Risks Of Living On Street In Bitter Cold: When Not To Walk On By

Victoria Morris, 28, panhandles in Portland, Maine, where the temperature at dusk was 7 degrees Fahrenheit that early January evening. Morris, who is homeless, decided to seek shelter when she could no longer feel her toes.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Victoria Morris, 28, panhandles in Portland, Maine, where the temperature at dusk was 7 degrees Fahrenheit that early January evening. Morris, who is homeless, decided to seek shelter when she could no longer feel her toes. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

By Bill Mitchell
Guest contributor

With record cold temperatures closing schools and crippling transit around the country, one population remains especially exposed: people living outside.

Every night in Boston, a van from the Pine Street Inn searches for people at risk for frostbite and hypothermia on the city’s streets. Two nights a week, the van team includes Jim O’Connell, M.D., who helped found the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in 1985 and now serves as its president. In this edited Q&A, he addresses the medical risks that extreme cold presents to people living without shelter – and what passersby can do to help.

What have you learned about the impact of frigid temperatures on people who live on the street?

After four years of medical school and three years of residency, I was struck – in this job – by how little I knew about frostbite, hypothermia and related issues. I was uniquely unprepared to know how to handle the complexities of these medical problems.

Often people wake up to find that a finger or a toe has fallen off in bed.

When I started to learn about the concept of hypothermia, I discovered that Hannibal lost 50 percent of his Army crossing the Alps in 218 B.C. In the War of 1812, Napoleon lost 50,000 troops to hypothermia during their retreat from Moscow. And 10 percent of U.S. casualties during the Korean War were related to the cold. Interestingly, most of the literature about weather-related medical issues comes out of the military and from those crazy mountain climbers. Exposure to the elements is a fundamental part of wilderness literature, but not prominent in everyday medical literature.

What happens to the body during hypothermia?

Only about 33 to 40 percent of hypothermia cases are related to exposure to weather. Most cases involve an infection that causes the body to lower its temperature or a reaction to medication or use of drugs or alcohol.

The worst cases of weather-related hypothermia we see in our program are not during bitterly cold periods but in the shoulder season between fall and winter. The temperature might be in the 40s during the daytime and people on the street feel comfortable.  But when the temperature plummets into the 20s at night, those who have fallen asleep outside can unwittingly experience extreme hypothermia, especially if they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs, or if their clothing is wet from rain or the ground.

On a warm day, your body cools down by opening blood flow to skin by sweating. The opposite happens in the cold. The body shuts down blood going to the surface of your skin in order to preserve warmth closer to the heart.  This can leave the extremities, particularly the hands and feet, with insufficient blood flow to withstand the cold temperatures.

What is autoamputation?

Each year at our medical respite facility, the Barbara McInnis House, we care for between 10 and 15 people suffering from frostbite that threatens digits and limbs. Hands and feet and tips of noses can swell and develop blisters as if they’d been burned.  Bloody blisters indicate deep tissue damage and more severe frostbite.  Over the course of two to four weeks, the skin turns black and necrotic.

Because we don’t know how much viable tissue, if any, is below these blackened digits, surgery is not usually done and we are left to watch and wait for one to three months — with considerable horror to our patients and our staff — for the fingers and toes to autoamputate (a spontaneous detachment of an appendage from the body).

Over time, the line between dead tissue and good tissue declares itself and the dead tissue will fall off or autoamputate. The dead tissue will slough off in various ways, often as a tip of finger or toe or a whole digit. If the patient is lucky, the necrotic tissue will be only one or two layers deep. They’ll end up with a finger that may be disfigured but alive and functional.

Often people wake up to find that a finger or a toe has fallen off in bed.  Whatever journey has led them to living on the street ends up costing them something they’ll have to live with forever. It’s profoundly unnerving. Frostbite is an emblematic, avoidable and disastrous consequence of exposure to the elements.

What is paradoxical undressing?

As hypothermia progresses, people perceive that their body is becoming warm and they begin taking their clothing off – just when they need it more, they’re taking it off.

