THE WRITERS FORUM - THE GRAFFITI DESTINATION

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Default Hobos, Tramps and Homeless Bums - 10-13-2001, 09:38 PM

I'm not sure if this topic is cool here or not, but when I'm in the yards, I see tramps occasionally. I see graff artists occasionally. Usually, I don't see ANYBODY, not even yard workers. There is a big difference between Hobos and Tramps. There are really very few hobos left. Modern tramps consider hobos to be the old timers from the steam train days of the Great Depression. There are a few of them still alive. Steam Train Maury Graham in Napoleon, Ohio, is one of the best known hobos in America. (He rode back in the late 1940s and '50s. He's in his eighties now, but he still goes to hobo conventions once in a while. The best known convention is the second weekend in August every year, in Britt, Iowa. It's on Route 18, 35 miles west of Mason City, Iowa.)
Hobos travel to work. Tramps travel to not work. Bums can't work or travel, they just get high and drink. And "homeless" people have an attitude problem. I lived outdoors for months at a time, and I never once felt like I was "homeless." Wherever I was, that was "home." I treated it with respect. I saw a hand-lettered sign in a jungle that said, "Serious Tramps Keep A Clean Camp." I believe that, too. The guy that taught me to hop freights, Rufe, said it many times. "You ain't no bum. We keep a clean camp here. Pick that trash up off the ground and burn it." Rufe called that having a "straight-up tramp attitude." All business, no sloppy behavior. Being homeless is not about being POOR. It's about being WHIPPED DOWN and NO-ACCOUNT. There's no reason to go around all filthy and dirty. I lived outside with everything I owned in a ruck sack. I still took a spit bath every day and cleaned up and washed my clothes. The people that do that sort of shit (go for days without bathing or cleaning themselves up) are mentally ill, for real. I don't believe in panhandling. Working like a squeegee tramp is okay, but no begging, and no stealing. That sort of shit lacks dignity. (Gotta go. Be back later.)
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Default 10-14-2001, 12:58 AM

Very good, post more stuff. I like what you have to say.
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Default 10-14-2001, 03:16 AM

i dont think beggin or stealing lacks dignity.. esp stealing.
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Default 10-14-2001, 06:50 AM

