Homeless Bums making loud noise

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Wednesday 19 August 2009 11.24am
i agree...its a fairly inoffensive term that refers to tramps,itinerant workers in the US...have a read of Steinbeck
Wednesday 19 August 2009 11.50am
without wishing to take this topic off subject, it is not 'fairly inoffensive' as is suggested by boroughpaul. Most street homeless people would take offence and, whilst nobody has the right to disturb someone else's home life (as is the main subject matter of this debate), the use of the word 'bum' is perjorative and implies contempt for the 'bum'.

And that's not just me saying that - the issue of homelessness and the label 'bum' was investigated at some length in 1998 in the US, the report of which is entitled "Econmic Resources of the Homeless: Evidence from Los Angeles".

anyway, please excuse my interruption.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 12.22pm
In my opinion, after a certain age I think it's pretty reasonable to hold people responsible for the choices they make in their lives.

If those decisions ultimately result in them causing such a nuisance that they need to be hosed down with cold water in the evening or perhaps penned into a makeshift prison yard, then so be it. If their decisions result in them being called names by those who didn't make the same decisions, then so be it.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 12.31pm
boroughpaul wrote:
i agree...its a fairly inoffensive term that refers to tramps,itinerant workers in the US...have a read of Steinbeck

Yeah, I know. But we're in England and it's not a neutral word to describe someone.

Plus 'bums making a loud noise', as in the topic title has a very different meaning. ;-)
Wednesday 19 August 2009 1.09pm
holding people responsible for their actions is one thing; indeed, punishing them for that is acceptable. Antisocial behaviour is a menace to society and firm action ought to be taken to stamp it out. However, that action ought also to be humane.

Reece makes reference to 'choices' in life; perhaps being an alcoholic is a choice but homelessness is certainly not a 'choice'. I think it is easy for people sat here, typing away at their desks (or at home) to go on about choices, especially when we all have choices, but day to day survival for those on the streets is certainly not a choice that many of them would actively make. I spoke to an old 'bum' the other day who had been set upon by a group of Asian males in a rear (disused) doorway to a block of flats just the other side of Tower Bridge - he had gone there to wait for the soup van. The youths had really given this poor bloke a hammering all in the name of 'fun'.

So, in conclusion, let's not belittle the plight of the homeless.

Reece suggests that "If their decisions result in them being called names by those who didn't make the same decisions, then so be it."

On that basis, what would the forum's response (and indeed that of the public) if we started applying such derogatory and insulting labels to homosexual people, those from ethnic minorities, etc.?

I'm sorry to ramble on about this and I am in no way making excuses for the behaviour of these homeless people which I can imagine must be a nightmare to live with but we must at least some respect for the plights of these people.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 1.48pm
Good point that people who have taken alternate lifestyle choices (or indeed been subject to lack of choice) to ours should not be indiscriminately given "derogatory and insulting labels". I hope my post didn't come across as though I intended that. My point was that if people cause a nuisance at night and commit crimes on your doorstep, I would think it's fine to call them what you like.

Gavin refers to homelessness as not a choice many would actively make. I suggest that the alternative, not making an active decision, is also making a decision - to not make a decision.

I may be wrong, but I don't think it's too much of a leap to suggest that a few strategic or systematic good decisions would have resulted in many people not being homeless.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 2.10pm
i agree that indecisiveness can often lay at the route of the problem but with the problems in obtaining social housing, etc sometimes even a positive decision to seek housing assistance can hit a brick wall and these people are merely placed in night shelters/hostels which they can stay at only during the evening and must leave by 9:00 a.m. or so the following day.

Anyway, I am not going to post any more replies (!) as I am definitely taking this off subject.

Any antisocial behaviour, whoever the perpetrator, is unacceptable and the culprits ought to be (respectfully) brought to book for their behaviour and I wish boroughpaul all the best in his pursuit of a good night's sleep!
Wednesday 19 August 2009 2.11pm
The necessary "strategic decision" is the re-introduction of social shame. I don't say that from a felling of superiority - quite the opposite - but from observation of human decisions around the world.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 2.22pm
I'm not naming the councillor as sadly I cannot actually remember who it was! (it was 2 1/2 years ago in my defense)

My experience of homelessness mainly comes from volunteering with Crisis every Christmas. Actually helping these guys over the course of a week really gives you an insight into how they got that way. I've always believed that even the most stable of people are only 3 events away from homelessness (lose job, family dies in car crash, etc).

Some of these guys have had terrible childhoods and although mine was no bed of roses it simply doesn't compare. I would never judge them for what they are now, for I cannot say if I had the same circumstances I wouldn't end up like them. To say they choose to be on the streets is naive- do you think anyone actually enjoys sleeping in a skip in the winter? You have to have no other option to actually consider that. Noone is that lazy where they won't seek shelter.

I don't think you can criticise them for alcoholism either. Its bloody cold at night, and if I were on the street I'd take anything I could to distract me from the life I was living.

Saying that if homeless guys were anti social outside my home I'd get them moved on and don't think there is anything wrong about it.
Wednesday 19 August 2009 8.31pm
Bum, vermin, scum, yob, paki, paddy, yid, nigger, homo... name-calling risks giving offense even when no offense is intended. Doesn't seem worth the risk to me.
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