winter sunrise at Higgs Beach, Key West
Gloria Reiser, a professional psychic with an international clientele, whom I have known since 1990, replied to yesterday’s Winter Solstice mental health advice for Uncle Sam and his fellow Americans – from the feminine side of the Creation, mostly post:
As I read the comments (about you) posted by the individual on the Coconut Telegraph, it brought to mind that old quote:
“Those who can’t hear the music, think the dancer quite mad.”
Another reminder that there are those persons who never dream (or at least fail to remember dreams upon waking), there are those who apparently only experience very mundane dreams, and there are those who are consciously oblivious to anything that can’t be seen in 3D. I would never want to exchange being thought “quite mad” for such sensory limitation.
Meanwhile, here are leads into three articles in The Key West Citizen (www.keysnews.com
) today, which you should be able to reach and open if you are a paying subscriber, or by paying 50 cents with your credit card.
No easy answer to violence by the mentally disturbed
BY TERRY SCHMIDA
Citizen Staff Does Monroe County have a potential Adam Lanza in its midst? If we did, would we be able to identify him as a threat before he had a chance to lash out at society? It all depends on how forthcoming about their intentions they are, according to Sandy Islands, a licensed mental health counselor and certified addiction professional.
[I first met Sandy Islands at the Unity Church, in Key West circa late 2000-early 2001]
SWAT deputy off team for now
BY ADAM LINHARDT
A Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy was suspended from the SWAT team for six months after an Internal Affairs probe into the theft of an automatic assault rifle, handguns and other tactical equipment from his patrol car.
[The second time this deputy had his weapons stolen out of his unlocked patrol car. Before that, he had been fired by the Key West Police Department, all as reported in the article.]
County’s impoverished death toll at 51 in 2012 BY GWEN FILOSA
Key West and county officials today will hold the annual memorial service for the island chain’s homeless who died in 2012, laying to rest 51 souls without survivors who could afford private funerals. This year’s death toll includes two infants whose lives ended immediately after birth, and the oldest is an 86-year-old woman who died Dec. 15, said the Rev. Steve Braddock, who will lead the 3 p.m. service at Key West Cemetery.
[If this malaise on me right now lifts, I will attend the memorial service.]
Based on what I read in The Key West Citizen and hear on the street year after year, Key West puts far more effort into trying to keep homeless people from sleeping outside, day or night, than it puts into trying to defend school children and Key West mainstream citizens and visitors from being mugged, beaten nearly to death, knifed and/or shot on its streets and in its bars and in their homes.
When I arrived homeless in Key West in late 2000, homeless people were allowed to sleep outside. For the first month I was in Key West, the minister of Unity Church let me sleep in the outbuilding behind the church, until the church board members fired her for that and reasons pre-dating me, after receiving crystal clear messages from Above that they should not fire her. Hurricane Wilma would level that church in the fall of 2005, but spare the back out building where I had slept.
After the Unity minister was fired, I slept nights on cardboard boxes in a doorway next to the bookstore on Fleming Street from February through May 2001. Then, I was moved to Helen, Georgia for the summer, in a curious way described in the Preface to HEAVY WAIT: A Strange Tale
, which novel literally fell out of me on a borrowed computer in the Helen Library during May and June of that year. The book finally was published by www.PublishAmerica.com
in 2006, and can be obtained there. There also are copies in the Monroe County library system, which I donated.
In 2008, Mark Howell wrote a review for Solares Hill, but Tom Tuell, Editor of The Citizen and Mark’s boss, killed the review, ostensibly because I was running for the County Commission and it wouldn’t be fair to the other candidates, but the review could run after the election. Later, Mark told me the review never would run. I never saw what he wrote for the review.
Anyway, two days after 9/11, I was headed back to Key West on a Greyhound bus, and the night of the day I arrived, I headed for my old condo on Fleming to bed down. I had only just gotten comfy and was starting to doze off when a KWPD cruiser came by, like had happened many times that spring, but this time the cruiser stopped and two officers got out and told me I could not sleep in that doorway. I asked, where could I sleep? They said nowhere, it was illegal, and I had to move on.
I said, hmmm, did that mean I was now to sue the City of Key West for violation of my Constitutional Rights? The two officers seemed to take some offense over that. I said not to worry, I was moving on, but could I have one of their cards? One gave me his card, with his name, business phone, address, etc. The next day, I wrote a letter to him to say I had thought it over and did not feel like a lawsuit was the way to deal with it. I really didn’t feel a lawsuit was the way to deal with it, although some years later, I would change my mind.
After the two officers drove away, I walked across Fleming and bedded down just down the sidewalk from an elderly black man, who bedded down on Fleming every night, and was bedded down every day on Fleming or other streets, in the shade. The KWPD officers had not told him to get up and move on. I was not bothered the rest of that night.