As much as we think about dying in the cold as horrible, I remember one man with profound hypothermia telling me that after enduring the initial pain from the bitter cold he had a sense floating on air and feeling warm and euphoric. He said he felt as if his body was floating toward the heavens and that he was bummed when woke up with frostbite. He said hypothermia would have been a nice way to die.

I don’t know if anybody really understands the mechanism at work, but one assumption is that as you get colder and colder, the body tries to preserve blood flow to the heart so it shuts down blood flow to the limbs and to the brain. And the blood that is reaching the brain is more viscous and not flowing freely. A strange mental status results, with confusion and disorientation and a poor perception of temperature that makes the person feel too hot for all the layers of clothing.

We had an extraordinary case several years ago involving a man living under a bridge near Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain. Police and EMS responded to reports of someone dancing naked and acting crazy in the freezing cold. As the temperature dropped, he had become profoundly hypothermic and was apparently feeling warm and euphoric. He died under the bridge later that night.

Dr. Jim O’Connell, with patients (Courtesy Jeff Loughlin)

Dr. Jim O’Connell, with patients (Courtesy Jeff Loughlin)

One of the challenging aspects of recognizing hypothermia on the street is the prevalence of severe and persistent mental illness among rough sleepers. We can easily mistake confusion and disorientation caused by hypothermia with the psychosis of a chronic mental illness. During severe cold spells, Boston police and EMS are alert to this problem and respond with great care and concern. The Mayor and the Boston Public Health Commission have worked diligently for many years to orchestrate a citywide response in an effort to coax people living on the streets into warm shelters on these bitterly cold nights.

What should people do if they encounter someone who appears to be in distress as a result of the cold?

If you see someone out in the cold who appears confused or disoriented or is unconscious, call 911. Especially when the temperature drops below 22 degrees, the city is on high alert and anxious to find people who might be in trouble. In New York City, police are able to bring people inside against their will. That’s not the case in Boston, but police and EMS and outreach workers have been trained to strongly encourage people to come in from the cold and offer each person a ride to a shelter.

How much of a threat is frostbite and hypothermia to people living indoors but who find themselves unprepared for unexpectedly extreme cold? Any tips?

Wear a hat and cover your head.  Most loss of body temperature happens through the head.  Wear gloves and warm socks to protect your hands and feet.  Wear layers to keep warm.  Stay dry.  If anything near your skin is wet, the loss of body heat is profoundly increased. And be aware that alcohol makes things worse. There’s the perception that some brandy and spirits will warm you up. Despite that rush of warmth as it goes down, alcohol rapidly accelerates loss of body heat.

Bill Mitchell, a longtime journalist (and college friend of Jim O’Connell), lives at Beacon Hill Friends House and blogs about it with his wife, Carol, at ayearinaroom.com. O’Connell will lead a discussion of the medical risks of homelessness at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 at Beacon Hill Friends House.

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  • Kenneth Holmes

    Well Worth reading! This is real life..!

  • Ryan Crawford

    Not really pleased that this article used a picture of the people standing in Portland, Maine. We have been having an especially hard time with people pretending to be homeless. Portland (and Maine as a whole) has significant welfare and support systems in place (ranging from the free health clinics, free apartments, food, veterans assistance programs, etc…) for those people truly in need. Laws were recently passed which make it illegal for people to stand on the medians and grovel for money, due to the increasing number of car accidents that have been caused. The Whole Foods market located right near where this person is standing had to get a security guard because of the amount of robberies that were taking place. There was an incident where someone laid down on the ground in the parking lot and refused to move unless they were given $20. Instead of calling the police, the idiots at Whole Foods gave him the money. Someone was also caught purchasing milk that came in bottles that have a $2 deposit with food stamps, dumping the milk out in the parking lot and then returning the bottles to get the cash deposit. Apparently the time the person was caught, they had dumped out over 20 bottles. I have had a unique chance to see these people’s activities. I watched them all (6 “homeless) get in the same car and drive to a local apartment complex where they all live. I have also watched idiots here in Maine give them money left and right. In the 20 minute time I sat and watched, a person on this corner was given $13-15 dollars…That’s $39-45/hour!!!! The real problem is that this issue is newer to Portland. Most of the people here are genuine in their need to help the less fortunate and in doing so are being conned. As such, there has been a significant immigration of peoples willing to take advantage. (I just moved to Portland from Philadelphia two years ago…I see more people begging for money in Portland that I ever did in Philadelphia. Also, when I first moved here there were no peoples begging on corners in Portland. Now, I will pass at least 6 on my way to the gym today). Mainers need to smarten up and stop perpetuating the problem by giving people who don’t need or deserve it their hard earned money. Next time you see someone, give them the Mainecare telephone number and directions to the free clinic (which is less than 4 blocks away).

