Guilt is a selfish feeling (for me)

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chwsks wrote:
When I give to street people I remember my dad--a charitable man with serious demons. He was an addict and a good person--sometimes I don't think people realize how complicated the world is.

I know life isn't fair, and I know I've had it much better than most people. But I also don't think you wind up being a middle-aged hobo living on the street unless you made a very long series of extremely poor life decisions.

Even if, right at this moment, I lost every single possession I have, was evicted, fired, and had no leads on a job, I still would not be a hobo panhandling on the street. I have friends and family I can fall back to who'd give me a place to crash until I got back on my feet. Now granted you can't pick your family, so I'm lucky to have a good, supportive family... but you can always pick your friends.

If you have absolutely nobody in your life that would help you out in such a situation, that speaks volumes about your character and your decision making.

But really... that doesn't happen anyway. I'm not going to lose all my possessions, or get evicted, or lose my job. The odds of a perfect storm coming by and knocking out every single thing I have all at once is absurdly low. That's not how it happens.

In reality, what happens is people fuck up, lose their job, then instead of getting their act together and getting a new job, they fuck up more and get kicked out of their place. Then they go to a friend's and crash, but still don't get their act together. They fuck up even more until they alienate all their friends and have nowhere else to go.

Your dad is a good example. He was pulled into that shitty world of drug and alcohol abuse. But he kept his head on straight. He held down a job, had his act together, and provided for his family. Maybe he sympathized with those people on the street... but really, he was better than them. He was proof that even in bad circumstances you can make things work. He's someone to look up to, for sure.

Now I know some people are born into that life, and they "never had a chance" as the saying goes. That really does suck, and those people definitely got the short end of the stick. But I sincerely doubt the people that stop me on the street fall into that category. Of course I can't know that for sure.

chrisname wrote:
I doubt you would have got it back.

Yeah you're right.

Except that the ones who are legitimately stuck in that situation would probably die.

As cold as it sounds... I have a really hard time sympathizing. For reasons I explained in my reply to chwsks.
closed account (iw0XoG1T)
disch wrote:
Your dad is a good example. He was pulled into that shitty world of drug and alcohol abuse. But he kept his head on straight.

I must not have been clear. My father killed himself, and when he died he was an addict. In the end he had no friends and--even to this day some of my siblings refuse to talk of him (they hated him).

My father had at most 10 good years. And he grew up as far as I can tell in a pretty good family. My grandfather was a violent man that beat him--but nobody's life is prefect.

My father is not an example of someone who pulled himself up by his bootstraps. I loved him, he had a good heart--but he had serious problems.

Most drug addicts and alcoholics live and die miserable lives. I have been sober myself (longer than I wish to admit) and I occasionally still go to meetings. And I will tell you that very few make it--and have the good-life. They might get a few good years but almost everyone relapses. And even the ones that stay sober have usually screwed their families and relationships so much that they never get to live the good-life. Why do you think they say "one day at time," it is because the long-term outlook is not good.
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I apologize for misunderstanding, chwsks. It sounded like he OD'd or something from your original post. That's pretty horrible.
Zereo wrote:
A lot of the time it is a matter of motivation though. Not everyone on the street is there because their job doesn't pay enough or they can't find a job.

Hence why I said 30-50% of homeless people (although a different site says 15%), not 100%.

Sure there are hurdles you have to overcome but if you are motivated enough nothing can stop you.

Only in movies. In real life, there are plenty of mistakes you can make that just can't be fixed, and sometimes someone just pulls the earth from beneath your feet and you're screwed through no fault of your own.

Disch wrote:
I also don't think you wind up being a middle-aged hobo living on the street unless you made a very long series of extremely poor life decisions. I'm not going to lose all my possessions, or get evicted, or lose my job. The odds of a perfect storm coming by and knocking out every single thing I have all at once is absurdly low. That's not how it happens.

Does anyone really believe that The Man takes all your stuff in one fell swoop? Of course that's not how it happens. What happens is that you lose your job or your hours get cut back or you have some sudden expense (such as illness), and then you can't pay your rent/bills/mortgage, and then you get evicted/cut off, and then you're out on your ass.

Also don't forget mental illness, substance abuse and people running away from abusive relationships and such.

