Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two sides of the story

Saturday I wrote about Tim and Pimp this Bum and how I felt about the website. I received a response which I would like to respond to in turn.

The comment:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely understand the strong feelings expressed on here. I wanted to explain my side on a few points. First off, Tim has a fantastic sense of humor. He laughed at the idea, and had nothing to lose, only something to gain. Why bring him a fish, when we can teach him how to fish? So many people claim they are helping the homeless by giving to them. The fact is, they are simply placing a temporary band aid where surgery is needed. Tim can't get a job because he is addicted to alcohol. He shakes every morning, and loses use of bodily function if he doesn't get alcohol. If we put him up in a hotel every night, he would drain all the money from his account and be left on the street. He has requested to keep his money in the account unless there is an emergency. He is very honest, and giving, and will give all his money away to friends if he has it. The site was offensive on purpose. If our site was www.helpthehomeless.com we wouldn't have been on Fox & Friends yesterday. Period. Sad, but true. By design, we wanted to create controversy and buzz, so that in the end, we could leverage sponsorship to provide the 'surgery' Tim needs to permanently remove himself from his situation.

We planned on the site reaching a critical mass (which happened today) at which time we would tone it down. We currently have the toned-down version of the site which includes all the donors and the latest addition of SunRay treatment center which has donated a 13,800 scholarship for Alcohol Addiction treatment. He has a rough few weeks ahead of him, as he will have to detox before acceptance into the program. Tim has become like a brother to me, and places a lot of trust in us because we have been a constant in his life and always do what we say we will. He currently has around $1,432 in donations. We have made zero profit, in fact, our family has given more than any individual (that we know of) to help him.

I'm an eagle scout, you can check the records. I'm not going to collect all this money and steal it from a homeless man. It's shocking to me that in this world, no good deed goes unpunished. Is this what we want to teach people? Do a good turn for the sake of helping someone, and others will assume you have ulterior motives? What happened to benefit of the doubt?

And as Tim has said many times, if you don't want to donate, no hard feelings. We feel the same way, if we offend 100 people in order to reach 1,000 who donate, in the end it's more help for Tim.

Thank you to those who do understand what we are doing, there are 20 of you to every 1 who doesn't. And no hard feelings to those who criticize. If Tim gets out of rehab and gets his life back, you'll come around. :)

-Sean Dolan

My response:

Hi Sean,

I appreciate you stopping by and commenting on what I had to say. However I still have some problems with this even after you gave your side.

You start out by saying Tim has a fantastic sense of humor and that he has nothing left to lose. He does have something left to lose whether you care to admit it or not. He has his dignity to lose and what you are doing is most definitely damaging his dignity and feelings of self-worth. He may be smiling on the outside but I can NOT believe that a human being would be "ok" with being made fun of, called names and made to look like their hard life is nothing more than an advertising gimmick.

You say he is addicted to alcohol and can't be trusted with his own money. That's sad. And it's sad for more than the obvious reasons. Addictions can ruin lives and cause a lot of heartache. It's also sad that you say he can't be trusted with his own money. That statement bothered me quite a bit. Is he mentally unable to understand money? Does he have some kind of illness (besides alcohol addiction) that leaves him in a juvenile state mentally and therefore you feel he needs his money allocated out to him? A lot of people spend their money unwisely but they don't have the need to have someone lock their money away so that they are unable to spend it. It's another way I feel you are demeaning his character. In addition to calling him a bum and 'pimping' his life out the way you have, you now say he isn't trustworthy. You make him out to be a horrible person regardless of your attempt to make us believe he's like a brother to you. Would you treat your brother this way? Would you call him names and leave him in the cold because you didn't think you could trust him to do things the way you think they should be done? I doubt it. I imagine you would set up a nice comfortable place in your own home for your brother. I could be wrong.

As far as you being an Eagle Scout, congratulations. I was a Girl Scout. What does that have to do with anything? You want to prove to me that you are a good person? Being an Eagle Scout doesn't do that for me. How many cases of ministers molesting children, teachers selling drugs or police taking bribes can you think of? I can think of quite a few just off the top of my head. Supposedly "good" people do bad things all the time. And it's been my experience that usually the one doing the loudest yelling about how good they are is the one that is out there doing the most damage. Benefit of the doubt? Ok, if you have good examples for me to base my decision on. Just telling me you are honest doesn't tell me you are honest. If I see that you have done good for Tim and actually helped him, I'll be more than happy to stand up and say you did it. I believe in giving credit where credit is due but I don't believe in 'just because I said it' being the truth. I need proof. That's just me. I don't mean any offense by it but it's a fact of who I am.

I'm glad that you toned down the site. I did visit it again after your comment. I'm very glad the Wish List has been changed on the sidebar. I found that quite offensive the way it was set up before. It made it very close to the way online games look and I just can not think of a person and their life as a game no matter how hard I try. We all deserve to be treated as humans and not as a pawn in a game.

I have added Tim and the other people who are homeless around the world to my list of prayers. I hope that someday everything is better for them and that they have a comfortable place to sleep out of the weather and eat a hot meal when they are hungry. I also hope that they will be able to live their own lives without people deciding for them important things like when they'll be allowed to spend their own money. I'm not a rich person. I'm not even financially comfortable. I'd even go so far as to say we're pretty poor. But I have been blessed with a home, food and people who care about and trust me. I am allowed to make my own decisions and mess up quite often but I still have that freedom. I hope one day everyone in the world has the same.

