By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Homeless in Hell
Ashamed of myself: I am writing this in response to David Morr's letter (February 3) regarding Jim Schutze's "Sleight of Hand" article (January 27) about the homeless. Recently, I've found myself without a place to live and using many of the resources for the homeless in downtown Dallas such as the Day Resource Center and The Stewpot. I wanted to give my perspective, seeing as how you have to be here to understand it. It's very easy to make statements and offer opinions, good or bad, on the homeless, but you really won't know what it's like until you're there. I have to say that Mr. Morr was fairly accurate in his letter, and while there are exceptions to every rule, I really cannot disagree with his letter at all. No, unfortunately, I don't feel like the exception to the rule, as drugs have gotten me where I am today. I'm trying to turn things around, but it's hard. Thankfully, Dallas has these resources that will help me do so.
Basically it boils down to this: If you could see what I see, you wouldn't be so ready and willing to help the homeless at all. If you could see what I see, you would see lazy people who really and truly do want everything just given to them. You would see people who aren't willing to do anything to help themselves because they have a warm place to sleep and are given food multiple times every day. You would see a group of people who seem to feel they are entitled to what everyone else has. I'm really keeping this brief, but it is so much more revolting than I'm making it sound.
Again, there are exceptions to every rule, but the exceptions are a very small minority. I truly am ashamed of myself, and I am ashamed of everyone else I'm referring to in this letter primarily because they are too ignorant to be ashamed of themselves.
Living, breathing Grinch: I was shocked and appalled by David Morr's lack of understanding of the homeless problem as well as his total lack of compassion and basic humanity. Is this guy for real or just a living, breathing Grinch? His belief that people in this country do not go to sleep at night hungry unless by their own choice is remarkable in both its ignorance and its heartlessness. This guy is so not based in reality. I would hope that he does not represent the majority of Texans--or Americans, for that matter--with this sort of ugly, crass "let them eat cake" attitude. Perhaps if he spent some time in the real world and opened his eyes as well as his heart, he might actually become a real human being. This attitude is shameful and should not be tolerated as it reflects poorly on all Americans who are generally quite generous and caring people. Where is the humanity? This is certainly not a Christian attitude.
New York City
The Big, Bad Woods
Can't see the forest for the tires: Good article on that dismal natural beauty the Great Trinity Forest ("Fear Factor," by Jim Schutze, February 3). I have hiked there a bit myself. Thankfully I did not meet that hound from hell, but I sure saw plenty of tires and roofing material. I think disposal of these materials is contracted out to cheapskate nature-scoffers who dump in the woods to avoid fees cutting into their profits. Check out the White Rock Historic District Web page at http://www.wrhd.org/. Their organization is committed to preserving and beautifying that area. They frequently must do battle with the Dallas powers-that-be. Thanks for bringing attention to this abandoned natural wonder.
Gay, But Only in America
Looking deeper: The article "Gay Caballeros" (by Claiborne Smith, January 13) was well-written, particularly from a sociological perspective as a participant observer. Unlike the obvious ethnic culture, homosexual behavior and health matters on which readers focused, I found something much more profound. Although I am Latina and not gay, I was greatly moved by the human condition that immigrants, especially men, are burdened to live in. They struggle in subhuman conditions to make a meager living, still helping their loved ones from afar, and are alone without the love and support of their families, community and even access to heterosexual relationships. I could see why they don't identify with the American concept of "gay," because it seems like for many it is not a desired preference but rather a function of living limited, practically enslaved lives in a foreign land where they do not have the privileges of American citizens. For this reason, I agree with them as not being gay, because their identity does not seem wrapped up in same-sex relationships; the disease problem, however, is serious, and so I am glad this was a major message.
Yet, looking deeper, more than anything, what we should learn from this article is that the dependence our capitalist economy has on cheap labor at the expense of the human condition and dignity of these laborers says that we see them as expendable animals used for our profit regardless of the depraved effects on their behavior, because we contribute to their inferior human living conditions. We carry a responsibility for all this, if not because they are human, at least because we benefit.