    • ejm

      were no peoples…

    • leorising

      Have you really, actually observed these very detailed incidents? Or are you making up alarmist propaganda out of rumor, innuendo, and whole cloth?

      If you don’t like it, work to change the actual situation, or at least don’t make it worse by donating to someone you consider “fake” (who may, or may not be “genuine” — there’s no way to you to tell by looking. Just because a few people are scamming doesn’t mean they’re not needy.)

      Or you could do the right thing and try to help the vast majority of really needy homeless in your area. Then you’d be making a difference, instead of making a mess with “numbers” that don’t exist; it’s like you’re trying to get someone else to fix a problem that bothers you but you can’t be arsed to take a practical hand in.

      Go spread you’re “numbers” somewhere else. I think we can all tell they’re made up.

    • a2phil

      Hmmm…$45 per hour panhandling…why don’t YOU do that (I would)??? Or is it pure B.S. (as I suspect)???

  • Jimmy Hodum

    i was on board with this until I read the “Most loss of body temperature happens through the head” part. THis doc is a moron, it is now well-known that you lose the same amount of heat as the head’s proportion to total surface area of the body. Our head is about 10% of our body surface area, so we usually lose about that, 10%.

    Shame on posts with bad information!

    • Henry Walton Jones

      While your percentages of body surface area are correct, surface area is not the only factor in heat conduction. We mainly use those numbers for calculation of fluid repletion after burns. For heat dissipation, one also must consider blood flow to the organ, organ surface blood flow, and speed of blood flow. The scalp is a highly vascular structure. Also, how much of your head is covered with fat?

      • zoezaw

        the fat argument seems shaky. it might not be “covered with fat” but for most of us it is “covered with hair”.

      • a2phil

        Depends on the person you’re talking about…Republicans for instance…

    • tudie

      The primary complaint of have with your reply is your use of the term “moron.”

      Secondarily – While it is true that if one’s entire body were exposed to the elements, heat loss would be proportionate to the size of the area exposed – this is not what happens to people in real life.

      The part of the body that is most likely to be left uncovered is the head, including one’s face. Second to that, hands. People don’t tend to go outside without pants on, but when that happens in the city, there’s generally a pretty quick response from BPD so, again, lower risk for cold-related injury.

      I am asserting facts here about the body parts that people tend to leave exposed to the elements based on not just common sense, but also over 10 years of working with street homeless individuals in Boston. You are very welcome to conduct your own survey of people on the street and see if this assertion holds up to your scrutiny.

      So, yes – you made a good point.

      Alternately, since it is never true that someone would be out in public in the city with all parts of the body equally exposed to the elements, practically speaking – what O’Connell describes here is what actually happens to street homeless individuals in Boston.

      Even conceding that it would have made for a better interview if this point had been clarified; I find it hopelessly obnoxious of you to have to call a person a “moron” for displeasing you by not providing that clarification.

    • Cooper

      I was initially put-off when I read that as well; however, in his defense – if bundled up/layered etc then you will be experience more heat loss from your head than other parts. I read it as taking into account someone not being naked ergo technically yes, more loss from your head compared to covered body. It should have read, “don’t forget to wear something on your head, as when everything else is covered it will be a major source of heat loss.”

      This guy is an MD helping an ignored portion of the population; try not to base your judgement on him from a single sentance

    • truthbetold2

      excellent you trollio

    • Bill Mitchell

      I believe Dr. O’Connell’s point is that, typically, it’s the head that goes uncovered even when people have the rest of their bodies covered with clothes. And that the heat escapes from the uncovered parts of the body.

