Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Saturday 3rd March

Some street people can be quite lazy. If an activity requires the effort to travel (even for food) then they will most likely decide against it. Some even prefer to tram one block, rather than walk it. But the most laziest seems to be guys and going to the toilet. While there are 24hr public toilets within any two blocks of the city, any nearby corner or wall (out of sight from the street) is more likely to be used. The ground behind the 'Mathew Flinders' statue (at St.Pauls Cathedral) is used so often it can no longer absorb what is splashed there, it's had enough, and so a puddle has formed. In fact people often go to the toilet on the edge of the street, and you may walk by (within a meter) and not even realize it! You see the street bins sit inside their green latticed metal exterior framework. This latticed framework has many holes, just big enough for a guy to unzip his fly, stick his willy through and relieve himself while he casually leans against the top of the bin and smiles at people passing by.

I hung around in the afternoon and chatted with some street kids. Up until now I had talked mostly to adults, the kids were more closed off in their own groups and gangs, but as a regular face around I am becoming a more familiar part of their world.

In the afternoon I was chatting to a guy(Don) who was recently out of prison, dealing in a little bit of prescription drugs, and slept rough next to the police station, for safety. As I was heading off to CoH for the evening, I asked him along and he agreed to come. We had a bit of dinner and their was a talk from a visiting pastor and Christian guy who was a reformed ex prison tough guy. He asked a few questions during the talk and later chatted with them in private. Then they came over and we talked further and he said he was interested in coming to Alpha on Wed night. That was a positive experience and so the evening was looking good.

Around 2am I was chatting with Dougy and then sat down on the street against the wall for a break. There were a lot of street people about, and Dougy got into an argument with one. She was a little teenage girl(Sally), about 13, who claimed she was pregnant (not all pregnancy claims are true, sometimes girls claim it to gain sympathy, attention or protection because of their 'condition'). As they argued Dougy threatened to have her bashed by another woman, and then he came and sat down next to me. A short time later a tall older teenage guy(Dirk) came up and started abusing Dougy for his threats against Sally. Dirk's mates egged him on to attack Dougy but he was hesitant because of the cameras in the area. But Dougy, still sitting, started abusing him back and challenging Dirk to hit him. Dirk then obliged and whacked him three times to the head and then danced triumphantly as Dougy slumped over onto the pavement moaning.

I was surprised Dougy had not got up or defended himself, perhaps he was looking for a way to get to hospital, or feeling the need for some pain as a way to deal with a recent family loss he had been upset about. I wondered if I should have tried to stop it, a little disturbed at sitting next to someone while they got bashed, but as they were both looking for a fight I felt I should stay out of it. Now it was over and a police van drove by and Dirk got in to drive back with them to the station for a chat about what happened. Dougy was quiet, it hadn't seemed that bad, so I patted him on the shoulder and asked if he was ok. No response, he might be lying there too upset to sit up, but I decided to get check him out further. As I moved around to check his face I noticed a lot of blood had spilled out of his mouth and down his chest, making big red patches splotched all over his t-shirt. I tried to rouse him but he seemed unconscious.

Another person saw the blood and called an ambulance from their mobile phone. As we waited I tried to make him a bit more comfortable by lifting his head off the pavement and putting my sleeping bag under it. Another guy came over and told me not to bother helping him. he said if I knew who Dougy was then I would know he wasn't worth helping. I continued on and the guy was quite serious and i thought he was going to physically try and stop me helping Dougy. I got up and, seeing my cross, he said "Hey, I'm a Christian too but don't help him", and I said "I help anyone, right or wrong, if you piss someone off and get beat up then I'd help you too". He said that he knew I was trying to do the right thing but in this case it wasn't worth it. Now I was shocked, that I was arguing with another Christian about whether to help someone?! I explained to him the story of the woman about to be stoned to death for adultery, she was guilty but Jesus still intervened to help her. Then he backed off and let me attend to Dougy's situation.

When the ambulance crew arrived they saw it was Dougy, checked he was breathing, and then stepped back to talk. They said they couldn't help him as he was now banned from all ambulances and hospitals because he was too violent to their staff. Instead they called the police to come and take him away. They stood and waited about half an hour before the cops arrived and they said they were unable to take him in that condition. The ambos then agreed to take him if he was handcuffed and escorted with a couple of officers coming along with them. They agreed, lifted him up onto the stretcher, cuffed him and drove away.

That was about the last I have since seen of Dougy. The story went around that he had threatened a teenage pregnant girl and so he was not welcome in the area anymore. A few different people threatened to beat him up again if he ever came back, and even Robbie (his main drinking buddy) agreed he shouldn't come around anymore. I guess Dougy got the message somehow, as I didn't see him for the next week, until I ran into him at the Salvos for lunch. He was sober, friendly and happy to see me and we played cricket in the alley. He said he had been hanging out over at St.Kilda and he was like a completely different person, one that everyone seemed happy to be around. I wished he could realize how much better it was for him (and everyone) to be this way. But then someone asked him if he'd like to go get some wine and have a drink with them, and off they went. I haven't seen him since and with no phone or way to contact him there's not much I can do about it. Even the cops came and asked me the other day if I had seen him around, so he hasn't stumbled into them recently either (in the city or over at St.Kilda), which makes me think he may have headed out to the country for a bit. After investing a fair bit of time and effort with him it's hard to let his situation go and just pray to God that it may still improve, but that's part of what being a Christian is about: having hope for others when they don't have any for themselves.

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