Got this shot out our condo window. This street person comes around about twice a day, quite regularly, and goes in to the Cafe Fiore to warm up and I assume to use the facilities. I also see her sitting in a chair in front of the cafe when it's warmer. It could be that she lives in one of those shelters that make people leave during the daytime. I don't know. I might ask her sometime. She seems to be living a thought out existence. Of course. How could she survive otherwise?
One of the best newspapers I have ever read is Real Change, the "homeless" paper that people sell on the street here. Just off the top of my head, as it were, and not really having a lot of information, I would say that Seattle's homeless are in much better shape than the homeless in Portland. Not ideal, of course. But having an outlet like Real Change is a real boon to the homeless community. Since we do own property here, I'm trying to inform myself and find out what my obligations are to this population. I will drop in at the local food bank before we leave.
Update: I haven't had time to look things over in the Ballard neighborhood, but there is quite a bit of national interest right now in homelessness. I guess it seems so much grimmer when the weather turns bad. Melissa Harris-Perry had formerly homeless youth on her program who talked about how they ended up on the streets and how they were eventually able to put their lives together.
Obviously, the most immediate and pressing issue for the homeless is always hunger. And imagine what it must be like to be for young people-in most active phase of their lives when they are growing so fast-- to be food deprived. This means that for the homeless enough high quality food is priority #1. So donating to the food bank seems like the first line of help.
The Ballard community is, in fact, doing a lot. The Episcopal Church has a sign out for a "homeless clinic." The church was busy and open to all comers, unlike too many churches which are locked up most of the time. If I have time I'll go there and talk to people. But this has been a very full visit.
We did get in a long walk on the one day that was very pretty. And we got to the local Norwegian crab fest, which I will report on at length at a later time. I am also researching the gun control issue, which is refusing to disappear in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings. I had no idea how urgent the propaganda of the gun industry has become, how worried the gun manufacturers are and how they have been ramping up their efforts in the past few years. Their base of rural gun owners and hunters is shrinking.
I remember how much a part the hunting cult was of Terry's boyhood and his supposed initiation into the guy world. He resisted and rejected it all. We even have a video from a film, made some time in the 40's, of him and his father dressed in hunting gear, carrying their weapons and advancing into the woods. Very corny, but it certainly illustrates the nostalgia cult around hunting. Boys in our neighborhood in the Bay Area all had a BB guns, which they used to shoot pigeons, squirrels and cats. They were the town kids of people who had grown up on the farm. Later on, many got shotguns and killed ducks. These stringy wild mallards were inedible, but oh well. They were just as apt to fish, however, and they caught bass, mostly. I think fishing is bigger where there are the opportunities. Certainly this is true where we live in Hawaii, except for the pig hunters. I don't know much about pig hunting, except that it's the pig dogs that track them and bring them down. I believe many pig hunters hunt with bows.
So here we are with food and dead fowl: This evening will feature Sunday chicken dinner with the family at the Hi Life. We practically live there. I love their food, and their menu is big enough so I don't get tired of of their offerings. It's amazing how much food children need! And a check is going to the Ballard Food Bank and food into the collection drum in the condo entrance, too. With this cold, people need more food.
I've got to say that the more time I spend in Ballard, the better I like it, and the more I admire what they do in the way of community service. I don't admire the covert racism, of some, however, and that is a genuine problem. The Ballard School District was one of the plaintiffs in the recent Supreme Court decision that de facto overturned Brown v. The Board of Education. I think that this is the agenda of a minority, however, who were always anti-integration activists. And this is far from being the all white community it once was. I see lots of positive changes here. There are many very liberal people in Ballard, and we know some of them.