Thank you again for visiting Sean. I wish you well. I hope it all turns out like you planned. I just hate the way you went about it. It wasn't right. I've honestly tried to see your side of it but it keeps coming back to that. It wasn't right. And I don't like it. Sorry. Have a great day.

You can click here if you'd like to visit Sean's site Pimp This Bum!

This post has been on my mind all day. Now I'd like to add a little bit more... I REALLY do NOT like this. I did 'come around' a little after re-visiting the site. Just a little though. What I keep doing is rereading the comment that Sean left for me. I think if you're anything like me you'll understand my doing that. I want to see if there is anything that helps me understand his way of thinking about this.

If I'm completely honest I have to tell you WHAT specifically bothers me about his comment. First, he's very condescending. He felt the need to brag about his family doing so much for these men even though the only thing that's changed for them so far is that they are now on the internet. HOPEFULLY he's a man of his word and the things he say will happen do happen but I don't know if they will.

I've already talked about his Eagle Scout comment I know, but I feel the need to say it again... What does that have to do with anything? Why put that into play like it has relevance to the issue? Unless he is using specific skills to help the men that he learned through the Eagle Scouts why even bring it up? Because, I believe, he thought it would make him look good. Like "Oh wow. He can't be that bad...He was an Eagle Scout for goodness sakes!" Well, I'm sorry. I don't buy that for the reasons I told you above. It has NO impact on anything except possibly his ego.

I feel as though it's Sean's intention to make me (and everyone else who doesn't jump on his bandwagon) feel guilty. "And as Tim has said many times, if you don't want to donate, no hard feelings. We feel the same way, if we offend 100 people in order to reach 1,000 who donate, in the end it's more help for Tim."

(I'm taking a deep breath because I feel myself slipping into that mad place again.)

Are those the REAL statistics... 100 offended people: 1000 people who donate? Truly? It would seem more likely to me that out of every 1000 who visit your site at least 100 people are offended and possibly up to 1/2 of them donate. I don't have the statistics on that site so I can't say but I bet I'm pretty close to the truth there.

Your other statistics are just as sketchy and unbelievable to me. You think there are 20 people that think what you are doing and the way that you are doing it is great but only 1 that doesn't? You said for every 20 people that understand there is one person that doesn't. Do you think I'm stupid? I can't grasp what you claim to be trying to do? If what you say is true then there would only be 5 people out of every 100 that disagreed with you. That I find completely hard to swallow. I haven't seen one thing that supports you yet. Maybe it's on your site...Oh wait, there is NO place to comment there. I forgot. You only get to see what YOU want us to see. Smart.

I do believe though that the bulk of my anger at this moment comes from your final statement to me: "If Tim gets out of rehab and gets his life back, you'll come around. :)"

I am a Christian woman. I believe that I should consider other people and their feelings, ideas and plans. I believe that I should not be judgmental and close my mind off to ideas that may not be something I like. I believe I should give them all a chance. So now what I would like to say to you I am going to say very carefully so my anger doesn't control my words. WHEN Tim gets out of rehab and gets his life back (because I have faith that he will) I will NOT come around. :) The belief that degrading people by calling them names and making their life into a game is an alright way to reach your goal will NEVER be on the OK list for me. While I commend you for attempting to help Tim, I do NOT now, nor will I ever believe the way that you went about doing it was acceptable.


Neen said...

I do have a bit of a different feeling now, though Kathy, I agree with alot of what you said.
I'm a many years in recovery drunk and addict. NO, people in the disease can't manage their money. You get drunk or high with it, VERY generous sharing your bounty with others and you wake up 3 or 4 days later...broke...with no idea where it all went.

I didn't go to the site because just reading about it here upset me. My son, an on the street, drug addict, recently died of AIDS. My impression of how the site was presented felt hurtful to me in too many ways.
I WILL go and look now...
With all my heart, I wish the best for Tim. It's a long, hard road back to life, one you have to be completely willing to travel.

♥ Kathy said...

I've never had the experience of not being able to account for my money so I guess that's why I find that part so hard to believe. I do agree that the site is MUCH better now that it has been 'toned down' and if it helps these men then I'm all for it. I just wish there was a way to do it without seeming so degrading to them. I just can't get past that part. I have changed my mind on some of it though...IF IT HELPS THEM. :)

Wendy said...

I had a client once, an older woman, who just COULD NOT say "no" to people. It ended up that her daughter took all her money and she had to sell her house and even after having to sell her house her daughter was STILL trying to get more money from her. Some people have a generous spirit to their own detriment or, for whatever reason, just can't say no. It's very sad when people cannot define their own boundaries for whatever reason.

Neen said...

You make so much sense to me Kathy. I, for one, AM just gonna' forget about it too. I have the curse...or gift *L* of seeing 4 sides to every story and I just don't want to expel anymore energy on Sean.
WTF Is an Eagle Scout? *LOL* (you can insert any acceptable word in the F place) *grin*

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