Let me start out this post with a short story that happened to me last week.
I was downtown in the city I live in and wanted to get a workout in by long boarding for a few hours.
I was parked on the road next to the main park downtown which overall, is well maintained and a nice place to be.
I attempted to stop at the porta potty in the middle of the park before going long boarding.
The door was locked and after waiting for about 5 minutes I realized a homeless person was most likely smoking crack as there was a rummaging noise coming from inside.
I left for a few minutes then returned to the porta potty which now showed the door was unlocked via the green icon.
I opened the door with my right hand and was immediately taken aback by what I saw inside.
There was some trash on the floor but the main attraction was that the urinal in the porta-potty was filled to the brim with piss which would require between 5 and 10 gallons of liquid to accomplish.
I froze for a brief moment in disbelief while holding the door open with my right hand. After 5-10 seconds I came to my senses and closed it without going inside.
I decided to start long boarding without finding a restroom.
While it did briefly cross my mind that I’d just touched the porta-potty and should wash my hands I rationalized that it would be fine since I’d only touched the handle on the outside of the door with my fingertips.
While long boarding I was sweating and repeatedly wiped off my face with my hands, (big mistake)
The next day, I woke up with one of my eyes crusted shut. I realized over the following days that I had a bacterial infection in my eye. Just one eye though, and I only touched the porta-potty door with one hand.
The purpose of telling this story is partly because it’s funny but also to point out that there was some sort of extremely strong bacteria in a public park likely because homeless people have been using it as a place to do drugs & other vile activities.
Me getting an eye infection that took a few weeks to get rid of is a symptom of a much bigger problem in many cities across America, the growing homeless epidemic.
I can imagine there has always been homeless, but what I see when I walk around the downtown areas in various cities is something much more disturbing.
It isn’t just that there are homeless people, but that the homeless you typically see are literal zombies that have been vacated from within and are incapable of stringing together any coherent thoughts.
From what I’ve seen, many of these homeless are far past being alcoholics.
I see people walk past the homeless as they yell at the top of their lungs and brush it off as if its normal or see tents set up half a block down from the outdoor patio of a upscale brunch restaurant.
About a year ago, I was debating a family member who’s a devout atheist and likes to promote the idea of, “simulation theory” to anyone that will listen.
I was attempting to find a way to explain to him why religion was important in the most logical way possible and brought up a soup kitchen that my childhood church ran.
The people running the soup kitchen were all giving their time for free and the food being given out was all donations.
What I asked him was, “in the event the church wasn’t there, what would motivate those people to organize the soup kitchen and give their time away to be there?”
He vehemently stated people would still be motivated to organize and run the soup kitchen without religion but I respectfully disagree. Without religion people are much less inclined to be generous & even with religion it can be a struggle to make time to do what’s right.
An even worse option he gave was suggesting that the government could organize something similar (terrible idea).
The beautiful thing about Christian religion is that it motivates people, (including myself) to go out of their way to do good things in the world with no expectation of a return on their financial or time investment.
Without religion to light a fire under you to make something good happen you’ll probably end up chugging bottomless mimosas at a brunch place while a homeless person defecates on the sidewalk, claws the skin off their face, and screams gibberish 20 yards away.
Some may consider this harsh, but from what I’ve seen, rehabilitation is out of the question for many of the homeless you see around a American city. The focus should be on solutions that stop people from getting to that point in the first place.
What’s the solution to the homeless problem? I have no idea, and I wish I could tell you.
There’s many complex cultural factors at play that are funneling people towards that lifestyle & many more complex societal factors that lead to the existence of tent cities.
However, what I do know is that if there’s an increase in religious people in a city you’ll see support structures for these people organically pop up due to the religious minded population being motivated to spend some of their financial and time resources to help those in need.