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Their Shoes



In a letter in the Feb. 28 issue of the NCJ, the ever insightful Ellen Taylor presented a disturbing and honest personal comment in reference to homeless people in Humboldt County who suffer from mental illness.

Ellen wrote that if she were living in the dire situations these human beings endure daily, her own "equilibrium would be disrupted." She also described our society as one that "provides less and less in the way of moral guidance."

It is difficult for me to imagine myself surviving the truly hard labor of life on the street for more than a mere few days. The bleakness of psychological solitude in a callous, busy world would overwhelm me. And then, as well, to face finding some possibly safe place to sleep in and suffering through perilous cold nights would be too much for me. I, also, would lose fragile equilibrium and break down from sheer degradation of spirit. I would not survive. I am certain of this.

The cosseted life of safety and comfort I have been lucky to enjoy (and there is no other word to use but "lucky") has in no significant way prepared me to cope with the misery I witness all around me in Humboldt County every day.

I know there are many well-stated causes offered to explain this tragic situation. I know there are noble souls who are doing their best to address these causes. But in the larger civil society, going about its daily affairs and tasks, it seems we have somehow misplaced the moral compass, and I, frankly, do not know where it is.

In the very same issue of the Journal, the small feature "Digitally Speaking" (NCJ Daily) stated that the number of people who spent the night of January 22 homeless and unsheltered in Humboldt County was 1,473. That number is more than the current population of Ferndale — 1,371. How is this possible? How is this acceptable? I do not know.

Jere Bob Bowden, Ferndale

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