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Entitlement Mentality

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"They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-  educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn't help them. That's against their interests."

-George Carlin

Earlier today, around Berkeley High School's lunchtime, I found myself immersed in that sea of locusts that are the Berkeley High School kids.  Now, mostly, I stay off Shattuck Avenue during this time, because I hate having to deal with the entitlement mentality that seems ever present on a daily basis.  Now, for the record, I do know a few students of Berkeley High and not all of them are douche bags... just most of them.  You know, like "society."

A lot of negative connotation gets flung at my street-kid friends out there, and sometimes they deserve that criticism... but most times it's not those kids who should be criticized.  There are many occasions where the kids making the mess out here are those who live in houses.  Whether they live in Berkeley houses or not is anyone's guess... I'm guessing not all those kids live in Berkeley, as I see quite a few of them marching toward the high school, in the morning, by way of the B.A.R.T. (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.

Nevertheless, today I had an issue with one of them.  A kid of about sixteen.  Him and his buddies were taking up the entire sidewalk, so I darted in between them, bumping into one of them, but not hard.  This was because they were taking up the entire sidewalk and thought they owned it, so I never apologized, nor should I have.  Plus, they were talking sh*t to a friend of mine named Mel.  Mel is almost 70 years old and has (terminal) lung cancer.  They were being cruel toward him, saying stuff like, "Move it along old man!," for one.  I heard these things said just before our encounter, so jostling the leader as I rolled through seemed... appropriate.

As I made my move, the kid then purposefully tripped me, by leg-sweeping me as I walked past him.  I immediately stopped and told him, "I'll kick your punk ass you try that again!"  He said, "What?!," tried acting tough, then I repeated that he was indeed a "punk ass!"  He of course stood there, posturing, like he was going to do something... but of course, he didn't.  I caught up with my wheelchair-bound friend and that was that.  Nothing bad happened, nothing good happened, and my blood pressure went up a little.

Someone needs to discipline and raise some of these kids, because it appears television, the internet and nobody is doing that, currently.  With all the sh*t that is thrown at my street-kid friends, as though they are Public Enemy #1, I find it ironic that the real problem out here is usually those who live indoors.  Again, we don't (normally) sh*t were we sleep.  Now, I'm not going to say we don't make mistakes, we do... but our mistakes are magnified because we live on these streets whereas those other kids have a home to hide behind.  I hear and see all sorts of "problematic street behavior" by those kids all the time.

Yet, nobody is advocating we "'get rid' of 'them,'" why not?  Again, a lot of these street kids have been abandoned by the State when they turned 18, or were sexually, physically, emotionally, or all of the above, or two out of three, abused by their biological or foster parents, but yeah... they should probably "get over it."  Meanwhile, these high school douche bags, with their heavy sense of entitlement and daddy's and mommy's money and clout are out here harassing old men in wheelchairs, dying of cancer, and trying to pick a fight with a grown man, me... but yeah, it's those street kids causing all this "problematic street behavior."

And this is only one case, in a year of cases I could talk about, but haven't.  I'd rather work on solutions, but nobody wants to hear solutions.  They would rather spend money on "shooing the homeless away from the downtown area," rather than spend that money on things that would help, like a labor pool for people who can work, providing them with good- paying work, not making a profit, so the workers can make that hard-earned cash, instead of some corporation siphoning it away to some other losing corporate venture while exploiting the poor, downtrodden worker.

The more they push, the more I concentrate; focus on their offspring and the messes they create.  The more they harass, the more I pick apart their "logic."  The more they say it's one thing, I will point to how it's not and that it's actually the other thing, and that they are completely full of sh*t.  The more they scapegoat us and lie about it, the more I shed light on that deflection of blame and obfuscated lies.  Instead of attempting solutions that may work, the city and all these intolerant, money-grubbing jagoffs continue their same, tired agenda of bigotry and trickery and sleight-of-hand shell games. 

Meanwhile, mayor Tom "Master" Bates and Jesse "Not-On-Our-Side" Arreguin, the man who supposedly sides with us, the poor and "homeless," were seen cutting ribbons with large scissors for a condo nobody local or poor can afford to reside, because they can't work 24/7 without a break, the only way to afford such "luxuries," like living indoors in Berkeley, apparently.  When did simply living become a luxury?  What's next?  They charge us for oxygen?  

Before I end this rant, I would like to point to something else as support and mindset of those attacking us.  As I have suggested in the past, people like to use "but the children!" in their arguments.  Unless the debate is kid-specific, meaning the topic suggests children as a subject matter, the only reason kids are brought up in the debate is because the Master Debater ran out of material.  It's a cop out, in other words.  And it's usually the final rock thrown, instead of the first (i.e. in a case of 'kid-specific') one thrown, because they have nothing left and are getting owned in that debate. 

Why bring this up again? 

Apparently, a few years back, the Berkeley High School campus tried telling students to leave campus for school, fearing they would get involved in too much drug activity and related-type crimes those situations involve themselves.  They wanted to institute an "on-campus lunch."  That idea seems a no brainer, right?  What parent would object to that?  Not many... and not many did, either.  Who did complain, though, other than the students?

The downtown businesses and association cried, loudly.  They make a lot of their money off those kids at their lunchtime, so when that idea of an on-campus lunchtime hit those businesses, in a hard-hitting economic depression, even though these kids apparently did not get that memo, obviously, it was like Armageddon for those businesses.  So they bitched to the city council and the city council told the school it couldn't happen... allegedly.

So, even when they do give a crap about the kids, they don't

-James Richard Armstrong II

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I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).
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