I Became Homeless By Helping A Rape Victim

I rarely blog about my personal situation; but, this is one such occasion. In the six years since I began blogging, I've written about how my birth parents fractured my skull when I was eight months old, how I spent five years as an only child in a foster home and how I was adopted by a Polish man and an Italian woman who bore seven children and adopted 30 including myself. One brother has passed away. I've also written about a disagreement that led to me not speaking to my mother from April 1998 until August 2009.

I haven't blogged in the past about a girlfriend who passed away on August 11th, 1994 after we'd been together for four years and who would've celebrated a birthday on September 19th if she were living. I guess you can say that I've had a rough life; but, I'm not one to cower in a corner with my head in my hands or to wallow in pity. That truth about me is the impetus for this post; because, my propensity for moving quickly toward solutions has not always been well-received.

When I do talk about how I became homeless, it's usually part of a larger conversation or speech and I tend to give scant details so as to move quickly back to the larger conversation. I often tell high school, college and university students, “I worked at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida from May 1988 to February 1994. [Gory job description which includes incinerating amputated body parts] I had a falling out with my boss and walked off of the job on Valentine's Day 1994 which was the day before my 25th birthday. I got my last check soon thereafter, went back to New Jersey, spent my money on a hotel and ended up at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission at 2009 Bacharach Boulevard.

I'll begin the story of how I became homeless by first taking you back to October 1988. I'd been working at Shands Hospital for five months when Lynn Carese Allen (October 26th, 1969 to present) began working there in the same month as her 19th birthday. (Prior to that, I'd been the youngest of 4,500 employees.) She worked for the hospital's contract security firm, Globe Security. We became very good friends. Lynn left a year later and returned in 1990. Shands had developed in-house security by that time and she began to work the information desk, as opposed to her former duty guarding the entrance to the emergency room – the post where I initially met her.

Lynn worked evenings from 3 to 11:30 PM. I worked the night shift for all of my six years there (and pulled many double shifts) starting at 10 or 11 PM and getting off at 6:30 or 7:30 AM – with my schedule having been subject to that slight change based on a number of circumstances. I would often clock in, see how much there was to do, work for 30 to 45 minutes and then go speak with Lynn for 30 to 45 minutes. I was so good at my job that I could do everything in five hours or so and take three hours of break per night. On my off nights, my relief could work the whole eight hours with a half hour lunch and still not get everything done. My supervisor knew how much break I took but didn't mind due to me finishing everything and being willing to work through my regular breaks and skip lunch on hectic nights. This gave me plenty of time to spend with Lynn.

She and I would talk about a wide range of things, rap together and just have an all-around good time on the clock. I would often walk her to her car. I was a tractor driver. The vehicle was a Taylor-Dunn tractor (essentially a forkless forklift) with trailers behind it. It was similar to the small trains used to load luggage on airplanes. In the 1990's Shands, along with other connected buildings, was part of the second largest continuous building in the country when you measure the floor space, surpassed only by the Pentagon. It might be number one at this point. Due to the building's sheer size, the tractor drivers would drive in new supplies and clean linen and drive out trash and dirty linen. We'd incinerate red-bag trash, compact white-bag trash, bail cardboard and put large trash in the dumpster. I often had to ask Lynn to call her fellow security personnel to open hospital Stores (the warehouse on the west end of the building near the loading dock) so that I could get a tractor off of charge and put the one with a low battery on charge. That gave me a way out if one of her superiors might ever accuse her of goofing off.

In the summer of 1993 I noticed awkward behavior on Lynn's part. She was out of work for a couple of weeks. Another woman named Maxine Mingo who also worked at the information desk and was 51 in 1993 was both a good friend of mine and a mother figure to Lynn. Maxine told me that Lynn was in a hospital – not Shands – and didn't want visitors. I wouldn't see Lynn until she returned to work and she refused to talk about why she was hospitalized. I took it in stride until addition strange behavior began to occur a few months later.

