Leave No One Behind

by on October 17, 2010 · 19 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Health, Homelessness, Organizing, San Diego, Veterans

This 60 Minutes video from CBSnews.com was sent to us by a reader.

Stand Down 2010

In the middle of July this last summer, 947 homeless vets walked in to a three day event sponsored by Veterans Village of San Diego.

A safe place, for three days…. 879 of them walked back out and 68, picked by lottery, won a bed in the Veterans Village Treatment Center. It’s wonderful, and sad.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Old Hermit Dave October 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm

It is a shame we have so many homeless veterans. However I am still waiting to meet my first HOMELESS Cheney/Rummy new PRIVATE CONTRACTOR army veteran.

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avatar Goatskull October 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

And the really sad thing about this? The above article about intersection ramps being replaced garners more posts than this article about homeless vets. A tad disheartening if you ask me.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 18, 2010 at 11:36 am

Goatskull – your observation about the number of comments is something we do almost everyday. We joke that we could post an article about the end of the world and not receive any comments, and then publish a review of bars and clubs in OB, and we’ll get 100 comments. We publish many great articles – and no one ever comments. And then we’ll publish something mundane – but of interest – and boom! Loads of comments. Seems there ‘s more commenting interest in uber-local issues and posts. Have not been able to figure this out yet. The trend is if it’s local – there simply is more interest. Perhaps people feel it’s easier to comment about things right in front of them, and hold off on the “worldly” issues. If you figure it out, let us know.

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avatar Goatskull October 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for responding to me Frank. I don’t have an answer myself. I suppose it’s a good break from the serious issues going on around us to post about our favorite drink specials at our favorite OB pub, favorite burgers, pizza, etc. I’ve posted my share on those kinds of things as well. I’m just surprised with OB being OB that articles pertaining to military issues don’t seem such a big deal to so many rag readers. OB back in the day was the Height Asbury of San Diego and still is more or less. OB has a pretty high number of both active military AND vets who live in or at least hang out in the area so to me it DOES seem a local issue to me. Thanks again Frank for at least acknowledging my bewilderment.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Please enlighten us if you figure it out.

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avatar Goatskull October 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Will do and you do the same por fa vor. Maybe someone will see there are now nine comments and that will prompt them to click, read the article and maybe chime in.

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avatar Sarah October 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Frank and Goatskull (Chris?),

It may be that a lot of us have come to understand that we have very little impact on the “big things”. I know that my vote for President of the United States feels less impactful than my vote in a local election. I know that I have a better chance of cleaning up under the pier than I have of cleaning up Wall Street.

Let’s not dishearten those of us who have retracted our vision a bit. If everybody started close to home and cleaned up their immediate world maybe we’d have a bit more of a solid foundation from which to address the bigger issues.

Or maybe we’re all just apathetic as hell.

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avatar Goatskull October 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm

You have a good point Sarah but in a matter of speaking this IS a local issue. WE have an awful lot of military personnel in San Diego and OB has no shortage.

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avatar Sarah October 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm

You’re absolutely correct, Goatskull. Homeless vets is very much a local, San Diego issue and I didn’t mean to take away from that.

I was commenting in general to the idea that “we” don’t tend to comment on the bigger issues.

The 60 Minute piece broke my heart, as does almost every visit to the VA Hospital, Veteran Job Fairs, etc. What “we” have done and NOT done to/for our Vets is very sad. I could go on for days about the subject… but I can’t fix it. The issues are not the same as they were for the Bonus Army after WW1, but they do have some parallels.

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avatar Old Hermit Dave October 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

I agree Frank, it seems most people just don’t want to comment on heavy stuff. However that will never stop me from writing it.

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avatar Richard Agee October 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

As our city infrastructure rots and homeless camps line our city streets, our mayor has cut a secret backroom deal to channel unlimited city funds to one of his wealthy supporters for an unneeded football stadium.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Agree with ya there, Richard.

This was an excellent piece by 60 Minutes, broadcast last night. Thanks for sending it to us.

One point I must make: neither the report or anything else I’ve seen addresses the political nature of all this. Why aren’t there a 1000 San Diego homeless vets camping out in the lobby of the Federal Building? Why aren’t they taking political action to demand housing and medical services?

For context, after World War I, all kinds of vets who had not received their guaranteed pay or pensions, marched on Washington DC and camped out on the Greens. Thousands participated – only to be violently routed by Douglas MacArthur and his troops. Caused quite a crisis.

