Recently I was on the bus, riding through an area of the city where many homeless youth congregate. It was about 7:00 p.m. and still light outside, when the bus pulled up to a stop. I looked over and I see this kid, with several others surrounding him, smoking a crack pipe. I stared at him, he met my gaze unflinchingly--I don't know if this was a result of the crack or a result of his brashness in general. I then looked away and blinked, because I had to make sure that this was not actually happening. When I looked back he had passed it to a friend who had his back to me, but was still positioned in a way that allowed me to see that he was taking hits from the pipe. So I sat there a minute letting it all sink in and when I 'came to', I realized that two other people had been sitting at the windows closest to them and hadn't even flinched or looked or said anything. I thought that perhaps these people had never seen people smoking crack pipes. I was appalled, this was happening in broad daylight, at the bus stop, AND these were kids. WHAT THE FUCK??!!!?? I knew others had seen this. But they were just sitting as if we didn't just see KIDS smoking crack at the bus stop.
It got me thinking about how anesthetized we are to the plights and suffering of others. I mean, I am here in Seattle and everywhere you look there are nut balls walking the streets, homeless or drugged out and there they are. Everybody just looks at them, the city, clearly overlooks them. This IS NOT liberalism, folks, this is indifference. It's not cool to have a place called skid row (road, actually) and have lots of people on the skids living there, still. People turn a blind eye to these things. This is one of the reasons, the major reason actually, I had to stop teaching. Kids suffering, not getting what they need, because those in charge want to maintain the status quo and continue to get paid their fat bonus checks and salaries...I can't take it. It makes me sick and angry. Here in this place, there is an area where all the homeless people kick it (they are all over actually but especially concentrated in the Skid Row area, which most Seattlites know as the area in and around Pioneer Square and Yesler Way specifically) and another area, the U-District, where all of the homeless kids hang out. I saw in a bookstore window that someone had published a book of photos of these children. What?!? They need homes and services and food and drug rehabilitation, not their pictures taken. Believe me I know that issues surrounding homelessness and drug addiction are multi-tiered, but they need to be addressed. It is disgusting that we live this way in the 'free' world. Even moreso, when I realized that we're pumping cash into a useless space program and, God, I don't even want to go further with this...
Anyway, you may wonder what I did after seeing the crack-smoking children at the bus stop. Well, I got up and let the bus driver know and then, I called the police, because while I have a huge problem with the po-po, I have an even bigger problem with kids or anyone else, for that matter, smoking crack at a bus stop in broad daylight.
Now, I've seen some shit, but never anything that bold even in Englewood on Chicago's southside, the murder and drug capital of the city. Come on now. You will not smoke crack at the bus stop.