Monday, 9 June 2014

Has It Really Come To This?

I'm saddened.  I'm angry and I wonder what happened to a semblance of humanity.  I like to think that assumptions and the convenient stereotypes of the homeless, the rough sleepers, was starting to diminish.  It seems I'm very wrong.

Inch-high studs have been placed outside the main entrance of deluxe flats located on Southwark Bridge Road, London.  A deterrent to ward of the inconvenience of some of the most vulnerable people in society. We cannot have the sight of some poor soul blighting the environment of the fortunate.  We cannot have such poor souls causing those living the life of luxury be subjected to the grim reality of a fellow human.
 Here are the spikes outside the luxury block of apartments.
Here is another example of  such spikes outside a Tesco supermarket, Regent Street, London. 

Let's talk some facts about the homeless, the rough sleepers.  Having worked with such people, I know the real facts, not the unfair stigmas.   It's a fact that many of them had jobs, careers, families.  It's a fact that many of them, through traumatic circumstances, lost everything.  It's a fact that many lost everything but never lost their dignity.  It's a fact that the person lying in that darkened doorway on a cold, rainy night, may well be a veteran who served their country.  It's a fact that they came back to a life of no support from a government that showed callous indifference.  It's a fact that the horrors of war they survived left them with the scars of vivid mental anguish.  It's a fact that such a life can happen to any of us.  Perhaps those too quick to put down spikes and treat these noble people like vermin might try to understand it could one day be their brutal reality.

What we really need is a network of support.  Do our utmost to provide a warm, safe place for our homeless friends to live.  Homeless charities can only do so much.  A more compassionate society can help make a difference.  The government, too busy demonising the vulnerable, must bear some responsibility for the homeless crisis that has turned this once green and pleasant land, into a not so pleasant land.  

If you wish to read further about this, here is a link : Use of spikes to deter homeless.

If you wish to sign the petition that I've been helping to circulate, it can be found here : Petition to remove the anti-homeless spikes.

97 comments:

  1. Mind boggling. The lack of compassion and effort to help is depressing. We all have to do our part to make this world a better place. The money would have been better spent as donations to homeless shelters and soup kitchens

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jemi,

      Your comment is so spot on, dear lady. Indeed, the cost of those horrible spikes could have gone towards helping not hindering the plight of the homeless.

      Bless you, Jemi.

      Gary

      Delete
  2. The ones on the ground are insane. Here, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen when someone steps on one of those and injures his foot.
    We could help the poor here if those who merely milk the system so they don't have to work were stopped. Imagine how many funds that would free.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alex,

      Exactly! I was hoping somebody would mention the health and safety issue amongst all of this. A lawsuit would serve them right.

      Those who abuse the benefit system should be accountable. Couldn't agree more with you.

      Bless you, kind sir.

      Gary

      Delete
    2. I do agree with Alex, there are a good bit that milk the system, and that can really work but don't. Then there's ones that can't and these are the people that I wish would be helped.

      It's a screwed up system.

      Delete
    3. I thought the very same thing... wait till a child falls on that and injures himself. It's sad that there's not enough help around for these people. Our society has it's values up side down.

      Delete
    4. Hi, The Happy Whisk,

      I don't exactly agree about that there are a good bit that milk the system. Not here in the UK. Benefit fraud is actually a tiny percentage. Sadly, those who do need help are being demonised because of that tiny percentage. The governments are screwing the most vulnerable in society to pay for the mistakes of the bankers. Thank you, my dear friend.

      Gary

      Delete
    5. Hi Melissa,

      I was going to mention the health and safety issue in my post. Then I thought that somebody would note that. Alex was spot on. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Even if they don't give a crap about the homeless, they should think about that.

      Thank you, dear Melissa.

      Gary

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  3. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
    How inhuman of those who made such a a despicable decision. I'm with you - if only they were to walk in the shoes of the vulnerable for even just a day - !

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kim,

      How very true. The inhumanity brings me to tears. We have so far to go. Compassion for our fellow humans who are down and out. For, yes, it can happen to any of us.

