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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

Headache and heartbreak

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Following Friday's tragedy - another school shooting - I wanted to share some thoughts, but first I'm going to address the raging online discussion over last week's One Man's Perspective.

The column raised a great deal of discussion and debate. It centered around my friend's claim to have personally witnessed someone in Texas use their subsidized government food payment to buy a pair of grapes then collect $100 back in cash.

Those on our website have questioned my integrity and my desire to attack those who use welfare services provided in this nation.

I too have read the "urban legend" about the two grapes story. I had seen the SNOPES report on the story long before receiving my friend's e-mail, but he presented the information to me as something he personally witnessed.

After all of the hoopla broke out online, I contacted my friend once again to verify that he personally witnessed what he claimed to have seen. I wanted to make sure he wasn't just passing along a "story." He assured me that he witnessed the transaction first hand, discussed what he was watching with the guy behind him in line and even shared his displeasure with the young man who collected the cash. The young man, according to my friend's account, responded with an obscenity. My friend, J.J., was also familiar with the "urban legend" and told me he wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes.

I have known the source of this story for more than 20 years. He and I have been friends since I lived in California. He would have had no reason to make this up for my benefit, and is the kind of person who values his word above all else. He had no idea I was going to share what he told me, so he would really have no reason to lie about it to begin with.

Recognizing, both in Iowa and Texas, these types of SNAP cards are not designed to provide cash back to users, I would entertain the possibility he witnessed some other form of payment option.

I wasn't standing by his side during the aforementioned incident, so I can't speak as to exactly what he saw, but I have no reason to believe he suggested any intentional misinformation with regard to the information he shared.

And while this incident was cited as an "example" linked to a bigger issue, the bigger issue still remains.

I was accused of attacking those in need of assistance. That is not true.

My "attack," if you choose to call it that, is on people who abuse a very lax system.

The system is meant to be a safety net for people who fall on hard times and need food and a roof over their head. It is meant to protect families who find their income cut off when a parent loses a job. It is meant to provide for a single mom doing her best to raise her kids. It is meant to care for the elderly and those who are unable to otherwise care for themselves.

I get it. It's more fun to sit around watching TV and hanging out with friends than it is to work. I wouldn't argue that point. And when the government continues to feed and shelter those who are more than capable of working but select not to, there are plenty who will take advantage.

It is not meant for the lazy and shiftless. They know who they are. They're the ones laughing all the way to the bank.

I know my friend did not deliberately mislead me. I can't guarantee what he saw. But that doesn't change the fact that thousands upon thousands of government dollars are landing in the hands of people who are more than capable of working and contributing, but instead chose not to.

It's not an attack; it's a statement of fact.

Now, I would ask those of you who are willing to take a moment and pray for the families of those impacted by the school shooting in Connecticut.

With as many as 30 people dead, possibly more, 20 of whom have been identified as children, I can't imagine the pain loved ones are experiencing as we celebrate the season of God's ultimate love.

Such a hateful event, there are no words to answer the questions or explain the actions, but we will look for them because that's what we do. We need to know why. We need to try and find some rationalization. There's none to be found. I would suggest we all just look to the heavens, wrap your arms around those you love and pray for healing.


Comments
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I agree that we should pray for all involved in Connecticut. Thanks for avoiding any sort of pro-gun propaganda. Now is not the time for that. Also, thank you from refraining from saying something like "God wasn't there because they wouldn't let him in the school." I heard it in church today and that made my blood boil!

In regard to your initial column and now in your justification of it, you're still insinuating that people actually enjoy living off government programs. How would you like to try to support your kids on the bare minimum? You wouldn't, so why would you think anyone else would want to? Once again, 92 percent of SNAP recipients are seniors, children and the working poor. Why not focus on those who are trying to do the right thing than focusing on the minority who is giving a whole group of people a bad name?

-- Posted by No. 3121 on Sun, Dec 16, 2012, at 2:34 PM

Am I the only one bothered that Randy has chosen to combine about 8 paragraphs of rhetoric regarding another column with a paragraph or two about a tragedy? Maybe its just me, but it seems that arguments about welfare fraud could have easily stayed with the other column.