  • MartinNYID

    Interesting sidenote, the man speaking about hypothermia and the heavens opening up… The Eskimos use/used this technique – when they use to get too old to carry their weight in the family, the wander out on the ice late at night, after the family is asleep. Apparently one of the most gentle deaths.?.

    • Terry Cooper

      Oh, I don’t suppose that we should consider that nobody should be forced to take this route because they can no longer “carry their share of the load”.

  • http://lambright.com/ wayne lambright

    America where I live, treats homeless people with as much respect as the Nazis gave to the Jews. In my personal opinion, Christians are hypocrites and can’t be trusted.

    • superjobber

      Making silly Nazi comparisons is a sure sign your argument is without merit.

    • r.p.

      Christ healed the sick, raised the dead, and loved the frail and helpless! You should to! No matter what the people you think are Christians are doing. Please don’t base your opinion of the people that you see as Christians on all others, most real Christians DO care! And will help anyone in need! God bless you!

      • http://lambright.com/ wayne lambright

        You might think Christian would help each other, yet my parents specifically did not invite me to thanksgiving or Christmas eve last year and would not open there home to me when I needed a place to live. And I did nothing to them but help them and try to be a good son. Most Christians I know, talk a good game but don’t really help when they can. One person is helping me now and he’s Jewish. Look at all those Christian Republicans cutting food stamps and help for the poor, Jesus would never do that and at the same time Jesus would never take money from the poor to build weapons. See my point. The Republicans would rather give money to other countries then help our own.

        • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

          Wayne, to say Jesus would never take money from the poor to build weapons is a non sequitur. To say Jesus would not cut food stamps is silly as well. You complain about your parents and others not helping when they are really needed, yet you can set the example for them and help the poor anytime you want. We all help the poor, through taxes which the government takes from us. My family and fellow church members donate time and money buying supplies for area food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the year. Lots of Christians – and non-Christians – do that. You probably help out all the time, I imagine. Right?

          • Your_Mom_Liked _It

            You must be chaffed from all the bible humping…try some lube.

          • Terry Cooper

            Oh, so a guy who is having a hard time and looking for help himself, can help the poor anytime he wants…lol.. What an ineffectual and insipid response.

          • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

            Sure – he can volunteer at church food drives, and believe it or not, ask for help from his church family, if he has one. If his own family is turning him down, then he should turn to other Christians, especially church bodies. Most, if not all, have outreach and help programs. And most, if not all, need help as well. How is that for an ineffectual and insipid answer?

            Of course, if you want something for nothing, then that is generally what you get.

          • Terry Cooper

            Oh, why didn’t I think of that…lol… In other words, all anybody has to do is play along and act like a good little Christian. Again, there’s that issue of Force that you don’t seem to get beyond. I had a Grandfather who was a religious man, but he actually lived his beliefs rather than trying to force them on others. So, I do know the difference, and can identify the Real thing. My Grandfather, on his own, saw to it that people in his area who were in need were okay, and it was not his mission to force them go to his church, or to believe as he did. Nor did they have to do anything in return. He felt it was not only his duty to help those he could help, but his privilege to do so. He was one of the very few true Christians I have ever known. Never would he have made some of the remarks that you have made that are suggestive that people deserve less than being treated with the utmost respect regardless of their beliefs or circumstances or reasons thereto.

          • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

            FORCE? Who is forcing anyone to do anything? This is a comment board, and people are expressing their opinions. What in the world are you so afraid of? All I pick up in your postings in nothing but fear of Jesus Christ and those that follow Him! You don’t and yet you have the right to judge us? You don’t believe, and yet you think you are better than we are because we believe in Christ, who is our God, and you don’t?

            My opinion is that if Wayne wants to see Christian values in action, go to a church. That’s where they hang out! If he needs help, ask the Church to help! All Christ believing churches follow the Two Greatest Commandments that Christ taught: “Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And the second is like the first: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But how is it right to call all Christians hypocrites because the man’s parents will not invite him over for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, or allow him to live with them again? It seems to me that GOD has provided for Wayne through the help of a Jewish man. People talk about Christians who stand up for the lives of unborn babies as if we are a governmental agency. We have no such authority. When we come out against same sex marriage, we are branded homophobes. All I see are people that are afraid of the name of Jesus Christ. That is what I see. And rightfully so – He will come and judgement will be handed down. But that is my belief, not yours. So don’t worry so much about what I say. I am not going to be changing your mind any time soon.

