Just Like SPAM

Posted: September 10, 2007 in Homelessness, Morality, Veterans

Lately I’ve been getting quite a few e-mails telling me that I’ve won the lottery in the UK, or from "individuals" who claim they have access to large sums of money, but for some reason or another can’t withdrawn the money from their banks unless it goes through an American bank. They all have the same bottom line. If I follow the "instructions" they outline I could end up with a boatload of money. All of those e-mails are nothing but scams of one kind or another and I end up just reporting them as SPAM.

What bothers me most about that type of e-mail is that even with SPAM blockers, some of they still are able to filter through the system and end up in my e-mail box, and then I have to go through the procedure of having to waste time deleting them. And it’s become more than just a bit annoying.

There are a number of homeless people my other half and I have met who are just as annoying because they are also out to scam whoever they possible can.

Although I don’t always succeed, I try giving most people the benefit of the doubt, but there are some who I just don’t particularly trust right from the get go. For instance –

There is one homeless gentleman I know – a Viet Nam veteran – has been homeless now for about three and a half years. He’s a pretty nice guy, but he does suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and so he sometimes has a hard time socializing in large crowds.

Because he is basically a good person, he tends to get taken advantage of – especially by some of the homeless women who lack scruples. They come to him with their sob stories and invariably he ends up getting the short end of the stick – and come the end of the month, he finds himself broke and having to go out each night trying to collect enough aluminum cans and plastic bottles to take to the recycling center to feed himself the next day.

What a person does with his or her own money is up to them, and it’s not my place to tell someone how to live their life. But it’s really hard for me to keep my mouth shut, especially when I see the "sharks" in the water. And so, from time to time, I’ve told him that it’s not a crime for him to think about his own welfare instead of worrying about anyone else.

Usually he admits that I’m right and that he does need to be more selective who he helps out, but then, because he has a compassionate nature, he finds himself giving money to someone else that comes along with a "woe is me" story.

What makes this situation all the more tragic is that I keep writing about how we should do whatever we can to help the homeless, then the scammers come out of the woodwork and I’m left feeling as though perhaps it may not be worth it.

But then I think about people who are homeless like the gentleman who I’ve just written about, those who are not scammers, those who have found themselves in an extremely unfortunate situation and are just trying to do they best they can to simply get by and I realize that there are indeed those who do need our help.

And so – here I am – still writing things down for everyone else to read about.

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