Thy Brother's Keeper

I was going to post about how foolish the city of Orlando (east coast home of The Mouse) is acting towards its homeless population, and about the homeless count they did here in Guilford County, but Cara, who's far more hip to these things than I am, has beaten me to it. You can get the salient details on her blog. My two cents? While Orlando has the right to regulate its parks, howabout then telling the homeless where they can get food? Or better yet, help them get somewhere to live.

One thing I can post, though (although this will probably fall under the heading of There He Goes Again) is a little something I read about in this week's GoTriad, a supplement to the News & Record that covers entertainment news here in the Triad. The main story was about an annual contest where independent filmmakers have only 48 hours to produce a movie from scratch. One team, with a reported embedded, had a sort-of encounter with a homeless man in Winston-Salem. According to the article by Joe Scott:
[Sunday,] 2:23 a.m. A vagrant stumbles onto the location
while the crew frantically shoots in the basement. "Help me, please," the
homeless man says. "I've just had a seizure." This incident must have no impact
on the work taking place downstairs
, and Matson knows that. While I call the
paramedics, Matson escorts the man outside, locking the door behind her. Shortly
afterward, a firetruck arrives, taking the homeless man away. Everyone hopes for
the best but has to move on. "All right," Matson says, pointing to the front
entrance, "this door stays locked from now on." -- "Under the Gun" GoTriad, 7/26/06

Bold text above is mine.

Okay, let's get this straight: a man comes in to a movie set seeking help from a bunch of strangers because he's fallen ill, and what happens? He gets the help, but it's clearly secondary to finishing a damn movie?! And it's made worse because the man is homeless -- excuse me, "a vagrant", to use reporter Scott's vernacular. So what if he was homeless? He was sick and needed help. And he gathered up enough moxie to ask two strangers for that help. But although he got the help, it seems he was treated as no more than an annoyance to be dealt with, not someone who wanted to be helped with at least a minimum of dignity.

I wonder if he knew he was second best to a shooting script. I wonder if he saw the two he asked for help roll their eyes heavenward as though to say "what now?" I wonder if he heard the exasperated tone of Scott's voice as he called for paramedics as the other person hustled him out the door. I wonder how he reacted to the door being locked the instant he was out of the building. I wonder what conclusions he drew from the frustrated fidgeting and clock watching of the woman as she waited with him for the paramedics. I wonder if he caught the look of "thank God that's over" as he was being wheeled into the firetruck. And I wonder if he thought he was going to die because getting a movie done on time was more important than making sure a fellow human being -- homeless or not -- would live to see another day and maybe, just maybe get another shot at bettering his lot.

And frankly, I wonder if he would've been treated that way if he weren't homeless.

According to the article, these Hollywood wannabes made a spy flick. If they want to impress people, maybe they should spend some time and celluloid documenting the homeless around here. Maybe then they'll see that some things are just a tad more important than film speeds and directorial visions.

No, these people weren't, to use the Biblical phrase, their brother's keeper, but it seems to me that even Abel had the benefit of not knowing just how much Cain resented him before being killed. This poor guy in Winston probably caught a full measure of that.

And all for a movie.

Whoa, nelly! A lot of conclusions have been jumped to here. Admittedly, the reporter didn't put all of the details about what happened so it is easy to do. There is a lot more to this story than he reported.

Yes, the man that came into the building did request help as he was having a siezure. Yes, a shoot was going on downstairs, and the people downstairs had no idea what was going on upstairs - they were in the middle of a shoot. The two people who there when he came in stayed with him until he got help. Also - the man wasn't "hustled" out of the door of the building. After he came into the building and asked for help, his demeanor changed, he started to panic, became beligerent and accused the people that were there of holding him hostage. He was on the verge of being violent. They tried to calm him, but he was not to be calmed. They let him outside, yes they were afraid of him as they thought he was going to try to cause harm. Even still, they stayed with him until someone came to give him help.

After this was over, yes,the door was locked. The team had signed a waiver and was responsible for the building. We could not risk people coming in if someone wasn't standing at the door watching it.

What else would you expect people to do in this situation? I can understand why you would be upset with the way it was written, but please don't pass judgement on a short blurb in a newspaper that obviously doesn't tell the whole story. Isn't that what you accuse people of doing to the homeless - passing judgment with just a quick glance?
Mike, Sara's account I am sure is extremely more accurate than the hyperbole laden story from the newspaper. I know Sara personally and most of my very dearest and best friends were on the crew. Ignore the newspaper hype, and know that those were very good people there that night.

Matter of fact, it was that same group of friends who made LOTS of telephone calls and conversations with people on your behalf trying to find you a job and trying to decide if they could re-arrange their houses for you and your family to stay at in case of emergency. Folks who you haven't met yet, but folks who were worried about you.

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened with the man in Winston and I hope he's doing better now. Sounds like your post has given those involved an opportunity to respond and give another perspective on what happened, so that's a good thing and reassuring to hear.

Thanks for the credit on the count and Orlando stories, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on those subjects, too!

Hope you're doing well. :)

Peace, CM
Thanks Mike,

I now have a new perspective on your character. I'm glad that others, less angered right now, have responded rationally in my place.

Ike Quigley
Hollywood Wannabe - Director, Team Underexposed
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