#FlashFiction: Shoot me for Jesus

In this piece, a homeless vet writes to a friend. I used a composite of the stories I heard as a therapist who worked with homeless vets in San Francisco.

7/04/2012

Hey Kev

Thought I’d drop you a few lines since this week makes
five years since we left Iraq.

I know you say you ain’t the same without ur leg but I hope
ur feeling better.

I’ll feel hella better when I throw out these pills for crazies.

Why does the fuckin’ V.A. give me pills when I say I need food?

Why don’t shrinks know people go crazy from hunger?

My partner died of AIDS last year, so I got no one to talk to, so I
went to Reno last month.

The ticket was a free one way, so I figured I’d go see family.

That was a big mistake.

My bitch of a sister wouldn’t let me meet my nephew ‘cause I came out gay.

Her Holy Roller husband kept sayin’ he’d shoot me for Jesus.

I told them to kiss my faggot ass!

I spent the rest of my money for a one way back to Frisco.

That’s life for uppity fags and burnt out war heroes.

I keep hoping you’ll send me a card so I know ur alive.

I’d call but I can’t buy a phone.

I get $300 a month General Assistance and it costs $200 for a week in a crap hotel, so’s I won’t have a place for the next three weeks, but please write to that address I sent anyways.

Please.

Love,

Zack

Homelsss people leave messages of anguish on the walls of alleys.
Homeless people write on the walls when they bed down to sleep in Clarion Alley.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018 – revised August 2019

Guilty of Being Sick: Mentally Ill behind bars

The U.S. mental health system treats all mental illness as short-term, easy to solve problems of ‘behavior’.

Most mental health coverage in the U.S. rules out long-term hospital stays, as well as long-term psychotherapy.

For profit psychiatry took the treatment protocols for substance  abuse disorders and decided to use them for everyone, regardless of diagnosis.

I am the first to concede that practicing mindfulness makes life better in general.

But it is not the first line treatment for illnesses that rob the brain of its ability concentrate and use reason.

People sick enough to become homeless need intensive case management and long-term structured treatment facilities.

The ‘prison industry’ wants to fill that need for ‘long term’  treatment.

“Mental health problems are rampant in local jails, often because the illness was a primary factor in the offensive conduct. The cost of caring for and supervising mentally ill inmates makes them two to three times more expensive to house. Once released, they often stop taking their medications, which lands them in trouble with the law and back behind bars.” NYT FEB. 27, 2017

Mental Illness, untreated Behind Bars

Image of an American Flag behind Barbed Wire
Reprocessed Video Grab from Institutionalized-Mental Health Behind Bars by VICE News

An alarming trend has emerged giving private prison profiteers control of person’s fate for life, not just the term of a prison sentence.

The CEOs who built billion dollar empires as partners in ‘tough on crime’ policies are adapting to prison reforms by re branding themselves ‘treatment’ providers.

They see the collapse of our public mental health system as an opportunity
to expand and profit from long-term psychiatric hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ‘correctional’ treatments.

Correct Care Solutions, formerly known as GEO Care, a spin-off of GEO Group, has deep roots in the private prison industry. Although the company has shifted and changed numerous times over the last few years, CCS currently runs seven “treatment” facilities in Florida, Texas and South Carolina, including five mental health facilities and two civil commitment centers.

See more at: Incorrect Care


(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

I do not own the image

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#WordlessWednesday: Regrets

 

 

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share 

‘Regrets’ (c) Rob Goldstein 2018

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