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Demographic Cleansing

be very, very careful - what goes around comes around

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 12, 2014.

Boulder, among its other worries, is trying to implant Demographic Cleansing through the means of smoking bans in public areas. Few see the implications beyond the targeted Demographic: the homeless, transient, mentally ill, and addicted. This demographic lives in the Homeless Shelter in the winter or camps in the parks in the warmer months. The only contact they can sometimes have with civilization is by being a pain or obnoxious to those who pass them by. It's technically possible that some enjoy the life and choose it willingly, but while that may have been true once with hobo communities, I doubt anyone today can sanely claim that..

That's a mythic template from the Great Depression, and it periodically arises when some transients are interviewed by the media as an expression of - not failure to prosper - but a willing choice because of the interesting people they hang with and the fun they have dicing with Death near every day. It's also a handy mental image for those who want to punish them, what with all the folk songs and literature devoted to it that was so common in their own youth. .

What is not remarked upon enough is that the benthics in the community do serve a function and are a necessary fixture for social stability. Their annoying presence gives those on the lowest end of income with bad jobs someone worse off to look down upon and feel superior to. If they did not exist in present form, the natural instinct of pack animals - and we are - is to fixate on whoever is the new low man on the totem pole and sub them into the social template of scare stories and obvious fictions that make those just above feel better about their own status. All participants above and below at least sense the tender areas of ego in each other and go out of their way to poke them at need or out of boredom.

I've been in jail and served time with some of the worst of the street people. I lived on the Pearl St. Mall for years and was of an economic class not different from them for a time. I've seen the near worst and best that arise from them, and I've experienced some of the mental lapses they do and for the some of the same reasons. Incredible lapses in memory, fixations on the unimportant that seem survival level at the time, and bad, really bad, choices made. I know what minimal alcohol on a week where six sandwiches was my total food intake can do. I've dropped fifty pounds in two months and also been obese on white bread, mayonnaise, baloney, and tuna.

Yes, I know depression.

It never got to the point of dumpster diving, and ostentatiously pulling food out of garbage drops on the mall and standing in front of people eating on restaurant patios and chewing loudly with the mouth open a few feet away. I've endured that from others and it makes you want to punch the hell out the culprit, to make them stop but also apologize and somehow admit they are scum or thank you for helping them see the light or somehow have it play out where anyone watching would know you are better than they are, of higher rank and sensitivity. A better person. It's an awful feeling when you realize that's what you are hoping for beyond just closing the experience.

Careful, people.