      Thank you, dear Kim.

      Gary

      Delete
  4. I didn't know what I was looking at--never seen anything like this before. When I was out in the world, earning less than the men in our office, I stepped over many a sleeping homeless person.Also had my morning "flasher" who asked every morning for 10 yrs "want some?" I thanked him and said no thanks,we both started our day with a smile. Poor ole soul, hope he is safe now. These are absolutely terrible, someone should remind them we are all one paycheck away from needing a place to sleep. Keep this USA gal in the information loop--thanks and go get 'em !!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sierra Sue,

      Indeed, let's hope that poor old soul you bonded with a smile that was a moment of magic amidst the madness. My friend, we who are fortunate are just one moment of way of having such a fate as the poor homeless person.

      We are going to get them, real good. Or we might stick a spike up a banker's butt!

      Thank you, kind friend.

      Gary

      Delete
  5. How very sad. If we aren't, as a society, going to provide homeless people with a place to rest, then where in the hell are they supposed to go? I guess they should disappear.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Hi Janie,

      Very sad. Yes, they should just vanish. Such an inconvenient eyesore for those who haven't got a clue.

      Thank you, dear Janie.

      Love and peace,

      Gary

      Delete
  6. Damn, that is pathetic as pathetic can get. They waste money on that instead of maybe giving them some to help get back on their feet or something, pffft. I hope someone trips, stabs them self in the foot(not too bad) and sues the crap out of them.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Pat,

      You said, my good friend. The money could of gone to support a homeless charity. A lawsuit would serve the asshats right.

      Thank you, sir.

      Gary

      Delete
  7. As much as it deters the homeless it also deters anyone who might need to get out of a sudden downpour or something. That's the world for you these days.

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    Replies
    1. Hi PT,

      Welcome to the world that only cares about having their own warm, safe place. Thank you, sir.

      Gary

      Delete
  8. That is such a bad idea. What happens if someone falls on those, like a kid? Then they will really waste their money when someone sues.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Diane,

      Exactly. Poorly thought out my a bunch of insensitive idiots. A lawsuit if somebody gets hurt would certainly make them realise how stupid they are. Money loss is all they would relate to.

      Thank you, dear Diane.

      Gary

      Delete
  9. Our Community Outreach does everything it can to find a safe place for those without during bad weather, however many days people are left to their own to find shelter. Like you said, a large portion of the homeless are veterans suffering PTSD and have problems with being inside. I do not know if there will ever be a solution but putting in those spikes seems cruel and without compassion. It is hard to believe it is legal.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Arleen,

      Your Community Outreach does what it can. And so many homeless, so many rough sleepers still have to fend for themselves as the government remains indifferent to such a plight. PTSD and the hell those veterans go through. Where was the support system when they returned from war. Outrageous. Those spikes should be illegal. The cruelty is beyond my comprehension.

      Thank you, dear Arleen.

      Gary

      Delete
  10. I haven't seen anything like that around here thank goodness.....imagine, needing a warm safe corner and thinking you've found one only to be met with those spikes. Unbelievably cruel.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Delores,

      Hopefully, you never will. It's a horrific thought that somebody desperate for a place to sleep would encounter the inhumanity of those spikes. The cruelty goes beyond any suitable adjectives.

      Thank you, dear Delores.

      Gary

      Delete
  11. Signed the petition, I can not believe that something like this exists!
    Maybe we could place mattresses on top and hold a sit/sleep in!

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    Replies
    1. Hi DAVID,

      Thank you for signing the petition. It's gone viral. What the hell they were thinking is beyond a disgrace.

      I shall see you there, armed with mattresses!

      Thank you, good sir.

      Gary

      Delete
  12. Petition signed. Hiss and bloody spit. My ordinarily determinedly pacifist self can think of much more appropriate uses for those spikes.

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    Replies
    1. EC's got it spot on. And I'd help ram them right up their ... !

      Delete
    2. We could have a spike-ramming party!!!!

      Delete
    3. Hi Sue,

      I knew you would sign the petition. There has been worldwide condemnation of this atrocious situation. I shall visualised a spike being shoved up some smug gits butt.

