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NEVADA VIEWS: The pebble in your shoe would like a few words

The killing of Jordan Neely in New York is a stark example of the hatred society feels for the homeless. He is our George Floyd, a man killed not for his actions but for his existence. His killer, like Neely’s killer, considered him intolerable.

In the recent edition of New York magazine, writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham said it best in her article “The Cost of White Discomfort”: “In the wake of Jordan’s murder, Kenneth Jones’s and Tema Okuns’ definition of the ‘right to comfort’ haunts me: ‘The belief that those with power have a right to emotional and psychological comfort. … I have a right to be comfortable, and if I am not, then someone else is to blame.’ ”

I have long felt that while it is the stigma that lies at the root of the homeless problem in our society, it is the discomfort we cause that leads to actions against us: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s so called “woke homeless” statute mandating that all homeless citizens must always stay awake or face legal sanction, or Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks’ outrage at seeing homeless living on the street.

I am outraged as well that a country as great as the United States feigns powerlessness to help the poor. Ms. Goodman and Mr. Joecks reach out to the homeless with clenched fists engaging in their favorite blood sport, punching down.

Like it or not we are human beings. No matter how uncomfortable seeing us makes you, I can assure you that it is nothing compared to being poor and treated as a pariah in our community.

We are the pebble in your shoe, the baby crying in the movie theater and the guy driving too slowly in the left lane. If society scorns those who are poor rather than those who profit out of our misery in words and deeds, we will continue to suffer.

I have an apartment now and receive my earned Social Security benefit each month. Yet I still consider myself homeless. I exist on the border of regrets and consequences and either choice leads to misery. I feel survivor’s guilt for every comfort and the words against us just remind me that I will always be an unworthy member of society.

Unfortunately, the Goodman/Joecks philosophy predominates, and we will never be seen as fully human. There will be more Jordan Neelys, just as there are more George Floyds. Sadly, that is America today.

Ron Moore writes from Las Vegas.

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