Vanity---I debated with myself for a while about how to respond to your statement about theft. You certainly have a right to whatever opinions you hold, and if you genuinely believe that living by ripping off from people is okay, then anything I have to say ain't going to influence you very much. I've known quite a few thieves in my life. Mostly, they treated other people with a lack of respect because they lacked respect for themselves. I can't say that I never took anything that didn't belong to me. Just riding freight trains at all is considered by the law to be a form of theft ("Theft of transportation", a Class C misdemeanor, on a par with littering or jumping turnstiles on the subway) and like any violation of law, if you get caught, there are consequences. Pretty slight consequences in this case, maybe a $75 ticket. But there is a big difference between riding an empty rbox, or a pig, or camping out on a 48 behind the container, and busting into cargo. Or ripping off somebody's gear. Or shoplifting from a store. That's all theft, and in my opinion, it is not okay. Property is owned by somebody by it's very definition. They have the right to own it, and control it, and to buy or sell it, and to limit it's use by others, unless the other person is willing to satisfy the owner with a purchase price, or rent or lease or some other exchange of value. Nobody understands the concept of property better than someone who has very little of it. I own more now than I used to, and it's still not much. But it is MINE, and pitiful little as it is, I will defend it against people who try to jack me up for it. In Montana, if someone is convicted of robbing a tramp of his bedroll, he can be sentenced to as much as twenty years in prison. Some rich rancher has his thousands of acres and his ranch house. All a transient has is his ruck and his bindle, but it's home. Out in the boondocks, one's ruck and bindle may be the difference between surviving the weather or death by exposure. Montana juries don't take robbing tramps lightly.
I chose to ride trains, I chose tramp life and during the parts of my life when I lived outdoors, I accepted the consequences of my decisions. I jumped freights knowing I was breaking rules. I've never been caught, and I've never been punished for it, but in the back of my mind, I know what I was doing was against the law, and I had already decided I was willing to accept the consequences of my actions. Maybe, if the consequences had been more severe, I would have been less willing to accept them. But I never thought, and still don't think, that I have a RIGHT to ride freight trains. The trains don't belong to me. If I get popped, well, then I guess I pay. I know three young guys that carjacked somebody with pellet pistols, and got arrested and convicted. One got ten years deferred adjudication. If he even gets so much as a MIP charge, he goes to prison. The other two got eight years apiece in the Texas Youth Commission. If they do all their time, they won't get out until they are about 25 years old.
Society is US. And WE, all of us together, collectively say, through the law, that taking anything that doesn't belong to you is wrong, and will be punished one way or another. Obviously, there are some people both rich and poor that try to get over by ripping people off. Ripping off with a fountain pen instead of a revolver doesn't make it right, and if they get caught, they get punished, or at least they are supposed to get punished. Justice is imperfect.
If I come face-to-face with somebody trying to rip ME off, I won't need any cop, judge or jury to settle it. Ultimately, that old line by Bob Dylan is true--"To live outside the law, you must be honest." I don't steal from other people because I don't want them stealing from me. Stores, restaurants, etc. all are owned by somebody. I know a few older tramps who are retired and receive a check from stocks or mutual funds that they own in companies. Essentially, they own part of the company. If you steal from the company, you are stealing from the stockholders, i.e. from thousands of people who have put up money to capitalize the company. You can buy stock too, anybody can. If you choose to spend your money on stuff you want instead of stocks, that's okay, but don't snivel that the company is some conspiracy to mistreat people. ANYBODY can buy stock. And most big corporations are now owned or controlled by worker retirement funds, essentially making American WORKERS the owners of AMERICAN COMPANIES. In other words, it's thousands of little people (and a few rich folks) who own virtually every large corporation.
I have, on occasion, GIVEN people half of whatever I had in my pocket. But how often can one afford to do that? It is the responsibility of each of us to take care of ourselves, unless we cannot do so. I might be willing to GIVE somebody five bucks, if I thought the situation warranted it. But if he tried to TAKE it from me, I would fight and use whatever force is necessary to keep it. That five dollars is mine. No sonofabitch has a right to it without my permission, not by theft, and not by robbery. So. Let criminals take heed, I guess. One lives by crime at a serious risk. The poorer the victim, the greater the crime.
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Default 10-14-2001, 02:56 PM

Kabar do you write? if so, how do you justify that?
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Default 10-15-2001, 07:44 AM

Fox Mulder---Good point. Obviously, putting up graff on somebody else's property is use of it without that person's permission, unless, of course, the owner grants permission, which I think would be pretty damn cool. But I've met people who said that if they were given permission that they wouldn't bother to write there. To those guys, the whole point was to be pissing off some property owner, especially a large corporation or a government facility. I don't agree. I think tagging on personal property like some guy's wooden fence or the side of his house is totally, completely lame. Writing on the side of a grocery chain store is still messing with property, but at least it's not an individual. Writing on railcars, and places like freeway overpasses, and other big, ugly, industrial type spots seems a lot more acceptable to me. I used to live near a school in Los Angeles that had a "tag wall" where anybody could tag anything but threats of violence. Part of it was a "big piece" wall, where writers had to get prior approval by a committee, and then the school would "feature" the piece for a month at a time, then another writer got selected. There's also a serious difference between a large fill-in (which is definately in the category of art) and some idiot that scrawls "Los XVII Avenues xxx187 Snoopy" and then disses a bunch of other ignorant tags, who then diss his stuff---it's just STUPID. Not to mention dangerous. These people that kill one another over gang tags are just beyond ignorant low-self-esteem losers. They might as well be in the Klan. Certain areas of Houston are just plagued with this kind of stupid vandalism. It's not attractive, it's not creative, it's just--ugly. In my neighborhood, patrols of volunteers regularly buff everything on every wall they see, with paint given to them by the city. The industrial-railcar-freeway overpass spots are just about the only spots where good writing stays up for any length of time. Writers with some talent are pretty rare around here, and it's been a while since I saw anything obviously put up by a crew with a plan and a color scheme. Most of it is some no-talent 13-year old kid trying to make his bones with a gang. What can I say? I guess I am a hypocrite, because I don't see decent graff and dummy vandalism in the same light, and definately not in the same light as ripping stuff off.
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Default 10-15-2001, 08:19 AM

