There is rarely, if ever, only one “truth.” One of my pet peeves is people who hold so tightly to their truth that they refuse to listen to anyone else’s. I don’t know if it’s because they are secretly afraid their truth won’t hold up to the scrutiny, or if it’s because they have so little faith in themselves that they think they will be misled by “false prophets” if they even listen to a view different than their own. This is true in almost every aspect of life: religion and politics certainly, but also raising children, writing books, where to live, even simple things like the correct way to cook a certain dish.
I will admit to leaning toward the view of not trusting the police to deal fairly with the homeless. Their job, after all, is to enforce the law and follow the rules and often the rules get broken when you live on the street, struggling to survive. Too often it seems, there are officers who enforce with a capital FORCE, but I also don’t want throw law and order out the window. I have two sons who work in official security roles. Like an anti-gay parent might rethink their views when confronted by a son or daughter coming out of the closet, I am forced to consider, rethink and possibly alter my views based on evidence.
So I am torn between wanting to support the brave men and women who serve in law enforcement and concern about the potential abuse of power that could exist. I don’t think that’s a bad place to be, though. It prevents “ego creep” which would blind me to the fact that gray areas happen all the time and we must sometimes shift our vision to see clearly in the resulting gloom. The article below talks about the difficulties of sifting through the gray areas and complexities of the “truth” about homelessness. I hope you’ll click through and read the whole thing.
While the devotion to social justice is admirable, the ego-creep afflicted individual often ends up doing more harm than good.
Why? Because first of all, the needs and situations of the homeless are so complex and varied that no one person could possibly know and meet them all. This narrow kind of “I know what’s right” thinking is not only harmful to those they fail to serve because they’re almost certainly missing important needs, it is also dangerous for those experiencing homelessness because the ego-creeper is single-handedly fomenting and perpetuating an adversarial “us versus them” mentality among the homeless population and the rest of the community. There is enough of that already without them adding to the mix. No matter how much time any of us have spent working on the streets, none of us “know it all,” and we certainly cannot possibly know what the best approach or service need is for every single person out there. To assume so only highlights the affected individual’s ignorance of trauma informed, person-centered care, of the need and importance of cultural responsiveness, and illustrates a lack of professional capacity for serving the population we all profess to care so deeply about.