This was around the time that Michael Jackson was being dragged through the courts for possible child molestation and the Menendez brothers were on trial for killing their parents. When I went to visit with Lynn on various occasions, she would often have a newspaper on the lower inside level of the information desk. I would often reach over and grab it. But when there was an article about either of these stories, she would place the paper on the upper level of the desk and have it turned to the page where the story was. It had the intended effect. We talked about both stories and I explained that I thought Michael was guilty and that the Menendez brothers had indeed been abused by their father – sexually and otherwise. She smiled broadly both times. I would realize some time later that it had been a test to see if I would be sensitive to her feelings about what she'd been through.

Lynn drove a brick red Nissan Lynx that was always breaking down. I've been present on numerous occasions when she would call her brother who would not answer his phone and ask for a ride home. She would then give a sigh of disgust before dialing her step father Jasper Peacock who would always answer immediately. I vaguely recall having asked Lynn why she didn't just call Jasper to begin with. I don't recall having ever gotten an answer. On one extremely awkward occasion in late '93 or early '94 I heard her speaking very seductively to Jasper. She repeatedly called his name in a higher-than-usual, seductive manner. (I'd never actually met Lynn off of the job and didn't know before this point that Jasper was her step father.) When she got off of the phone, I asked her, “Who was that, your boyfriend?”. She said nothing. I asked at least two more times. Finally, she snapped at me as she said, “That's my father!” That's when it all came together.

I realized that she'd been throwing hints for several months – some intentionally and some unintentionally – as to what she was going through. I could've kicked myself for having not realized it sooner. I made attempts to get her to open up and tell me in no uncertain terms what was going on. I went out to the hospital during my off time to check on her. She lived in Micanopy, Florida which is about 16 miles south of Gainesville. Since the city bus didn't go that far, I began walking. I got about halfway there and someone who knew the family picked me up and drove me to the house. Lynn's mother was raking and burning leaves. I had an uneventful conversation with her for about five minutes and went back to Gainesville. I visited the Gainesville police who told me that they couldn't help if she wouldn't open up. I went to a domestic violence assistance center on Waldo Road in Gainesville. They said the same. I called the Marion County sheriff's office where Micanopy and Ocala are located. Same.

I continued to try to get my friend of over five years to tell me enough so that I could help her. Eventually my supervisor named William Maxwell approached me and said that he was receiving complaints of me harassing Lynn. I explained the matter to him. He seemed to understand and wasn't upset. I, on the other hand, was highly insulted that anyone could even form their lips to imply that I was harassing or otherwise violating a woman. I ended up abandoning that job. I got my last check and went back to New Jersey. When the money ran out, I became homeless.

Shortly after becoming homeless, I began to ask myself why bad things happen to good people. I resumed a thought process that I'd begun about five years earlier whereby I'd begun to reflect on the friction that existed between my mother and I during my childhood. I'd determined that my propensity for objective, difficult rationale that often revolves around grim realities and absolute truths was at odds with her sensitivities that caused her to sometimes want to believe something even if it didn't make sense. I also reflected on at least one thing that I'd said to Lynn that may have sent up the red flag in her mind and caused her to change her mind about confiding in me – even before I figured out what she'd been going through or the drama that followed. In any instance, I left that period of deep thought having accepted that I have an affinity for rationale and not one for being sensitive or emotional. I decided to cease and desist from earlier efforts to seem sensitive and just be the rational man that I am. As a point of clarity, I should say that I do indeed feel. Here are my personal connotations of three words with similar definitions:

1 – Feeling: An individualized phenomenon whereby a person gets a sensation in their gut (and possibly other body parts) as a result of something they hear and/or otherwise sense (often through a non-contact experience). It can accompany an intense thought or desire.