I'm not going to lose all my possessions, or get evicted, or lose my job

You sound very sure. I hope you don't and I'm glad you're in a position where you can make that statement, but there's no real guarantee that it's true.
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I'm sorry to hear that. I can never know what you went through. While I lost my father when I was 9 from murder, I was filled with anger for years. Then I just found out something this last year that made me being angry seem pointless as now I feel his murder was what he deserved.
If you don't mind me asking, why do you feel it was deserved?
Well, like I said, when he was murdered back in 1990 I spent the next 6 or so years just full of anger. He worked at a gas station that got robbed and the men were caught. Then last year both my sisters came out and revealed he molested both of them (older sister was 12 and younger was 8 when he died). That brought out a dark family secret no one knew about, as it turns out that my father learned from my grandfather. After all that came out I just felt, if karma was real, he got what he deserved.
Being slightly asocial I wouldn't know, so I ask. Is the general population quite as unfortunate? That is, what percentage of people might have dealt with murder, drugs, abuse, etc. of somebody close?

I'd say that really depends on area/economic level of a group. I would imagine more urban, lower economic status deals with drugs, murder, etc more often than a middle class rural family.
closed account (3qX21hU5)
Well I would say murder and other violent crimes are more common in urban areas yes, but would have to disagree with the drug part. From my experience drugs are common in whatever economic area you live in. Just the type of drugs vary. Like in urban area's crack, cocaine, and other drugs are more common. Where as in suburban area's I would say stuff like pills, and other party drugs are more common. And of course weed is everywhere. But that is just from what I have seen.
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Sure, but that doesn't say much. Having looked up some statistics, I see that per 100000 people of US (per year), there are 5 murders, 29 rapes, 7500 people "need treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem" (not sure what exactly that means) and some 1950 children are abused (also, quite ambiguous). That doesn't take into account severity, influence and overlap of each problem though, which is, to some extent, what I was asking about. This data does point to a "coefficient of misfortune" of about 20-30%. I wonder how realistic that is.
You know in london talking or giving money to tramps or people who ask is a bad idea, i have to remember im not in brighton they all seem a lot more dangerous, in my home town, buying some strangers is an obligation if you are going to be caught up working for local people, but if someone asked you for money in a small town, you would proly get it back again in some way.
closed account (3qX21hU5)
By tramps you mean hookers? If so ya its probably a bad idea to give them money lol :p
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we dont call hookers tramps, i dont really know what we call them.

we have only one class of street people in the uk, in america you have hobos, bums, tramps, and those crazy people, in fact my freind who visited new york said there was one for almost every park bench, hed never seen so many crazy people before.
When I went to New York I saw quite a lot of homeless people, but tbh it was probably only about as many as I see here in Brighton.
So I just violated everything I believe in about giving people straight cash. At work today this man walked in, clearly had some issues or some disability, but he looked nice enough. So I said, as he walked in the door, "Hey, how's it going? What can I do for you?" and he didn't reply. He turned around and shut the door without acknowledging me. He walked to me and pulled out a small stack of business cards and held one to me and it read "Smile :). Hello, I'm deaf. Please forgive me for bothering you, but I am selling this card to see my way through. Will you kindly buy one? Pay whatever price you wish."

Of all the theoretical scenarios I've put myself into, this was not one of them. I was caught completely and utterly off guard. Seriously, though. How do you say no to that and still be a human being? He was so nice about it to. So I gave him a few singles I had in my wallet.

I think if I had thought about this occurring in the past, I would have done so much differently.. because it occurred to me not 30 seconds after he left, "Shit. He probably wasn't deaf."
see deaf people in the uk have free access to aids for education, so they potentially could still work, and so if that happened over here you would now it was really a pikey in disguise.

plus we did have disability benefits for people who couldn't work if they had a disability, this is great because its the countries fault if someone starves to death because there's no system to look after them, but our benefits are going now, mainly so we can offset the cuts to businesses so we can encourage competition, whats your opinion on that?
I refuse to support anyone who tries to use pity for personal gain, disability or not. To me, it is crossing the line to try and take advantage of people's emotions for your own gain.

You should not ask for kindness, kindness should ask for you.
@L B
Yeah. I feel really taken advantage of. It caught me off guard. I hadn't prepared myself for that type of situation, so I didn't know what else to do but fork over a few bucks out of pity. Lesson learned, though. Next time I'll have the stones to do things differently.
Its not about stones though its about knowing how to deal with things, I bred bunnies and made wuite a lot of money but i couldn't deal with a smug animal rights girl telling me not to breed (theres loads of homeless bunnies in care apparently...theres not many cos i looked) i just kept repeating to her...But i make lots of money, people buy them from me.

that was a dumb answer apparently but i just kept repeating it, later i thought of how to win the argument, though you always think of what to do afterwards cos your heart rates back to normal, you got more time to work out what the probable outcome of what you said would be and an overall understanding of the actual situation not the tiny embarrassing part of it.

I jus wrote an algorithm to predict the chances of saying something stupid in an argument :D

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