The headline for the New York Post article reads "Bums declare war on Christmas."
The journalists who wrote it are Kevin Fasick and Bob Fredericks. The subject is how the tree lighting ritual in the Little Italy section of the Bronx was cancelled. That's because the "bums" were menacing the area with alleged aggressive panhandling and public urination.
I hadn't heard that term - "bum" - since growing up in the 1950s, in an urban area. That was Jersey City, New Jersey.
Anyone who didn't struggle to simulate the look, walk, talk, and hygiene of the emerging middle class was labeled a "bum." Everyone in authority, be it the principal of the Catholic School or a parent, warned that if we didn't do X or Y we would wind up a bum.
Then during the counterculture, the concept was rebranded. Bums became "street people." We on university campuses envied their freedom. There we were in psychotherapy because we couldn't take the pressure bundled in with trying to make it big in America.
Somewhere along the line, policy makers did another rebrand. No longer was there the romance of being a free spirit of the street. We now had the "homeless."
They were a problem which had to be solved. As the economy tilted funny, then down, the problem seemed to be one which couldn't be solved. The best most communities are doing is preventing deaths from this seasonal cold and starvation from no money to purchase even a fast food meal.
Here in the northside of Tucson, Arizona, hearts aren't very open to the homeless. They call the police when they are camped in the alley or snoozing for the night on the bench at the bus stop.
Interestingly, there's no admiration for their entrepreneurial ways. For example, some will transform simple shopping carts into warehouses for what's collected during dumpster-diving. Yet we monitor TechCrunch to find out what the entrepreneurs are doing in Silicon Valley.
Instead of authority figures scaring the next generation about the possibility of becoming a "bum," Millennials themselves fear homelessness. They include unemployed lawyers whose profession is glutted, college graduates working brick-and-mortar retail, and those not mentally disturbed enough to be on disability.
Perhaps their primal fear is being branded "bum."