The rats seem to have been a real “theme” in my time here on the streets so far. You see some of them scurrying around in the day. Those are the real hardcore ones! They are the worst because they are the ones that are not scared of the light or scared of people. They just look at you, hiss and continue on with their day. Most of the rats come out in the night. They are all shapes and sizes, but really serve no purpose of “good” on the streets. They bring nothing to the table. They come only to take! They crawl all over you in the night when you sleep and if you don’t show a sign of movement they will bite you; literally eat your flesh until you protest! Some of the older homeless people actually have huge pieces of their ears missing from the rats nibbling away at them over the years. One guy even has a chunk bitten out of his nose. The rats creep and crawl at night… looking for what they can take, what they can eat, what they can steal…infecting everything they touch, plaguing those that dwell on the streets.
Unfortunately, those little ugly rodents are not the only “rats” the kids have to deal with on a daily basis. There are other rats that come to steal, kill and destroy, as they nibble away at the lives of the kids. Who are they? Older gangsters, drug dealers, corrupt cops and security guards, paedophiles, just to name some of the main culprits. Like the rodent rats, most of these rats come out in the night.
They prey on the kids…
The drug dealers on Long Street stand and watch the young addicts running around trying to get their next hit. They smile as the child brings them his money to buy his poison. They take from kids and infect them; nibbling away at the child’s innocence through his drug addiction.
The paedophiles creep around looking for a “tasty treat”. They are ruthless in their urges. Since i have been here there has been much talk about a rat called Frank, who is picking up young girls, drugging them up and taking pornographic pictures and videos of him engaging with them in sexual activities. Last night i saw three young boys waiting for one of the rats to approach them. They take from the kids and infect them; nibbling away at the child’s innocence through exposing the child to things that he or she is way to young to see or do.
The older gangsters see the child as an opportunity: easy to overpower, fits in small spaces, easy to get addicted to heavy drugs, longs for a sense of belonging. Much like a sleeping victim of the gangster rat’s rodent cousin, the child is powerless under the gangster rat’s hands. They use the kids for all sorts of evil deeds, abuse them and then discard them when they have had enough. They take from kids and infect them; nibbling away at the child’s innocence through exploitation, abuse and maltreatment.
The corrupt security and police are some of the worst rats. They are like the huge rats that don’t even move when you try and scare them away, put his back and even jump on you and bite you! All police and security guards are not rats, but the ones that are misuse their power and abuse the kids. They beat the kids, steal their money, smoke drugs with them, intimidate, and engage in all sorts of criminal activities that they were hired to prevent; they create chaos in places they were hired to keep peace. They take from kids and infect them; nibbling away at the child’s innocence through using their authority to abuse and intimidate.
So in actual reality, rodents are the least of the kids’ worries! These other rats bring much more devastation to the lives on the children, and a regular and daily basis. The worst ones are the ones that come out in day because they are not scared of the light or scared for their deeds to be exposed. But most of these rats creep and crawl in the night, preying on the kids, nibbling away at their lives, bit by bit, night by night. They bring nothing but infection and disease to the table, and all they do is steal! But until we do something to remove these children from their dwelling place, these rats will continue to creep and crawl all over these kids, nibbling away at their innocence and lives!
* Thanks to Gerald Jacobs for helping me conceptualize this blog through a conversation at the soup kitchen the other day!!