By Z, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, November 9, 2020
In 2000, I was 14 years old, in Los Angeles’ Skid Row. You wouldn’t believe such a Third World slum existed within history’s richest country; oh, but it did. It does. A section of one of the world’s most glamorous cities set aside to hide thousands of homeless people, to hide America’s unwillingness to deal with poverty, mental health, drug addiction and homelessness. It’s all swept under the rug, or under the shadow of downtown’s skyscrapers from the top of the world, down to a grimy, violent underworld, where you had to fight just to eat and humanity was perverted into its most animalistic tendencies.
And, here I was. My second time there in a month. I had been told that many of these homeless people receive a check from the government and when they do, they spend it all on crack and heroin. Other minor dealers came in from around town, like sharks smelling drops of blood, to feast on this goring of humanity, this societal mayhem locked in a box, a piece of the apocalypse.
There was nothing but cheap druggie hookers, flashy abusive pimps, demented war veterans, mental hospital kick-outs, drug addicts, drug dealers, gang members, hustlers, male and female, old and young, all kinds of crazy stuff. Sidewalks cluttered with ”homes” made from cardboard or tarp or shopping carts with blankets or whatever else they managed to find in this industrial section of downtown where the streets are littered with trash and sleeping bodies of America’s forgotten. People having sex and doing drugs right in the open, on the sidewalk and the cops just driving by, looking right at them, doing nothing, because it was just pointless.