Did They Think About Us….

Felicity Jones

1/10/17

IDP

Did They Think About Us…..

A girl named Star was always an inquisitive person who loved a challenge. One day she was taking a drive to her parents house in Mountain View and decided to explore the town before arriving to her parents home. As she was walking down the sidewalk she spotted a man lying on the ground, the blazing cracked dirt searing his dry skin. His face covered with purple bruises and red splotches. He seemed to be sickly and battered(1). His clothes were shabby and he had holes throughout his shoes. A girl  walked up to him to check if he was okay. After walking over to the man she tapped his shoulder to get his attention. He looked at her in complete terror and began to shout, “Don’t take me again. I ain’t did nothing. I can’t go back there!” (2) She slowly backed away as the man continued to mumble to himself about this mysterious place he never wanted to go back to. After listening to the man mumble for a couple of minutes her curiosity started to increase because whatever the man was rambling about sounded semi interesting. After he was finished with what seemed to be a flashback, she cautiously walked over toward the deranged man. He then started with what seemed like a story, “You know them city mayors and cops.(3) Can’t trust ‘em. Never did and never will” The old man squawked. He continued speaking sounding as if he was going to start a story. “What’s your name?” she  asked the man. “Tobias Jango” he stated with a blank face and then started to commence the chant he was saying earlier “I can’t go back there!! I ain’t did nothing. Don’t take me again, don’t take me again, don’t take me again…” she slowly backed away from the man who seemed as if his brain was now soup. Although the parts of the story the girl did overhear seemed to be intriguing. She became very interested with the man’s story and wanted to know where he was sent and why he so badly did not want to return there.  
Later that day Star got onto the computer and logged onto facebook. “You can find anyone on here, right?” she silently murmured to herself in a questioning manner. Star began to search the name Tobias Jango into her computer and surprisingly enough there were more than 100 Tobias Jango’s. After countless hours of searching through all of these accounts, with hopes that a homeless man would somehow have a facebook, she found a woman’s account that tagged a man named Tobias Jango and somewhat resembled the homeless man that she spoke with earlier. “Alexis Bender, huh?” Without a doubt, Star clicked on her account to see if there were any others pictures of him there. “YES!” Star exclaimed with exhilaration. Shockingly enough there was tons of photographs of them together and from the looks of it, they looked as if they used to be in a relationship. Star had a feeling that this could be her route to getting to know Tobias’s story. “Ok Alexis… lets see what you know” Star mumbled. She sent a direct message to Alexis on facebook asking if she had any information about Tobias and his history. “Alright I hope this works” she said anxiously. A couple of hours later a ding sound came from her computer alerting her that she had a notification. “Ugh finally!!” hoping that it was a response from Alexis. As Star studied her computer screen, a wide smile began to appear on her face. Her hand shaking, Star continued to read the message “Hello Star, Tobias is my ex husband. I’m so glad you contacted me so at least I know he is still alive. I am more than willing to give you Tobias’s story after all he put our family through. Meet me at 166 Cardinal way, Burbank, CA on tuesday at 6pm.” Being from Berkeley, Burbank was a pretty extensive drive but I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to dig up the truth. The next day I arrived to Alexis’s house. “Hi, please come in…” Alexis awkwardly welcomed Star into her home. They sat down at her table. “So… What is Tobias Jango’s story?” Star hesitantly asked. “Well, Tobias is my ex husband. He used to be a wonderful husband and father to our children but then he got a new job working at the pharmacy. I began to notice that he started acting funny when he would come after work. He was very fidgety and hyped up throughout the whole night. He also started to come later and later every night. I just new something wasn’t right so I asked him if he was taking some of the pills that he was prescribing his patients. When I confronted him he went crazy, a total temper tantrum. The man that I was standing in front of that night was not the man I married and I wasn’t sure what to do but I knew his recent behavior wasn’t acceptable. I tried working it out with him but he ended up choosing the drugs over me. I filed for divorce. After that, I made sure to keep in contact with him because I was worried about him. I mean for heaven’s sake he was my husband for 15 years. I couldn’t just let him go. After a couple of months, I heard from some neighbors that he was fired from the pharmacy and had no money. Unfortunately, he spent it all on drugs. At first he was stealing the clients painkillers and then it was coke, which led to meth. After a while he was strung out spending all of his money on this. He eventually couldn’t afford to pay his rent and came to me multiple times to borrow money. I know I shouldn’t’ve, but I felt like if I helped him he would come back to me and we could pick up the pieces. But I just made it worse. Turns out he was using the money that I lent him on drugs and he was living on the streets. I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself. After picking up a couple of groceries from the store, I noticed a man begging for money and didn’t really pay any attention to him until I heard him scream my name.homeless-addict1-600x289 I turned around and saw Tobias. I refused to see him like that so I just drove away. I did hire a private investigator to make sure he was ok. The investigator would come to me every week with an update and it seems like Tobias was getting worse and worse by the day. He had added alcohol to his addiction and seemed to be losing his mind. He started to become mentally ill.(4) He began to make friends with the other homeless people and imitated their actions. It was sickening to watch. Soon he was staying in a tent on the sidewalk and cluttering the streets. He was officially a homeless person. 