Monday, August 20, 2007

Coming from a Place of Need-- To Rob and Kill You

Recently in Canada there have been three dramatic incidents of violence committed by "The Poor". Giviing this some deep thought, I realized they are not simply victims of globalization and climate change, they are coming from a place of need. You say "WTF!?" Well, friend, I don't blame you for saying "WTF." In fact, I said "WTF" the first time I heard about the poor coming from a place of need. It's a real concept, though, not just a one-off that stuck in my head like a rubber suction-tip arrow.

Coming from a place of need. I wondered. And then, after diligent detective work, I discovered. It's social work jargon. Who'd a thunk it? So let's look at a place of need to find out what we're dealing with, and perhaps in the process we can become fuller and deeper beings of the human type. And following that, allow me to indulge my sense of humor by showing what a place of need is in real terms.

Jo Cavanaugh, "If only it was that easy, wouldn't everybody do it?"

As caregivers, you and I are in exceptional circumstances. We didn't plan on being caregivers, yet here we are. And you know what, I'm no Pollyanna, and it's not always fun being a caregiver.

So how did I make up my mind to be happy even when circumstances are beyond my control?

Let me be honest it wasn't easy.

That's why I want to share this with you, because I've been there. I know how hard it is to be a caregiver for a loved one. I know how hard it is to keep my chin up, to keep smiling, and to carry on when I'm tired, scared, and feeling guilty.

Hi Jo! I just listened to all three tapes. They are fabulous. I was extremely impressed by the content. I would definitely recommend them. I found the women (especially Rhonda and the woman on tape 3 who was struggling with her weight) to be really brave. And listening to the process of working with them was very enlightening and encouraging. I was also really moved by the insight Judy brought in about how Rhonda was coming from a place of need rather than abundance.

That was special, wasn't it? I'd like to thank both the ladies above for sharing with us. Sharing, and I dare say, caring. Yes, sharing and caring.

On now to more sharing and caring, three stories about sharing and caring and being beaten, stabbed and kicked to death in the process. Ah, and before I forget, it's all your fault for being rich and uncaring and unsharing enough.

First, and 81 year old nun gets the boot. Hit the blue words for a link to the full story.

Jonathan Kay on the death of Montreal nun Estelle Lauzon, and the perils of being nice

On Monday, 81-year-old Montreal nun Estelle Lauzon was battered to death in the city's Maison de la Providence convent. Lauzon was known to work in confined quarters with the city's destitute. Since her murder, police have arrested a 31-year-old man who resides in a halfway house for former drug abusers located in a wing of the convent. We don't know for certain what happened on Monday. But the man's arrest suggests Lauzon may well have been beaten by one of the men she was trying to save from his demons.

That was number one. Let's stop right there and look at the mainstream media's take on this before proceeding to the guy who said no to four panhandlers who then stabbed him to death.

Don't blame panhandlers for handful of violent crimes, advocates say

TORONTO (CP) - The defenders of Canada's urban poor lashed out against legislative efforts to curb aggressive begging Monday as a handful of violent attacks in Toronto and Vancouver raised fresh questions about whether governments should be trying to control pushy panhandlers.

Existing laws against "aggressive" panhandling create an unreasonable fear of people already marginalized by society, anti-poverty activists argued following the death of a man from St. Catharines, Ont., who was beaten and stabbed by four people last week after refusing their requests for money.

"When there is a terribly violent incident committed by someone who is a panhandler, then all panhandlers are painted with the same brush," said Beric German of Toronto's Street Health Community Nursing Foundation.


Ontario and British Columbia both have a Safe Streets Act on the books which bans "aggressive" or abusive panhandling and prohibits people from soliciting money at select locations like bank machines and bus stops.

Toronto police Const. George Schuurman defended Ontario's legislation, introduced in 1999 by the former Conservative government, as an effective tool for officers dealing with aggressive panhandlers.

In 2006, more than 900 tickets were issued to people in Toronto following complaints from the community and proactive work by officers, Schuurman said.