          • Capatina MonaLissa

            I believe Jesus Christ was a good man. I also believe that he really REALLY wanted people to practice what he preached… Do what he did, and to that end, he helped the homeless, healed the sick and DID NOT judge people based on appearances…. Unlike you.

          • Terry Cooper

            No where in any of my posts will you find any reference as to my personal beliefs. I did state in one post that my Grandfather was religious man who actually lived his beliefs, and as such I have a unique perspective of Christians and what they represent as well as how true Christians view the world as well as other people. I know without a doubt that my grandfather would never have made remarks such as yours concerning any issue. If he had had an issue with abortion, then I am sure he would have been in favor of birth control being made easily available to all. He was not an educated man, but I am equally as sure that he would have been appalled at any attempts to teach creationism in schools. He would be absolutely opposed to social programs to the poor, elderly, and disabled, and children being cut at all. IN fact, I think he would have thought they should be expanded. He would be totally shocked at the hypocrisy that the so-called fundamentalists of today exhibit. He absolutely would condone that people of any stripe be hounded or oppressed because of their sexual orientation or their economic status or lack thereof. My grandfather was similar in attitude to that of Pope Francis. I was not afraid of him or his obvious devotion to God and Christ. I am however, appalled at you and your version of same. My Grandfather has been dead for many years, but he will live on in my memory and in the memories of other whose lives he touched so gently but profoundly. In the meantime, I think you probably better go back for refresher course on Jesus 101.

          • Soldat

            Stop speaking for your grandfather, you cannot pretend to know his thoughts. Speak for yourself.

          • Terry Cooper

            The point I was attempting to make is that my grandfather who was also a Christian, but a true one, would not have presumed to be so arrogant as to attempt to foist his beliefs on anyone else. The only other people I have known well who identify as Christians are people like The one on this thread, arrogant, and hypocritical. I do not identify myself with any particular religious doctrine.

          • Soldat

            Isn’t expressing your opinion and ideas on how people should act and how things should be on this message board inherently you foisting your beliefs on others?

      • a2phil

        Just tell your Bible thumping parents/relatives that you’re gay, and find out how quickly you’ll be out the door!!! You couldn’t time it with a stop watch!! It’s happened to SEVERAL friends of mine from “Christian” families…

        Christian= “Love thy neighbor” as long as they’re the same religion, the same color, their women are subservient, and GOD FORBID if you’re gay!!!

    • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

      Nazis? There are 1.5 million – MILLION! – human beings being aborted every single year, Wayne! Those are people who are truly defenseless, can not make the decision to save themselves, get off the streets, rejoin society or their families, or seek psychiatric help. Those are people who, like all of us, had no say when they were brought into existence, no say in regard to whom their parents are, what education or financial situations they are born into, what gender, race, or society they are part of. And those babies will never grow up to make decisions to change that! we all can make choices to live in ways that help ourselves and others. Perhaps Americans do not understand why someone would choose to live in the streets instead of seeking help? I must admit, it is a mystery to me, since we spend so much on social safety net programs as tax payers, and with the number of faith based organizations willing to help get the homeless back into the mainstream. So please refrain from running your mouth without thinking about what you are saying. It will help you now, and in the future.

      • Terry Cooper

        ON the wrong thread??? I’m sure there are plenty of authoritarian right wing sites for you frequent, and you can decry all those “defenseless unborns”, and in the next sentence slam single moms on welfare, and suggest that poor children should be “made” to sweep floors and “earn” their keep.

        • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

          Wayne said Americans treat the homeless like the Nazis treated the Jews. I disagree. I think Americans treat the unborn that way. I have never seen one protest defending a persons right to murder the homeless because that would be crazy. But I have seen many protests defending abortions. Since you did not pick up on that, Terry, I thought I better help you out. Wayne, your experience gives you the right to call all Christians hypocrites? You don’t know all Christians. Yet you judge them all. I think there is another side to the story.

