Whether it’s a nasty divorce, the loss of a job, or a crippling addiction, the shit may hit your fan before it hits anyone else’s. You may find yourself in the desperate situation of having to beg or commit crimes to survive. And when one finds themself in that position, there are two options: go homeless, or go to jail. While both of these options are excellent for learning practical survival skills, which one is better training for the zompocalypse?
Being free to roam the streets has its advantages. From cardboard boxes, to makeshift newspaper tents, homeless people come up with some pretty crafty ways to rest relatively easy on the streets. Or in some cases, under the streets. Inmates are assigned a bunk, assigned a cell mate, assigned sheets. They’re assigned everything. And it’s illegal to deprive them of any of it. So while it may not be the Ritz Carlton, the bums definitely have the makeshift shelter advantage over the convicts.
Saw that coming. Come on, making a shank out of soap with no real tools is pretty impressive. These guys get so bored and desperate they come up with the most amazing ways to create weapons and even more creative ways of hiding them on (or in) their bodies. Imagine what they could come up with without any restrictions. I’m guessing some kickass weapons that aren’t designed to be transported in an orifice.
With the ability to fit their entire life in a shopping cart and move from dumpster to dumpster throughout the day, the homeless definitely made their mark in the mobility category. Sure they’re limited by foot sores and curbs, but that sure beats the one hour of walking in circles in a dog run some inmates are limited to every day.
Although I see a lot of homeless people spending time in libraries, I never see them with books. Inmates, on the other hand, have access to full libraries, machine shops, labs and college courses. Not to mention all the street knowledge they get just being locked up. Prison is a far more stimulating environment than the underside of a bridge.
There are about 51,000 homeless people living in the greater Los Angeles area. I see, conservatively, 10 on the streets every day. I can count the number of times I’ve seen one in a restaurant on my hands. And I eat at cheap restaurants. But they’re getting their food and water from somewhere. I can’t imagine it’s at The Palm. Considering inmates have their food handed right to them, I’m gonna give the food and water points to the street people.
Whether it’s maintaining a drug habit while living in a stairwell or behind metal detectors and armed guards, both these groups have skills. I’ve seen homeless people with no shoes on cell phones. I’ve seen inmates on cell phones – where cell phones are contraband and there are people whose sole job, 50 hours a week, is to find contraband. How do either of those two things happen? I have no clue. But the bums and prisoners do. And it’s that kind of know-how that can help you make it one more day.
NOT GETTING RAPED
Sorry. Homeless people are beaten and raped like crazy. If that’s your reasoning for living on the streets, think twice. They’re not all happy drunks just trying to get by. They will cut you. And possibly rape you. Then steal your shopping cart.
So basically it’s a tie. When it comes to staying physically healthy, the inmates have the edge. When it comes to staying fed and dry in an urban landscape, I gotta tip my hat to the homeless.
Living either of these two ways is no joke. But with a government desperate for money making more and more laws, and an economy that’s teetering on the edge, it’s becoming easier and easier to end up behind bars or homeless. So if you fall on hard times with no way out, figure out what’s more important to you: freedom or food. Just remember that while you’re living the shit life, you’re learning important skills to survive a shit world.
Who do you think has a better shot at survival – The Homeless or Convicts?
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