Patrick Parnaby, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Guelph, said the recent attacks in Vancouver and Toronto have little to do with panhandling.

"The irony of this whole thing is that we already have laws that deal with people who assault, who assault in groups, who brandish weapons on the street," Parnaby said.

"It has nothing to do with their occupation or status. You don't even have to talk about panhandlers. You have one citizen assaulting another citizen, and that happens every day."

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty warned against overreacting to the Toronto attack, saying it is not necessarily a symptom of something more serious.


Still, Gaytan Heroux of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty argued that the province has responded to the social issue of panhandling and homelessness by repressing street people.

Whipping up fears about panhandlers without discussing the root problems breeds discrimination and prejudice, he said.

Parnaby said Ontario's former Conservative government vilified panhandlers in the name of winning votes eight years ago.

"(Squeegee kids) were (compared) to wild dogs, insects, a plague . . . all this sort of rhetoric that does nothing to help the public understand a very complicated issue, but on the other hand, elevates levels of anxiety."

No one wanted to deal with the complexity of the panhandling issue, Parnaby said, so authorities instead used an expedient measure of crime control.

"You can't come up with solutions to these issues in a 30-second sound bite, and crime pays," he said. "So get on the bandwagon, condemn them as criminals, and walk away the victor."

Then there's the fellow walking down the street who was beaten and stabbed to death by four people coming from a place of need. It was a restaurant where they'd just eaten and had too much to drink before turning to begging for money on the street.

It was my initial assumption that the following comment is a piece of low sarcasm, but now that I think about it for a moment and compare it to some of the commentators I've encountered here and elsewhere I think the writer is simply a fucking idiot-- just like he seems to be on the face of things. He writes:

passin' thru: "Gee whiz with all the social program "budget cuts", the exponentially increasing outsourcing of jobs in deference to "globalization", the emptying of psychiatric facilities...can anyone really be surprised desperate, ruined, or mentally ill folks start "losing it" more and more on their perceived middle to upper class tormentors?!?! Wake up folks, "neo-feudalism" is insidiously taking hold assisted by its' accomplice "savage capitalism", the drones of gubberment doing all the dirty frontline work..."

To which the next comment is:

Unimpressed: "Yes, let's just blame these murders on the victims. That seems fair. Don't hold the perps responsible for murder, that would be unkind. Are you already a Canadian judge or still waiting for your appointment?"

It's in response to this story from a few days ago:

Man dies, four panhandlers charged after stabbing

A man who police say was stabbed by one or more panhandlers earlier this week has died.

Police said 32-year-old Ross Hammond, who was stabbed Thursday after an argument escalated into violence, succumbed to his wounds early Saturday morning.

The victim was walking near Queen Street West and Gore Vale Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m. with a friend when he was approached by panhandlers asking for money, Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux said during a press conference.

Giroux said the two men refused to give the suspects money, and a verbal dispute ensued.

The argument escalated and the victim was stabbed several times in the chest and back. His friend was also assaulted, Giroux said.


Four panhandlers, all in their early 20s, currently face charges of aggravated assault and weapons offences, but Giroux said he expected the charges to be upgraded in light of Hammond's death.

The following suspects are in custody in connection with the incident:
Douglas Fresh, 22;
Nicole Kish, 21;
Sarah McDermit, 22; and
Jeremy Woolley, 21

The suspects are due in court next week. Woolley is also wanted on an outstanding warrant in the U.S., Giroux said.

Charles wrote recently aobut a 91 year old man who had been giving a begging bum $5.00 each day for a week, and then, when he gave another $5.00, the bum attacked him in the lobby of the Catholic Cathedral in the center of the city. It wasn't enough.

Oh, I see it now because I read the copy at the top of the page, that these people are coming from a place of need.

