Podcast — Contrasts and justice (Part 2)

Choices and inevitability

Contrasts and justice (Part 2)




It’s The William Tell Show.  I call myself William Tell; you can call me Bill.  Thank you for including me in your world; I just love to be included.

As of late August, it continues to appear on the one hand that Donald Trump’s influence is waning.  Laura Ingraham said it’s time for Republicans to, quote, turn the page on Donald Trump, end quote.  On the other hand, adherents of The Big Lie are candidates for governor in Arizona and Maryland, possibly also Michigan and Wisconsin; and I’m not sure about the Senate races, except for Ohio’s J. D. Vance.  My candidates include Wes Moore, Anthony Brown, and Kweisi Mfume.

I felt that there was a lot more I wanted to say in the previous episode, and I want to try to catch up with it now.  We were talking about the dynamics of urban decay, and I wanted to explore more about the spiritual aspects.

I mentioned the strange vibes in the unit block of Light Street, the intersection of Baltimore and Light Street, the first block south from there, to Lombard.  At different times, I spent many, many hours in the McDonald’s, store number 2763, which was at the southeast corner of Baltimore and Light; until I personally became unwelcome there; and afterwards, at the Starbucks across the street.

I have mentioned this McDonald’s in many blog posts.  It closed coincident with the re-purposing of the property surrounding it, but I have to believe it was largely
because of the people who frequented that store.
In the most extreme event, I was sitting in the first floor dining room, and there was quite a crowd in there, and
we all discovered this pile of hot, fresh stool on the floor, not three feet in front of the serving counter.  Someone, somehow, had managed to come in there, drop trow, and deposit that, and left unnoticed.

The Starbucks that had been at 10 Light Street, on the southwest corner of that intersection, closed a few months into COVID.  I have to think the people who frequent that area played a role in that also.  I have many FaceBook posts remarking that people had come in who made me feel unsafe about my belongings.

I posted on FaceBook, on July second, 2019, quote:

We’re scary.

Among other renovations they made at Starbucks today, they removed all the outlets.
So I have nowhere to plug in my tablet.

The only reason I can think of they did this, is to upgrade the clientele.

I’ve never seen a problem with anyone who’s been there charging their phone,
but I concede that some of them might be frightening to the necktie crowd.

It’s not me.
They LIKE me.

But Tyrone Morris getting the cops called on him the other day probably didn’t help.

End quote.  I don’t recall what Tyrone Morris did to get the police called, but I remember something about the cops’ conversation with him.  I was out front smoking during part of that.  The one cop turned and walked back to his cruiser, and brought back a folder that had Morris’s ID in it.  I am clueless what circumstances would warrant a police officer taking and keeping a person’s ID; but it’s clear that Mr. Morris had had contact with that officer before.

One last story.  Some weeks ago, while we were housed at the rec center, I had occasion to ride on the bus westbound on Fayette Street, past Howard Street.  On the map, Fayette Street is one block north of Baltimore Street; you can see part of the name “Fayette” along the right side edge of the map.  I noticed that the entire block, on the north side of Fayette east of Howard Street, was blighted; as also, the whole block on the east side of Howard Street, north of Fayette, was completely blighted.  They consisted wholly of boarded-up storefronts, vandalized with graffiti.  It seemed to me this was an outreach of the urban blight associated with Lexington Market, at the upper left corner of the map.

After the break, I’ll try to get into some analysis.

[Commercial break]

I anticipate that much of what I’m about to say will be politically incorrect.  Frankly, it appears to me that all things that are true, are politically incorrect.  Let me say that again.  It appears to me that all things that are true, are politically incorrect.

The processes by which urban decay happens appear to me to be unknown or misunderstood.  I would like to think that if we understood them, we could interrupt them and keep it from happening.  But either we can’t grasp them, or we won’t admit them; they may say things about ourselves, or the cosmos, that we don’t want to admit.

It may be that growth and decay are merely two inseparable features of life, or existence; death is part of life.  Every year, the leaves fall off the trees, and eventually rot.  Living animals all eventually die, and their dead bodies inevitably rot.  And when the rotting process is complete, the material of which their bodies were composed, has become fertile soil in which new life can grow.

It may be the same way with communities and neighborhoods.

And also with civilizations and empires.  As we look across history, civilizations and empires rise and fall, come and go.  Egypt rose, and fell, and rose again, more than once.  The Incas, centuries before Columbus, had a very high civilization, and built stoneworks that rival the pyramids.  Before Athens knew its glory, there was a very high civilization on the island of Crete, and amazing artworks survive.  From the Bible, we know about Persia, and Babylon before that, and Assyria before that.

It’s all a question of what people happen to incarnate in a given place and time, and the choices those people make — whether they choose prosperity, or need.

I haven’t given this much thought lately, but years ago I had the theory that ghettoes and prisons are, in effect, compost heaps for souls.  People incarnate into those places so that they can be purged of all their negativity, and those energies may be, as it were, recycled, into positivity and light.  A compost heap MAY, but DOESN’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO, stink.  By the same token, it can be enough that poor people are poor; the degradation and crime that some poor folk create aren’t necessarily necessary, and remain, to me, a puzzle.

Except to the extent that needy people create need.

The “takers,” whom I mentioned before.

Poverty and need are two different things.  There are many poor people who aren’t needy.

When you have a critical mass of people who don’t and won’t care for themselves, cannot support themselves, then it’s likely that the businesses in that area will become unable to support themselves, either.
And then we have the beginnings of business failure,
as I mentioned as to Harborplace and The Gallery,
and as we see around Lexington Market.
And there can be a snowball effect,
with that dysfunction spreading geographically,
as it reached from Lexington Market to Howard and Fayette, and even possibly to the 200 block of Park Avenue, where the TV production crew was victimized.

There are things we can do, and things we can’t.
How urban blight occurs remains a mystery to me,
and I see no way that we can stop it.
But for each of us, for you and me, there remains
the opportunity to choose, each day, the best one can for oneself and others; to choose the ways of light and life, and so create prosperity.

We have two musical selections today.  First is “Happy Together,” by The Turtles, which I’m including simply because I like it.  The second, George Michael’s “Hand to Mouth,” takes a look at the life of a needy person.

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