    • a2phil

      Biggest hypocrites I’ve ever seen…the most caring, non judgmental and accepting people I’VE ever come across are agnostics…

  • Labyrinthia

    My uncle is on the streets. He’s been street homeless (by choice, he claims) for a decade, but this is the coldest winter I can remember in that time. He had a dog, and while it was an awesome dog the family was collectively relieved when it died last fall, as it meant he could now be admitted into shelters. Some “good samaritan”, inspired by a viral facebook post, apparently bought a puppy at a pet store and gave it to him shortly thereafter.

    After every extreme coldsnap there’s usually a death, either of a homeless person or an elderly person, and every time I panic a little. Our hands are tied- his issues are too great to be able to handle them in our homes with children. And even if they weren’t, he would refuse- he chose to leave after over a decade of the family supporting him. He isn’t insane, we can’t have him locked up. So we wait.

    • Bill Mitchell

      Thanks for your comment, Labyrinthia. Hoping for the best for your uncle.

    • Your_Mom_Liked _It

      I really hope you and your family find some peace with your uncle’s decision.

    • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

      Hoping your Uncle returns to your family. Sorry to hear about what has happened.

    • Soldat

      If he chooses to live on the street and risk death when he could live indoors how is he not insane?

  • Loxfin Kjarr

    One thing I could never understand about when I was homeless was the fact that the other homeless never even tried to walk or hitch hike south.

    • DLM

      I would imagine that as a homeless person, you’d be pretty dependant on your social networks and on knowing the city you live in backwards and forwards. Going to a strange place could be dangerous.

      • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

        I guess, then, the social networks exist to enable the homeless to stay on the streets. Would it not be better to disband the networks, thereby making it much harder to want to be homeless? Living on the streets is incredibly dangerous, is it not?

        • tudie

          “social network” in this case means: family, friends, familiar neighborhood. How would you propose to take these apart? People who are homeless in Boston are, for the most part, Bostonians. Where would you ship them off to?

          The idea of people “wanting to be homeless” is a statement that has launched some boring email wars. If you are truly curious about that idea – I’d suggest you talk to some people off-line.

          • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

            Here in the Midwest, where I live, we have both homeless street people and those who panhandle in the medians of intersections and at the driveways of big box stores, like Walmart or Lowes. The panhandlers change out every few weeks. The street people are always around. I see them at the shelters during the winter, and one fellow I knew, who died a number of years ago, would purposely commit misdemeanor crimes in the winter season to end up in jail for a week or so at a time, just to get some protection from the elements and a hot meal each day. I have talked to many of the homeless folks in our community. The majority – not the ones who end up at a local church or Salvation Army center – are out there because they want to be. At least here. Nearly all are men, and had families and jobs. Then something happened, and they decided to remove themselves from their families, friends, businesses – they decided to fall out of the social fabric. They have no interest in rejoining society at all. Court action does not seem to work, either. Street people are perhaps the toughest people there are, and the hardest to help in my opinion, because while they enjoy the food and clothing and occasional medical care, they simply will not leave the streets.

        • Your_Mom_Liked _It

          Oh yeah I just read some of Jesus_Christ_Lives other insightful comments on other news stories. It turns out he/she is just your standard homophobic, woman hating, crazy right-wing bible quoting dick. So sad…

        • Capatina MonaLissa

          Why would anyone WANT to be homeless?

          • a2phil

            Oh, it’s just a BLAST out here on the streets!!! Getting robbed, ripped off, raped, beat up,hassled by cops and others who think they’re somehow “better” than you, not to mention the hypothermia!!! (Sarcasm obvious)

        • zoezaw

          Yes, JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES…I believe that is what Jesus said, “Ban homeless persons networks, and thou shalt find your way to heaven.”

          OH wait it was “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. (Proverbs 14:31)”…….I just hope for your sake your Maker interprets making homeless people’s lives difficult as “generous” instead of “oppressive.”

      • Capatina MonaLissa

        I was living in GA in 2006, and threatened by homelessness. I chose to come to Florida, because I had no desire to be homeless, even in GA during the cold of winter. It was scarier to stay, than to come to Florida. I’ve been here ever since.

