Death is inevitable. All of us die, in the end. The question is, what kind of death do you want? A death in a warm bed at home, surrounded by family and friends? A death in a cold, impersonal hospital bed? Burial in the family plot next to your father and mother and grandmother? Or dead of exposure on the streets with no known relatives or friends, to be later cremated and buried in an anonymous grave?
They were single and married, young and old, from San Jose and parts unknown. What tied them together is how they died: cold and alone on the streets of Silicon Valley, their lives now statistics, their stories never told. There were 55 of them, men and women as young as 18, as old as 76, all homeless people who died this year — more than ever before in Santa Clara County, according to the coroner's office. Forty-one people died on county streets — in a park, on a bench or tucked beneath a freeway overpass — last year.
And I notice that, once again, these human beings are as nameless in death as they were in life. I pointed this out last year that the Mercury News is not willing to give these poor souls even the minimal recognition that EHC Lifebuilders gives them by naming their names. Once again the Mercury News shows that the shame of the Silicon Valley is the shame of the Mercury News too -- rather than show us these people, they would prefer to hide them and pretend they don't exist except as a meaningless statistic, paper cutouts, not real people with names, people like you and me.
And why anybody should die shivering on the streets when we have literally thousands of empty office buildings and warehouse buildings all over this county any one of which could sleep literally thousands of people... well, nobody asks that question. We are the richest city in the richest state in the richest planet of this nation. We have the capability to make sure these people don't have to shiver in the dark and die alone under an overpass. What we lack is the will. Shame on us all.
-- Badtux the Housed Penguin