Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

Published on Sunday, January 13, 2019

Don’t blame charities for drop box deaths

Recently, a woman got trapped in a donation box in Toronto and died. A week earlier, a man died in a West Vancouver donation box. The media found that since 2015, eight people have died trying to get inside these clothing bins.

            Eight people! Wow! Shouldn’t that rate as a national security crisis?

            Critics called the bins “death traps.” A witness to the Toronto woman’s death said, “She was just utterly pinned in there… It was like an animal trap designed not to release her.”

            In a collection of panicky responses, West Vancouver ordered all donation bins in the city locked. Vancouver considered banning them completely. Diabetes Canada decided to retrofit all of its 4000 clothing donation bins across the country. Burnaby called for the removal of all bins.

            All of which seems to imply that hundreds of charities – national, regional, or local – are at fault for risking the public’s health.

            No one seems to be asking why the public is getting into the bins anyway.

            Ray Taheri, an engineering professor at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, argued that homeless people or those in need will try to pull themselves inside the bins to reach the contents inside or to shelter themselves for warmth.

            Taheri described the victims as “desperate people.”

            Maybe some of them are. But some of them definitely are not desperate. Or homeless. Or even in need. 

 

Picking and choosing

            Global News featured video of a well-dressed young man extricating himself from the inside of a metal clothing bin. His escape required strength and agility far beyond the capabilities of any homeless men I know. 

            Anyone really desperate doesn’t need to steal. Any thrift shop will give items away to anyone who can’t afford a dollar or two.

            The Thrift Shop I know best, associated with the United Church in Lake Country, installed surveillance cameras because of the volume of thefts. 

            One of the thieves does, indeed, look somewhat destitute. But he loads up the trailer for his bicycle. And comes back 20 minutes later with an accomplice. She’s perhaps in her thirties. And she’s walking, both ways. 

            They were not succumbing to a casual impulse.

            They spent 47 minutes sorting through donations to select exactly what they wanted.

            Another night, the same couple had to came back a second time, because they couldn’t carry everything from their first visit. 

 

Always room for more

            Another video shows a young couple driving up in a relatively late-model black four-door Honda Civic. 

            The male driver grabs a large wicker basket, a donation, which he fills to overflowing with stolen clothes. His female companion sits in the car with her window down, smoking cigarettes and spitting butts onto the ground, while she instructs him which items to choose. 

            They fill the car’s back seat so full, they have to move front seats forward to make room.

            Ours is not the only Thrift Shop affected. Thieves also hit the donation bins at the shop that supports the Lake Country food bank. Even though it’s right across the street from the RCMP offices. 

            Their operation closed over the Christmas period. When they re-opened after New Year’s, they found not one donation in their drop box. Not one!

 

Not in need

            Yes, some people who raid clothing bins do use the clothing for themselves. Neighbours to the United Church Thrift Shop have watched people strip naked, put on fresh clothing from the donation box, and throw their dirty laundry through the slot.

            But the recent rash of thefts involves far more clothing and household goods than thieves could use for themselves. 

            Purely by coincidence, someone advertised (on VarageSale.com) a sale of second-hand clothing in the parking lot of a local pub. But the pub manager assured me they knew nothing about it.

            Unfortunately, there’s no way of tracking donated clothing that hasn’t been processed by volunteers inside the store yet. 

            Disclosure: I am not impartial about this story. The volunteers in the United Church Thrift Shop are friends. Without the revenues from the Thrift Shop, our church would have closed 30 years ago. 

            The shop also donates thousands of dollars every year to other community organizations. 

            I realize this protest is futile. I’m expecting thieves to have ethics, and self-centred jerks to have compassion for the less fortunate. But unless I protest, I’m condoning their actions.

            So let’s quit pretending that the people who raid donation boxes are somehow innocent victims of the charities’ carelessness. They’re thieves. Period. 

*******************************************************

Copyright © 2019 by Jim Taylor. Non-profit use in congregations and study groups encouraged; links from other blogs welcomed; all other rights reserved.

                       To send comments, to subscribe, or to unsubscribe, write jimt@quixotic.ca

********************************************************

 

YOUR TURN

 

Bob Rollwagen called last week’s column, about the ease with which hackers can get into crucial systems, “another good summary of current events. It would be difficult for anyone, regardless of orientation or faith to dispute. 

            “It is not disagreement that is needed but rather understanding and creative positive action that improves the life of all. Unfortunately intelligence (physical and human) and education is like wealth, not evenly distributed. It is partially genetics and partially a human-made condition. It is dangerous to assume that wealth and intelligence are related or even exist together. Similarly education, wealth, and power have random distributions among humans, and few humans illustrate an awareness that truly reflects their ownership in each category. Wealth tends to be the most obvious.

            “We are all wondering what the dark net is really like, and who has the upper hand at the moment.”

 

Tom Watson wrote, “The internet has opened up so many possibilities for us, and a lot of it is free. At least, we think it's free. Perhaps we should stop and ask: If a company gives away its product, how do the owners of that company become gazzillionaires? The answer: In turn for free, we users surrender all about ourselves, which is then bought and sold. In other words, we are the product. 

            “Recently, I had three messages from a hacker demanding Bitcoin payment. The hacker had my email address plus a password to my server that I quit using two years ago. My blood ran a little cold when I saw that. I didn't give in to the ransom demands but it did make me even more aware of just how vulnerable we are.”

 

Isabel Gibson commented, “John Robson [Ottawa columnist] says that optimism is a personality trait, while hope is a theological position.

