Wednesday, March 17, 2004
I was all set to do a more upbeat post and answer all the e-mails I owe people tonight but no more. I spent a great couple of hours with a new dinner group, giving a tour of the shelter, answering questions and having really good discussions on homelessness. Most of the group were Unitarians and, true to my usual experience with Unitarian volunteers, they were an active, interesting, well-informed bunch. I was on my way back to my office and PC when one the shelter staff pulled me aside to tell me that a man I knew who'd stayed in the shelter was killed today. The guys were saying that he was beaten to death. We lose people all the time to cancer and heart disease and sometimes to the long term use of drugs or alcohol, but we've lost way too many people to violence lately. At this point, we don't know who was involved in the murder but beatings from youth and other people outside the homeless community are more and more common. Parents and community leaders set the tone for this sort of thing. If poor people are portrayed as drains on society, their lives aren't going to be valued.