The next day I was in the Key West library to use one of its public computers to go online. The library always had a sheriff deputy on station and the library also had a policy against sleeping in the library. Quite a few homeless people used the library daily, including me, and they were prone to nod off. As was I.
When I felt myself starting to nod off in the library that day, I grabbed my day pack and went outside and sat on a bench in the pretty little garden next to the library. My back pack was hanging in a Duval Street shoe store’s back room, where I was allowed to store it during the day thanks to the kindness of the store manager who had taken an interest in me the day after I arrived in Key West in late 2000. I had no shoes that fit, and he gave me a pair of used sandals someone had left and had not come back to pick up. Sometimes he took me home with him, on Big Coppit Key, where I was able to do laundry and sleep on a couch and eat a home- cooked meal.
Well, pretty soon, I nodded off sitting upright on that bench in the garden beside the library. And, pretty soon, I started awake to look up and see the sheriff deputy from inside the library looking down at me. He said I was not supposed to sleep there. I said I knew that, but I had passed out. Passed out? Yes, passed out. I passed out a couple of times a day, had done so for years. It happened in church services, coffee shops, wherever. Did I have a medical problem? No, it was a God thing. I passed out, then when I came out of it, something happened God wanted me to experience. The deputy appeared seriously upset, said I had to leave the garden. I said okay, and got up, shouldered my day pack and grabbed my bicycle, which stood nearby on its kickstand, and walked it out of the garden, as I asked the officer if he didn’t have something more important to do, like catch criminals?
Well, that was not what that deputy wanted to hear, and he whipped out a pad off his hip and took his pen out of his shirt pocket and started asking me questions. Where did I live? I said I had no home address. “At large,” he said, and wrote that on his pad. He said I was banned from the library. I said, what? He went inside the library and fetched an older man, whom I’d seen in the library and figured he was in charge. The deputy conversed with the older man, who told me he agreed, I was banned from the library. I was astounded, said so. Then, the deputy ordered me off the sidewalk in front of the library. I said it was a public sidewalk, I was not breaking any law, he could not order me off the sidewalk. The deputy whipped out is two-way and requested back up. I asked why he did that, he was wearing the Glock, I was not armed? He gave me a really mean look. I got on my bicycle and pedaled off, wondering what in the hell was going on?
In less than 24 hours, I was banned from sleeping outside and using the library. It would be quite a while before I understood 9/11 had caused Key West to start treating its homeless people like terrorists.
Later that day, I saw a fellow I’d only just met at Sippin’ Internet Cafe the evening before. He was really into the Sufi poet Rumi, and was astounded to learn that a homeless person knew about Rumi, and about Rumi’s teacher, Shams, of whom the fellow I’d only just met said I sort of reminded him. The fellow, a recovering alcoholic and an old-timer at Anchors Away in Key West, said he didn’t want me exposed to the Key West police at night and I could stay with him and his son, for which I was grateful. They also had a computer and it was online, so I was able to sleep inside and write and do what I needed to do online.
I stayed with them until just after Hurricane Michelle brushed by Key West in early November of 2001, when I was moved to Birmingham until the next June, when I was moved back to Helen until early September, when I was moved back to Key West. Thanks to an unexpected Christmas gift from my father, I still had a little money and was able to rent an apartment in a house owned by the wife of Key West lawyer Michael Barnes, whose law office took up the rest of the house. The money ran out in December, and that January I was back to living on the street.
This time. I slept in the backyard of the Unity Church on Flagler Avenue, where nobody bothered me. For all I know, nobody knew I was sleeping there. Every morning, I was on Higgs Beach for sunrise. Later that year, I nearly died of MRSA, and just after that I ran for Mayor of Key West the first time, while living in a Florida Keys Outreach Coalition shelter. I lived outside some more after that, in a tent across from Smathers Beach. That’s when the lawsuit was threatened, and that’s how Keys Overnight Homeless Shelter (KOTS) came to be built. Short version of a much longer story.
I bet my life and my soul that Key West will continue to put far more effort into trying to control homeless people, than it puts into protecting school children and its mainstream citizens and visitors from muggings, beatings nearly to death, knifings and shootings.
The early Rome Church moved the homeless man Jesus’ birthday from March (Pisces) to December 25, to coincide with the Winter Solstice, which was a Pagan high holy day. By doing that, the early Church hoped to make itself more appealing to Pagans. Now in its second day, tomorrow is the last day, the Winter Solstice heralds the coming of the light.
It’s been my experience that the light brings stuff which is not always welcome. Might be New Age folks, who have expectantly awaited the end of the Mayan Calendar and the advent of a new era for humanity, will be surprised at what all that might entail.
HEAVY WAIT is about making the darkness conscious. As is most of what the angels push me to write.