62 Seconds of Soul Murder in San Francisco

Homelsss people leave messages of anguish on the walls of alleys.
Homeless people write on the walls of the alleys in which they sleep.

This November, San Franciscans will vote on a proposition to ban
homeless encampments and to allow police officers to remove
the people and their possessions within 24 hours.

Proposition Q.

The Tent encampments are new.

The homeless used to sleep in doorways.

The tents are provided by nonprofits like Tents-4-Homeless.

Plenty of mentally ill people still sleep in doorways because they’re
too too disorganized or depressed to care.

Surely, the sight of homeless tent encampments against the backdrop
of one of the wealthiest cities in the United States is a vivid example
of the corrupt squalor of our wealthy elites.

“There is “illegal activity of every type” occurring in the encampments and “this
should not be allowed in any civilized city.” 
Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco
Chamber of Commerce
.

A hospital tossing the sick and disabled onto the street is legal, you see.

My solution is to fully fund mental health, restore the option for long-term in-patient
treatment to the mental health system, and revise commitment laws to make it easier
for families to get their loved ones into treatment.

Jim Lazarus went on to say that The City should, “put people into shelter  by our standards
of humane treatment and not the standards that the homeless people may want us to abide by.”
San Francisco Examiner

I don’t know what to make of that statement, I’ll let you decide.

The term Soul Murder describes the effects of child abuse.

I define Soul Murder as the willful hurting of people who are helpless and
relatively innocent.

Soul Murder is always an abuse of power.

It’s all too easy to imagine that the Third Reich was a bizarre aberration, a kind of mass insanity instigated by a small group of deranged ideologues who conspired to seize political power and bend a nation to their will. Alternatively, it’s tempting to imagine that the Germans were (or are) a uniquely cruel and bloodthirsty people. But these diagnoses are dangerously wrong. What’s most disturbing about the Nazi phenomenon is not that the Nazis were madmen or monsters. It’s that they were ordinary human beings.  Less Than  Human, The Psychology of Cruelty

A man at a muni stop at Church and Market Street in San Francisco, Califiornia
A patient recently discharged from a hospital to the Street.
I took a walk to my dentist last Thursday.

My dentist is over on Powell and Sutter Street.

I chose to walk along Market Street.

My Walk to the dentist takes about thirty minutes.

Below is 62 seconds of that walk,.

5 chance encounters with people whose public suffering is palpable
and unnecessary.

I’ve arranged these short videos in order in which they were made.

62 seconds of random soul murders in one short walk in San Francisco.

San Francisco’s wealthy property owners want to banish their sins:
these victims of forty years of tax cuts and privatized medical greed.

But our sins are the sins of our nation.

We know what we have to do…but we choose instead to dehumanize
and scapegoat the  victims.

I’m not a wealthy man.

I don’t travel by limo and plane.

When people have no where to
piss but the street

I have to smell it.

I’m not a wealthy man, I can’t
shit where I eat and jet to the
illusion of a cleaner place at
the table.

 

A homeless man asleep on Dolores street
A man sleeps on bare concrete on Dolores Street

 

All Content (c) Rob Goldstein  2016

 

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27 thoughts on “62 Seconds of Soul Murder in San Francisco

    1. Linda,

      Gut wrenching how I feel every time I leave my apartment to walk the City to see this brutality on almost every street.

      I realized the day I took these videos that deeply I resent the overall degradation of the quality of life in the U.S. because we have normalized the unthinkable. Every day people are forced to numb their souls to survive.
      Is it any wonder that we seem to be a nation pf [people who don’t know the difference between right and wrong? I wonder how many Germans kept silent because they feared the abuse that Nazi government heaped on enemies of the State.

      Homelessness is brutal and heartless and it is a betrayal of Kennedy’s vision of deinstitutionalization.

      Our Government was supposed to fund outpatient services to replace the State Hospitals.

      Homelessness is also a weapon of control. A guy may hate the job that barely pays enough to feed and house his family but the alternative is a terrifying.

      I hate that Americans have let this happen and that that 40 years after Reagan began this nightmare Americans continue to pretend that there isn’t a solution..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What I’m going to do this year is vote for Hillary Clinton because she has a plan to restore funding to mental health that guarantees mental il;illnesses are treated the same as physical illnesses.

        I would de-privatize our medical system since it obviously does not serve the interests of the patients.

        The thought of my body and mind as a commodity for the exploitation of men and women who are already to rich disgusts me.

        I regularly write to the director of my health plan to complain about the lack of real psychiatric services at Kaiser and when necessary I file complaints with the California Department of Managed Care.

        I vote for State representatives who believe that we need to fund group homes and subsidized housing for people who are mentally disabled.

