Whilst perusing this weekend’s edition of The Saturday Age this letter caught my eye, primarily because of the disturbing reaction of the “off-duty cop”. Given my history of homelessness any incident of homeless abuse upsets me, we should be working toward a better understanding of homelessness, not treating those unfortunate enough to be in this position with such condemnation and contempt.
THERE was a homeless man on the Eltham-bound train on Thursday night. He was begging and moving on quietly (with blessings) if given or refused money. While it was unsettling for passengers, the reaction of the man identifying himself as an ”off-duty cop” was far more disturbing.
Ordering the man off and dragging him to the door while screaming at passengers for help was an overreaction in the extreme. After dispensing with the hapless man, he then castigated those who had not helped.
To my shame, I remained silent because this man – the policeman, not the homeless man – scared me. He had abused those who objected to his behaviour and made everyone (including a child) very uneasy. It was a very sad and disturbing occurrence.