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GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless 320

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-straight-ahead dept.
EwanPalmer (2536690) writes "A project involving GoPro cameras and people living on the streets of San Francisco has suggests technology is making people feel less compassionate towards the homeless. Started by Kevin F Adler, the Homeless GoPro project aims to 'build empathy through a first-hand perspective' by strapping one of the cameras onto homeless volunteers to document their lives and daily interactions. One of the volunteers, Adam Reichart, said he believes it is technology which is stopping people from feeling sympathy towards people living on the street as it's easier to have 'less feelings when you're typing something' than looking at them in the eye"
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GoPro Project Claims Technology Is Making People Lose Empathy For Homeless

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @06:52PM (#46775167)

    I wasn't giving pandhandlers money before, either, now I just have my phone to look at instead of nothing.

  • perception (Score:5, Insightful)

    by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal.gmail@com> on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @06:54PM (#46775179) Homepage Journal

    I usually don't blame "technology" in the abstract for anything...IMHO it's too reductive of a concept to be useful and always glosses over the actual technical details

    This, however, strikes me as different. This is a good thing because it communicates a *need* in a way that our modern society has made obsolete.

    In the 18th Century, cities were so small and mixed that the rich **had to see the poor** daily. They had to see how they lived, open on the streets.

    Today, for several reasons related to technology, the rich are able to go about their business completely obvlivious to the struggles of the poor.

    Those struggles become nothing more than another voice in the din of TV/internet media...in the endless news cycle...easy to marginalize and ignore, even for a really civic-minded rich person...it's just not on their radar screen

    This project aims to correct that with technology...I think it's valuable

    • Helping the poor (Score:5, Informative)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:00PM (#46775225)

      In San Francisco you "have to see the poor" daily as well. Hows that working out for them?

      The trouble with the homeless is that they are not just poor, there are usually multiple problems at work including mental issues... so seeing them and giving them money is usually not helping much.

      If you really want to help the poor I suggest going to Modest Needs [modestneeds.org], that is the best place I've found to help the truly poor directly before they fall off the bottom rung of the ladder.

      • thanks for the link!

        and yes, I see your point about SF today...

      • by gmack (197796)

        Actually it's worse than that, by giving them money you are making them comfortable in their current state and that keeps them from getting the actual help they need.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:07AM (#46776687) Homepage

        Here in Norway I have the impression that it's only two main groups. One is Romani [wikipedia.org] that arrive through the EU agreement, basically the kind who come with no rights, no education, no work history, no nothing and the only thing they're here for is to beg, steal and live off various programs that provide shelter and food for the homeless while leaving a trail of littering and vandalism in their wake. And yes, I don't mind stigmatizing the whole group because 68 of 69 beggars in a random sweep of beggars had a criminal record. And despite a million attempts to integrate them, they have no intention of ever becoming productive members of society and raise their children just like them to embrace their nomadic and parasitic lifestyle. Many of the children aren't enrolled in primary/secondary education at all and the few who are absent more than 1/3rd of the time. They also have more than a few cultural issues with suckers who work all day for an honest wage, why anyone would give them money is incomprehensible to me.

        The other big, big group is drug/alcohol addicts, but there are hospices and such that will give them shelter and food if they don't show up high as a kite. The truly homeless are the ones who can't keep their drug use outside the shelter, but even those get winter sleeping bags so they don't freeze to death on the streets. They're not trying to hustle you for money in order to eat or drink or put clothes on their backs or a roof over their heads, it's to feed their habit. It's almost a protection racket, we're addicts and we will find the money to get our kick so you can either throw a few bucks in our cup or we'll get desperate and you really don't want us to get desperate. If you give them anything nice they'll probably sell it for the money anyway, you can give them money but it's not going to lead to anything positive. The rest are mostly taken care of, if you just have mental or money problems you won't be the streets and you won't have to beg for a living.

        • by jopsen (885607)

          The rest are mostly taken care of, if you just have mental or money problems you won't be the streets and you won't have to beg for a living.

          In Norway :)
          I recently moved from Denmark to San Francisco... And whilst I do see many homeless people with mental issues, I also hear that there is not treatment facilities available.

          Many homeless, here also looks like they are feeding an abuse. But I certainly also see homeless people who doesn't look like drug addicts or have mental issues.

        • Non-Norwegian here. Isn't Norway one of the richest countries in the world with a strong social support system? So the situations which make somebody homeless in other countries don't apply to Norway?