i probably shouldn't write this cuz i'm tired and not thinking too much... but i disagree about the stealing issue with you KABAR... to me part of graffiti is racking paint and other stuff... and you are a bit hypocritical about writing graffiti and yet talking about how stealing is bad.... the way i see it is that big places (non-mom and pop stores) rip off the american workers and american people by pushing small business out of the way... especially because most big places don't hire union workers... also if i rack a can of rusto it's not going to make the stores stock drop that much... if at all... the act of graffiti is rebellion and by painting graffiti you are basically challenging the concept of property ownership... personally i disaggree with a society run by money, and property and i guess that is why i feel that racking isn't bad... companies steal from workers and consumers everyday, i'm not going to lose sleep over stealing afew cans...

secondly... graffiti is graffiti... seen said it best "just a kid telling his story" if a kid does some gang graff that you deem ignorant it's still telling his story... even if it is ignorant... i usually don't take the time to care what other people do anyways... i do agree that bombing houses and stuff is not very cool... but most people that do that stuff are laughable... but in the same heart beat i'll bomb apartment buildings and buildings with apartments above them... and again the whole issue of challenging the concept of property ownership... it just seems silly to me that someone owns a bit of land and says it's ok for you to use it for a fee... i mean... what right does anyone have to own a piece of land that was here long before the human race and will be here long after? it just seems silly to me...

i mean no offense but i felt i should give you my take on the issue...
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Default Hobo jungles - 10-15-2001, 08:24 AM

The morals issue aside, I wanted to ask if any of you folks have discovered any hobo jungles in your forays into and around rail yards. I have discovered several. A couple of them were obviously still in use, but I've also discovered a couple that have been abandoned or forgotten. They were all overgrown, but I found old bottles, blue plastic UP water bottles, a metal cooking grill buried under leaves, old campfire rings and so forth. Just for something to do, I cleaned a couple of them up and left firewood (what is called "squaw wood" down here--dry branches you can break off of trees and bushes), newspaper, toilet paper, etc. in the jungles I cleaned up.
When I was a young kid (maybe eight or nine) I lived near the famous T&NO Junction here in Houston. There was a large jungle near there, and we saw hobos all the time in our neighborhood. I didn't realize, back then, that we lived so close to a major Texas rail junction, or that New South Yards was so close to us. (I'm not sure when NSY was built, it might not have been there back then.) (Edit 3/12/02--I talked with my father, and he says NSY was already there when we moved there in 1949-1950.) The tramps back then cooked in one-gallon cans with a bail handle made of coat-hanger wire. The tramps call them "gunboats." I probably saw fifty of them when I was a kid, because they would make one, use it to cook, then wash it out and leave it for the next guy, upside down on a stick driven into the ground near the fire ring. Usually, they would find three straight branches about four feet long, lash them together and make a tripod above the fire, and suspend the gunboat can with a piece of "dog chain" and an s-hook made out of coat hanger wire or out of a nail. They could raise or lower the can on the chain, depending on how hot the fire was. Have any of you seen anything like this? I found one, so I decided to make a few gunboats and leave them in jungles that I cleaned up. When I go back, I see that the cans are black on the bottom from a fire, but they are still there on the stick where I left them. Look for jungles near where you go to check trains. I've met a couple of young tramps, in their twenties and early thirties. But mostly, they are older guys.
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Default 10-15-2001, 08:34 AM

I've probably wandered into 15 or so full on Hobo camps in my life, it's always interesting to analyze the 'garbage' a big thing around the gulf coast that I've noticed it a huge abundance of 5 gallon buckets, it rains all summer and the ground is foul so there are usually scads of buckets around for seating and such, plus I've seen some pretty ingenious lean-to's
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Default 10-15-2001, 08:51 AM

