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How it Happens | Homelessness Made Easy


slavery memorial
Originally uploaded by Murky1

For all the complaints and accusations I hear about homelessness, drug addicts, alcoholics, and so forth, I’m surprised there are so few complaints about landlords, dealers, growers/manufacturers,  and all the various businesses; many of whom are legitimate businesses. As long as there is a market to sustain a livelihood off the decaying compost of humanity, there will be a place of meagre enough comfort that allows the vermin to survive, and the pestilence to continue. (yes I’m having fun with this one)

The purpose of this article is not to condemn the homeless, addict, etc. It’s actually to inform you of another perspective on the situation. Here in Vancouver, I’ve often heard people express that this is a new problem, made worse since – in one example – 1986. Yet, more than a decade ago, studying British Columbia’s history, the trail of evidence is easily followed throughout the century as to just how much human slavery existed here. Not the usual kind of slavery mind you, something a little different. Nor is it anything new, here or anywhere else in the world.

British Columbia in its beginnings was a very isolated wilderness, and has been far longer than any other part of Canada. Yes, a port city, but even in that the channels open for ellicit goods to arrive, opium, alcohol, and … well, you get the point. We haven’t even touched on other social issues, and other external forces. Just recognize the trap.

The slavery of a peddler of such goods getting you hooked, helpless, and they make it easy, comfortable, by catering to your every weakness. You may not realize this, but they know the path to lead you upon so you’ll reach that slippery slope. Anyone who has been exposed to such neighbourhoods or people for any length of time recognizes this reality. Anyone with any bad habit they want to break knows that. Anyone with experience procrastinating, sleeping in an extra 20 minutes, or not eating that midnight snack, knows exactly what this slippery slope is like – how unsuspecting.

“It will never happen to me,” we say.

The history is here, and it will be a while before it is cleaned up. To say it is new, is to deny responsibility to do something about it. I realize it isn’t my personal problem, or your personal problem… it’s our personal problem. It’s something left-over from the less advanced, knowledgeable, civilized, human beings of an era gone past.

And we’re doing a fine job of leaving our own road kill on our way to our future. Some future form of humanity, I’m sure, will be scratching their heads and wondering why we have done many of the things we have done in our modern age. Just like we do about our ancestors, as we think we’re so much better than they ever were.

Aren’t we a funny bunch?

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