-- Posted by notinia on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 8:37 AM

Randy- I have witnessed a young man, maybe in his 20's purchasing cigarettes with a government card at a convenience store. He also asked if they offered cash back, to which the clerk replied no. Then it was my turn and she grumbled about the young man buying cigarettes and wanting cash back on our dime. She mentioned that she sees that often and it boils her blood. So, I imagine that your friend did witness what he says he did. And any loophole that can be found will be found. It is no different than race, religion, etc. There are bad people in every race, religion, sexual preference, etc, just as there are bad people who USE the system. There are of course people that truly need it and are grateful for everything and only continue to use it while needed and use it for what it is intended for.

-- Posted by mybloodrunsgreen on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 9:00 AM

mybloodrunsgreen- creative name! I would assume the man you are talking about either receives FIP or had a child support card. Those are the only 2 things that I am aware of that he could have been using. Child support obviously wouldn't have provided for by the state. The last I knew of FIP recepients had to provide proof of either working or going to college part time and/or looking for work part time, which is all verified on something like a 3 month basis with time sheets that are due monthly. Im not saying it is right, just saying they might not be as lazy as some would assume. This is info that I knew from a few years ago so it might not be the same now. I do agree though that there are some people that are truly greatful for the help that they receive and truly need some help but they less often are seen than the person mooching off the system.

-- Posted by AshlyMeyer on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 8:07 PM

mybloodrunsgreen- so, the man was turned away? Isn't that what is supposed to happen? I'm not understanding why this is an issue- it sounds like the proper procedure was followed.

-- Posted by notinia on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 10:36 PM

No3121.....you say 92% of seniors are on the SNAP program, um please put correct info out.

http://finance.sfgate.com/hearst.sfgate/...

e.Nearly half of all SNAP participants are children

The system is meant to be a safety net for people who fall on hard times and need food and a roof over their head. It is meant to protect families who find their income cut off when a parent loses a job. It is meant to provide for a single mom doing her best to raise her kids. It is meant to care for the elderly and those who are unable to otherwise care for themselves.

I get it. It's more fun to sit around watching TV and hanging out with friends than it is to work. I wouldn't argue that point. And when the government continues to feed and shelter those who are more than capable of working but select not to, there are plenty who will take advantage.

It is not meant for the lazy and shiftless. They know who they are. They're the ones laughing all the way to the bank."

This is in no way insultaing all ppl on welfare, SNAP or whatever you would like to call it. It is the plain truth, and if you are in public lime light as you seem to be, and you have to deal with certain situations, you would see that this is the plain truth. I am tired of ppl only seeing it from the "hey, that might be you, or hey, my friend" situation. This is happening and there are LOTS of ppl abusing this system!! Get into rentals and I will gaurantee you you would be amazed on how niave you really are!!! Deal with HUD ppl and you will learn how niave you are. It is a shame, but it is the truth. It boils me from inside out, but it is a sad fact that ppl work the system way better than a honest person! What sucks more is the honest person seems to get punished way before the cheater! Cheaters have way to many safety nets!

-- Posted by acerdj on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 10:38 PM

@acerdj - Before you make condescending statements, make sure you read the post correctly. No. 3121 didn't say 92% of seniors were on SNAP.

-- Posted by Sony on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 9:09 AM

Half of all SNAP recipients are children... Last time I checked kids weren't the ones going to the DHS to fill out forms to receive food stamps. Pretty sure their moms were the ones doing that.

-- Posted by Dagny Taggart on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 7:17 PM

The gov't is handing out free $, no questions asked, no id needed? Please, please tell me where I go to get it!

Seriously, there are rules/qualifications to be met to use a 'safety net'. If there is fraud, prosecute those involved. If there are loopholes, close them. But don't present exceptions to a rule as the rule. Or press to eliminate a program.

If fraud/misuse were the threshold for closing down a program, etc. then all religions, the military, private business, charities, etc. would need to be shut down. Just because you feel offended that 'someone got something you didn't', maybe you should look at it as being thankful you didn't need that safety net. And be thankful it's there if you do need it.

-- Posted by helped_myself on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 12:55 PM


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Randy Cauthron
One Man's Perspective