It's not just sentimentality. The problem is that too many people in positions of power actually feel that these cliches are better than relying on experience and understanding of the realities of normal human life as it has alway been and will forever be. social engineering? Tehy can come up with an endless supply of cliches and sentimental platitude and cringe inducing phrases sincerely emoted in public; but there will come an angry time when reasonable people are no longer reasonable, and then, then, then, friend, we'll see the true nature of people coming from a place of murder into the streets.

Stop this rubbish now before it's too late, before people become furious and actually do go crazy and overthrow this regime of sentimental vileness that passes as society. Control it now or face a terrible consequence later, perhaps soon. Stand up and tell the sentimentalists to shut up and stay shut up. Be rude. Be intolerant. Be judgmental. The sentimental crap is all of that and far worse, so take yourself to the edge and scream before others come out and destroy what we have left of our civil society.


truepeers said...

I can see a certain judgmentalism and intolerance being needed, but why be rude about it? Then they just get to write you off, according to their fantasies of saving the oppressed from the angry mob of know nothings. Well it's probably hopeless to try to dialogue with the povertarians. So, again, what's to gain from being rude? Why not try to show them calmly, intelligently, that they are completely mad? Most of them will never get it. But if we can depict their malady well, we can at least hope to save others from catching it. Those who pose as thoughtful must be thoroughly debunked by real thinking.

dag said...

If it comes to murder and mayhem, why would rational people have to be polite? What would stop anyone from seeing murder and mayhem as such?

When we push the boundaries from polite to outraged, then maybe the reality of outrage as the right reaction will strike reasonable people as reasonable.

truepeers said...

They are the outrage (the beyond the pale) and this must be made clear; but in seeing and communicating this must I become "outraged"? Clarity and righteousness is cool to my mind; i've never been a believer that a revelation or conviction needs come hot and furious, though admittedly there are other audiences. I'm not that kind of romantic. I try to refuse to allow my emotions to be largely reactive to leftards. They have no right to make my entire life miserable. And I will not play the outsider to their "professional" "expertise". I will try to speak with authority even when I'm a nobody.

I wouldn't mind being an exquisitely polite and intellectually sound hanging judge for those aiding and abetting murder, though you can certainly make a case for a return to public shaming as a more suitable punishment in most cases. If you're fighting Nazis, would you rather follow a Churchill, de Gaulle, Stalin, or Roosevelt? It seems to me those four pretty well sum up the range of choices.

dag said...

I am concerned that civility is confused with cowardice. Regardless of the courage it requires to maintain an even temper in the face of outrage, one must weigh the impact of reason on the foe: does this encourage him to further outrages? I say yes, it does. Civility is taken by the mad as weakness, regardless of whether it it courage. In dealing with the delusional, one cannot rightly expect a reasoned discourse. In all cases such as this, the first course of action is to staunch the bleeding. That requires measured force. There needs be some recognition of that need and some control to make sure it happens rather than not.

Outrage in the face of outrage is not the same on both sides. One is mad and the other is rational. But it must first be, on our part, a possibility we arrive at by rational discussion rather than a mad rush to vengence. To raise the alarm is to rouse the people to the need to alarm. The assault on a crime is not a crime in itself. To demand action where action is required is necessary and prudent. Not to do so is imprudent at best.

Those who confuse Stalin and Churchill are hardly worth debating. What would be the point in winning over a fool in the first place? If people cannot grasp the a priori, why would we care to deal with them? I have more hope of a pleasant time with my dog to whom the a priori is incomprehensible as well.

truepeers said...

The outrage, as you note, is coming from the halls of our own state - from the social workers, academics, and hangers on. We have a huge bureaucratic class that often acts to make things worse in order better to sell their wares. Their victim games are a big lie that must be revealed as such. But what measure of violence can we hope to impose on them at present without ripping our society apart or being seen as evil ourselves and thus failing to reveal the lie? The feral panhandlers are another matter. Self-defense can be justified. But if you take them on violently in most ordinary situations, expect to go to jail. We can't dialog with the mad; we must win over the sane so that we can simply put the mad out of a job through the legitimate exercise of democratic authority. When the people win back their bureaucracy, they will not have to be very violent, they can just stop paying the blackmail and extortion.