        I campaign for any proposition that seeks to increase funding for community mental health,

        If the I had the power I would roll back laws that make it impossible for families to get loved ones into treatment: a legal system that does not recognize the devastating effects of mental illness on a person’s judgement is lethal to people with mental illnesses.

        So that’s what I do…

        And I write this blog and use it to encourage everyone who can speak out to do so for those who can’t.

        If there are degrees of luckiness than I am one of the lucky ones. My illness does not always interfere with my concentration and intellectual functions.

        Most of the people I see on the streets are so sick and beaten down that they are unable to advocate for themselves.

        Like

  1. At times, it baffles me how a city can have such despondency around it and everyone walks around like it’s fine and dandy. It’s unbelievable to think that all these folks are druggies and good for nothing because most of them are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The people I choose to photograph usually show the symptoms of Schizophrenia.

      I spent years working in mental health before I became too ill to work. I focused on treating people with Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder.

      The people I photograph are on the street because they’re too sick to get in doors.

      It is inexcusable that our Nation treats its mentally ill citizens with such callous disregard.

      This is not an issue of have’s versus have nots.

      This is really a matter of common decency.

      I don’t know how anyone thinks we can get rid of corruption in our politics when we walk past and silently blame the evidence of that corruption in our everyday lives.

      If people want to show their outrage at the establishment; then demand that it end homelessness now!

      It’s not as complex as most people want to think.

      It’s as simple as using your government to create change.

      Like

  2. Man needs to have someone to blame, so why not the rich? It is unfortunate, but the reality is that many homeless are suffering from mental issues. Some of the homeless may be from wealthy families, we don’t know. When you have been around and know those with mental disabilities, families can do only so much. Long ago families could take over and place family members in institutions and sometimes that was abused. You can’t do that anymore. If they are like my mother was, she could sound and be very coherent when and especially with people of authority or anyone who could determine her fate were around. Such are the abilities of a split personality schizophrenic. So how do you prove they need help? Imagine a teen trying to get help for their parent and HIPPa gives you no right to intercede. You don’t know the helplessness of family members in a situation like that. Many homeless, even if you gave them the moon would be right back there in a short amount of time. YES! Something needs to be done, but the dilemma is what? What will effect the change needed? I’ve permitted many homeless to remain encamped at the bottom of my hill, I happen to know that those down there work and hold a job and have a nice tent and “home” below. They seem fine and clean. But not all my neighbors feel that way. They are afraid. They are afraid those below will set fire to the timber and brush which would then destroy our homes. They are afraid they will loot our homes or do someone harm, assuming they would. We are not wealthy, but I’m not going to blame the haves for what I have not or what anyone else has not. At some point everyone must assume a measure of responsibility for where their lives are at. What I live on would make most people cringe because it’s not much, but poor planning on my part does not give me the right to expect anything from anyone that has more than me. I help those with less whenever I can. YES, it’s sad, very sad but lets not be too quick to judge. The solution is not an easy one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Homelessness was not a part of my world as a child. I feel almost as badly for the generations that have had to normalized this.

      How can we talk about justice and freedom when we treat our own citizens like dirt.

      How can we talk about ‘principles’ when we let people die on our streets from lethal neglect.

      We’re insane if we think we can claim American Exceptionalism. What are we exceptional at: Hypocrisy? Greed? Superstition? Inequality with a static class system?

      What made us exceptional was that we made sure that the people got the tools they needed to make productive lives for themselves.

      Forty years after Reagan and we’re just another third world country ruled by a greedy international corporate elite.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I wonder why Human Nature knew it was wrong to let the disabled suffer on the streets when I was a kid but human nature doesn’t know that now.

        Was it ‘The Greatest Generation’s’ proximity to the suffering of the Great Depression and the horror of the death camps in Germany?

        Does each generation have to have its own holocaust in order to understand how wrong it is to kill people for merely existing?

        Most of the medical conditions from which homeless people die are a direct result of lethal medical neglect.

        So forty years of disabled people dying on the streets of the
        United States constitutes a kind of holocaust.

        When does human nature wise up and realize that it’s wrong…again…?

        Like

  3. It’s so hard to comprehend
    When a society turns it’s back
    On their own
    But it’s been happening for
    A very long time
    The priorities of society
    Act first than ask why
    Health care is a business
    No a solution
    It doesn’t solve problems
    It creates them
    The Sheldon Perspective

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s horrible…to walk the City is to see seen of utter wretchedness right next to oblivious opulence. It reminds me of a scene from Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu:

      We are beset by a plague of mindless parasites that are determined to strip us of our humanity.

      Like

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