A homeless woman is sleeping on the beach in front of the Radical offices. I’ve seen her before. She is mentally ill. The seagulls are rummaging through her pitiful possessions, like vultures descending upon a corpse. I should chase off the scavengers, then organise and secure her things while she rests.
But I don’t. There are too many in need of help. I am overwhelmed. My reaction is to ignore them all.
As a boy I wondered about the pictures of starving children on TV, surly the camera crew could feed them. I’ve traveled the world since then, and I’ve passed a million hungry kids in Africa alone.
But this is Venice Beach, a wealthy part of the richest country that has ever existed. Sixteen million tourists come here every year. Forty-thousand people stroll this boardwalk each day. And hundreds of people have walked by that woman since I began writing this.
Yet there she still lies; skin-wrapped bones draped in rags.
And nobody chases away the seagulls.
Not even me.
Welcome to America.