      Thank you, dear Sue.

      Gary

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    4. Spike-ramming party. Locations: posh apartment building and a Tesco supermarket, London, England!

      See you both there.

      Thank you for the added notes, dear Wendy.

      Gary

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. Hi Eileen,

      And it seems to be getting worse.

      Thank you, dear lady.

      Gary

      Delete
  14. The government... Think about what that word really means. Spikes... I'm not surprised. It makes me sick. This attitude toward those who do know that money does make us happy -as in, hey, I've got my own place - is why there will never ever be peace on this planet.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Blue,

      The government these days in the UK is being run be a deluded idiot who thinks he's a dictator. The old fuck you Jack, I'm okay, mentality. Then again, they should realise you never know what might happen. One day they might need a place to sleep and get greeted by spikes. Give peace a chance. Yep.

      Thank you, kind sir.

      Gary

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  15. I saw this story in passing the other day - it's just so sad. I'd missed the part that said the spikes were installed outside luxury flats - people with money really don't see the reality for millions of people, do they?

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    1. Hi Annalisa,

      This story is a story that wont go away until those dreadful spikes are removed. If they suddenly had no money, they would understand. It's a heartless world out there and a heartless government to add to the equation.

      Thank you, dear Annalisa.

      Gary

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  16. I've re-blogged this post as you've said it all so well. Thanks for letting me know when you did dear. So many humans are inhumane.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle,

      I appreciated you re-blogging this vitally important message. Then a lot of inhumanity going on. And the rest of the world is also beginning to find out about the horror show of our evil government.

      Thank you, dear lady.

      Gary

      Delete
  17. Totally signed the petition. Am glad that these things are out in the public arena now - maybe such practices will stop after the outrage. Take care
    x

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    Replies
    1. Hi Old Kitty,

      Bless your heart for that. Such outrage has to proper the public conscience. For all those with one. We shall overcome.

      Thank you, dear friend.

      Gary
      x

      Delete
  18. I don't get people sometimes, we are lucky enough to be on this Earth... it's the government that taken the humanity away which forces people to be homeless. Making people close their open arms, make life less life... I blame this on the people who make the rules, we have lost the moments of humanity.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeremy,

      Like you, I'm baffled. You are grateful for what we have. Sadly, the governments are using a hate campaign against the most vulnerable in society. Even sadder is that those who refuse to see, believe the bullshit of the government propaganda. Time to get compassion back. Time to rid our world of the corruption.

      Thank you, good sir.

      Gary

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. Hi Liza,

      Sad and I despair.

      Thank you, dear Liza.

      Gary

      Delete
  20. This is disgusting and pisses me the hell off? Who's idea was this Gary?? How could those people even look themselves in the mirror or their children in the eyes? Sick!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Keith,

      Good sir, like you, I'm livid. This would be the idea of those who don't give a crap about their fellow human in need. As long as they have a warm place, plenty to eat and drink, they don't care. Hopefully, their children will see a different reality and understand that their parents are very lucky. Sick and beyond comprehension.

      Thank you, dear friend.

      Gary

      Delete
  21. Gary:
    The person who did this should go to Jail. Period! I can't believe such cruelty exists. It's awful. I will come back later today to finish reading the article and to sign the petition. I'm in a hurry now. Thank you so much for sharing this , my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julia,

      All those concerned should be jailed. Cruelty has become a way of life in this alleged civilized Britain. A contagious blight that has spread to so many places. I know that you signed the petition. Thank you for that. Thank you for being you.

      In peace and hope, dear Julia.

      Gary

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  22. Thanks for the link, Gary. I've signed the petition now.

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    Replies
    1. Hi fairyhedgehog,

      I felt obliged to put up that link. Bless you for signing the petition.

      In hope, dear friend.

      Gary

      Delete
  23. I am horrified and appalled at my fellow humans. I have not seen anything like this here in Cairns I must say, but will be more vigilant when walking about. The fine line between a roof over our head and homelessness is precarious. I have almost been there several times and I have a job. No one is immune to this.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carol,

      I knew you would be horrified. Like you, I've been perilously close to being in such a situation. One moment, your life can be turned upside down.

