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Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on February 27th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 51 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 51

Avoiding helping the homeless is its own form of laziness

Santa Maria

Kenneth Morelli

Do homeless people choose to be that way?

A recent letter claims most are (“A lot of  homeless people choose to be that way,” Feb. 14). I’m responding in memory of my friend.

People with brains that function well do have choices. But those who were subjected to abuse or toxic environments in their formative years may not. A developing brain that is starved for support may not learn to distinguish between positive choices and escape mechanisms. Eventually it becomes a medical issue, where logical choices are no longer an option. Recovery, for some, seems more like a return to their past, which may be intolerable for them.

Emotional pain can sway an otherwise honorable person away from good choices. It’s tempting to condemn them as lazy or just “bad blood.” But when you do that, you are a party to their downfall, making you as “useless” as you see them to be. Any one of them could have been someone close to you. Why would you turn your back on anyone like this?

So I wonder what the point was in the letter. Lazy people are just lazy? Disgusting drug addicts are just disgusting? This thinking isn’t any deeper than the street person’s. I don’t advocate giving money directly to a panhandler, because it’s not the way a decent society should handle their situation. But what do we do for the emotionally ill, the unemployable? Avoiding this because some are opportunists is its own form of laziness. We’d better get our priorities as a society straightened out, because claiming the homeless choose their lives makes all of us their abusers.