My last post took a bit of a turn didn’t it? I don’t think that even I intended to spend as much time or share as many words as I did on the sea of humanity that confronted Alison and I on that evening.
I have since found some specific articles, published actually almost one year ago in a local newspaper, that go into great detail on the changes we saw downtown. Mental health issues and lack of services seem to be the biggest culprits for the influx of transients in the downtown core. The changes aren’t new, as I assumed. Perhaps I just hit town on a good day the last time I was there. The articles intimate that this homelessness issue has been growing for some time, years actually. That makes me wonder if I just have an uncanny ability to turn a blind eye, at least up to the point that I walk into a wall of mentally ill, homeless individuals with nowhere to go.
Will the situation I saw get worse before it gets better? Probably, and I think that is one of the reasons I was so taken aback that evening. It wasn’t just the drunks, passed out in doorways. It wasn’t just the vagrants in dirty, torn clothing hauling their entire lives around in a backpack. It wasn’t the hipsters, many of whom are homeless as well. It wasn’t the fact that I had just enjoyed a lovely meal and I knew that these people may not remember their last meal. It was the fact that this scenario is being repeated across our country. Everyday. It was the fact that this is simply one more social issue, or as sociology texts refer to the appearance of poverty-mental illness-vagrancy-unemployment-hopelessness; a major social problem. These individuals are just another problem, like the problem of race, or the problems associated with sexual identity, or the problems of violence, or economic problems, or international problems…
Pick any current issue and stick the word problem behind it.
Einstein is quoted as stating
that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.
Am I the only one who believes that we have given enough time over to defining, and feel that it’s time to get off of our asses and move on with solutions.