      Have a peaceful weekend, dear Carol.

      Gary

      Delete
  24. The homeless situation is equally controversial here as well. I remember back in San Francisco, the mayor did a massive sweep of the downtown area, esp. the park in front of City Hall, and forced the homeless into all the neighbourhoods, which became another controversy in and of itself. They removed all the regular benches from the bus stops and put in ones that have 3 separate segments that are vertical, all of which have to be put down into a sitting position. They gave Food Not Bombs neverending shit for providing free food, saying it was a public health issue, but the dept of public health refused to give them a permit when they applied. There is no easy answer at all. Back in the 80s. Ronald Reagan closed down all of the places that previously cared for the mentally ill, and they all flooded onto the streets.

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  25. I felt sick when I first read about this and I still do. I have signed the petition x

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  26. What a terrible thing to do. We as a people tend to ignore the less fortunate and to sweep their plight under the carpet where we can't see it. On the other hand, stopping those who milk the system is pretty difficult to do.

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  27. Wow, I learnt something new today. There is such a thing called anti-homeless spikes. Spikes on clothes, shoes, bags for vanity purposes, that I am familiar with. How very cruel. This seems like a short-term avenue to sweeping the real problem under the carpet. Very sad, indeed. Thank you Gary for bringing this to light. The world is a vast place but we make it seem very small and ruthless. I hope these spikes don't become a 'trend.'

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  28. I didn't know there were such things as anti-homeless studs. That seems like such a harsh tactic to use. Plus, the ones that live there better make sure they don't trip and fall while traipsing about in their costly shoes. Those studs don't allow for a decent way to avoid injury. Sad. Just sad :-(

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  29. It's disgusting. Insane. However, it has created a conversation long overdo. As you know, here it's too cold for the homeless to sleep outside. But there are still hungry and lonely people, and those who work in the kitchens are angels living on earth, doing all they can to help. I remember my mother saying when we were kids, "What is the world coming to?" I think the world has been a horrible place since long before Genghis Khan ruled. I think we have survived because certain people make a difference and act as mentors to others. You're one of those people, Gary. Today I vow to smile at the next homeless person I see, offer a hot coffee or whatever. Just let him know I see him. I will also only post positive thoughts on Facebook. I will never contribute to anything negative or mean or empty again. I better post this vow somewhere I can see it often so I don't forget.

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  30. I agree with you. The spikes aren't a cure. They're only treating a symptom of society being unable to care for its own.

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  31. What a sad situation. Better facilities to get out of the cold, find a meal, find a job - those are areas to spend money on, not spikes. I actually see vandalism caused by troublemakers in the spikesters' futures, not from the homeless but from other, more destructive, segments of society.

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  32. I agree with what others have said. Here in the states, milking the system, as Alex said, is a huge problem and takes most of the funds earmarked to help. Those spikes are dangerous.

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  33. How sad. I am all into helping others. I am very fortunate not to have seen such spikes in my part of town. At least I know that there are some people still helping humanity. We actually know now homeless man who often comes over to eat. They are people just like you and me who are in an unfortunate situation.

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  34. So disgusting. But I was infuriated to see Boris Johnson posing alongside it, just to jump on the bandwaggon.Grrr!

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  35. It is ironic that these places would take this sort of action.

    The sad, unfortunate truth is that more and more of society lives Paycheck to Paycheck. That means that a change of circumstance (the loss of a job, death of a loved one, loss of one's health) can make any one of us homeless way too unexpectedly.

    I always think to myself when I see a homeless person, "I wonder what that person wanted to be when he/she grew up? I bet that as a child he/she answered the same as everyone else. Maybe high aspirations of astronaut or president or maybe just teacher or nurse. Never did the child say 'homeless.'"

    It is a sad state of affairs.

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  36. I think that the way we look after the vulnerable members of our society speaks of the kind of civilisation we are living in.
    That being so, there are certain elements of society who should hang their heads in shame. It's unlikely to happen though, isn't it?
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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  37. Signed. And you know my thoughts. The human race never ceases to amaze me - and for all the wrong reason.

    We will never change. It is in our blood.

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  38. Have not seen the latest man's inhumanity to man here in Colorado. I remember the old adage, "To those to whom much is given, much is expected." Does not seem to be true much anymore.

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  39. OMG this is something I would expect to see in the U.S. and not the UK. I am in shock. It is horrible. You are so right about everything that you said above. We have been having horrible times financially and I always tell my husband we are "one emergency away from a disaster." It can happen to anyone. People shouldn't be smug, nor should they ever say "never" Life has a tendency of blindsiding us. The spikes are simply heartbreaking.

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  40. Unfortunately, life has been on the march toward this for awhile. A good society takes care of their elderly, sick, poor, while the rich and those placed in power deem it more of a costly bother that's not their problem. After all, if they made it, everybody should. It make me sick. I'll be glad to sign the petition, but is it only UK?

    As for me...been busy. Trying to work on many writerly things and blogging took a back seat. Trying to get back into a more regular routine, but not at the cost of my WIP. Gotta make that and other submissions priority. But when I do blog, I come around and make my rounds. Gonna tweet this one...it's worth it for others to take a look!

    Good seeing you and Penny.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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  41. In India there are folks who sleep on beds of nails. Perhaps the homeless will learn how to do this too, just to teach a lesson to those who installed the spikes. It's a sad state of affairs when the homeless can't have even a doorway to sleep in. The world needs more compassion and understanding.

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  42. Having worked with these people also I agree with you. It is a sad day when we can help under privileged in other countries but cannot help those who have helped us in the past that live in our own back yards. Even if they have not served they are still human beings.

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  43. I hope you can read this--this post about the homeless and their pets is so touching.
    http://leavesgrass.blogspot.com/2014/06/love-friendship-amor-amizade.html
    The photographs say it all.

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  44. As Melissa said, society's values are upside down, and not only about the homeless. I will sign it and hope your petition works. I do feel that this isn't a black and white issue. There are some homeless out there who want to be homeless. I know they are probably the minority, but I have actually met a few of these personally when giving them money at a stop light or corner somewhere. They don't want walls. They don't want to feel caged in. They like migrating from north to south and all around, like nomads. "Hobos" and "Tramps" have been traveling this country forever. I don't feel that we can "save" everyone because not everyone wants to be "saved." So though I am ALL for helping those who want and need it, I also don't want to go whole hog the other way and force people to do what they don't want to do (the homeless that want to be just that, I mean). Homelessness is a very hard issue to deal with, to live with and to try and eradicate because, I think, in part, of this reason. Yes of course there are always those who abuse the system, as Alex says, but SO many more that truly are in need. And in my humble opinion, "homeless" spikes are not only heartless and horrible, they really do speak to "society's" throw-away attitude. Thanks for writing about this Gary.

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  45. I was shocked when I heard about this on the radio. Those of us that are lucky to be warm in our beds at night should be trying to help not make things worse. I’m off to find that petition as soon as I’ve left this comment. How can we be so unkind to one another?

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  46. It really is sad how we, as a society, love to keep hidden everything that is bad about us. Out of sight, out of mind rings so true. We should find ways to help them, not hinder them.

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Caring for My Veteran
    Be Positive in Life and Writing

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  47. When I initially heard of the spikes, I admit I thought it was a joke article. Satire. What a shocking way to deal with the issue of homelessness. I also question whether there will be injuries. Maybe those injuries will be what gets the spikes removed.

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  48. I agree with everyone that this a huge injustice. I hope that no one is injured as a result. This reminds me of what some parking lots have on the pavement to prevent cars from going the wrong way. Rupturing tires seems minor in comparison.

    Julie

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  49. Aloha Gary,

    Petition signed.

    Gawd, how can people be so stupid... who designs such a product? And I bet *they* have *no* experience with the homeless.

