Vulnerable. It’s a word we often use to describe the clients our programs target—individuals who have serious health, mental health, and substance abuse challenges; who are frequent utilizers of hospitals and emergency rooms; and who are at high risk of dying on the streets. Veterans, seniors, families, and youth also often fall into that category. But, when we’re talking about more than 650,000 homeless people in our country, what does “vulnerable” really mean?
Tag Archives: veterans
My father was in the Army infantry in World War II. When I was a child he never talked about his experience. For a very out-going, talkative man, his silence was peculiar. The rifles he took home from the war were hidden in our garage. The names of these weapons had a strange label: thirty-aught-six.
I could never figure out his silence to the war until I became an adult operating homeless programs in Los Angeles. For many soldiers drafted into combat, the sights, sounds, and smells of organized death were just too much.
Letter to the Orange County District Attorney Regarding the Arrest of the Suspected Homeless Serial Killer
Editor’s note: The following is a letter that Dr. Mary McLaughlin sent to Orange County, California District Attorney Tony Rackauckas regarding the recent arrest of Marine Corps Veteran Itzcoatl Ocampo, who is suspected in the murders of four homeless men.
District Attorney Rackauckas:
I am a rehabilitation psychologist. My areas of specialty are psychiatric disabilities and brain injuries. I interned on the Psychology Service at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Syracuse, New York and I work with chronically homeless people.
At first glance, he appears to be the stereotypical image of a killer of homeless Americans. He is young, male, angry, and has short hair, almost to the point of being a skinhead.
Since 1999, the National Coalition for the Homeless has documented nearly 1,200 violent crimes against homeless Americans with one in five ending up dead. Nearly 90% of the perpetrators were male, and 80% were under the age of 25 years old.
Some wore military veterans’ caps, others donned full uniforms decorated with pins and patches highlighting their service to our country. They stood at perfect attention during the pledge of allegiance. They were certainly The Few, The Proud. I felt out of place at a California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets) Conference in the Los Angeles [...]
My father was in the Army infantry in World War II. When I was a child he never talked about his experience. For an out-going, talkative man, my father’s silence was peculiar. The rifles he took home from the war were hidden in our garage. His weapons were curiously labeled, “thirty-aught-six.” I could never figure [...]