Home, home, homeless on the range

Ponder this

editorial@sierrastar.comSeptember 17, 2013 

I was recently invited to a party in our town park. The kids were elated to have the park to explore. Once the festivities began restroom breaks were requested and the first group headed out. Within a moment I saw a sea of screaming children running… the scene rivaling a 1970s horror movie. A few of us went to investigate. To our astonishment one of the vagrants was going to the bathroom on the lawn.

We noticed that the toilets were overflowing with more garbage than the bulging trashcans and the sinks had been used as back up toilettes. Making our way back, I glanced at the gazebo, seeing a dozen huddled vagabonds. With closer examination I saw that they were passing around bottles of booze, more than one barfing over the railing between rounds. The party was sadly over.

I put the incident out of my mind, thinking it was an anomaly. A week passed when I'd been at the coffee shop working on my manuscript. I noticed a man struggling on the ground beneath the pine tree beside the auto parts store. I started toward him dialing for help when I realized he was lying there shooting up his drug of choice.

I fully understand hard times and the devastation of being homeless, as I myself struggled with such in my early twenties. But such madness cannot be ignored. Have we forgotten the past, how a homeless man cost a local boy his life? What will it take for us to put a stop to this vulgarity?

The slow infiltration of vagrants is as destructive as a virulent cancer. Proof of this is visible along the frontage road off Highway 99 in Fresno. Now having built huge encampments only feet from where we purchase our groceries, walk our dogs and allow our children to play.

I feel for those that have lost their homes to medical debt, job loss and the like. Yet those that are wandering about living off tax payers dollars because they choose to balk the system and refuse to put even a little effort into being a productive human being... is unacceptable.

With such a high volume of homeless influx trickling down from San Francisco and Modesto following their 'cleansing' efforts, our towns homeless have tripled. With the government offering huge extensions on unemployment and excepting hang nails as disability claims — need I say more to the direction we are headed?

Can we come to a place where we can offer a hand up to those willing to help themselves and politely remove those loitering, polluting and possibly endangering our safety?

Am I alone in feeling vulnerable when the hostile vagrant crosses Highway 41 with his dogs, screaming at an unseen entities? I can't recall the last time I felt secure enough to wash my truck alone at the Oasis carwash, to take my dogs to the park or even stroll the creek-side jogging path.

I miss the days when we could visit the creek without worrying what the squatters did in the water upstream. I long for the times when I could visit my mother's grave without having to worry about the drunkards wandering from the trees, loitering on the grounds, leaving empty booze bottles on strangers' headstones. Countless times I have placed trinkets on her marker only to find them stolen days later. Is nothing sacred to these vagabonds?

Is''t it blatantly obvious that this needs to be nipped in the bud, here and now? Bleeding hearts might view this as unjust — I suppose they could simply offer up their properties to the tow''s nomads and permanently solve the problem, but I doubt there will be any offers. Doesn't the Word teach us that if you feed a man a fish, you feed him for a day… if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime? Why should we fund their slothful lifestyle when we are the ones paying taxes and living paycheck to paycheck?

With the extended hands of our local churches (which I respect completely) and the free ranging they are allowed here, it will take more than us banding together in agreement to see changes.

We must write our supervisors and sheriff expressing our displeasure and make a collective stand. There is power in numbers. If we join forces we can take back our quaint little town and stop the mounting heaps of trash threatening to destroy it. What would our town founders think of us allowing this slow poisoning of our beautiful land?

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