          For example - in USA, I believe that people have to pay for healthcare, and after a certain period of time, no longer get housing benefit support when unemployed (USA person will have to help me here) - so it is possible to be a hard working member of society, but due to illness, get in debt (paying for medicin

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        Even though I know you are right I find it difficult to not hand out money. I see these people and almost invariably I end up giving them 5 bucks. It's not much to me and they seem happy to get it.

      • The last time I was being panhandled, it was by some lady who was smoking cigarettes at the time she was asking me for money. I said I didn't have any (which is true; I only carry a credit card and rarely have cash) but even if I did, there's no way I am going to give any to somebody who is likely to just buy cigarettes with it. If they want food, that is already easy to get for free (the shelters and churches literally just give it away.) If they need clothing, same thing.

        When I think about it, cigarettes

    • Re:perception (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lgw (121541) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:02PM (#46775239) Journal

      In the 18th Century, cities were so small and mixed that the rich **had to see the poor** daily. They had to see how they lived, open on the streets.

      And so a common solution at the time was to occasionally have the cops beat all the beggars out of town with cudgels. No more problem with seeing the homeless.

      The issue isn't seeing, the issue is caring. (And personally, my charity goes to people around the world with much worse problems than America's "poor", people whom I will never see, but that's just me.)

      • The issue isn't seeing, the issue is caring.

        right...i get your point (another poster said the same)

        what I mean is, today there are good people who see homeless out the car window just bumming around under a bridge and that's all...that gives the perception that *all* homeless people are that way by choice

        when our cities were smaller homeless families couldn't hide...

        but yeah, i agree that the will to care has to be there in the first place

        • Re:perception (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lgw (121541) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:16PM (#46775387) Journal

          The biggest problem as I see it is that so many people think it's the government's job now. After all, we pay a lot of taxes and the government has a lot of social programs. Why do more? I used to think that way myself.

          But these days, I just accept my taxes as a total loss, and only count as charity what I give to good charities that I trust. I also prefer charities focused on fixing the underlying issues, over the merely palliative.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Isn't it something we *want* the government to do? I'm not saying the current plan is working out, but isn't a reasonable idea that the government can and should deal with the issue?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              No. When the government is doing it, then it becomes a right to a resource that the person is entitled to. They will abuse it and rob the tax payer blind if they are allowed. Charities are more direct and people know that it is being done because people actually care, not because their funds have been confiscated under threat of imprisonment. Not to mention that charities will deny services to moochers and freeloaders who are just out to scam others.

              It is interesting that in the US you will see people s

              • No. When the government is doing it, then it becomes a right to a resource that the person is entitled to. They will abuse it and rob the tax payer blind if they are allowed. Charities are more direct and people know that it is being done because people actually care, not because their funds have been confiscated under threat of imprisonment. Not to mention that charities will deny services to moochers and freeloaders who are just out to scam others.

                It is interesting that in the US you will see people standing by the road with some short sob story on a piece of cardboard wanting you give them money. In Mexico, the poor are by the side of the road selling stuff, or doing something entertaining to earn your donation. You can guess which one I'd be more inclined to select as the recipient of my donation.

                If they are selling stuff or entertaining you, it is not a "donation", it is a business transaction.

              • by jopsen (885607)

                No. When the government is doing it, then it becomes a right to a resource that the person is entitled to.

                Food, shelter, education and health care is not unreasonable rights :)

                Anyways, private charity will never cover the need, never... I'm from a country where government works, and it does provide opportunity for people to get back on their feet.

                There is still private charity for poor people, but they focus mainly on social aspects, or on the cases where a few fall through the state provided safety net.

                My point is, private charity, will never cover more than edge cases. It's never enough to cover everybo

                • Many disagree with you as to whether these things are or should be rights. Some believe that people should be left to starve or freeze to death if they are unwilling or unable to work. (This viewpoint is not uniquely American [typepad.com].)

                  Deriding people who hold such views for their lack of compassion is non-productive. To win them over, it may be more effective to show how helping the poor benefits them - if indeed it does. For example, public health care benefits everyone who has direct or indirect contact with th

                • Re:perception (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by Dahamma (304068) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @03:07AM (#46777223)

                  Actually, I don't agree that food, shelter, educations, and health care are in any way *rights*. I see rights as restrictions that should not be placed on an individual by others. Rights are the basic humans conditions that the government should leave alone and/or protect, depending on the situation.

