Naked Man Reported at Expo

Ben is a good friend of mine and has been for quit a few years now. Ben has been struggling with some personal issues lately. He has made some mistakes in his life lately, he recognizes that he's made some poor choices, and is learning lessons as he struggles to correct the mistakes he has made. John S. Mccullough posted some very judgemental and exaggerated comments on May 19, 2012 at 11:06 am in a discussion about those types of people. My friend Ben is not a creep or pathetic as he so put it, he's just having a difficult time in his life right now. I agree, he should have made better choices and handled things differently, but he didn't and he can't change what's already done. He can only go forward from here. That day at the fairgrounds, Ben was just trying to clean up before he went to work. He was homeless and was doing exactly what many homeless people do as well as myself a time or two in my life to get by. We have to look presentable when we go to work, so how can we make that possible when we are homeless? We find a public bathroom to use to wash up so we don't smell and change our clothes. When I was 17 I had run away to San Francisco and was homeless. Just because we are homeless and on the streets doesn't mean we have to look and smell like the bums sleeping on a piece of cardboard on the sidewalk begging for change to buy alcohol. I went to a bathroom at Pier 39 every morning at 6:00am, before the crowds arrived, and cleaned myself up. I sponged bathed in the sink, put on a clean pair of clothes, then washed the clothes I was wearing in the sink, dried them with the hand dryer on the wall, combed my hair, put on my makeup, cleaned up any mess I may have made, gathered all my things, and left to go start my day. No one knew I was homeless cause I didn't fit the description of what society imagines most homeless people would look like. Ben was simply trying to clean himself up and change his clothes. Granted maybe he should have gone at a time when the least amount of people would be around, ok. He certainly wasn't trying to freak anyone out or cause anyone any problems. As far as John S Mccullough is concerned, Ben is nothing like the picture he painted of his viewpoint of what these types of people are. He stated, "These people often have violent histories and are found to armed with firearms and/or knives." (Ben is not a violent person, he doesn't own or carry a gun, and if he has a knife , it's a pocket knife for use as a tool just like most all other men who carry a pocket knife.) "These people are not harmless. Pathetic? Yes. Need help? Yes. At the expense of our collective safety? No!" (I guess it's true. We fear what we do not understand! By: Wanda Sykes - Stand Up Comedian) " Also, I have several occasions to visit Humboldt County (not what you think...lol) and have had a chance to observe what it's local culture has really spawned, giving me a chance to reflect on the long-term effects of the 60's. There are many pathetic, marginalized souls wandering around, inhabiting the streets and town square areas (Arcadia, for instance). It is filthy, among other things. Lots of multi-generation abuse problems. A sad way of life for many. The Latino population has many connections available for drug use." (He talks about these types of people as if they had mutated into a subhuman species, no longer human beings. Just pathetic, marginalized souls wandering around, inhabiting the streets and town square areas. I'm feel kind of sorry for him. It has to be hard living in such a limited existence such as his and it caps the number of options he has when making a life decision. When you claim to be an expert and have a full understanding of a subhuman class of people. You can't and you wont be taught any different because you have already convinced yourself that you know everything there is to know and there isn't anything new that you could teach them. Therefore, they have limited and capped their learning ability to become any wiser than they already know that they are.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 13, 2013 at 01:29 PM
I'm sorry, Marlene, but Ben has been making poor decisions for a while. "Ben has been struggling with some personal issues lately" only counts if you mean the last 3 years as "lately". Has he mentioned the arrest in Vallejo for commercial burglary (planned copper wire theft) on Mare Island 2.5 years ago? I'd say been has needed help much longer than "lately".
Harold Edwards June 13, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Homeless is just not a problem for Ben,it's a Problem for many that is going to get worse.We have animal shelters and you seldom see stray dogs.We care more about animals than human beings. We need to have something for stray people a place where they can sleep,eat,clean up get help.Maybe start a WPA or CCC.Where they could use them to clean up the highways fight fires,road work etc.Pay this with federal money,look at all the money we spend in other country's on war's etc.Lets keep our door step clean and spend a little less time trying to take on the Worlds problems.