I was thinking of how Churchill always kept civil "Mr. Hitler thinks..." even as he took measures, e.g., to indiscriminately bomb German cities, to do anything to win the war. But for much of his career he was in the political wilderness and was not rude but righteous and persistent with those fools who thought the Nazis could be appeased, keeping his depression to himself. Eventually, when reality was overwhelming, the fools just gave in and admitted Churchill was right.

DeGaulle was rude and largely ineffective. Stalin was brutal and built nothing lasting. Roosevelt was an idealistic and civil Gnostic who came late to the war and ended it poorly, bowing to Stalin.

The povertarians can be confronted in ways that show your truth and courage. But it is not simply a question of being rude or violent. Disciplined righteousness, ontological density, is what we should show and what the Canadian audience are more likely to respect. It is a mistake, often, to stand down from a bully who is testing your courage, but is that really the situation we're in with the social workers and professors? Maybe it is. But their bullying is still much more "intellectual" (Gnostic religion) than physical, whatever the growing signs of the latter.

maccusgermanis said...

Of course rudeness isn't the preferred way to deal with people. But when do you stop throwing good manners after bad?

The leftists argument has never been rational. It is nothing but randomly misinterpreted and carefully manufactured points that give the programed a false sense of buoyancy amidst calmly stated facts. The reflection of a rude attack can be an attempt to speak to whatever decentralized processing may remain in the leftist automaton. Many of these fools will need to be broken before they are mended. I think Truepeers is right to stay true to dispassionate debate. -someone should pick up the pieces- But that tactic is not for everyone. Some of us are carrots, others are sticks. Damn mules gotta move by whichever art.

dag said...

I should probably let this go and move onto something else less contentious, but I'm not that kind of guy. I can write here in some reasoned way about what I wrote above, contradicting anything I disagree with, and refuting (I hope)that which I believe is refutable. I'm not rude about it, even if no one really likes being contradicted. It's more or less accepted that I'll challenge a position I feel is not accurate or beneficial to our collective programme, such as it is. I expect the same of our friends too. They deliver each week in person, and we meet in person week after week because we can and do act civilly and intelligently and rationally. That is the over-all make up of our group of friends. But we are not everyone.

I wish to make two Swiftian points here: Jonathan Swift claims that you cannot reason a man out of something that he did not reason his way into. Most people are not intellectuals; and worse, most of our intelligentsia are not intellectuals in any valid sense. There is no hope of debating with a conspiracy theorist, regardless of the doctorates he might legitimately lay claim to. The context is not one in which rational discussion is needed or wanted when one encounters lunatics with Ph.D.s. There must be different arrows in our quivers for different targets. We must reason well with the reasonable, and we must be reasonable with our selves to the point we know that there are unreasonable people, those who cannot reason or respond to it positively. We have to give the non-rational their due. They are simply not rational. One cannot demand of them something they have none of and do not grasp the need of. We must respect the differences in many people who are not able to discuss rationally anything at all. To enter a debate with them we must engage at the level they engage at. We must, if we must, engage them at a low level of shouting if that's the level they work at, it not being a bad thing necessarily. Nor do we need to convince them of the rightness of our position by doing anything at all; we must, though, make it clear not to them but to others around them that the intolerable is not tolerable. Often our struggle is not to make the irrational agree with us, it is to give permission to others to speak out against the tyranny of the irrational bullies. The irrational cannot be the only ones who shout and intimidate or the rational will be all of the intimidated.