                  But that doesn't mean I don't think there are *obligations*. If you have an extreme excess of wealth and no interest in helping others in severe need, you are morally if not financially bankrupt. The fact that many people in this situation seem to pretend to follow "Christian" or other religious practices is even worse, and at some point hypocritical.

                  I agree with you that private charity will never cover the "need" if the need is in fact just basic income inequality. Private charities do a great job solving issues like diseases because they focus on popular trends or cross-cutting concerns that affect everyone equally. But being poor isn't likely to afflict the child of a wealthy person, and that's where collective pooling of resources come in, ie. taxes - which is where the US system of regressive taxes and selective charities is failing so badly. If you make $70k a year in salary you will pay 30%+ in taxes, but if you make $100M a year from investments you will pay 15% (eh, and yeah, 15% if you are an idiot). Hey, even without all of the tax shelters if you feel generous/guilty and want to donate to a charity, it can be much less! More to homeless albino 3 legged dogs, less to homeless veterans...

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            I think the government is certainly in the best position to help the poor.
            • Re:perception (Score:4, Insightful)

              by lgw (121541) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @11:03PM (#46776535) Journal

              Interesting assertion. I think the government (or parts of it) benefits greatly by creating a permanent underclass dependent on government assistance (giving a man a fish while trying to prevent him from learning to fish). We've seen plenty of clear historical and current evidence of people in power using aid to the poor to create a supply of loyal followers. There's little that's more creepy than a "free" school with the patron's picture everywhere and lessons everyday on what a good person the patron is and so on - this is still common today in parts of the world, as is becoming a powerful government/religious leader because of it. And to me, a poorly structured government charity (one that actually penalizes moving to a minimum wage job) has the same creepy vibe, if to a lesser degree.

              I give to charities that focus on improving communities become self-sufficient and breaking these kinds of traps (though I do have one religious charity I'm slightly skeptical of, they have a solid reputation). Precisely providing that kind of aid without the "and you only have to me my loyal follower" strings attached.

              Do we have much evidence of government assistance that actually fixes underlying problems, rather than help keep people satisfies with things as they are? I like to see some rays of hope in that area, somewhere!

            • It is certainly in the best position to make some people help others by force. Government does not create anything and therefore it has nothing to give.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Shanty towns were made illegal, the homeless would not be all over the streets if we allowed shantytowns down near the river or elsewhere.

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

          Shanty towns were made illegal, the homeless would not be all over the streets if we allowed shantytowns down near the river or elsewhere.

          I suppose concentration camps or snipers might fit your "I don't want to see the poor ppl." That would be kind of evil though.

          Shantytowns are symbolic of failure,

          • by ultranova (717540)

            Shantytowns are symbolic of failure,

            The failure doesn't disappear just because you make the shantytown illegal. All that accomplishes is make the people who lived there even worse off, for the sake of letting those who didn't pretend the problem doesn't exist. And in a way, it doesn't: a "failure" implies an unintended undesirable consequence of some decision or policy, while demolishing the homes of worst-off members of society for the sake of appearances is an intentional, deliberate action. It confirms

            • by lgw (121541)

              Shantytowns are also a disaster waiting to happen. While there are certainly cynical reasons for outlawing them, a fire that sweeps a shantytown and kills several people, or a flood where a shantytown was built on a floodplain, is a non-cynical reason (and these things have happened). So now we have trailer parks instead, which are harder to afford to be sure, but not by much. You can be pretty far down on your luck and still manage a trailer - I should know.

          • by dbIII (701233)
            Large numbers of homeless people are symbolic of a failure somewhere - shantytowns may be a symptom of trying to deal with it instead of hiding that there is a problem by moving people along.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I dunno. I'm here in San Francisco now. Outside of my hotel (the Mosser on 4th near Mission) there were a couple (apparently) homeless men. They didn't ask for money or anything. No one was holding a sign. No one was calling out. In March I was in Vegas. Same thing. In Boston it wasn't quite so apparent (but maybe that's because Boston gets pretty cold so they go elsewhere). I was in Jamaica (the island) earlier this year and the poverty is at a level unlike anyplace else in the US. When I'm back home in Mi

  • The cameras get traded for food...or worse.
       

