Saturday, October 9, 2010

Judge not others?

As a society, do we want children sleeping in the streets with drug addicts and the mentally deranged? Do we believe that thousands, or tens of thousands, of people starving in the US and sleeping in the cold is acceptable?

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly I’d never asked myself these questions before yesterday. And, for a current figure, an estimated 41% of the homeless in Los Angeles are under 18.

What happened yesterday? I went (with Coro) to Union Rescue Mission for a tour and to meet with Andy Bales, its CEO. He is trying to end homelessness in LA with love. He’s a reverend.

So? Well, he made the point that people should all be treated as God’s special creatures and none should be left in the cold. He is passionate, driven, articulate and eats with his flock. He talks a lot to the media and takes on local politicians. He made me think.

And this does related back to Captive. George, at one point in the book, feels bad about attacking Khalil in his weakened state. He feels shame and remorse for taking advantage of that and pushing, cruelly. Yet what if George is right and Khalil is planning to kill many others?

Bales is denied money from some donors because of his affiliation with God. George judges Khalil because of his relationship with his Allah (which in Khalil’s mind allows for killing others).

Bales talked about sitting down to eat with the homeless. I don’t want to do that. Would I? Of course. Do I want to? No. We all have our prejudices. Can we defend them? In front of our God?

And the picture? I couldn’t bear to take one of Skid Row. It seemed exploitative. I’ll write in a book about George exploiting a fictional character. But, as the reverend said, I don’t want to judge someone at what may be their lowest moment (desperate people are what line skid row in LA).

So you are seeing the same stars I observed the day before when I was in Hollywood.

Promise to lighten up these postings, honest. Just a reflection of what I’ve been seeing, for whatever reason, lately.

Book out on Tuesday!

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