The Homeless Highlight National Issues

5We all see homeless people among us, a sad and shocking reality in the United States, boasting the world’s largest economy.
Some of them will get back on their feet, but others, many of whom suffer from serious mental illnesses, will not.

The cold, hard truth is that the United States, including North Carolina, does not have a working mental health system.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams shocked his city and the nation late last year when he announced that police and medical officials would round up and involuntarily provide “care” to unsheltered people deemed to be in “psychiatric crisis.”

As far as I can tell, New York City is the only locality attempting such detentions, although homelessness among the mentally ill is common across our nation, especially in our cities.
Individuals in crisis whether talking to themselves and others, whether behaving erratically and/or aggressively can make us feel uncomfortable, even frightened.

But they are human beings with rights, and hauling them off without their consent should make us equally uncomfortable.
The underlying problem is that beginning in the mid-20th century, communities across America began dismantling large, often state-run mental institutions for a concept called community care.
Decades into this, it has become clear that with a few exceptions, there is no such thing as community care. People with serious mental illness may get a bandage here and there, but true, effective treatment does not really exist.

If Mayor Adams has done nothing else, his edict to round up mentally ill homeless people has shown the spotlight on one of ugly failures in modern American life.

Telling Tales

5aU.S. Representative George Santos (R-NY) is nothing if not a top contender for the title of King of the Whoppers.

So far, he has lied about where he attended both high school and college; said that he was a star volleyball player on a team that never existed; said that his mother lived through 9-11 in New York when she was actually in Brazil; claimed false marriages; and lied about forming a charity for animals and apparently cheated a disabled vet out of medical treatment for his vet dog.

My eastern North Carolina grandmother had a special word for lies. She called them “teewaddies,” as in grabbing a little girl by her shoulders, looking her squarely in the eye, and hissing, “Margaret Dawson, don’t you ever tell me a “teewaddy” again.

George Santos should have had such a grandmother, but — oops! — he said she died in the Holocaust.
She did not.

Considering a Tattoo?

5bLongtime Up & Coming Weekly readers may remember that for quite some time this columnist had a “thing” about tattoos.
Coming from a non-tattoo generation, she simply did not understand them or why one might want one. She has since mellowed a bit, but still no personal tatts. Nonetheless, she recently found some helpful hints for those considering body ink, and here are a few.

Research your tattoo artist’s work before lying down on the bed. Do you like his/her style? Are the designs and colors you want available?
Are the materials used safe for you or are you possibly allergic? Can the artist test your skin with the various inks? Are you vaccinated against Hepetitis B?

Some tattoos are more painful than others, depending on where they are on your body. Are you prepared for that and for tattoo aftercare?
Will you regret your tatt in 10, 20 or 30 years? Tattoos mark a specific moment in time, and we all change and evolve.

Will the 50-year-old you love what the 20-year-old you did?
Do you know that tattoo removal is expensive, painful and does not always work?

All good questions to ask before you hand over your skin to an “artist.”

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