I have noticed the same thing. When I was a kid, the buckets were gray-painted steel cans with a handle for carrying, but now they are mostly plastic 5-gallon paint buckets. I find small trees with several nails driven in them about five feet off the ground, too. The tramps swing hammocks if there are any trees. Sometimes you'll find two sets of nails, one above the other--I guess they are swinging two hammocks off the same two trees, one above the other. I find clean tin cans to use for cups, lots of wine bottles and beer cans and those silver mylar bags that go inside 5-liter boxes of wine. They call them "space bags." They drink straight from the spout, without touching it, and pass it around. I usually build a fire and burn all the trash. Once I clean one up, it stays pretty clean for quite a while.
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Default 10-15-2001, 04:12 PM

in the cn yard in milwaukee there used to be a big one... the one that's under the interstates by the harbor... it was almost like a city inside a city back in the day... but things have changed...

catching out in that place isn't hard... there's always a train leaving... you probably wouldn't want to paint there though because of the traffic...
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Default 10-15-2001, 06:22 PM

kabar i was just asking because you seemed to have a problem with stealing from a large corporation but not a problem with painting on them. both things cause the business to lose money. i personally don't see anything wrong with writing or stealing from large companies.
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Default 10-15-2001, 07:31 PM

Fox Mulder---Like I said before, you certainly have a right to your opinions, I just disagree, that's all. I can't say that I've never taken anything that wasn't mine, because I have. I feel bad about it now, of course, but there's no way to compensate the person I stole from (like twenty years ago) because I don't know who the person is. What I can do, is decide for myself what is the right way to live for me, and be true to my feelings and beliefs. I suppose one could say that my beliefs about stealing are irrational. But I would never steal from a bro, and I'd never steal from a fellow rider, so that philosophy seems like it ought to extend to the rest of the world. I guess I irrationally don't see writing as destructive to industrial property, even though, as you say, it does cost money to remove it, if the owner of the spot doesn't want it there. I have left my streak on quite a few railcars, but I always tagged in chalk or soapstone, so it didn't stay there too long. The places I ever painted were so messed up already, I think my stuff improved things rather than detracted from them. Like I said, maybe it's irrational. I still don't rip people off. Even people who shoplift usually draw the line at ripping off individuals, but some don't.
People who ride trains without any gear, without any money, without any way to take care of their own business are called "streamliners." This is not an affectionate term. Usually streamliners steal from other tramps, or rob freight, or do petty crimes in neighborhoods along the rail lines. Of course, this brings down the cops on everybody in sight, so most straight-up tramps hate streamliners. There are a lot of people running from the law trying to ride trains, and if they will rob some guy running a convenience store, they will rob you and me sitting around a campfire brewing coffee in a gunboat. I have seen tramps give a streamliner a beating (well, not a very effective beating, but he got the message.) He tried to snag somebody's bindle.
There is a thing called the "Rule of the Match". It's an old tradition, and I've never actually seen anybody give anybody else a kitchen match (a lot of you younger guys may have never even seen a kitchen match in your life, LOL) but the idea is "Beat it, you're not welcome here, go start your own fire, you jerk." If anybody ever gives you a match, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. It's a serious message that you are not welcome. You could get hurt, or worse. But hardly anybody today even has ever heard of the Rule of the Match.
When I was in the Marines, a barracks thief was considered the lowest of the low. It was okay to snag gear for the platoon, or "kipe" stuff somewhere else, but Marines NEVER steal from their own. The worst thing you can call a Marine, worse than "coward," is "buddy fucker." It means back stabber and those words are not heard very often. They are fightin' words, for real. I just don't steal, that's all.
There is a funny saying in the Marines about theft. It goes like this:
"There is only one thief in the Marine Corps. Everybody else is just trying to get their gear back."
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Default Gunboats and Dog Chain - 10-16-2001, 08:58 AM