2 – Sensitivity: A collective (often societal) way of thinking about an issue such as proper treatment of women by men including the idea that rape is wrong. (Some countries either actively or passively condone rape.) Sensitivity is generally not required to make sense, though it occasionally and coincidentally overlaps with rationale. Most often it is either considered apart from rationale or in direct conflict with it.

3 – Emotion: An individualized and situation-based way of thinking whereby a person is either extremely excited or upset about a recent occurrence. During upsetting incidents, emotion is often marked by a sense of uncertainty as to how to solve the problem and by extreme indecisiveness.

Once again, I do feel; but, I'm not sensitive or emotional.

Even to this day, as I reflect on the situation between Lynn and I, it only seems to make sense that I wanted to get her out of the bad situation that I believed her to have been in. Though the matter was never proven one way or the other, I firmly believe that I guessed right -- that her step father was repeatedly raping her. Over the years that followed I would run across writings and people who would say that a man often offends a woman (often his wife or girlfriend) by interrupting her emotional expression of an experience in order to present a solution. I remembered a showing of Oprah in the early 90's where she and a female psychologist advised wives to gently cover the husband's mouth and to say, “Don't solve it; just listen”. That idea didn't set well with me then and it still doesn't. In the late 90's I ran across a Jehovah's Witness publication that carried the same basic message.

I worked many low-wage jobs from 1994 until 2005. I been a farm hand for cabbage, tobacco, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, watermelon and onions. I've worked at many labor halls. I've landed several jobs by working well out of the labor hall. I've gotten out of homelessness several times and I've fallen back in. If I were to write a book (which my current blog posts add up to anyway), I could show that other people's dislike of my insensitive rationale has contributed to them “pushing me out” of multiple jobs and back into homelessness.

I found myself homeless and working at a labor hall in Gainesville, Florida in the summer of 2005. A fellow worker and I spoke about the Iraq War while we waited for assignments. With me having already believed that the war was based on lies, he told me about the Downing Street Memo and Bilderberg. I made it my business to come to Washington, DC and speak out against Bush 43 and the Iraq War. I arrived around 10:30 PM on July 31st and partook in my first protest on September 24th, 2005. In June 2006 I began advocating for the homeless.

These days, I post many of my thoughts on Facebook and in my blog, having learned to do in e-mail in November 2006, having begun a Facebook account and this blog in 2008. That said, there is a lot of on-line “talk” about Ray Rice hitting his fiancee who later married him and about Adrian Peterson abusing his 4-year old son. Both are personal for me – the former due to me having helped multiple female victims (not all mentioned here) and the latter due to me having been nearly killed by my birth parents. I've portrayed the Peterson child as a complete victim and Janay Rice as a partial victim. The sensitive camp (including men) has gotten upset with me for the latter. Come to think of it, I've bumped heads with more than one person over the years due to my tendency to assign blame in what I believe to be a fair and rational manner. I dare not assume that the woman is always completely innocent when she and a man have an argument that turns violent. I pay dearly for being fair. No good deed goes unpunished.

In the late 90's I was living in Orlando and spent much of that time at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, a shelter which was located at 639 Central Blvd at that time. I've been told that it has relocated and is now directed by an acquaintance of mine that I met in DC, Donald Whitehead. Early one morning I was walking down Church Street toward an Asian store/restaurant named “Lucy's” where I would often buy breakfast.

I saw a woman on the ground, a man hitting her and others standing around and shouting. The man's friends pulled him off and the men began to walk away. I saw that the assailant was a man whom I'd spoken to on numerous occasions but whose name I'd never learned. I'd always known him to be easy-going. As the woman got up, I saw that it was someone affectionately known as Pocahontas, though I never learned whether it was her given name or a street name. She was known to be ghetto.

Pocahontas went back at the man. He knocked her down again and hit her a few times before his friends pulled him off. He and th friends told her to just go away as the men tried again to walk away. She got back up, broke a glass bottle that was lying on the sidewalk and charged at the man again. This time he knocked her down, put her leg in a figure-4 and hurt her so badly that she couldn't get up again and she let out several long screams. The ambulance was called.

