Something to say

I often write about rural life, farm projects and the joy of life.
Today I want to use the perspective I’ve built from the life I’ve
lived to comment on topics that are far distant from the farm. Yeah,
I got something to say.

Free Speech

The recent attempted assassination of Arizona Representative
Gabrielle Giffords, the killing of six and injury to 13 others was
tragic. The focus of this story should have been support to survivors
and family of those killed. Instead most of the stories have tried to
make the case that contention between political parties somehow made
a young man want to kill people. Friends of the shooter have clearly
stated that he really had no political affiliations or interests, he
was just a very disturbed young man. Blaming heated political
discourse for this terrible action is similar to saying that Mark
Chapman decided to kill John Lennon because Lennon sang Rock and Roll
while the shooter felt strongly about Jazz or Country Music. The
media has decided to use this event to brow-beat those of us who have
something to say about our own government into silence. If you follow
the vested interests involved it is obvious that the people’s very
vocal involvement in the 2010 election did not make the losers of
that election happy. Blaming the assassination on average people
trying to involve themselves in their own government is elitist,
blatantly opportunistic and goes against the idea of representative
government. The First Amendment to the constitution guarantees
freedom of speech so people may express themselves in ways other than
violence. It is the only way to keep democracy stable and healthy.
Muting this amendment because of the actions of an insane, young man
is politically self-serving and makes no logical sense.

An alternative to homelessness

Lately, a few local clergy have gone to the Pennington County board and Thief River Falls, Mn city council asking them to provide a homeless shelter. I feel this is an answer to a problem that doesn’t exist unless we create it. Nature abhors a vacuum and the homeless will come to Thief River Falls if a
shelter is provided. They will come from places far, far away and
once they break the rules of the shelter they will be out on the
street and will then become-homeless. They will then need services
from our local welfare department, services paid for by the taxpayer.
If these same people then entrench themselves in our society of
welfare they will share the habits that made themselves homeless
(drugs, alcohol abuse, crime) with our local population. I do realize
there are other reasons for homelessness but these affect others
negatively. Thief River Falls offers a much better alternative to
welfare, it offers opportunity-to work and to be a productive member
of society. It is a fantastic gift to our fellow man to offer a life
of choice. It is too cold and too hard a life in northwest Minnesota
to not choose a life in which you work and make your own way. Local
government is strained enough already without offering a shotgun
blast of services to a problem that needs pinpoint accuracy. It is
here where a church can become proactively involved in seeking out
specific individuals who need assistance then helping them access
those services if needed. I think a good starting point would be
establishing a list of drivers who can occasionally transport
individuals to the Care and Share in Crookston or The Mission in
Grand Forks where shelter services are already provided. Matching
those who need work to odd jobs that need completion would also be a
nice service.

2 thoughts on “Something to say

  1. I hoped that with the title of your post that you were offering an alternative to homelessness. Good paying jobs, affordable housing, access to affordable health care… these things would certainly help. In Minnesota, most homeless people are families and most of those families are homeless for less than 6 months. They do best in the communities in which they became homeless, where they work, where their kids go to school, etc. Unfortunately too many of them are just one car repair away from homelessness – forced to choose between fixing the car to get to work or paying the rent. If they opt to keep their job, they can get evicted for not paying their rent. If they opt to pay the rent, they lose their job. They’re stuck. Churches can and do help many people. But sometimes it takes a professional or trained volunteer. Shelters provide stability and a way for people to more quickly get back on their feet. While the fear that having a shelter will attract homeless people, data has found that is not the case in other Minnesota communities that have shelters.

    Thanks for caring about people experiencing homelessness and for allowing me to share my view.


    1. Quick follow-up to this story. The group proposing a homeless shelter in Thief River Falls has decided to transfer their efforts to a different project because of lack of actual need. They have decided to help create more housing for people who’ve found work in Thief River Falls and wish to move here to enjoy the opportunity.


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