Re-reading some of this, it occurred to me that some readers might not understand that true tramps often made their own gear from trash and stuff they scavenged from dumpsters. Rufe, the guy from whom I learned to hop trains, wouldn't even use an Army surplus pack, which were available very cheaply back then from Army-Navy stores. They might cost a dollar or two. I saw a lot of tramps carrying a military surplus combat pack when I was a kid. Rufe carried all his gear in a homemade ruck, made from a "tater sack", which was a burlap bag that potatoes came in at the store (today, they come in plastic bags--Booo!) He tied a length of cotton rope to the two bottom corners of the sack, put a small cardboard box inside, and loaded the cardboard box with his stuff. When the bag was full, he tied the top shut by throwing two half hitches around the open end of the bag, and the rope then formed his "pack straps." He carried an old type one-gallon Clorox bottle as a water bottle. They were made of much tougher and thicker plastic back then than they are today. Today, I use empty, clean 2-liter Coke bottles for water.
Gunboats are made from two-pound coffee cans, or those big restaurant-sized cans that vegetables or beans or whatever come in. They hold about a gallon or so. Punch a couple of holes for a handle and bend a piece of coat-hanger wire to fit the can, so that the handle can be folded underneath the can to make it easy to stow in your ruck. I carry a piece of dog chain about four feet long with a snap hook on one end, so I can loop it around the tripod of branches and leave the chain dangling down in the fire. Then, you take an "S-hook" made of coat-hanger wire or maybe a nail or a piece of welding rod, and suspend the gunboat however high over the fire you want, depending on how hot the fire is. I carry a pair of needle-nose pliers around that I found on the tracks, and I look for scrap wire and nails, and just make S-hooks out of all kinds of stuff and leave them in the jungle, usually hooked over a branch near the fire ring. If you want to cook coffee and stew or something at the same time, just hook another gunboat to the chain. As long as the tripod is well-made, you could probably put three or four on there, no problem.
I never buy expensive equipment. Expensive gear just attracts streamliners and rip-off artists. I can usually find stuff I need at Salvation Army thrift stores, or scavenge it for free. A lot of stuff I just make myself.
Besides a durable pack and water bottles, I bring a couple of blankets rolled up in a bindle, with a shoulder strap made from a piece of nylon webbing I picked up off the ballast. Among other things, I carry a gunboat, a few cans of food, a spoon and a tin pie plate (NOT aluminum, it's worthless) a plastic cup (I love canteen cups, but they get hot and burn your lip), a rolled-up newspaper in it's plastic sleeve, toilet paper, a military rain poncho, bottle of Louisiana Tabasco Sauce, an old Army field jacket with liner, a balaclava, extra socks, a long-sleeved shirt, leather trucker's gloves, a small flashlight, lots of matches, extra AA batteries for my scanner, and a ratty old baseball cap I've been abusing. It sounds like a lot of crap, but it really ain't all that much.
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Default 10-16-2001, 10:03 PM

Kabar, just a question. Are you talking as you used to be a tramp/train hopper/whatever you want to be called or are you still one? if you are, do you carry a computer around ro something? Sorry for such a stupid question.




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Default 10-16-2001, 10:46 PM

Unit---No question is a stupid question, unless it goes unasked. How else is one supposed to learn things he doesn't know? Yes, I used to be a full-time tramp, years ago. My favorite line was the old Burlington Northern Hi-Line, especially in spring and summer, but I rode all over. Since then, I've done a whole lot of things, among them serving the Marines and going to college (at kind of an advanced age, really.) I have a regular job, a family and a house now. So I used to be a tramp, but now I'm a homeguard and a part-time trainhopper. Just like the yuppie thrill seekers, I ride for fun, not as a lifestyle. Rufe used to get pissed at me when I would do something stupid (like waving at pretty girls when we passed a grade crossing) and he'd yell "Get your head out of your ass! This ain't no hobby!" That was his attitude. He was a pro. All business. Rufe considered riding trains, collecting food stamps in several counties, petty scams with the Welfare people to be a sort of vocation. I never did that, but I shared in the food he bought with the Food Stamps, so I guess I was as guilty as he was. I preferred working, and when I finally ran out of money, I split up with old Rufe and went to work. He was not a very sentimental guy, kind of a gruff old redneck. The young riders with train radio scanners and GPS gear would just floor a guy like Rufe. He was old school.
I never saw Rufe turn anybody down for something to eat. He had plenty of food, because of the food stamps, and he shared out with just about anybody and everybody, but he hated streamliners. I was pretty green when I met him, and his first lesson was about "deadmanning" the doors on a boxcar. Ever since then, I always carry a deadman 2x4 in the middle of my bindle. Rufe smoked cigarettes, and I started smoking tailor-mades because he did, and also because they were cheaper. Store-bought cigarettes were a "waste of good money" to Rufe. He couldn't buy tobacco with food stamps, so I became his source of tobacco while we rode together, because I had cash money. "Never, ever, show your bankroll," Rufe would caution me. "Keep your money in your boots, and your knife in your pocket." Of course, Bugler and Kite were dirt cheap back in those days. I think a blue pack of Bugler was thirty-nine cents, and it lasted us a long time, several days, or more.
Today, tramps and trainhoppers are young and computer-literate, so they keep up with friends and family on the net, by going to public libraries or Internet cafes in the towns they stop in. I would too, if I ever went out for an extended trip. Just about all tramps have a cell phone these days it seems like---or at least, a lot of the young ones do. The older, heavy drinking tramps usually don't.
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Default 10-16-2001, 10:50 PM