  • Spare Change (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by vortex2.71 (802986)

    Yeah, but looking a homeless person in the eye and then giving them spare change is worse for them than donating to a charity on your computer since the spare change just goes to alcohol and drugs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by FudRucker (866063)
      the homeless have a right to drink some booze just like anybody else, maybe they have arthritis or a tooth ache and a little booze is the only way to find some temporary relief, so fuck you if you think having a home qualifies you to have a drink while being homeless disqualifies someone from having a a little temporary relief from the pain and struggles of life.

      you might find yourself homeless someday, with no opportunities to improve your situation, then what?
      • Re:Spare Change (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:38PM (#46775557)

        That may be true in some countries, but not in America.

        In America you have to actively refuse help in order to be in continual pain or homeless.

        I HAVE been poor, there is no excuse for hunger or suffering in the US, there are programs to help.

        The problem is not that they are poor, its that they don't want to be helped, the reason for this could be any number of things from simple depression to severe mental disorders, but it IS NOT because help is unavailable.

        A severe tooth abscess can be handled by the ER if its that bad and no publicly funded ER will turn down you down, its illegal. I know, I've been in EXACTLY that spot. And for reference, alcohol does pretty much nothing at all for tooth pain, you're far better off packing clove powder around it to numb it and treat the infection than drinking yourself silly, unless you drink enough to pass out ... in which case you have to stay drunk or the sobering up process will be FAR worse.

        • Re:Spare Change (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @08:58PM (#46775987)

          100 percent. Been there, done that.

          There are four basic types of "homeless" -

          1. The mentally ill.
          2. Drug users and alcoholics that don't want to "get off the street" enough to do something about their habits.
          3. Homeless people who lived too close to the edge and became unemployed, drug addicts and alcoholics who want to change their lives.

          And here is Seattle - "Nicklesville" ...

          4. People who feel that society should support their homeless lifestyle.

          There are in fact many services for all of these groups except Number Four. The rest, if they work hard, give up the heavy booze and drugs (there are in fact programs), they can lift themselves out of homelessness.

          And don't fool yourself, Number Four exists in great numbers, dragging the "real" homeless down to their level.

          • And here is Seattle - "Nicklesville" ...

            4. People who feel that society should support their homeless lifestyle.

            I noticed a lot of that in Portland, when I lived up there. Maybe it's a northwest thing?

            • by Pfhorrest (545131)

              It's also a big thing in Santa Barbara, CA, which has streets full of "homeless" teens from wealthy families who voluntarily move out to the street to escape their "dictator" parents, and which is also apparently some kind of "homeless mecca" to which homeless people from other cities want to migrate because of great weather and sympathetic liberal-minded college kids stocked up on their rich parents' money.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                Well, in Santa Cruz, CA, most of the homeless kids came from homes where they had been actively abused, often sexually. I went to school with some kids who lived in squats. They didn't move out of their houses and onto the streets because of a good home life.

      • Hasn't marijuana been proven to be significantly less of a life destroyer (in terms of addictivity and physiological damage) than alcohol?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by mythosaz (572040)

          ...and in a couple more decades, we'll be done decriminalizing it.

          Except in Alabama, because Jesus.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        The homeless have a right to drink. They do not have a right to empathy.

        Tell me again why a homeless person (who qualifies for a healthcare card and thus free trips to the doctor and insanely discounted drugs in my country) would buy a $50 bottle of scotch every other day for his pain rather than spend $5 on drugs that will last them all week.

        They can drink as much as they want. Just don't expect me to fund it with my lunch money.

        With the amount of social security many countries doll out the only reason hom

        • Try being a single 20-40ish male in any first world country and try and get social housing, it's not gonna happen. Why? Because those houses are filled with single mums. Social security can't help everyone, and those who need it least (read: any male who's of working age) are unlikely to get social housing because of the huge demand for it. Of course there are ways and means of working your way back into housing, but if you've been made redundant, lost your house and most of your possesions, it's understand
          • Try being a single 20-40ish male in any first world country and try and get social housing, it's not gonna happen. Why? Because those houses are filled with single mums. Social security can't help everyone, and those who need it least (read: any male who's of working age) are unlikely to get social housing because of the huge demand for it. Of course there are ways and means of working your way back into housing, but if you've been made redundant, lost your house and most of your possesions, it's understandable that people will just be dragged into a pit of depression. If drink helps them get through their day (and most importantly, they don't act like an asshole when drunk), that's fine by me. I like my drink too, and if a homeless guy can get a 4-pack for the same price as i'd buy a pint at the pub, at least he's being more economical with his money than i am.