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avatar RB October 18, 2010 at 6:14 pm

IMO, the federal government should be the first to address the homeless vet issue.
The same federal government that bailed out the banks and GM comes up short with their vets.

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avatar Goatskull October 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Right or wrong that just won’t happen. In the eyes of the fed gov, it’s up to the service members to fen for themselves.

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avatar OB Cindi October 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I watched the piece on the 23rd Annual Standdown held here in San Diego. Two things hit home–I have been residing in San Diego for almost 5 yrs now and NEVER heard of this program. What if private businesses want to get in and hire these folks or private citizens want to open their homes to them? Charles Wharley looked, spoke and had the same mannerisms as my brother–he is probably even close in age. I was choked up by the thought he could be my brother or my best friend or the son of a family friend. I put myself in his shoes and realized how stressful it must be to go from having the military act as surrogate parents, then being tossed on my a$$ with nothing but some pieces of paper thanking me for serving, money that I have no idea how to manage, and a nice big dose of post-traumatic syndrome that the VA Hospital admits, it does not have resources to take care of everyone coming back with this problem. To top it off, he said he would go to AA Meetings and just say he has an addiction problem in order to have housing and get back on his feet. That broke my heart–I wanted to get in my car and give Charles my couch to sleep on indefinitely until he could get back on his feet. But I honestly worry about the night-terrors vets have and potential for injury to me as I am a woman who lives by herself. My best friend’s dad almost choked me to death while having a “waking dream” where he walked into my best friends bedroom, asked me my ID# and title, and when I didn’t answer, began to choke me. It goes back to a previous comment I made about money going to help Haiti and other countries when they have problems, but where are the same amount of dollars for our Vets and victims of Katrina, and now, the BP disaster? I grew up in another country and traveled outside the U.S., and all I can do is shake my head at my fellow Americans who do not show the same type of loyalty-first to one’s countryman, as I saw practiced in other nations. KUSI is hosting the 1st Walk to end Youth Homelessness on Saturday October 16th (this Sat) at 8pm at Liberty Station. I will be walking with other OB locals. Lets encourage local media to continue putting housing and healthcare for homeless on the forefront of community issues as this is a national EMBARASSMENT!

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm

OB Cindi – was that Walk to End Youth Homeless last Sat or this upcoming Sat? Do you want to write something up for us in either event?

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avatar Pat October 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I saw the episode and caught my old friend and long time OB resident William (Woody) Wordward. “My name is Woody and I’m a combat veteran”.
Woody came to OB after Vietnam. He partied hardy for many years, then became sober. He’s now a counselor for the VA. I’m proud of Woody not only turning his life around, but helping others do the same.

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avatar Goatskull October 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Hi Cyndi,
To start off with (and I mean this very respectfully), this event has been around a very long time and as far as I know it’s pretty well publicized so it’s surprising to me to hear (or read rather) from someone whose lived in SD for awhile and never heard of it. I’ve volunteered a few of them myself.
“But I honestly worry about the night-terrors vets have and potential for injury to me as I am a woman who lives by herself. My best friend’s dad almost choked me to death while having a “waking dream” where he walked into my best friends bedroom, asked me my ID# and title, and when I didn’t answer, began to choke me but I honestly worry about the night-terrors vets have and potential for injury to me as I am a woman who lives by herself. My best friend’s dad almost choked me to death while having a “waking dream” where he walked into my best friends bedroom, asked me my ID# and title, and when I didn’t answer, began to choke me.”
OK again I mean this respectfully. Please please don’t give into that stereotype. First off, if you’ve been reading the UT articles(yeah I know, the UT), listening to NPR broadcasts about this issue and other articles about this, you would know that the majority of these homeless vets are not actually combat vets. Google it. The reasons as to why they end up homeless are too numerous to list here. I just can’t help but wonder though if the disproportionate amount of vets having trouble finding work is due to too many people assuming they are they are suffering PTSD and then too many people assuming that those that DO actually have PTSD are wide eyed psychopaths that will freak out an any minute. As a women who lives by herself you shouldn’t let any strange male stay with you regardless. That’s my opinion anyway. There are many other ways to help. Despite your experience with your friend’s dad, most vets, combat or not, are not going to all of a sudden freak out and go on a shooting rampage or start fights or choke people etc. Yes some do but most don’t. As a vet myself I just find that insulting that people want to be cautious about that.
Based on your post I see your heart is in the right place and you are good in my book. If you want to help you can start by looking into Veterans Village of San Diego. They are always looking for volunteers. You can also volunteer with the VFW. There’s a post right next to The Apple Tree market.

Cheers,
Chris

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