            “No one looking forward to the coming year?  Maybe you need some younger friends.”

            JT: Any young people out there looking for an older friend?

 

******************************************

 

TECHNICAL STUFF

 

If you want to comment on something, write me at jimt@quixotic.ca. Or just hit the ‘Reply’ button.

                       To subscribe or unsubscribe, send me an e-mail message at the address above. Or subscribe electronically by sending a blank e-mail (no message) to sharpedges-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca. Similarly, you can un-subscribe at sharpedges-unsubscribe@lists.quixotic.ca.

                       You can now access current columns and seven years of archives at http://quixotic.ca

                       I write a second column each Wednesday, called Soft Edges, which deals somewhat more gently with issues of life and faith. To sign up for Soft Edges, write to me directly at the address above, or send a blank e-mail to softedges-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca

                       And for those of you who like poetry, I’ve started a webpage http://quixotic.ca/My-Poetrywhere I post (occasionally, when I feel inspired) poems that I have written. If you’d like to receive notifications about new poems, write me at jimt@quixotic.ca, or subscribe yourself to the list by sending a blankemail (no message) to poetry-subscribe@lists.quixotic.ca(If it doesn’t work, please let me know.)

 

********************************************

 

PROMOTION STUFF…

To use the links in this section, you’ll have to insert the necessary symbols. (This is to circumvent filters that think too many links constitute spam.)

                       Ralph Milton’s latest project is a kind of Festival of Faith, a retelling of key biblical stories by skilled storytellers like Linnea Good and Donald Schmidt, designed to get people talking about their own faith experience. It’s a series of videos available on Youtube. I suggest you start with his introductory section: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u6qRclYAa8

                       Ralph’s “Sing Hallelujah” -- the world’s first video hymnal -- is still available. It consists of 100 popular hymns, both new and old, on five DVDs that can be played using a standard DVD player and TV screen, for use in congregations who lack skilled musicians to play piano or organ. More details at wwwDOTsinghallelujahDOTca

                       Wayne Irwin's “Churchweb Canada,” an inexpensive service for any congregation wanting to develop a web presence, with free consultation. <http://wwwDOTchurchwebcanadaDOTca>

                       I recommend Isabel Gibson’s thoughtful and well-written blog, wwwDOTtraditionaliconoclastDOTcom

                       Alva Wood’s satiric stories about incompetent bureaucrats and prejudiced attitudes in a small town -- not particularly religious, but fun; alvawoodATgmailDOTcom to get onto her mailing list.

                       Tom Watson writes a weekly blog called “The View from Grandpa Tom’s Balcony” -- ruminations on various subjects, and feedback from Tom’s readers. Write him at tomwatsoATgmailDOTcom or twatsonATsentexDOTnet

 

 

 

Comments (0)Number of views (250)
Print

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1954 1972 3G A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging Ahriman Ahura Mazda airport killings albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amherst analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anniversaries antidote Ants aphrodisiac App Store Archives Ardern armistice Art artifacts astronomy atonement atropine Attawapiscat attraction audits authorities autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bahai Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas barbers Bashar al Assad BC BC Conference Beans bears Beethoven beginnings behaviour belief systems beliefs benefits Bernardo berries Bible biblical sex birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Blackmore blood blood donors body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombings bombs books border patrol both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats Canute caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cats cave CBC Cecil the lion. Zanda CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas trees church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes coastal tribes coffee collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty communication Communion community complexity composers conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues Confirmation confusion Congo Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party contraception Conversations coral Cornwallis corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural courtesy courts CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes creation creche crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki dead zone deaf deafness death deaths decision Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass dinosaurs dissent diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Donald Trump Donna Sinclair Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas Earth Day Easter Ebola eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or email embassy emergent emotions encryption English Entropy epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy evacuation evacuation orders Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played evil Evolution expectations experiment extinctions extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith False Creek fascist fate fear Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Field figure skating Fire fireball fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow charts flowers fluency flying Flying objects Folk sayings Food Bank forensic Forest fires forests forgiving Four Pests campaign franchises free free speech free will freedom friend friendships fruit fundamentalism future Gaia games Gandhi Garrison Keillor Geese Gerald Stanley Gerard Manley Hopkins Ghomeshi girls global economy global warming go north God gods Golden Golden Rule good Good Friday good intentions goodness Google Google Play government Governor General grammar gravity Great Barrier Reef greatest story green Green Eggs Green Party Gretta Vosper grief Grinch Group of seven growth Guiado guilt guns Habits hackers Haidt haircuts Haiti Hal Niedzviecki handshake harassment Harjit Sajjan harmony Haskins hate Hawaii health health plans hearing hearts heat heaven Hell helping herd instinct heroes heroin Higher Porpoise highway Hillary Clinton Hinduism history Homulka Honduras honesty hope Horgan Horton hospitality houseflies houses Huawei human rights Humboldt hurricane ICBMs ice dance identity IMF imitation immigrants immortality immuno-globulin inclusive language income taxes independence India individualism inertia Infinity injustice intelligence intervention IPCC irreverence Isaac Watts ISIS Islam Itzhak Perlman Jack McCarthy Jagmeet Singh James Shaw Jr. Jean Piaget Jebusites Jeff Sessions Jerusalem Jessica Farrar Jessie Oliver Jesus John A MacDonald Johnny Mercer joining Jonathan Haidt Jonathan Kay Joni Mitchell Jordan Peterson Joseph joy judgement judges Julie Payette jury justice Justin Trudeau Kaepernick Karen Armstrong
Copyright 2019 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada