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Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Socrates Visits a Homeless Camp in Hawaii
By Selected News Articles @ 12:06 AM :: 1684 Views :: Homelessness

Book Review: The Jewish Socrates Comes To America In 'The Lies They Tell'

by Spyridon Mitsokatis, Daily Wire, May 15, 2017 (excerpt)

…In his latest book, The Lies They Tell, Tuvia Tenenbom takes his benevolent inquest for truth to the USA - from east to west, top to bottom.

Tuva writes very movingly about poverty in America. He gives many examples, but the one I would like to focus on is the one that I also saw with my own eyes - proving to me that Tuvia is a reliable guide, even a teacher in the best tradition of the classic traveling philosophers.

It is the example of Hawaii.

Tuvia discovered that away from the beaches there was another Hawaii, a tent city "encampment" for the poor:

"A city within a city, a state within a state, a reality within a reality. This encampment, my guide tells me, is just one of a number of encampments in Hawaii. What’s an encampment? I let my eyes answer. Lines of tents, one after another, on both sides of the road, packed with people who have no home, no address, no future and hardly a life. Here are the voiceless and the forgotten: American citizens, seniors and infants, men and women, all members of the Red Zone Society of America. I make my acquaintance with some of them, and they break my heart. Here are little kids, and here are old people. Some are less than one year of age, and some are quite old, but all are deep into homelessness and most will likely never get out of it."

I saw this when I travelled to Hawaii in 2007. Maybe it was the fact that I was a teenager who knew Hawaii only as a much advertised paradise, but I wasn't expecting the extent of the poverty I saw. It was hard to believe that I was still in America. I did not see this tent city Tuvia describes, but I saw shanty towns the likes of which I had only previously seen in those "$1 a day can save the children" third world charity ads.

(About a year later, since a man from Hawaii was running for president, I discovered that the archipelago state was entirely run by the Democrats. The irony that the biggest discrepancy of rich and poor I've ever seen - existing side by side before my own eyes - is located in a Democratic Party fiefdom did not escape my notice. Tuvia noted the same thing in Hawaii, as well as the other Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and Seattle.)

Hawaii was also (thankfully) my single interaction with another, unwilling but semi-voluntary community of America. When I went to visit the tourist trap of Diamond Head mountain, I saw a bunch of men working in shirts that said "OCCC." Since I was on a high school trip from Orange County, New York, the acronym OCCC means to me Orange County Community College. I asked one of them why they weren't with the rest of the group. "We're in jail," he tells me. What? Our interaction attracted the attention of the others, who asked what was going on. I asked them why a group from Orange County Community College isn't with the rest of us visiting New Yorkers, which evoked hearty laughter and relief from the group. A big guy with tattoos explained that OCCC stands for Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Instead of running for my life at the discovery that the group of around 20 men (all 3 times my size) that I was talking to were criminals, I played it cool and chatted about life and weather contrasts between New York and Hawaii until my school trip supervisor noticed where I was and came to get me. I asked my teacher why these prisoners were out and about doing things and, more importantly, why I was still alive. He could only guess. But now I know, thanks to Tuvia. He spoke to a homeless Hawaiian man named "Mad Dog" who had just got out of prison - in Oklahoma. "Mad Dog" explained that "the authorities in Hawaii prefer to save money on imprisoned people and they contract out-of-state private prison companies - yes, those exist in America - to 'host' their prisoners." It's safe to assume that the guys I ran into were the least bad in the system. The worst of them have been sent to the mainland somewhere.

read … Daily Wire  

Related: Mental Health: Can Reform Solve Hawaii’s Homeless, Prison and Unfunded Liability Problems?

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