EDITORíS DESK: Yes, itís them again
I really didn't want this column to be about the homeless again. I'm tired of it, you're probably sick of reading about it, and I definitely had more fun this week joking
around with the kids in Kathy Pauciello's kindergarten/first-grade class at Buena Vista Elementary. There is nothing quite like the fresh look in young children's eyes,
one that takes people exactly as they are, without a con job, without secret agendas and with the obvious pleasure that comes from feeling themselves growing in a
world that as far as they know is meant for learning and accomplishing in a spirit of joy.
Too bad that can't be said about the local homeless crowd. Really, I've been as ready as the next guy to see their romantic side, to believe they're just big-hearted folks, poets even, who wound up by the creek because of ill fortune (there but for the grace of God go I, etc.) and that they struggle on despite the insensitivity of the everyday world. Unfortunately, that's a fairy tale. Westsiders who sat in on that homeless meeting Jan. 27 got a glimpse of the truth. They're are just freeloaders and beggars expecting everything for free. Animals do a better job taking care of where they live. Help agencies are there, but they don't want help because that means they have to sober up and/or straighten up.
But there's a game being played here, and there must be a handbook somewhere that teaches it: Here's how to present yourself as a victim, and here's how to use that as a weapon to obtain goodies to which you have no right from people you disdain in a city you have no desire to contribute to. I guess the playbook also says that to pull that stunt off, you need someone hard-nosed (I almost said nasty) to be your point man - in this case to try to intimidate city officials. And they definitely have that in Patrick Ayers, whose refusal to cooperate with City Police investigators seems to be the main choke-point in preventing homeless camp cleanups that have reached the bio-hazard stage.
Wonderful stuff, hey? Can I go back to Buena Vista now?