A man about 50 has been sitting on the same bus stop bench for over a month. I go by the corner of Lankershim and Cahuenga West several times a day. He is always there and generally in the same position.
Someone gives him food and blankets and he keeps his belongings in a shopping cart behind the bench. His hands and legs are filthy and swollen from being exposed to all the elements.
I stopped by Councilman John Ferraro's office to see if we could get this poor man some help. The field deputy informed me that the law makes it difficult to care for street people. Ferraro's deputy very promptly called the mental health team who got right over to the man. The man told them in no uncertain terms that he's fine and likes sitting on that bench and would like to be left alone. That's fine for him, but what about the people who must watch him deteriorate day by day?
I believe the law should be either changed, or bent, in a way that these people can be helped. It speaks badly for our society and our culture. Now the bitter pill for me to swallow is that I was so insensitive, so calloused that it took me over a month to even inquire about this guy, only to discover that I was the only one who had.
Shame on us. Where are the tax-free churches, the civic leaders, the people who are supposed to care? Must we watch while someone withers away and dies at a bus stop bench?
G. CLEMENS BRODERSON