            The issue is that the drinking then becomes a vicious circle, where they can't get a job because they are drunk all the time and so they drink to dull the pain of being unemployed and homeless. It can be a very difficult cycle to break, particularly when they become physically dependant on alcohol (or drugs).

      • by xous (1009057)

        Drinking booze is a luxury. Smoking is a luxury. Coffee is a luxury. I forgo them when I can't afford them why shouldn't a homeless person?

        There is no right to drink booze and certainly have no obligation to pay for their booze.

        Have you ever tried to give a pan-handler food? They won't take it. If you offer to buy them food they'll just ask for the $. If you insist they'll come with you to ATM.

        They aren't hungry. They can scavenge more than enough food from the garbage or get it free at a shelter. What they

        • by David Jao (2759)
          Yes, I have tried to give food or buy them food. About half the time, they accept. In any case, even giving food is not foolproof. It might just mean that they now have more money to spend on booze since they don't have to spend as much of it on food.
    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      Yeah, but looking a homeless person in the eye and then giving them spare change is worse for them than donating to a charity on your computer since the spare change just goes to alcohol and drugs.

      And the Charity has a lot of expenses that dilute the hell out of your "donation". I'll bet you get pissed off at the homeless people outside the McDonald's near me, and people buy them a meal. The ignorant bastards! That money could have gone to the CEO of the United Way!

      Bite me, if I feel like giving the homeless dude some money, and they get their drink on, that's not what I wish, but it's their money then, not the CEO of your charity.

    • Re:Spare Change (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @09:20PM (#46776097) Homepage Journal
      And this brings up charity versus philanthropy.

      Charity is something you do because you believe you are wealthy enough to give someone money with no strings attached. This is what the salvation army wants you to do during Christmas. Not thinking that your money is going to be used to promote hate, teach people that science is bad, and generally ruin the minds of children. But many people still give because charity is good.

      Then there is philanthropy. That occurs when people with money want to control the world. They decide what is best for everyone, and use their funds to make it happen. It is no better or worse than charity, just different.

  • Which "Homeless?" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @06:57PM (#46775203)

    Will it be one of the part-time homeless who make a full days' wage standing a few hours on the corner and then retreating to their suburban home because they have a juicy location?

    Will it be a "gutterpunk" who has chosen homelessness as his lifestyle - playing the ukulele on "college" street between heroin injections?

    [Panhandling, apparently, nets about $8/hour, depending on where you live -- more than enough if you aspire to only shoot up and go back to your crappy hotel after a few hours.]

    ...or will it be the genuinely if-only-I-could-bootstrap-myself homeless, the mentally ill, or someone who's on the streets because they're out of options?

  • I can see this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @06:59PM (#46775213)

    which is stopping people feel sympathy towards people living on the street as it's easier to have 'less feelings when you're typing something' than looking at them in the eye"

    If you are not looking them in the eye, then you are not experiencing the Identifiable Victim effect [youtube.com].

  • by cbybear (256161) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @06:59PM (#46775215)

    It's having to step over trash strewn everywhere around refuse cans. It's having to avoid unknown streams down the sidewalk and then getting a lung-full of the reek of old urine. It's the constant begging. That is why people are less empathetic. After years of this and nothing working, you have to ignore it or go crazy with the constant assault.

  • Strange.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The123king (2395060) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:04PM (#46775265)
    As someone who walks around with earphones in most of the time, believe it or not, it makes me more empathetic to the homeless.Nothing says "disposable income" more than having headphones, and as such, i'm very self-conscious about that fact. Instead of aimlessly walking on by when a homesless guy tries to chat or ask for money, i'll often stop, have a chat, and give them my spare change. Sure, they might spend it on Special Brew or hard cider, but at least they'll spend all of my change on getting though their day.

    Only 30% of the money you put in collection boxes actually goes to doing charitable work, the rest is spent on administrative costs, advertising, and other costs. When I give change to a homeless guy, i know that 100% of my money is going to do that homeless guy some good, and there's nothing like the feeling of making someone's day. Put that money into a collection box, and only 30% is going to go to good causes, and you'll probably never meet the guy who's day you made.

    All in all, i believe charity should start at home. And for the people who get my spare change, a home is something they can only dream about.
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      When I give change to a homeless guy, i know that 100% of my money is going to do that homeless guy some good...

      Well, 100% of it goes to the homeless guy, but based on your own description, it sounds like none of it does any good.

