Before I write this post I’d like to make a statement just for the record. I absolutely do not have anything personal against homeless people in general. Nor do I mock them or make light of their plight in life. Hell, with money being so tight in this very household, I could very well end up in their same predicament some day. Having said that, I think that there is a time and place for the homeless. By that I mean, shelters, designated areas, and places to hold their signs that are not directly next to where I come out of a grocery store, or restaurant. I have, on several occasions, donated some money to the homeless standing at stoplights, and at freeway entrances. Never though, have I ever given money to a homeless person who has run up on me outside a grocery store or restaurant begging for change. During those times while I have been with my children, I worry about their safety and it bothers me to have a stranger approach me in such a manner.
I have viewed homeless sleeping under bridges and in alleyways and have never once complained to anyone about them being there because I understand they need someplace to be just like anyone else. I have sympathy for the homeless plight. So imagine my surprise and confusion when I found two homeless men in sleeping bags laying on the ground just outside the range of my unfenced yard. They were less than 15 feet from my door, and in full view of my huge picture window leading into my living room, that has never needed a curtain due to what I assumed was the privacy I already had.
My daughters had told me late last night as they were walking our dogs in that very area in pitch darkness, that they had heard men’s voices whispering. At the time I peeked outside, but it was simply too dark to see anything, so I told them it was probably just people walking somewhere nearby and the voices were carrying. I stood corrected at first light when once more the dogs had to go out and there they were side by side, in their sleeping bags with a very big pit bull between them. An unleashed, unchained pit bull I might add.
I spent twenty minutes thinking things through as thoroughly as I could. I didn’t want to jump to bad conclusions or make any rash decisions. I had the phone in my hand wavering back and forth on calling the police or not. The decision was made for me when I saw one of the young gentlemen (they both appeared to be in their early 20’s) sit up and blaze up a cigarette. Montana is burning down around us and here he was lighting up in a patch of very dead grass that ashamedly I had not mowed as much as I should have. It would only take one second… one small mistake… one tiny little ember to set that grass ablaze and there would go my house and my entire life. Add in the fact that them being there in the darkness while my girls had been just within a few feet of them, totally unawares made me very uncomfortable and I found myself dialing that number.
Within a short amount of time, the Sheriff’s office sent 2 armed officers to speak with them. During that time I watched them spark up several more cigarettes amongst the two of them, and I cringed each time praying that none would be left burning when they left. What was said, I am not sure, but it clearly appeared as though the officers were sympathetic to their homeless plight and did not like having to usher them away. Admittedly this angered me a little and made me feel guilty. Did I mention they whipped “it” out and peed in full view of my girl’s bedroom window after the policemen left? Was I being selfish?
I do not believe that I was. When safety is a factor I fully believe that I did the right thing by having them move.
What are your thoughts? What would you have done?