I see. Thanks for the info Kabar, i was kinda curious.
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Default 10-17-2001, 04:18 AM

im glad kabar lives near me.
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Default USGI Can opener--"The P-38" - 10-17-2001, 07:16 AM

Back before the military went to MRE's (that's Meal-Ready-to-Eat for those of you who don't watch TV, listen to the radio or read newspapers lately) they used a kind of ration called a "C-Ration." I thought it meant "combat ration," but when I was in the Marines, I found out that there are three types of military food. "A-rations" are hot food, freshly prepared, from a chow hall. "B-Rations" are large-portion containers of field rations, but prepared by the cooks, and served hot, usually out of insulated Melmac containers in a make-shift, field-expedient chow line--the troops file past with open mess kits, and the cooks serve it up with ladles and ice cream scoopers. Last of all, and least desireable, is "C-Rations." They came in a dull brown, cardboard box, and had cans of stuff inside like beef and potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and eggs (yuck) and so forth. They also had a can of hard, round crackers, sometimes a "shit disk" (a chocolate disk kind of like a Nestle's Crunch bar--rumor had it that the shit disk was actually a laxative, so some Marines wouldn't eat them, and traded them for other stuff) and usually a can of fruit. Best canned fruit of all were canned peaches. They were delicious, and almost as good as cash money. Along with a case of "rats" came these cool little can openers, called either "John Waynes" or "P-38's." The P-38 name has a story. During World War Two, there was a kind of pursuit aircraft called a P-38 Lightning. It had twin fusilage booms, twin engines and a separate pod with the pilot, automatic 20mm cannons, .50 cal machine guns, etc. They used these planes mainly against tanks and military trains, and the troops called them "Can Openers" because they were very effective against tanks. Conversely, they called the little USGI can openers "P-38's." Cool, eh? You can buy one for a dollar or so at a Army-Navy surplus store. Get one for your key ring, and you'll never be without a can opener.
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imported_Spoter
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Default 10-17-2001, 07:22 AM

good topic.but although i only read your first paragraph i'd like to add to bums being mentally ill.it's true.supposedly 40% are mentally ill.but when you said that begging shouldn't be allowed, you should blame the system not the bums.these mentally ill bums chose to live on the strrets over the institutions that treat bums like prisoners.as long as that's not fixed bums will keep begging, and that's how they survive.
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dik.n.ur.ear
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Default 10-17-2001, 07:26 AM

the reason why most of them are as fucked up as they are is because of liver poisoning...it takes about half a tallboy to fuck these homeless people up because their liver is so bad, the alcohol takes a completely different effect, thus the stumbling arund, limp arms/legs, talking to themselves, etc...therefore just as you should blame the system, you should blame alcohol as well.
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KaBar
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Default 10-17-2001, 07:42 AM