The police also came. Before they got there, I told someone that I'd always known the man to be quite calm and friendly. I asked why they were “fighting” (if you want to call it that). This spectator explained that the man had given Pocahontas money with the expectation of getting sex. She had played him (all views on prostitution aside, for now). He verbally confronted her, intending only to give her a good tongue thrashing. She reacted and it went from there. When the police arrived, I began to tell them what I witnessed. Another man who I knew was lying told a story of the male fighter having initiated the attack and been fully to blame. This man emotionally interrupted me and sounded much more emotional than I could ever sound. The cops focused their attention on him and I went about my business knowing that justice would not be served based on his account. The male fighter had already left. I'm not sure if police ever caught up with him. I sensed that the liar felt that a man should never hit a woman and was lying to get the outcome he felt was right.

I see similar thinking emerging around the Ray Rice situation. Many people don't want to consider the possibility that Janay Rice antagonized her then-fiancee; because, they're so upset than a man (football player or otherwise) hit a woman for any reason at all. Rather than lying to the police, these people are reacting negatively to anyone who considers how Ray AND Janay could have done better.

But before I give my opinion of the Ray Rice situation, I'll say that a certain male Facebook friend whom I've met in real life several times was particularly upset by views that I expressed. After a lengthy exchange, it came out that he thought that I was only hard on women. I explained that I actually push many groups of people of either gender to think hard. He tried to find other ways to support his sensationalistic accusations. I logged off of Facebook and decided to explain the matter in a blog post.

With various groups that I associate with and conversations that I involve myself in, I have a personal rule of only speaking when I've identified a thought that:

1 – is highly rational
2 – further along in the thought process than what I've heard anyone mention
3 – difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

I often find ways to categorize my statements so that they apply broadly to many of the situations that those who hear me will encounter. This makes it likely that they'll be reminded of my words. That said:

I routinely go to my church's Bible study and talk about God being a hard god.

I have posted FB comments on multiple occasions in which I said that it is my pet peeve to see that people want a sweet god whom they can jerk around.

I routinely talk about how homeless people should learn to self-advocate and get over their apprehension.

I routinely talk about how housed people should forgo their stereotypes about homeless people and take steps to connect them to living-wage jobs – how that they should at least abstain from falsely accusing homeless people or hating them for their socioeconomic status.

I routinely tell Whites to bite their tongues and hear the concerns of Blacks, with the Black race having been oppressed and under-educated for many years.

I routinely tell Blacks to engage in critical thinking.

I usually speak calmly. I sometimes state the application and at other times the general concept. But I always make it a point to bring the most difficult thoughts to any conversation.

Now for the kicker. I've said that the Peterson child was a full victim and that Janay Rice was only a partial victim. I don't expect mature behavior from any 4-year old child. I do expect mature behavior from a woman or man. Rather than making allowances for a woman's emotion to get the better of her and cause her to initiate violence, we should expect rational behavior from both genders.

I also believe that Ted Robinson was right and should not have been suspended by the 49'ers when he said that Janay Rice should have come out with her version of events sooner and that her decision to marry Ray after the fact was pathetic. Neither statement “blamed” her for Ray Rice punching her. Both were advice as to what she should've done in the aftermath. I believe that this over-extended definition of victim blaming actually is an effort to muzzle a man's rationale. I won't be muzzled and don't give a damn who doesn't like it.

I should add that Ray Rice didn't need to cold-cock Janay like he did. Professional boxers are not allowed to hit non-boxers, even if the non-boxer throws the first punch. Ray Rice was getting hit by large men on the football field. What his wife did couldn't have actually hurt. So, while she clearly took shots at him, the magnitude of his response was unwarranted.

Please try to understand this very long blog for its rational content and don't get emotional or sensationalistic.

Any questions?????

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