    Good on you for bringing this to our attention and I hope the strips are removed sooner than later...

    We could *ALL* be homeless one day... seriously...

    Take care, friend :)

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  50. Hi Gary .. I'll be going over to the petition - life hits when you're down .. it always seems to be the way - but the spikes do seem so unnecessary .. and as you say we need a network of support - people who care ...

    You care and so many more of us can do so much more for others .. thanks for the reminder - Hilary

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  51. I've never seen these before, definitely not where I live. I hope they are removed, for homeless rights as well as for everyone else--those look dangerous for everyone.

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  52. I read about this and think this is sad and a very cruel thing. Just because they put up those spikes does not make the problem of the homelessness go away. Most people think of the homeless as lazy people. They are far from it. They didn't wake up one day and decide to be homeless. Thank you for being a voice to this from across the pond.

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  53. They look pretty dangerous. And most homeless people need our support. I have a friend who was homeless for a while because she's using her money to further her education and didn't end up having enough to keep her apartment. She had to stay in shelters, her car, and with some friends. It's just a sad situation.

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  54. I haven't seen those anywhere in my local areas. I wonder if they're infiltrating NYC yet. I really hope not!! It speaks volumes about the ways people dehumanize homeless as though they're just another inconvenience like pigeons or vermin. So upsetting and concerning about the lack of compassion for humanity.

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  55. Oh my gosh! I've never heard of such a thing! Where's the humanity??? Honestly, I think this is awful. Awful. I'm so glad you're bringing light to this, Gary. You have a voice and people will listen to you. Thanks for this.

    And I also wanted to thank you for your amazing, kind comment on my blog today. I know that you of all people understand pain, so your words really do mean a lot. Thank you. <3

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  56. How heart-breaking. It's already infuriating how society tries to look the other way and deny the homeless their basic humanity and dignity, but those spikes are cruel. Just horrible.

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  57. OMYgosh,
    I've never seen anything like this. When I first looked, I assumed the spikes were to keep robbers & bad people out.
    I had NO idea it was to keep the homeless out.
    SAD. Very sad.
    xxx LOVE to you, my dear. Kiss to puppy.

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  58. This is really sad! If they're going to put up spikes, then they'd better provide housing for these poor people!

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  59. Thank you for all your kind and caring comments. Such a debate and the outraged unity is testimony to humanity at its finest.

    I would, as you might realise, endeavour to comment back to each person. However, I have some FANTASTIC NEWS!!!

    Thank you and please stay tuned.

    The power of peaceful protest.

    Gary

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  60. Very powerful and tear-jerking, Gary. I just shared. I may be in touch with you in the coming months regarding a suicide prevention event and week that I'm chairing. Your voice is exactly what I want to capture.
    Blessings and love. xo
    PS Just read "Fantastic News." I'm excited to hear it!!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Robyn,

      Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this. I would be honoured to get involved with your vital cause. And yes, the news has just been hastily published in the next post! I'm celebrating that there are people who still care about their fellow brothers and sisters. Blessing and love, your way,

      Gary x

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  61. Having once been Homeless during a particularly difficult time in Life I have a point of reference. Having worked with some of the Homeless in Ministry Work, as you have, I have seen the diversity of situations that caused the plight of those who found themselves in such a situation, usually not by choice but by circumstance. I was pleased to hear in your most current post that the spikes have been removed. When it no longer moves Humanity with Compassion to see the Suffering of others, or even of the animal kingdom, it deeply grieves me. To witness Wrong and do nothing is no better than those doing the Wrong IMO. God Bless you for your Involvement in the Peaceful Protest to Right a Wrong! Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Hi Dawn,

      What a thoughtful comment, my dear friend. You know of the plight, the reality of being homeless. You also know that the convenient stigmas and stereotypes are something that still needs to be addressed. We both know that it can happen to almost anyone. We have experienced a small yet vital step in the progression of peaceful protests. Like you, kind friend, I will not stand idly by and seeing our vulnerable brothers and sisters demonised.

      Bless you and thank you, Dawn.

      Gary

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I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.