Monday, December 17, 2012

Seattle Homeless Man Murders A Cellophane Wrapper

Walking home from work last night, crossing the foot bridge from 1st Street to the ferry terminal, I heard a loud crashing clang on the street below.

I looked over the side.

There was a homeless man in his mid twenties on the far side of the street below. He was jumping up and down and holding his fist as if it hurt. There was a traffic sign attached to a light-standard next to him. It was vibrating wildly. He must have struck it with his fist. That would account for the noise that I heard and the evident pain that he suffered.

A small piece of cellophane wrapping floated down from the winds above and landed a few feet from him. He turned and stomped on it with his foot and then he commenced to jumping up and down murderously on the piece of plastic wrapping.

He was consumed with rage - Jumping up and down on a piece of plastic, having moments before struck a light-standard mounted metal street sign with his fist.

There was no calm moment. He said nothing. He made no noise save for the striking of the sign and the stomping on the sidewalk.

I walked on thankful that I was not on the street below where he would notice me.


At night, the homeless gather underneath that footbridge to sleep. The footbridge offers them some protection from the Seattle rains. There is often about twenty to thirty people there bedding down for the night with their sleeping bags and blankets.

This is a commonplace in Seattle. This is every night here.

In the morning, the encampment will be cleared. A few rags and bits of garbage may remain but an inattentive passer-by would not notice anything amiss during the daylight hours.

It is a different place at night.


I see these people nearly everyday. They are for the most part, the same people that I have seen here for years. This is not a moment of hard-luck. It is not a problem of poverty. There is something else at work here.

I am sure that most of these people present little danger to anyone but themselves. Most are only a danger to themselves in that their hygiene suffers and they risk exposure from the cold and the wet.

But I wonder about the one that was trying to murder that piece of cellophane.

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