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Homeless youths out on the street wonder: 'Why is my life like this?'
The Des Moines Register ^ | 07/13/2003 | BILL REITER, Register Staff Writer

Posted on 07/13/2003 2:13:48 PM PDT by newgeezer

Edited on 05/07/2004 6:40:34 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

RODNEY WHITE/Protector: Matt Witt, a 19-year-old with a penchant for violence, rolls a cigarette with butts from bus kiosk ashtrays. He is always ready to come to the defense of his homeless friends. "We're a family," he says.

This girl, this woman of 20 years, had wanted better things. With a shining smile and hazel eyes filled with determination, she was not supposed to end up like this. Her child was not supposed to be born on the streets. Her life was not supposed to disintegrate in warehouses, abandoned buildings and shelter after shelter.


(Excerpt) Read more at desmoinesregister.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; US: Iowa
KEYWORDS: juveniles
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A closer look at the human condition.
1 posted on 07/13/2003 2:13:48 PM PDT by newgeezer
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To: All
Any way I can talk you into making a donation?? Thanks if you will!
2 posted on 07/13/2003 2:14:32 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: All
FWIW, same source:
3 posted on 07/13/2003 2:20:33 PM PDT by newgeezer ("...only until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.")
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To: newgeezer

Why, because you bought the liberal lies that:
-freedom has no consequences.
-the government will bail you out of every problem in life.
-freedom has no consequences.

4 posted on 07/13/2003 2:22:11 PM PDT by aimhigh
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To: newgeezer
A better question for the title would be, "Is it fault that my life is like this?" I am not assigning blame, I just think they should look for a way to change their lives, not just vent emotion.
5 posted on 07/13/2003 2:29:04 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
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To: newgeezer
This is tragic. I once worked with a homeless boy, he bussed tables at the restaurant I worked at. He slept in the alley behind the store and took showers at the Y. He eventually saved enough to rent a very small apartment.

I hope he has made a life for himself.
6 posted on 07/13/2003 2:39:39 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Now 19, Michelle can distinguish between fairy tale and the truth: It isn't the freedom, fun and parties she'd expected.

The Des Moines native says that running away was the worst mistake of her life. She doesn't think her family will take her back after what she's done and who she's become. She blames herself for being homeless.

How could anyone have a romanticized view of living on the streets? Also, she won't be any worse off if she asks her parents if she can come back. The worst they can say is no.

7 posted on 07/13/2003 2:41:08 PM PDT by Paul Atreides
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To: newgeezer
We all have choices.

I've been on my own since I was 17 with no one to turn to. Being a bum on the street would have been unnaceptable to me. I chose to be successful.
8 posted on 07/13/2003 2:47:34 PM PDT by Shenandoah
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To: Paul Atreides
Regarding my own youthful misadventures... if I had just told my parents the truth, things would have been easier. The lying and hiding of the truth always made things worse. I think many children believe that angering their parents is much worse than owning up to their responsibilities. I would hope that in most families, the anger subsides and then the parents help the child to fix the problem. I know that my parents would have helped me, no matter how far I had fallen. I would imagine Michelle's parents probably could find enough love in their hearts to help their daughter. The fear of not knowing what happened to her would have to be worse than anything else I can imagine.
9 posted on 07/13/2003 2:47:51 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
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To: Shenandoah
Ditto.
10 posted on 07/13/2003 2:49:03 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: newgeezer
I was a street kid. I left highschool and home at age 15 and thumbed around a while. I was raped three times and tortured once for three days. There are a lot of freaks out there. There were two monymaking choices for kids on the streets, sell your body or sell drugs. The stupid sell their bodies and the smart sell drugs. I was smart. I lived in doorways and slept on porches or crashed on stranger's floors or the local flophouse. I worked when I could find it. I made friends with other street kids, dealers, numbers men, low end mobsters, criminals and pimps. I was a fifteen year old girl, I looked about 12.

Subsequently, I finished some of my highschool work at one of the most prestigous universitiies in in the country, married, have received an advanced degree, and have a wonderful family. But it has been hard work because the issues that were in my life and that drove me to the streets took years master.

You know me here by another log in.
11 posted on 07/13/2003 2:53:33 PM PDT by Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
When I read the comment that Michelle's mother made it sickened me. She said that "Michelle made her choice". Now this girl was 15 years old. Who is the parent. The mother or Michelle?

I realize that we do have some kids who are thrown away by their own parents. But we also have kids making "bad choices" because of "parents" who don't have the wisdom or desire to discipline, love and nurture their kids. A lot of so called "parents" just don't have a backbone when it comes to telling their kids NO and setting boundaries.

12 posted on 07/13/2003 2:55:45 PM PDT by PleaseNoMore
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To: Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
What a success story! Good for you! I counseled "troubled yoots" for some time and, sadly, most don't make it. It's just too easy to fall in with people, places, and things.

