Knock, Knock

Posted: March 24, 2007 in Civil Rights, Compassion, Goals, Homelessness, Money, Police Harrassment

I don’t use drugs and I don’t get drunk. Any of the homeless people who know me will attest to that fact. What little money I do manage to scrape up goes toward our basic needs. Things like food, clothing, bus fare, and etcetera.

These past few days I’ve really been rushing around like a maniac to come up with funds. Here’s why… about a week ago, a young man named John Kelly gave me a laptop computer.  

I can design web sites. Having a computer of my own will allow me to do just that – design web sites. This in turn creates the potential to help move me up and out of homelessness. But, nothing in life is easy as simple as it seems.

The computer has a few software problems, but they’re the type of "glitches" that I can readily fix myself without an extensive amount of time or money. So, that’s not a problem. The place where I’ve hit a dead end it that I don’t have an AC adapter!

When the computer developed it’s software problems, John (who also develops web sites) simply went out and acquired a new laptop since he didn’t have the time to have the other laptop looked at. The one he gave to me wound up on a shelf in the closet, or under the bed, or who knows where. In any event the AC adapter went missing in action. As a result, I have no way to power the thing up so that I can correct the software glitches.

I was so grateful just to have been given the computer that it didn’t bother me that I didn’t have an adapter. I figured: just how hard can it be to get a replacement?

I went to the library to find out what a replacement would cost. They run about $50. No problem. Wrong.

Right now, I don’t have the ability to order one online, so I looked through the Yellow Pages and started making telephone calls to track one down. Nobody in this area has one or can order one. I kept getting the same response: "Just order one online" or buy a "universal" adapter. The price for a universal adapter? The quotes I received ranged anywhere from $90 to $130. Way out of my price range. The $50 price was going to be a struggle to come up with – but $90 to $130 was definitely sky high for me.

Anyway, as I said… I’ve been trying to come up with the funds, but I have to eat too, you know? So I came up with another idea. What if I could find one at a thrift store? Aha! After all, they get all manner of things donated to them. Why not an adapter? Haven’t been able to find one as of yet.

Then I had another bright idea? Would it be possible for me to take parts from different adapters in hopes of making one "a la Frankenstein" – something I could use until I could afford to get the real deal? I figured it was worth a try. So, I ran around finding several adapters and am now in the process of trying to put something together. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – and my toes too.

In the meanwhile… yesterday as I was running around trying to collect all the parts for my makeshift adapter, the San Luis Obispo Police were also out and about looking for someone or other. And as they usual, they went through all of the sites where homeless people in this city are known to sleep when they can’t get into the shelter.

Now, the place I stay is on private property and I actually have permission from the property owners to be there. Despite that, the Police went through my "camp" and actually opened my tent to see if anyone was in it. As it that wasn’t enough, when they left my camp, they left my tent wide open!

I wasn’t there when it happened, but one of the homeless men who stays not very far from where I stay, saw the Police enter and exit my camp.

Is it possible that I had left my tent open? Not likely. There are a couple of possums in the area, so I never leave my tent unzipped. The homeless man who saw the Police enter and exit my camp, was at his camp throughout the entire day and so he knows that no one else was near my tent other than the Police.

Okay, I’m sure that the Police were just doing their jobs. I also know that their job is often times a thankless one. I’m glad that they are there to serve and protect the public. But I’m part of the public too, homeless though I may be. My question is this: If they had been doing a house to house search, would they have left all of the front doors open? Or would they have closed them on the way out?

Also, consider this: I’m on private property. I believe that the 4th Amendment has something to say about citizens being secure in their persons, papers and possessions against unreasonable searches and seizures. Or were their actions justified simply because I am "just homeless?"

At the very least – they should have zipped my tent back up… sigh.

Oh, by the way – if you should come across an HP AC Adapter, part #325112-001, or if you have one you’re will to part with… let me know, will you?



NOTE: Just a few days after this was originally posted, I did receive an AC Adapter.

Thank You to Mary and Andy for the gift!

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