Spoter---WHOA, buddy, hold up. Please don't put words in my mouth, I screw up plenty often enough on my own. I didn't say begging shouldn't be allowed. I said that panhandling lacks dignity. And it does, at least it does in my opinion. I know plenty about mental illness as well, and to tell you the truth, there are a lot more mentally ill people out walking around loose than there are inside of any psychiatric facility. There is no law against being mentally ill, any more than there are laws against having a broken leg. If somebody is mentally ill, and they don't want treatment, and they are over 18 years old, that is A-OK with me, and legal, as long as they are not a threat to themselves or others. It is perfectly legal to be crazy as hell, as long as you're not dangerous. People older than 16, but younger than 18, have a certain amount of control over their treatment. In Texas, they can refuse medications, request discharge from the hospital, refuse to attend therapeutic groups, and so forth. Younger than 16, they are "legally" children, and their parents have control over their medical (and psychiatric) care, unless a Court steps in and takes over. But here's the catch. If the doctor disagrees, he can seek a Court order for legal committment for Court-ordered psychiatric treatment. You can still refuse everything, but the hospital does not have to let you out. If you go berserk, they can medicate you, on an emergency basis, against your will, and if the situation warrants it, the doctor can seek Court-ordered medications, too. They usually don't do that unless the patients is WAY PSYCHOTIC and the doctor figures it's the only way they guy will ever have a chance to not be mentally ill. Of course, once the patient gets out (and they usually do, unless they are violent) he can throw the medication away, and ditch the follow-up care, and just return to being as sick as he pleases.
Psychiatric patients often panhandle. If it ain't against the law in that town, everything is great. But I'm not obligated to give them any money, and I generally don't. If they want money, they need to go through the channels necessary to get Welfare or SSDI, which usually means taking their medications. Or go to work. That's cool with me.
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Default 10-17-2001, 08:36 AM

well it seems you know more than me about that problem and its laws.but i do admit that the bums need to take responibility for their actions too.i just think some of them are incable of making decisions and need to be treated under a better system.scallawag is on point too.
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Default 10-17-2001, 06:58 PM

Look, guys, there are LOTS of people who panhandle. Some are mentally ill people, but some are just folks down on their luck, and some are professionals who make big bucks pretending to be pitiful and poor. I met a teenaged girl once who hated her father because when she was little, he would make his girls dress in raggedly clothes and go with him to scam motorists on a busy street corner in Houston. Here they are out on the corner, looking pitiful, and Dad is there with a sign saying "HOMELESS, CANCER, Please HELP! God Bless You." And around the corner is Dad's car, fresh from the detail shop. Sure the girls looked pitiful, they were crying and humiliated and embarrassed. Whatever else the Dad did, his cynical behavior produced a daughter who was a tough-as-nails trainhopper who wouldn't take anything from anybody. She had nothing but contempt for people who beg, and she carried a .38 revolver to defend herself against predators.
Mental illness, for 90% of the people who suffer from it, is a choice. There are drugs today that can help a person deal with it, and they are pretty effective. But if somebody prefers to treat his depression with Jack Daniels instead of Prozac, how is that my fault? Some guy who has what is called "ego-syntonic symptoms" (the flip side is ego-dystonic symptoms) thinks that there is nothing wrong with him and that it's everybody else that won't leave him alone, that are constantly fucking with him, belittling him, dissing him, etc. These are the nut cases that you see who are in gangs, teen-aged oppositional and defiant disorder types who constantly fight with their parents, destroy property, use drugs, etc., etc. They go on to a career in prison, usually, if they don't (or won't) accept treatment. They cannot understand that it is THEM who have a problem, and not the rest of the world. How this differs from your typical teenaged rebel is the duration and the degree. When I was sixteen, I hated school too. But I didn't attack teachers. And when I grew up, I realized that I needed the education that society was offering me for free. Mentally ill people who remain untreated never get a clue. They rave and rant against all manner of imagined injustice long after their turbulent adolescent years. There's all kinds of mental illness, and all degrees of it. (Personally, I've got to wonder about people who seek out a job as an enforcer of rules and law. It's such a thankless job.) Just for general info, ego-dystonic symptoms are when the patient is all upset and distressed and comes in trying to get help, "I feel so bad, and it's not going away, I can't sleep, I can't eat, I hate myself, I think about suicide---Can't you help me, give me medicene or something?" They see everything as their fault, and can't see that there are extenuating circumstances that have contributed to their feelings. "Ever since my dog died, I've just been acting like a crybaby weakling." So. Don't get the idea that I have no sympathy for people who are mentally ill. I do. But I still think that begging lacks dignity, and that no matter how wealthy or poor a person is, there is virtually no good excuse for stealing. Whether a bum or a banker, one should be honest. That's my opinion, anyway.
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Default 10-18-2001, 05:58 AM

i don't mean to be a dick but this guy kabar is just far too informative for me.i just paint freights,and i have ridden them occasionally to get back to my car.i guess it's oppinionated of me;but i couldn't help but voice this...you guys should let this guy take over the site,he is the man.hahahahaha
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