Again, congratulations on your success.

Anny
13 posted on 07/13/2003 2:57:50 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: newgeezer
Youths on the street wonder: 'Why is my life like this?'

Dude, it's 'cause of your drug habit and 'cause you're farkin' crazy. Take your legal meds!

14 posted on 07/13/2003 2:59:56 PM PDT by RicocheT
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To: PleaseNoMore; cherry_bomb88
Some children are very, very difficult. If the parent is limited, lack of education or emotionally immature or lacks the resources or support to deal with the child, many think the only option is to bar the child from the home.

My aunt and uncle adopted a difficult child who grew to be a very tall and heavy young woman with a terrible temper. She threw my tiny (5 foot) aunt across the kitchen and broke her arm in three places when she was 16. She tried to set fire to the house and stole their cars many times as well.
15 posted on 07/13/2003 3:03:50 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: PleaseNoMore
I would hope that a frank discussion between the mother and daughter could clear up misconceptions on both sides.

Our children should never be viewed as unredeemable, in my opinion. Yes, the relationship can cool, and perhaps become less intimate... but children always need their parents, no matter how old they become.
16 posted on 07/13/2003 3:03:59 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
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To: annyokie
I agree, some kids are difficult. But why? Could instability, lack of nurturing, lack of boundaries, etc be the cause.

And when they become difficult, what is the answer? Letting them make their own "choices" as the mother mentioned above did?

17 posted on 07/13/2003 3:10:32 PM PDT by PleaseNoMore
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To: newgeezer
I have a store close to a homeless yute shelter...most are shiftless and not interested in working but they will beg for spare change... and will sell drugs. Sorry, no sympathy from me.

18 posted on 07/13/2003 3:11:41 PM PDT by freeforall (``Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.'')
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To: PleaseNoMore
It's my belief that a lot of is chemical. Regardless of the all drugs are bad crew here, some people need medication to lead a normal life.
19 posted on 07/13/2003 3:13:27 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: newgeezer
Socialist liberals took down the guardrails of society. Now our kids are running off the tracks, into the bushes.
20 posted on 07/13/2003 3:14:57 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (You guys ROCK!)
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To: freeforall
Around here, the young "homeless" call themselves "houseless by choice." They hang around the downtown all day, playing hacksack, panhandling, and blocking the sidewalks. Most of them are high school age runaways.
21 posted on 07/13/2003 3:17:07 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( "Aspire to mediocracy"................new motto for publik skools.............)
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To: EggsAckley
Oops........hacksack = hackysack
22 posted on 07/13/2003 3:17:44 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( "Aspire to mediocracy"................new motto for publik skools.............)
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To: EggsAckley
Yup, same thing except some times they bust windows and attempt break ins. I have had three broken windows.
23 posted on 07/13/2003 3:31:52 PM PDT by freeforall (``Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.'')
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To: PleaseNoMore
Tough Love is an option.

I have a friend whose 18 year old started smoking pot. She told him that he either quit, or he would have to leave the house. With the War on Some Drugs, as a professional, she would lose everything she had worked for if marijuana were found in her house; house, job, younger children, savings account, they take everything.

He took off, lived in LA for a year, and begged to come back. He lived on her terms and is now making something of himself. Some kids have no sense of reality, and liberals do everything they can to convince them that choices should not (and don't) have consequences.

24 posted on 07/13/2003 3:36:49 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: freeforall
Their cute little "trick" here is to attach a hose to a hose bib, and then shove it through any crack in a window they can find at local professional offices or county offices. Then they flood the offices during the weekend. Cute.
25 posted on 07/13/2003 3:38:02 PM PDT by EggsAckley ( "Aspire to mediocracy"................new motto for publik skools.............)
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To: newgeezer
Matt Witt, a 19-year-old with a penchant for violence, rolls a cigarette with butts from bus kiosk ashtrays.

Looks like Matt Witt also has a penchant for doing violence to lots of chow judging by the tens of thousands of kilocalories he's carrying in extra fat.

At least the "homeless" kids of the 60's claimed to be in touch with something psychedelically cosmic.
26 posted on 07/13/2003 3:41:35 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
Your testimony was wonderful, and coregeous. It gives me the courage to state my own. Thank you.

Start with an abusive family. 'nuff said.

At 14, my best friend "accidentally" shot himself in the forehead with a .22 rifle, while "cleaning it." He was an altar boy. Turns out the head priest was doing alter boys. We went to Catholic Jr. High together.

I was a boy Scout; made Star Scout. Turns out one of the Scoutmasters was doing some of my friends.

At 17, I was booted out of the house. Nasty divorce, beforehand.

My SAT's got me into Mensa.