      • a2phil

        Wearing (or being) the “wrong” color in the “wrong” neighborhood could get you KILLED in the good ol’ US of A!!! And THAT’S just ONE example!!!!

    • Loxfin Kjarr

      To address a few things here If you have friends and family you are not homeless and have a place to say, If not you do not have any friends and family in that area and well like I did I moved on. Its just common sense to move south to warmer areas. And the truth about the Salvation Army and Churches is they will only accept you till they find out you are an atheist. And in my years I lived on the street I did not meet one person who wanted to be homeless given the choice. That is bs kids make up to feel better for ignoring them. When I was homeless I learned from a few others not one person or God cares about you or your well being.

      • LJC

        God is the only one who actually does care, other wise why would He send His only son to take on all our sins just so that we can have eternal life with Him forever? He cares more than you will know, ask Him when you get to Heaven!!

    • a2phil

      Ever try hitchhiking ANYWHERE in the U.S the last 30 years or so??? The people who DO pick you up are either gay or a Bible thumper, and try like HELL to convert you!!!

    • a2phil

      Ever see how they treat the homeless down south??? Might as well been a Freedom Rider back in the ’60s…if I had the wherewithal, I’d go to southern California…

  • andor_2001

    Thank you for reminding people of the danger of hypothermia.
    Having worked as a nurse-practitioner in Siberia, way above the Arctic Circle, I had to deal with the most horrible cases of people losing limbs due to the harsh winter freezes and drunkenness.

  • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

    LOL! You know, Jesus died for your sins, and He offers forgiveness and the opportunity to have eternal life. You probably know that, having a television (I assume) and growing up in the US (again, just an assumption). By the way, I am not worried about your body, if indeed you are a woman (some doubts there). I am concerned about helping the homeless, but not by throwing endless amounts of money at their problems. And, I am really interested in saving the lives of unborn children. But I can see you are not interested in either of those issues. Your response is entertaining, because I love it when the truth comes out and certain people, like yourself, react with such vitriol. It’s like how a vampire reacts to the light of the morning sun. They can’t stand it! Here’s a thought for you: instead of believing it is okay to be killing babies in the womb to save your figure, adopt one! Save a life! Or is the Hillary Clinton and the “War on Women” theme too deeply ingrained in that cold heart of yours?

  • Your_Mom_Liked _It

    I had an abortion to save my life. Your time and money would be better spent saving the life of all the babies that are born into unwanted or unprepared homes. BTW I am a woman and I still think your an asshole =D Unfortunately, people like you will never understand just how ridiculous you are. The good news is your righteous indignation provides some great entertainment on a Sunday morning.
    P.S. Jesus didn’t die for anything but his politics.

  • Terry Cooper

    Perhaps if you are so opposed to abortion then you wouldn’t mind supporting birth control being made easily accessible for all, and sex education in schools as well. Then, again, you and your church have the opportunity to save as many children as you can handle, build an orphanage or a center for women and children, etc., and stop supporting political positions that do absolutely nothing but make things worse for people who are already having difficulties. True compassion would cover not only the unborn fetus you want so badly to protect, but it would also cover the women who for whatever reason feel the need to have abortions. I have known a number of women who have had abortions, and not one of them did so lightly.

  • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

    This is fun. Jesus loves you, no matter what you say. We will still be out there to help people and saving unborn babies lives. Remember – every baby not aborted will become a person that contributes to society in some way. Every homeless person that can somehow be taken off the street and helped will save their lives, and lots of tax payer dollars as well. Even the fact that you are alive fills someone with joy. Perhaps your husband (if you are a woman; again, I still doubt that), or your parents, or relatives, or friends.

  • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

    If it was necessary to save your life, then it needed to be done. I am concerned mainly with the 85% of abortions being performed for all of the other reasons, such as inconvenience, inability to afford the child, etc. I am also concerned that homeless people are living on the streets getting frostbitten, which is the point of the article, and how that can be helped.

