I took these pictures as well today. I was walking on the outskirs of Little Tokyo. I do not know which street it was. Perhaps it was 2nd.
I came across 4 or 5 wholesalers of pipes. I tell you, without a doubt, I have never seen so many pipes in my life. there must have been at least a hundred thousand pipes. I just laughed. On the inside, I cried a little bit. One of the owners told me that all of those pipes are sold. They could not pack them fast enough while I was in one of the stores. In one store, alone, I think I saw more pipes in there than I have ever seen in my life. So that I am making myself clear, I mean the total number of pipes that I have seen, added together. And it is fair to say that I have seen alot of pipes in shops and in houses, all over the world.
The other two pictures were taken from the roof of my building. The street that you see is
San Julian St, between 5th and 6th Streets. It is normally very crowded. It is not crowded now. Can you find the drug dealer in the crowd? This is a new version of find the embedded object that we use to have fun doing in the magazine, "Highlights", that we all used to receive when I was in elementary school. A page in the magazine had a drawing of an outdoor scene or something like that. In it 10 objects were hidden in the fabric of the drawing. the purpose was to increase our observation skills and recognition of shapes, etc.
With observation in mind, I have observed alot of people lately on the street. With my mother on my mind, I have paid close attention to the mentally ill. As I told you, my mother could be in a conversation with me and, suddenly, in mid sentence, or sometimes, in the middle of a multi=syllable word, she would lapse into a zone that was different from our conversation. I could never find out what triggered it.
Anyway, I was observing the mentally ill this week. There seemed to be alot of incidents involving mental illness this week on the streets. I do not know why.
I asked Officer Royce about it. I thought 50 percent of the people on the streets were mentally ill. He said that was not the case. I asked him how many of the mentally ill he thought had nothing to do with drugs. He said that was a hard one because of the vast amount of drug usage in the area. Officer Royce did share something with me that I thought was interesting.
He told me that when his officers have to approach a person who is acting erratically, on the streets, they have to struggle to determine the source of the erratic behavior. Is the behavior as a result of mental illness or is the behavior or mental illness episode triggered by drug usage?
That is very important because that determines how they approach the individual for the safety of his officers and the individual. I wonder if one is more prone to violence or the potential to violence than the other. I will have to ask him. Or, what type of behavior does one have a propensity to do than the other? I think these are interesting questions that people do not ask with respect to life on Skid Row.
I wonder this. Lets say you have a man or woman on the streets who is acting strangly. Let's say the person is acting strangely with someone on the street who is not a trained officer. Maybe that person would be taken down by a swarm technique if officers were involved. but if they are not and the person is dealing with someone on the street who is not trained to look at things, and DOES NOT GIVE A DAM, would there be a greater chance that the deranged person end up badly beaten by a violent outburst, or worst, killed. These kind of questions loom large as I walk the streets of skid row.
There are times when I walk by a person they suddenly yell "weed" or "cavi". they wait for me to walk by. I am sort of used to it, but, at times it catches me off guard. It is more irritating than anything.
However, there are times when I am passing a person and I know the person is not a drug dealer. When I pass the person, the person starts to yell obsenities. It startles me and I immediately am more on alert. My point is that what seems the same could be very different.
I just asked a resident where I am typing, Michael, about the scenarios. I wanted to know what he had to say about the drug dealer and the police officer with the deranged person. Michael has been down here downtown since 1992. Michael told me that the person would be safer with the police officer. However, He said to me one thing that I did not expect. He said that with certain drug dealers, it would not matter if the drug dealer could distinguish the difference between whether the person was experiencing a mental illness episode or drug induced episode.
He said that most drug dealers would not care and would hurt the person. He said that it would give the drug dealer the chance to show he had power. "Walter, these drug dealers would not care if the person were harmless or not. They would hurt them because these drug dealers are the most dangerous of all of the mentally ill on Skid Row. They are violent and they like it."
Whoaaa. I did not count on that response. I learn something every day. However, I remembered a drug dealer who lived in the facility where I stayed. He said he was crazy and that he did not care about anything except his money. He would hurt you or worse and would sleep well at night. Wow.
A person relapsed last night. This man entered the facility 2 months after I did. He would always tell me to keep my chin up. He met a woman and within a couple of days he allowed himself to buy what she was selling. He became distracted. He saw her providing sexual services outside of the facility. She was in a parked car. He saw what she was doing and went to find some rocks of cocaine. He did not make it back before curfew. He slept outside. They bagged his clothes and gave them to him. He has been sleeping all day outside the front doors.
He is court ordered. However, there is something I did not see today when he woke up. I did not see that same spirit. I wrote about that in previous writings. I have observed something in people that leaves them when they go out and relapse. It is intangible but oh so tangible at the same time. It is something that I believe it is hard for people to get back if they go back out.
I will never know because I will never relapse. No way.
Good nighet world. I love you