At 22 I was homeless, living in my car in Huston. Arrived there with $22.83 in my pocket. I had a car, although the repo were after me. Damn mosquitoes. Too hot to slep with the windows up, but you would get eaten alive with them cracked. Spent my last on off, and bread and cheese. Goes a long way.

It never occured to me to go to a church for help, or other agencies. In my mind, and experience, they were all infected with predatory gays. No guardrails that I trusted.

Worked construction (thank God I got employed), and they thought I had a place to live. Didn't. Every day at 5:00, everyone would leave. I had enough gas left in my tank to go the half mile to a strip of hotels. Would change in my car, and hop the fence, and jump in the pool and scrub my hands all over me. Enough to pass. Slept in my car in the construction lot. They were all impressed with me being the first to work every day.

I remember very well my first paycheck, three weeks later. It barely covered a sleazebag motel. But I was in heaven--air conditioning!!! What a great day that was!!!!

Saved up. Slowly. 3 months, and had an apartment. No furniture. 2 months, and rented furniture.

Today I make heart pumps for a living.

Long vanity post on my part. What I went through is NOTHING compared to you. But thanks for giving me the courage to speak up.

peace out.
27 posted on 07/13/2003 3:46:42 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (You guys ROCK!)
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To: newgeezer
Homeless youths out on the street wonder: 'Why is my life like this?'

In many, if not most cases, it is because of their own irresponsibility and poor choices. They choose to get addicted to drugs, or to associate with violent people, or to reject their family. That's why they find themselves on the streets.

Of course, in articles like this one, their poor choices will get one short, euphemistic phrase - "after making some tragic mistakes, blah blah blah...". Then paragraph after paragraph of their suffering will follow, all with the implication that it is somehow not really their fault.

Of course, there are cases where someone may find themselves on the streets through circumstances largely beyond their control. They may have to escape from an abusive home, or suffer an unpredictable, catastrophic financial setback, or even be born to irresponsible street dwellers.

However, even in these cases, it is possible to escape the street life. There are charitable and church groups in almost every town that offer shelter, food, and sometimes even education. There are also odd jobs that don't require a resume or nice suit to make some money for a few weeks. With a little hard work, a person can bring themselves back into a safer, more stable lifestyle.

28 posted on 07/13/2003 3:47:11 PM PDT by timm22
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To: Shenandoah
I've been on my own since I was 17 with no one to turn to. Being a bum on the street would have been unnaceptable to me. I chose to be successful.

My husband got thrown out when he was 17 for refusing to cut his hair. He had a car but little money, got into construction, went to community college and then a state university by working and taking out student loans, and at 44 is by all standards a success. No financial or emotional support from his family but he was determined.

29 posted on 07/13/2003 3:58:53 PM PDT by Lizavetta
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To: newgeezer
In spite of how miserable it is to be a failure, it is easier to do nothing and be a failure than to bust your ass and be a success.
30 posted on 07/13/2003 4:03:24 PM PDT by Lizavetta
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To: Lizavetta
Air Force did it for me.
31 posted on 07/13/2003 4:05:57 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (You guys ROCK!)
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To: annyokie
There is an entire system built on "troubled yoot" these days. Hungry and cold are great motivators.
32 posted on 07/13/2003 4:06:42 PM PDT by Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
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To: timm22
I packed donuts in a donut factory until I took a step up and became a nurse's aid and swabbed bottoms in a nursing home. I was 15 and had lied about my age. On the first day of work the director of nursing was upset over the condition of one of the bodies that had just died. The poor creature had a bedsore the size of a dinner plate. She brought us all in to look at the body. I still remember it vividly.
33 posted on 07/13/2003 4:10:07 PM PDT by Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
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To: marktwain
With all due respect, this kid that you are speaking of was 18. He was of legal age. Mom did the right thing. Time for Jr. to do a little maturing, especially at that age. I am speaking of these 12,13,14,15 and so on year old kids that have no boundaries and no enforcement of boundaries that are already set forth. FTR, I agree with tough love in some cases. I know that kids hate the "while you're under my roof you'll go by my rules" stuff.
34 posted on 07/13/2003 4:13:51 PM PDT by PleaseNoMore
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To: newgeezer
Someone pointed out that the 'problem' of the homeless seems to vanish when Democrats are in control of the government and mysteriously makes headlines when the Republicans regain control.

--Boris

35 posted on 07/13/2003 4:23:54 PM PDT by boris (The deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction in History is a Leftist With a Word Processor)
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To: MonroeDNA
"My SAT's got me into Mensa."

That is odd. I thought IQ got one into Mensa. At least that's what it took when I was (briefly) a member in the 1970s.

--Boris

36 posted on 07/13/2003 4:26:19 PM PDT by boris (The deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction in History is a Leftist With a Word Processor)
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To: freeforall
I have a store close to a homeless yute shelter...most are shiftless and not interested in working but they will beg for spare change... and will sell drugs. Sorry, no sympathy from me.

