Letters to the Editor 2/15/18
BEING HOMELESS IS A LOT OF WORK
I want to thank you for your article on the homeless (“Homelessness is a lot of work,” Bruce Rushton, Feb. 8). You almost got it right. I feel I can speak with authority on the issue because in a span of four years I went from making $50,000 per year to being hospitalized for a suicide attempt, to homeless in three different cities, to on disability and in my own apartment.
Every story is different, but they all contain mental illness. A lot of the alcoholism and addiction is caused from trying to self-treat that mental illness. I am currently alcohol- and drug-free. I have been drug-free for four years and have drank maybe 4-5 times in the past year.
Most homeless, and there are a couple hundred in Springfield, hate those guys with the signs, are grateful for any help they receive, and would rather die than beg for anything. Often, as in my case, there is no family to help and they have nowhere to turn. They don’t “work” the system out of laziness, but rather learn the system out of necessity. Most of those holding signs are looking for ways to pay for alcohol and cigarettes.
The bottom line is that being homeless is a lot of work. If you stay at Helping Hands, you have to leave by 7:30 a.m. and return by 4:30 p.m. every day. You have to wait in line to eat, shower, use the bathroom, wash your clothes. You also have chores there to do, and that is by far the best place in town for homeless men. After all that, you have to figure a way around town to apply for work, at which point they will tell you that you must have reliable transportation. They also demand doctor visits and counseling sessions. Once you fit all that into your schedule, all you want to do at the end of the day is relax, but you are in a bunk bed in a room with a cement floor with 40 other men, many of whom are sick, snoring and talking.
Homelessness is a huge problem. Thank you for describing it in a fair and unbiased way, and thank you for reading this.
Name withheld by request
In the Feb. 8 issue of Illinois Times, there is an article by Stephen Soltys, M.D., responding to President Trump’s statement following his meeting with Norway’s prime minister, that he would welcome immigrants from Norway. The author of the article provides reasons why he thinks Norwegians do not migrate to the United States.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune on Jan. 13, by Associated Press reporter Mark Lewis, 1,114 Norwegians migrated to the U.S. in 2016 compared to 1,603 U.S. citizens that migrated to Norway. Taken as a percentage of total population (5.2 million Norwegians; 320 million U.S. citizens) Norwegians are over 40 times more likely to migrate to the U.S. than U.S. citizens are to migrate to Norway. It seems to me that we should be asking why these migrating Norwegians prefer to live in the U.S. Could it be that in addition to their higher taxes they must pay up to $12 for a beer or a meal at McDonald’s (per the Associated Press article cited above)? Because the poor are more adversely affected by high prices for products, it would seem that this situation would be inconsistent with principles of a socialistic country such as Norway.
As is often the case when President Trump makes a generic statement or is simply being facetious, the liberally biased media and other liberals try to impugn him by misrepresenting his statements or by literally interpreting a selected word or phrase that was not meant in a literal sense.
I think that what President Trump meant by using Norway as an example was that he prefers immigrants from countries that have traditionally demonstrated a propensity for productivity, innovation and respect for human values and the law.