An example: a couple sat in a crowded restaurant recently and allowed their child to scream, rant, throw food, and attack others in the place, all the while no one daring to say a word for fear of causing a further scene. I, being the guy I am, refused to put up with it and shouted at the parents until they got furious and shouted back. But! They found themselves shouted down by a room full of irate and no longer intimidated diners who in chorus screamed at them to go away. They needed permission to do what they really and desperately wished to do but were afraid to do. They got it because I'm completely insensitive to criticism from people like the indulgent parents. It was a very unpleasant sight to witness a room full of angry and seething people who would have, with little encouragement, have gone out and attacked the parents in the parking lot. They first did nothing at all from fear, and then would have attacked people from rage. They needed permission, which I did not give them. There is a limit to manners as bad as mine.

That brings me to my second Swiftian point, a mere modest proposal: that not all that I write is to be taken literally even though it is to be taken seriously. If I write that we should eat Muslim babies, I do mean it in a serious way, but I do not mean it to be taken literally. How will readers know the difference? One must rely on the intelligence and sensitivity of the reader to come to a rational understanding of the text as it is and not as it might be in La-La Land. To take the absurd literally is not a fault in the writer but in the reader, as one sees in seeing the reaction of some highly sophisticated readers reacting to Swift's A Modest Proposal. One cannot, and one must not, baby-sit the world of readers, even if they miss things here and there. I do write on occasion over-blown rhetoric, and it is serious but not necessarily to be read as literal. The reader must have the sense in himself to know the difference without assuming all that is written is literal. that's not to suggest that all is fictional; only that what is absurd on the face of it is absurd but still valid and serious, even if the reader mistakes the sense.

When I argue we must shout at the lunatics, I might mean it or I might not, depending on the situation and the context. When I suggest e hang the umpire I might or might not mean it. It depends on the story, not on my seriousness or lack of but on the reality of the text in question.

There are times when the outrageous must be literal, and times when litotes is the proper trope. DeGaul was a blustering fool, and it worked just fine for the French. Churchill was a dispassionate and rational man till he was not, and it worked for the English. Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats" worked wonders for America in the depths of a depression that could have sent Americans into a fascist nightmare. Stalin, an evil monster, did nothing Human at all. But even that worked, as did Goebbles' propaganda. We cannot limit ourselves to only the best of the best if we are faced with a multitudinous audience. I argue that we must first reach the mass of people and tell them they have permission to rebel against the intimidation of the fascist Left. To stand up to them is to be rude. It doesn't mean we must be rude as a general rule, nor does it mean we must always be polite. I will conclude by arguing only that we must be true to ourselves. It needn't always be this thing or that but it must always be a variation of the same truth fitted for the situation.

As always, I intend to sit and speak and listen like a semi-mature guy at the library. When the security guard comes to chase us out, I will as always smile and joke with him, just as I always growl and gripe when beggars come to us demanding hand-outs. for them this, for the others that. People are not all the same, and some are very much different. We must speak the language each understands.

Anyone who expects I will scream insults at a dissenter who shows up to meet us is one who is also likely to think Swift meant the English should eat Irish babies. One can only shrug and move on to the next project.

truepeers said...

Point taken. You know, Dag that I really wanted to see you make the point because I am curious how minds work. And i think we should push each other because we are not going to get much intellectual work out from the left. The human desire for closure can make us lazy. yes, it all depends on context...

dag said...

The winning edge we have, from Able to Maccus, to Zazie and the lot of us between, is that we are able and eager to be honest. I don't know everything, and I often don't even get the simplest things unless I get pushed into uncomfortable corners where I have to work to reason my way out or admit I was dead wrong. It means, win or lose, victory after victory on a personal plane and for us all, each of us sharing a new grasp of what had lain unknown before. And that extends to all of our readers, those who engage in the debate here as writers and those who read from the sidelines. It is a social benefit to see that we can and do accept this and defend that and abjure the other. All of it civil and honest. That is not just a person pleasure and gain, it is good for the nature of our world, in however small a way it is.

Honest competition is a benefit to everyone. Submission to the one with the biggest stick or the most violent temper or the most sophisticated conspiracy theory is a failure that is, in real effect, a pissing in the milk.

The one thing left for me to do is proofread some time or other. Then my place in Heaven will be assured.