      At least the 30% in the collection box might go to permanent solutions, halfway houses, transition solutions, job training and education, etc.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Actually, nothing says disposable income like smoking. Ear phones are nothing in comparison, unless you've got them plugged into one of those diamond encrusted bling phones. I can't afford to smoke, there's no way I'm going to give money to someone who can.

      Many of the genuinely homeless are that way because they have addictions or other mental disorders that make them waste money on drugs or other bad decisions. If you want to help, vote for social treatment and rehabilitation programs. If you can't do

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Actually nothing says, "I'm stupid" like smoking.

        I've never, ever, been shocked to see a homeless man smoking a cigarette. No money for a razor and shampoo again today, but hey, American Spirit!

        Heroin I understand. :/

      • As a smoker, i know the urge and desire for a cigarette, and when you cannot afford them, it's a really really tough time. In fact, most of the time, if you give a homeless guy a cigarette, they'll be more glad of that than a handful of change. There is nothing worse than watching a homeless guy sift through cigarette butt in the gutter because he can't afford to buy their own, so i like to help out in that way too.

        And sure, many of the genuinely homeless do have drug habits, mental disorders and such, b
        • by mythosaz (572040)

          An open letter to you and the smoking homeless:

          Stop smoking, idiot.

          Yours in FSM,
          mythosaz

          • i appreciate your concern, and i know how unhealthy it is, but if i wanted to quit, i would. Smoking is a lifestyle choice, and like millions of other around the world, i made the choice. I'm not advocating it, and if you've never smoked, i wouldn't recommend starting now. But

            Regardless of your view on tobacco, i respect it. but i'd also like you to respect my choice to smoke.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Giving him change to buy cigarettes or alcohol with doesn't help him eat either. Neither does giving him cigarettes to feed his addiction. You can afford to be an addict. He can't.

          Donating (or volunteering) at the local soup kitchen, THAT helps him eat.

    • by number17 (952777)
      I think giving money to homeless and charity don't do enough to prevent this in the first place. I would rather my money go towards things like health care or programs that help the struggling [peelregion.ca] before they become homeless.
  • Tech is a refuge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lije Baley (88936) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:04PM (#46775269)

    We're being driven from our humanity by various forms of corruption in civilization, and technology is helping us escape...inward.

  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@h o t m ail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:06PM (#46775295)
    Maybe, just maybe, showing how many resources and $ are being spent to give homeless people options, especially in San Francisco, only to have that money pissed away and people still soiling our streets and public transport systems, tends to decrease how sympathetic you feel towards the chronically homeless?
  • How many homeless volunteers took off with the camera and sold it to buy booze?

    • How many homeless volunteers took off with the camera and sold it to buy booze?

      I think there's a more important question... how many mountain lions, gazelles, and other animals took off with the Harmless Radio Collars(tm) that Marlon Perkins had Jim Fowler attach to them while filming Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom"?

  • "And just for fun, he says 'Get a job'"

    That's just the way it is, some things will never change.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:33PM (#46775515) Homepage

    The hustling scammers, the druggies and drunks, the mentially ill, or the real homeless that are down on their luck and actually trying?

    Because the first two I ignore completely. The mentially Ill I feel really bad for, and the onesthatare really down on their luck are not on the street corners hustling for money. Those people are helped by my donations to homeless shelters and to women and children shelters.

    The fake hustler that is claiming they are a veteran standing there with a sign? Or the one guy I see push his wheel chair up to the corner then get in it with his hand out? they can stuff it.

    • by Prune (557140)

      Many of "the druggies and drunks" are hardly more responsible for their lot than the mentally ill, and the two categories of problems are highly related. Getting out of addiction is not simply a matter of willpower, and there are many factors that predispose people to end up stuck in those habits that are largely outside of their control. You're being too judgmental.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @07:42PM (#46775579)
    I think it's 30 years of declining wages. Half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. We're too busy trying to keep ourselves afloat to worry about anyone else, which is probably the whole point.... Keeps us at each other's throats :(.
    • by Prune (557140)
      Combine this with trends like the skyrocketing investment into robotics by companies like Google, and one starts wondering if poor people are about to become obsolete.
  • Look, what homeless people need is to not be homeless.

    And there are various ways of dealing with that.

    1. Rehabilitate them if possible. A lot of them can't be but some can.

    2. Get them off the streets and into institutions.

    3. Consider alternative social arrangements we could create... communities apart from society that are more healthy for homeless people then our current one.