0e751deb5ce58b9bf07850e0782a51166646f7f997d4053190625f827c940cebI hadn’t really thought about him for a while until the homeless relocation law was passed in november. When I first read about the crazy law I didn’t pay any mind to it but the law kept recurring in the news and on the radio. I started to think about all the homeless that were being moved to random cities, states (5) and even countries,it wasn’t fair”. “ You can’t just dispose of people like they’re just some piece of trash” I said,  rudely interrupting  Alexis. “ I’m sorry” I stated apologetically. “It’s alright, you’re absolutely right, what they did was completely wrong and I couldn’t possibly imagine what the homeless were feeling. See the homeless relocation law, as you may know, is a homeless prevention tool to keep the homeless off the streets. They made this law because the homeless were scaring the tourists off from their cities, causing them to lose money because not as many people were buying their products. It’s really just business, all about the sales” Alexis  said mocking the voice of an old sales man. She continued with her story “And instead of building more shelters for all the homeless to go to, the cities decided that they didn’t want to do that because it was expensive.(6)  But that’s just the way the world is now a days. So the mayor of New York (Bill de Dasio) decided to team up with the Bloomberg administration and buy over 200 plane (7) and bus tickets to give to the homeless and ship them off. After that story got into the media other states thought  it was a good idea and hopped on the bandwagon. First it was New York then California and then Hawaii. Hawaii for christ sake! I mean hawaii is supposed to be the nicest state out of all of them.It became out of control and before I knew the majority of the country were relocating people. Imagine how much money that cost based on how many homeless people there are in the united states.homeless-map I kept thinking about this was affecting the homeless and then I thought about Tobias. I mean of course I was slightly concerned because he was my husband for over 5 years. I did still care for him after the divorce and after hearing about the law that was being passed I really began to worry for him. I mean I don’t know where he would be sent, there’s so many possibilities(8) . After a few months of the law being passed, Tobias was sent away. Luckily the private investigator was willing to follow him because he knew how much it meant to me. It turns out he was sent to nebraska. It was not the safest place to be at the time. When he first got there people seemed as if they were afraid of him. Know one would talk to him but only give grimace stares and frown their faces upon him. It was obvious that he was not like nor welcome. Probably because of his appearance. A couple of weeks later he was taken captive by a group of guys. At this point you’re probably thinking why didn’t the investigator do anything and help I thought the same thing but when he came back he explained that if he blew his cover he was fired when he got home. After being kidnapped the guys took him to some warehouse and beat him to no end.screen-shot-2013-05-28-at-12-33-21-am He tried to explain that he was just a homeless man that was relocated to their country and to please let mercy on his soul but they did not care. They mercilessness, the men beat him bamboo branches and spit on his face. Tobias was dropped off in a dumpster, he was bleeding with his face the size of balloon. He cried for help that night but everyone there either looked at him with complete disgust or spat in his face. I couldn’t imagine what it felt like to be completely relocated from your “home” and put in a completely different place. Not only was he not allowed to just be a bum on the street but he got beat for it. After seeing that the investigator couldn’t stand to sit and watch this anymore. He left and immediately came to me and explained everything that happened. I was desolate when hearing that awful story. My heart shattered for him but there was nothing I could do.(1) I thanked the investigator for his services and let him go. Maybe 5 months after that incident happened I had seen Tobias on the street. I was astonished at the fact that he was even still alive. I wanted to stop and talk to him but it seemed like any memory of me was completely gone. He was a lunatic, rambling to himself and yelling at complete strangers. It broke my heart but I had to move on. I never saw him after that.” Star looked at her in complete astonishment “ Wow…. I can’t believe you did all of that for him. And I can’t imagine how he felt having to suffer through that.” Star whispered with sadness in her voice. “Well thank you. This was well appreciated” Star told Alexis trying create a better energy in the room. Star rose from her seat regrouped herself as she got ready to leave. Alexis began to walk her out. “Thanks again for the story, it meant a lot” Star informed Alexis . “It’s fine. I should actually thank you, I never told anyone the actual story. I feel a sense of relief” alexis confessed to Star. “Well i’m glad I           could help, haha” Star enlightened as she walked out the door. “So do I” Star thought to herself as she got into her car.       

1.Homeless people are at relatively high risk for a broad range of acute and chronic illnesses and here is a body of information indicating that homelessness is associated with a number of physical and mental problems.

2.According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. In comparison, only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill

3.In the past decade, cities have increasingly moved toward enacting and enforcing laws that specifically criminalize homelessness in response to their concern about the use of public space

4.At minimum, 26% of the American homeless—165,000 individuals were seriously mentally ill at any given point in time. (HUD 2013) Over 200,000 with any mental illness are homeless. More would be homeless if these were annual counts rather than point-in-time counts

5.They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families or people who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).

6.The scheme is aimed at saving the costs of putting up homeless families in expensive shelters

7.The Bloomberg administration, which has struggled with a seemingly intractable problem of homelessness for years, has paid for more than 550 families to leave the city since 2007

8.They are flown to Paris ($6,332), Orlando ($858.40), Johannesburg ($2,550.70), or most frequently, San Juan ($484.20).They are not executives on business trips or couples on honeymoons. Rather, all are families or people who have ended up homeless, and all the plane tickets are courtesy of the city of New York (one-way).

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