Ash Leigh June 14, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Harold, there is a homeless shelter next to the new theater. They provide food, a place to wash and a place to sleep. Road Work and fighting fires requires "skill." You can't just give that job to anyone. Some homeless do work. They are not all bums. Most homeless, could care less about working or volunteering. That is the main reason why they are in the position they are in today. Good luck trying to get them to pick up some trash - they won't even make it to their AA meetings (that are free and provided by many different organizations).
Harold Edwards June 14, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Yes you can give a job to anyone.Like they say give a man a fish he eats for a day,teach a man how to fish he eats for good.If they don't want to learn at least you have tried.I wish I had the answer to this problem.It's a problem I see that is getting bigger.I feel sorry for these people & there family.But Im sure a lot of them don't have a family network.
Kimberly Olson June 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM
It is easy to judge people from a distance. All of us have up and down times in life, none of us have the same internal or external supports to deal with it all. Maybe those among us who feel superior could try to take a moment or more to see life from the perspective of someone who (even from a position of pain or vulnerability) has too much pride to accept the stigma of being in need of the social translation of "the lowest of the low" homeless shelter or addiction counseling. It feels good to try lifting others up rather than tearing them down; Maybe your smile or expression of something other than disgust could make a positive difference to move a person in need toward help.
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau June 14, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Lo! And behold! If you check today's (Friday, June 14) Fugitive page on Napa Valley Patch you will see Benjamin Paz, the one and same who was arrested for being naked at the Expo.
Kristina June 15, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Marlene, you sound like a very understanding and caring person. Your "letter" was also very well written. Regardless of what others say or what the truth is, your viewpoint is refreshing and positive...especially when all people seem to do these days is point the finger, criticize and judge others. Thanks for the breath of fresh air.
Ray Richards June 15, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Thank you Marlene for your story, It is a tragic and difficult life that many homeless people have to live and I always thank my god that I have been more fortunate. I would like to respectfully suggest though that you break your future comments (and I hope there are many more) into paragraphs to make them easier to read. Thank you and I hope you well.
jennifire June 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM
A wise person once said, "Each of us are just one fact pattern from becoming homeless ourselves."
mmdoggie February 25, 2014 at 12:58 PM
Harold, They also have the hope center where they can shower, wash their clothes, get messages, and look for work. Sometimes though going from one job to the next, you don't have time to go all the way down town to do this.
mmdoggie February 25, 2014 at 01:00 PM
Thank you Ray for the pointer. You make a good point.
mmdoggie February 25, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Thank you Kristina. It's nice to hear that sometimes. I appreciate it very much.
mmdoggie February 25, 2014 at 01:25 PM
Unfiltered Steve Simoneau, To answer your question, yes. Lately has been more than 3 years or so. I've known Ben for over 10 years now. Planned copper wire theft? What does that mean? Were you there? I do know about that arrest as well. I know just about all there is to know about my friend. All though I don't approve or condone some of Ben's choices in life, I do understand what he is going through. Each time he makes a mistake, I'm not happy about it, and it doesn't make what he did ok to do. Can you say, you have never made mistakes yourself? I know that I can't. I've done stupid thing and had to face my own consequences for them. I have and moved forward with my life. For some of us though, we don't move forward so easily and sometimes we need to learn the lesson more than once to realize how we can change it permanently. I realize it can be hard to be patient with some people. Especially after seeing them make the same mistake again and again. Knowing that I myself have been there having to learn a lesson more than once and wondering how I ended up down this same path once again, I try to be the friend that I wish I had had back then. I try to be understanding and patient and be there for them to take that 1st step forward. Reassure them that they can make changes in their life. Help them with the strength that they lack to do it on their own. I have my approach and you have yours. You go a head with yours cause it's helping so many people right? It's changing so many lives and making a difference in others? After all, it works for you right? Who knows, your sarcasm and approach maybe exactly what someone needs to hear in order to change. It does take all kinds to make this world go round. I can't possible think that I can reach everyone with my approach and ideas. So, welcome to the team!


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