HOMELESS AND HARMLESS
Two masterful tales by Rubin: Over the past few weeks, Paul Rubin has had two penetrating, though vastly different, stories. The latest was [about] Raven, which was masterfully told on Thanksgiving weekend ("The Outsider," November 24). It truly reminded us of how lucky we are to have jobs, homes, family, and our wits [about us most of the time].
Rubin's tale wasn't the usual sob story about the homeless; [it was] a masterfully told profile of this man and the people he has befriended and who have befriended him. Raven truly is a remarkable individual, whom anybody should be happy to have as a neighbor.
The other story, of course, was Rubin's encyclopedic opus on the Baseline Killer ("Waiting for Goudeau," November 10). It was equally well told. I felt like I was in the mind of Mark Goudeau, which was a frightening experience. In reading this, I recalled how terrified everybody was in Phoenix when all this was going on. I lived basically in the same neighborhood as Goudeau, and I jumped at every bump in the night back than.
Anyhow, please keep this page-turners coming. These [in-depth] stories are what New Times does better than anybody else.
Wayne Cain, Phoenix
Thanks for caring: Thank you for taking the time to do ["The Outsider"]. I live in the same neighborhood as Raven. A sweet man with a big heart! Kelly [Crittenden] needs to be commended for the manner in which she has helped Raven. Thank you for caring!
Linda Gallie, Phoenix
Another potential resource for Raven: I know a lot of people in Raven's condition. I wonder if he has found (or if anyone has told him about) RIAz (Recovery Innovations of Arizona). It's on 16th Street, one block south of East Thomas Road. The people there should be able to help him.
Margaret Barry, Phoenix
Find someone hard to love: What a great article [on Raven and his situation]. Thanks. About nine years ago, I was drawn to a homeless person who had set up home (a sleeping bag and a few personal items) a half-block from where I worked. I thought of Mother Teresa's suggestion that we should find someone who is hard to love and love them.
I committed to give him money on a weekly basis, [plus] food, clothing, and whatever was needed. His name is Ken, he was probably in his early 50s [back then], not an alcoholic, but schizophrenic. I have seen him digress from walking with a cane to a walker and (in the past several years) to a wheelchair. He has been in jail (drinking in public) and hospitalized several times — which are blessings, as he is cleaned up and checked out [medically while incarcerated]. I have been able to track him down when this happens.
I and social workers have tried to get him permanent housing, but he needs a birth certificate and a Social Security number to receive help/funds to do a placement. He says he was born "in a different place." More than a little frustrating, but I'm sure not nearly [as] frustrating as what he experiences daily. I look at him and his situation and wonder if this is the best we can do for him and those who are unable to provide for themselves.
Your article provided a nice, different perspective. Ken has a number of "customers" (his term for me and others who look out for him). He has shown me how I have a lot to learn. He is so dirty that I will not shake hands with him. I know he could benefit from touching another human, perhaps even more than [having] money. I provide, but I can't do it.
John Kraner, Fountain Hills
Raven's better than some neighbors: Here is a person who seems, even if he is "mentally ill," a much better neighbor than the ones who are my neighbors — drug heads and sellers of drugs.
God only knows, if I had more money, I would consider paying [Raven's] rent, since [he] would provide some cheerfulness and at least not bring unpleasantness.
Mark Veah, Yuma
A poignant yarn: ["The Outsider"] spoke volumes to me. Our church started ministering to the homeless with just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bottles of water, and it flourished into friendships.
Nissy Rangel, city unavailable
Do-gooders actually doing wrong: It's nice that the neighbors mean well, but they are just enabling [Raven to stay] homeless. Each item of food, each attempt to help, keeps him glued to that park, and his lifestyle.
It sucks that Arizona has such shitty services.
Shooter McGaven, city unavailable