I agree, somone needs to tell these people "get a job ya filty bums". There are stores that would be more then happy to pay these people to work, even just bagging groceries and stuff, but they don't want to. They don't want to do anything, but cry for attention and live off the dole of tax payer money.

I remember watching a special about some homeless kids in seattle, I wanted to put my fist through the set when these kids were whining that the rich have so much and should give it to them, and that they don't want to work, they want to "explore" and be "spiritual" and its unfair for them to have to work if they want to eat or have a place to stay. They actually blamed society for not going out of its way to take care of them, and for giving them all these rules to follow.

37 posted on 07/13/2003 4:34:56 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
Amen to that. I worked double shifts at Bob's Big Boy to make ends meet. I lied about my age to rent an apartment, too.
38 posted on 07/13/2003 4:46:32 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: MonroeDNA
Congratulations! Yours is a great success story!
39 posted on 07/13/2003 4:50:47 PM PDT by annyokie (Admin Moderator has got it in for me.)
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To: Sonny M
The same bums, day after day, standing in the same spot for hours! Some have tried shoplifting, now we just ask them to leave.
40 posted on 07/13/2003 4:53:43 PM PDT by freeforall (``Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.'')
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To: EggsAckley
They deserve contempt. I have a policy; no money for bums.
41 posted on 07/13/2003 5:00:07 PM PDT by freeforall (``Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.'')
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To: jodorowsky
homeless bums ping
42 posted on 07/13/2003 5:02:01 PM PDT by freeforall (``Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself.'')
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To: boris
Lol!!! Well put.

At the time, I found the local Mensa chapter, went to a meeting, and beat them over the head with my SAT postcard. I wore black, and stuffed a sock down my pants. Small sock.

As you can imagine, the sharp edges of the postcard was more than enough. They kept crying out, "PxK!!!"

No use.



43 posted on 07/13/2003 5:03:39 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (You guys ROCK!)
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To: Shenandoah
I was totally self supporting from age 17 until I got married, then put my husband through grad school. Dropped out of school and left home due to a nasty divorce (parents, not me).

I did have friends I could stay with until I got on my feet.

Took the GED, then started college part time, and just kept on keeping on. Had my own apartment, started out with a bicycle then bought a car, and so forth.

It's probably easier to start on your own when you are 17 rather than 15, but being willing to work hard and not get sucked into the drug world is what I see is the difference.
44 posted on 07/13/2003 5:17:15 PM PDT by CobaltBlue (Never voted for a Democrat in my life.)
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To: annyokie
Oh I remember my first all my own apartment. A garage apartment with a municipal golf course on one side and a street leading to the ocean on the other side. That is when I learned aobut the value of insulation. My apartment had none and the wind swept off the golf course, through my apartment and down to the sea wall. I had one piece of furniture, a bed.
45 posted on 07/13/2003 5:24:23 PM PDT by Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
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To: Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done; MonroeDNA
Thanks to you both for posting your stories. Yours are stories of very hard-times, but also ones of hope and survival. My youngest unexpectedly ran away from home nearly 2 years ago (still don't know why but think a New-Age charlatan and a married man were involved) and I have been terrified for her every moment. She writes on occasion, and I tell her I love her and invite her home with every letter I send to her.

The agony I feel is exquisite and constant, and I berate myself for not picking up on very subtle things that I should have before she left. I encourage parents reading this to keep your children close and don't ignore "little" things.

46 posted on 07/13/2003 5:31:44 PM PDT by Aracelis
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To: MonroeDNA
Socialist liberals took down the guardrails of society. Now our kids are running off the tracks, into the bushes.

Problem with the homeless and abandoned kids cannot be blamed on socialism. There were many such in Dickensian England. There are many in Brazil.

47 posted on 07/13/2003 5:37:35 PM PDT by A. Pole
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To: annyokie
He probably has since it looks like he was very
industrious and resourceful. Let's pray he has.
48 posted on 07/13/2003 5:38:57 PM PDT by Twinkie
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To: Piltdown_Woman
Children leave for many different reasons. There is a certain time that children grow up and take responsiblity for their lives. Some do it earlier than others, for various reasons. Because of my experience I am against minimum age laws for work. I think any kid who wants to and can do the job, should be able to.
49 posted on 07/13/2003 5:43:50 PM PDT by Stick a Fork in Me - I am Done
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To: A. Pole
Dropping the guardrails of society certainly IS a result of socialist liberalism.

In Dicken's world, the guardrails were not there. Nobody wants to go back to that.

Today, now that the guardrails are gone, our society is drifting backwards, to there. Hence the article.
50 posted on 07/13/2003 5:55:33 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (You guys ROCK!)
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