MOLA:42’s Guide to the Search for Elsewhere
The other day I was reading in the on-line Times Standard (manfully dodging the many “pop up ads” like a Kung-Fu Master) that the City of Fortuna had come to an agreement to clean up the “National 9” motel. It sits at the “Gateway to Downtown” on the north end of Main Street.
This is really good news for Fortuna. The National 9 is an eyesore and a focus of trouble for Fortuna (over a thousand police calls for assistance in the last decade). It’s not the kind of “Welcome to Downtown Fortuna” greeting we want to lay out for folks.
True, we see Broadway in Eureka lined with the like but this is Fortuna after all.
Personally, I’m thrilled. The owner plans to refurbish inside and out, remove the kitchens in the rooms and encourage short stay tourist clientele as opposed to the current longer stay drug emporium denizens.
Typical Party Scene:
“Oh no! He’s doing the Dark Thoughts thing again! What’ll we do?”
“Quick! Pick him up, carry him outside and toss him in the bushes.”
“Won’t he die of exposure?”
“Nah, he’ll probably survive the night.”
“Look, do you want him in here Dark Thoughting all evening?”
“All right then. Somebody get his feet.”
My Dark Thought is simply this… where will the current residents, who are short on the social graces and long on misbehaving, go?
Do they just dissolve out of our space-time continuum never to be seen again?
No, they go “Elsewhere.”
But is that true? If the Arkley –inspired fever dream becomes reality and the City of Eureka clears out the homeless from under the bushes and on the sidewalks… what happens then?
According to some commentators (especially anonymous ones on the LoCO) we can of course shoot them. Or load them on a boat, take them out to sea and drown them. One delightful suggestion I found was simply give “them” all the meth and heroin they wanted until they all died of overdoses.
If the above is as far as your thinking goes… then we don’t have that much to say to each other.
For the rest of us, the question needs an answer; where do the 16 or so (on average) customers of the National 9 go?
The answer (again) is: Elsewhere.
“They” decamp, find another spot congenial to their needs nearby and… there they are; a pest to polite society all over again.
We call this sort of thing the Law of Unintended Consequences but really it is not. It is merely our hope that the “Elsewhere” we are talking about is far away from the rest of us (and it rarely is).
Every time we empty out the bushes or clean out a Dead End Motel we have created a new pack of humans we do not know what to do with. Left to their own devices they find another Dead End Motel or another bush to camp under. Nothing changes. “They” have nowhere else to go.
That is not what I call “good planning.”
“We could just give ‘them’ a bus ticket or a Sheriff’s deputy-chauffeured ride out of the county. That works.”
No it doesn’t.
Our neighbors, who are now none too pleased with us, can just mail the offending persons right back to us C.O.D. And send along a few of their friends too.
As a culture we need to accomplish more in our thinking than, “Do Step A. Finished.” As in, “Move the bums along. Job done.”
If we really want to achieve anything, then what is necessary is there needs to be a Step B, a Step C, a Step D and on and on.
That kind of reasoning tends to hurt people’s thinkers (it hurts mine).
Going beyond “Step A-Only” thought requires actually figuring out why are “those” people here? Trust me, it is not the bountiful local welfare services (Humboldt’s is no different than any other county in California) and it’s not the lovely weather (spend a night outside on the coast in just your clothes as an experiment).
“Why are ‘they’ living under the bushes, in tramp motels or in last stand rentals? Why don’t ‘they’ get a job?”
I imagine a good many do have a job. But the hours for them are probably short and certainly the pay is… minimal (the recent “crossbow killer” who lived in the bushes had a job; that’s how he paid for his crossbows).
And ask yourself this… if you felt you had no place in polite society… absolutely nowhere you could go… what would YOU do?
“Get a job and pull myself up by my own boot straps. ‘They’ can just crawl out from under the bushes and get themselves a good paying job somewhere.”
But what if “they” already have a job? What if “they” are trying to raise “their” kids on what little “they” earn? What if the “good paying” places do not want “them”?
What if “they” finally realize that the Middle Class is being exterminated and admission to what is left of it is limited and jealously guarded?
What then should “polite society” be to “them”?
I don’t know about you; I expect I would hate it with all my being. I would be a “them,” no longer a part of “us.”
I am not talking about welfare and charity. I am talking about including everyone into the essentials of our society and allowing them the benefits that they earn.
We, as a society, must recognize that making a building “pretty” will not cause the problems to go away.
We, as a society, need to come to grips with the fact we all need meaningful work at meaningful wages.
We, as a society, need to realize the “One Percent” cannot buy enough “Stuff” to keep the “One Percent” fat and sassy.
We, as a society, need to realize that any culture is comprised of ALL its parts, not just the “nice non-disposable” parts.
We, as a society, need to realize that the “they” which are no longer useful to us and who no longer contribute are a construct of our own making.
When we, as a society, are doing our planning and “Step A” becomes, “Be Human, Be Wise”; then perhaps we shall have a better idea what Steps B through Z should be.
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Standard Disclaimer: My opinions are my own and not necessarily those of the Tuluwat Examiner. I am not on the staff of the Tuluwat Examiner. I don’t even know who these people are. But I have learned that this Fourth of July the Staff of the Tuluwat Examiner eagerly sold the “Aerobic” brand fireworks (marketed for the health, safety and environmentally conscious). In a nutshell, “Aerobic” fireworks don’t do anything, causing the frustrated “pyro-technician” to angrily jump up and down on the box of duds thus getting their daily recommended physical workout.
The Staff of the Tuluwat Examiner got their aerobic workout fleeing before a mob of their customers.
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