.)
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
However, the predictable pattern of
haters attempting to shame others for their own behavior is
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
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
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
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.
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
– indulgence in fantasy that is
consistent with delusions of grandeur.
– craving for constant
– sense of entitlement
– shameless exploitation of
– 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.
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.
Law enforcement agencies, such as our Santa Cruz County Sheriffs’ Office, tend to report crime accurately. Those who write such reports are trained on how to do so, so do not embellish with speculation or bias. Because their reports are available to everyone in the Community, they are likely to be confronted with even the slightest of inaccuracies, or anything that can be remotely perceived as an inaccuracy. It can not be an easy process.
Many law enforcement agencies, such as ours, share some of their information about crime on social media. They sometimes ask the Community for information that might be useful for a particular investigation or locating a missing person. Sometimes, they just want to alert the Community to an escalation of a particular type of crime in a particular neighborhood. Sometimes, they merely want to share a bit of what they do to protect and serve.
Unfortunately, as useful as social media and networking is, it is where all the work that goes into accuracy without speculation or bias is ignored, as anyone with any random gripe can respond with disturbingly vitriolic and typically irrelevant accusations, judgments, criticism, threats and name calling. The creativity of such comments is as impressive as the ridiculousness. The unhappiest and most hateful of people have very active imaginations.
Of course, the homeless and societally oppressed are almost always
the victims of their creative imaginations.
When the Ox sculpture in Felton Covered Bridge Park was
vandalized, the homeless were immediately blamed. In fact, Felton
League was implicated specifically, without explanation. What was
even sillier was that after witnessing the crime, one of our
associates went to find someone with a telephone to call for a
sheriff deputy, while another pursued the vandals until deputies
arrived. The vandals, who were not homeless, were arrested.
Yes, there are a few doozies out there.
One of the all time oddest was more than a year and half ago,
when the Sheriffs’ Office described on their Facebook page how they
had apprehended the man who started the Bear Fire by burning down his
home. Someone, who likely has serious issue with the classic ‘chicken
or the egg dilemma of causality’, actually replied to that very same
post by blaming the fire on the homeless!
There is a reason why no illustration accompanies this post. The picture that I wanted to use is just too unflattering.
It is a mugshot of an old friend who had been arrested for trying to get into a car that he believed belonged to his nephew, and then getting combative with Santa Cruz Police Officers who tried to stop him from doing so. He had been missing for three days prior to that, after escaping from the post acute care facility where he lived near the end of his life as he succumbed to a variety of ailments, particularly lung cancer and dementia.
We do not know where he had been or what he had been
doing during those days that he was missing. He could not explain any
of it. He was very tired and very hungry, and looked ghastly by the
time he was found. Fortunately, the Police Officers who arrested him
were quick to determine who he was and that he was missing, and then
return him to the post acute care facility from where he had escaped.
It was an efficient process.
He would have been located much sooner if only the haters had helped. They found his mugshot immediately. Within hours, they had paraded it thoroughly over Facebook and perhaps other social networks, complete with the typical vitriolic accusations, blaming, judging, criticizing, threatening and name calling that they are so proficient and indulgent with. Is dementia really that serious of a crime?
Perhaps it does not matter. To get the process started, haters need only a mention of a crime that includes the names of the perpetrators to find their mugshots online. They often take useful information that is posted on the Facebook page of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, and embellish it for their own sadistic entertainment. The rest of us simply want to know about crime in our Community, and maybe, who to be wary of.
After noticing the potential beginning of another display of public ridicule following a post on the Facebook page of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office a few months ago, a former neighbor questioned one of the main participants in this routine derision, in regard to particular mugshots that she had neglected. This particular hater had always been the most proficient at procuring and exhibiting mugshots for public disparagement.
The hater immediately became hostile to the former neighbor who questioned her, and predictably initiated the typical vitriolic accusations, blaming, judging, criticizing, threatening and name calling that only haters employ to demonstrate their exemplary civility and concern for the Community. Despite her attempts to redirect and end discussion, the former neighbor limited his questions to the topic of the neglected mugshots, but to no avail.
Just as predictably, after failing to dissuade the former neighbor from continuing to ask why the neglected mugshots were not discussed, the hater blocked him from responding, without acknowledgment of the mugshots.
The mugshots in question are of a young lady who had been arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence of an inebriant), which really seems like it should be a more serious crime than dementia. I mean, those who drive while inebriated sometimes kill people! However, the young lady who was arrested for DUI is a daughter of another main participant in the routine derision and disparagement of ‘other’ people with mugshots.