    4. etc...

    There is no cure for what causes homelessness but there are probably better ways to deal with it then just letting them sham

  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @08:16PM (#46775783) Journal

    There's one guy who is constantly begging on the New Jersey Transit trains in Penn Station NYC, he claims he just needs a few bucks for a ticket to get home (common scam actually, this guy is just more regular than most). Of course he's full of shit, as another guy on my car proved by offering him a ticket to where he wanted to go, and when he refused it, lit into him about how he was a pathetic loser who was making his race look bad.

    Then there's the "Why Lie, I Need a Beer" guy also in Penn Station NYC. Though I think he's actually not homeless at all but a cop of some sort, he seems a bit too healthy.

    And the bunches who fake some sort of deformity. They seem to have shifts worked out; maybe there's an organization who controls it. Anyway, they get in their contorted positions and hold out a cup or a sign or whatever. Then when their shift is up, they straighten up, pick up their stuff, and go.

  • Not true at all (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369)

    What makes people ignore the homeless is the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands of them roaming the streets of major (and not so major) cities. When I was in Regina, you couldn't walk 4 blocks without being accosted with demands for money, cigarettes, etc.

    After a year or so of living there I used to just give them the finger and keep walking. It's not that I'm heartless -- I just don't care to be badgered everywhere I go when these lazy fucks could go on welfare and be housed like anyone els

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @08:40PM (#46775905)

    some kind of basic income better then jail / prison

    yes some homeless people are in and out of local jails alot some even use them as there doctor

  • So if they say technology "is making" things worse, I assume they have videos from 10 or 20 years ago to compare to this new footage?

    I've lived near and worked in SF and have plenty of experience ignoring the homeless. You just have to. As a friend of mine -- who has a degree in theology -- once said, "If I sold everything I owned and gave all the money to the homeless, the end result would be that there's one more homeless person in the world." I've given money to some and ignored others.

    Homelessness is a

  • Considering nearly all of what Americans call Christianity has purged "the good samaritan" from what they teach and instead taken a "if you have money it proves you deserve the love of Jesus" approach then what empathy was there for the poor in the first place?
    Also people just cannot see themselves falling into that position so they blame the victims. The attitudes to and of the Katrina refugees pointed that out very well - we had "pious" people like Barbara Bush saying that people who were homeless before
  • by PPH (736903)

    The least they could have done was to pony up for some Google Glass.

    At least the homeless could have pawned them for some spending money.

  • the real truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @11:03PM (#46776533)
    I don't like the homeless because I met a bunch of them. They sincerely are lazy, unmotivated, and/or drug addicts. There's a temp agency in town where if you show up sober in the morning, you work. The end. If something is preventing you from doing that, it's probably your fault. So that's why I dislike and don't empathize with the homeless. I'm CIO of one company and the rest of the day run a computer repair shop just to make ends meet. I typically work 12 hour days. One of my homeless friends...well, he spends all day playing Magic the Gathering at a hobby shop, hanging out at various locations, bumming rides off people, and stays at the homeless shelter. When we told him to get a job at a temp agency for even just a week, he said he doesn't do that kind of work because he doesn't like it. He's also convinced he's unhireable because he's homeless but it's a cover for being lazy. THAT right there is the homeless. So take your Go Pro and shove it up your ass.
  • Compared to when The Great Recession Started.

    "California, with just under 12% of the nation's population, has 22.43% of the nation's homeless population [willisms.com], giving it a homelessness quotient of 0.88. Quite high, in other words. Almost double the number of homeless people one would predict, given its population."

    "Texas, which has roughly 8.2% of the nation's population, only has 4.85% of the nation's homeless population (meaning: Texas has a quite low homelessness quotient of -0.41)."

    Growing economy = less homeless, contracting economy = more homeless.

    Go look at the statistics if you doubt it.

    • by David Jao (2759)
      This argument is ridiculous. You're on slashdot. You should know better. Should California start deporting homeless people to lower its homelessness quotient? How about just outright killing them? For that matter, prisoners don't count as homeless, so let's incarcerate them. I'm not homeless, but if I were, I'd do everything possible to get myself to California. Obviously (to everyone but you), this does not mean that California or its policies cause homelessness in the first place.
  • by floodo1 (246910)
    how hard is it to not look at all, even without a piece of technology distracting you?

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