  • Your_Mom_Liked _It

    Thanks for your validation…but I don’t need it.My abortion wasn’t medically necessary, but it was necessary to save my life. I was a 16 year old drug addict…unless you have gone through an unwanted pregnancy than you should not have an opinion on a matter that you know nothing about. Even if you have, you should know that it is the hardest decision for any woman to make (let alone a little girl). That’s why being pro-CHOICE is important, because the same choice is not right for everyone. Bible humpers like you want to treat my uterus like it is some type of state-sponsored baby vessel…it is not. It is part of my body and thus only effects me. You have no stake in what my family planning decisions are. I guess if I take birth control I am also killing babies cause so many eggs just go to waste every year…so MANY babies!!! Just flushed down the toilet. Oh and I guess men are mass murders because they just squeeze all of those poor potential babies into a Kleenex every chance they get lol. Your stance, like most things Christians spout, is just finger-wagging about things that are none of your business. Worry about your own family, not mine.
    Oh and to the homeless issue, have you ever actually studied homelessness or are you just dribbling on about more things that you have no actual information about. Just cause you talked to a couple of rough sleeping homeless people in your little shit town in the armpit of the Midwest doesn’t mean you understand this complex issue.
    P.S. It’s been fun talking with you this morning..It’s like seeing a monkey dressed in human clothes..it would be cute if it wasn’t so scary. Now I’m gonna go fuck the hell out of my husband and lick up all of those poor babies. Or maybe get an abortion. Don’t know… just have to see where the day takes me.
    P.S.S. My new goal is two abortions a year until you admit that Jesus is a zombie. =D

  • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

    Took you a long time to write that one, didn’t it? Pretending to be a woman is pretty pathetic. Last time I will say this: come to Jesus. He accepts you as you are. His is the Name Above All Names! He Lives and Reigns in Heaven, and is coming very soon. He does not condemn anyone. He just wants you to believe in His Name and be spiritually reborn. Then you will understand the need to save the unborn, and help the homeless and poor.

  • Capatina MonaLissa

    I will acknowledge being a Christian, and “Come to Jesus” just as soon as people like you are thrown out of the church for corrupting everything that Jesus Christ ever stood for!

  • Your_Mom_Liked _It

    You’re still an asshole and if there is a god…he hates people like you =D

  • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

    Birth control is easily accessible. Is there some restriction somewhere preventing women from getting it? Not at all. Obama has forced employers to provide it whether they want to or not, so it is even more accessible. Planned Parenthood provides it pretty cheaply, and has for many years as well. Sex education has been in schools for decades now. Has that stopped unwanted pregnancies? Not one bit. Christians are the ones who build the orphanages, run most of the abuse prevention centers, offer free clinics to pregnant women, and provide services to try to get a woman to keep her unwanted baby. We support unwed mothers by providing shelter and clothing, helped them get jobs, find babysitters and day care. In some cases we have been able to help them finish their education, mostly high school but some secondary. We have helped them get their lives back on track. We do that out of our own pockets, not with tax money. Those programs don’t exist everywhere. The popular solution seems to be to just kill the unborn child and be done with it. You say we should be as concerned about the mother as we are about the unborn child. We are! We want the mother and the child to be okay. But when we talk about our beliefs, and do those things, we are labeled as the bad guys, because we do it in the name of Jesus! We want to save lives, and we are told to “Stop forcing your religion down our throats!” We will just keep on doing what we do.

  • JESUS_CHRIST_LIVES

    I am out to save the lives of unborn babies and that corrupts everything Jesus Christ stood for? Wrong.

  • Your_Mom_Liked _It

    Soldat–I totally understand your point. I was just being flippant about the situation to mess with that poster. They were posting crazy bible-thumping stuff all over the site so I just was messing with them. Not the best choice I know. However, I was a stupid little whore when I was younger. I made several really bad decisions and I didn’t think that I could care for a child if I went through with the pregnancy. I am really grateful that I was afforded that choice though. It is not a decision that I take lightly, in fact, it changed my life forever. I am now a sober, non-whorey, loving wife and successful young lady. I know it doesn’t seem like it from my posts, cause I was just being a jerk. I’m just so sick of people telling young women that they are bad (and going to hell) because they made a mistake.