There are three classes of homeless people. Those who were forced to be by circumstances, this is the smallest category. Those who are cadging money, but actually do live somewhere, some of these make out quite well, especially if they fake injuries, professional beggar style. And the third and largest category consists of the mentally ill and drug addicts who make up the largest section of New York City’s homeless population.
The photo of a NYPD officer buying shoes for a homeless man was touching and pointless. Now the shoes, which cost 100 dollars, are predictably gone.
The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Skechers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.
“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”
Mr. Hillman, 54, was by turns aggrieved, grateful and taken aback by all the attention that had come his way — even as he struggled to figure out what to do about it.
“I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get?” he said. “This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.”
Hid them is one possibility. Sold them is another.
This is what happens when you try to pluck homeless people off the street or help them. Most of them cannot be helped because they are not sane. Many of them are subject to fits of paranoia, like the one that led to a Korean-American being pushed under a subway a few days ago.
You are dealing with people who are substance abusers and/or mentally ill. But they are also not nearly as poor or hopeless as they appear. The boots gentleman is familiar with YouTube. That doesn’t mean he’s not homeless, but it does mean that he has computer access. He’s not starving and while he is pushing his health at risk by walking around with bare feet, that’s his decision and it remained his decision even after he got new boots.
As usual the score is, Homeless 1, Humanitarian 0.