Two Lost Old Men
On Saturday night about 2 AM I was awakened by shouts and the rumbling of wheels in my garden. Not wanting to call 911 if it was a late night visit by my gardener, (I know, I know) I peered through the window to see who might be out there at this time and for what reason.
Once I saw the two, raggedly dressed men, I realized I might need more help. The woman who answered my 911 call stayed on the phone with me until the police arrived (in less than two minutes!) I listened to the conversation from the darkness of my bedroom window while my stalwart partner went outside to deal with the situation.
Apparently these two elderly men had rambled all over Marin County that day and had several encounters with the police resulting in no plan for them. It was clear in listening to them talk that they were both mentally ill and delusional. One kept saying he was the mayor of Santa Barbara and the other said repeatedly he had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church and couldn’t understand why they weren’t letting him in. Of course, this might be true! The police very patiently kept asking them where they would like to be taken. The men had no answer. Finally it was agreed they get in the car willingly and be taken to Marin General.
We thought that was the end of the night time entertainment until early the next morning we heard the same gentleman once again raising uproar in the parking lot of the church next door.
I am not saying that homeless people have the right to accost others, trespass, and disturb property. What I am saying is that there are too many of them on the streets.
It reminds me of the early eighties when the homeless programs were closed for the most part and many vets returned from war with mental illness, drug abuse and an inability to function in society.
While I understand budgets are failing everywhere, I wonder what can be done for the population of mentally ill who cannot take care of themselves nor function on their own in society. If they had access to medication in most cases things would be infinitely better but our budgets don’t allow it.
We always look away from people who have no appropriate social behavior just as I did, yet I think as a society we need to find a safe place for them to go as the population is growing daily.