Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, July 21, 2008

When a Squealer Gets Squealed On

This story doesn’t have a point to it. It’s just one of those neighborhood incidents involving class warfare, neighborhood gentrification and clashing values. Here’s the full story.

In Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood, a homeless person built himself a treehouse in a local park. The locals all knew him as the Squirrelman. He didn’t bother anybody and most of the residents didn’t mind him being there. Except one.

Last March some asshole made an anonymous complaint to the city government about the Squirrelman. The city got right on it and evicted the Squirrelman from the park. They also destroyed the treehouse.

The Squirrelman (his real name is Dave Csaky) is now living in a donated RV on a farm in nearby Skagit County. If you ever read Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins — yes, Skagit County really exists.

Last week, in a local letter to the editor, a defense attorney named James Roe outed the Squirrelman’s outer. Or as the author — Danny Westneat — said, “he snitched on the snitcher.”

Roe referred to the Squirrelman’s outer as “an embarrassment to native Seattle citizens everywhere. To turn in a guy to the city who is only trying to get by, scrapping out a living, just so you can kick him out — morally I find that reprehensible…This is what Seattle has come to. In another era, Seattle had room for people like The Squirrelman. What happened to tolerance? There’s no place for it now, among all the nouveau riche.”

The cowardly snitch turned out to be a couple: Betsy and Dale Sherrow, owners of the nearby Seattle Caviar Co.

Dale Sherrow was away on business when Danny Westneat called them. Betsy Sherrow called their outer “an outrageous jerk.” She said: “We aren’t snitches. We are responsible citizens who felt that if we stayed silent, we would be promoting something that’s wrong…We do cater to higher-end customers, but it’s a small business — we’re not exactly over here eating bonbons and having a maid clean our toenails.”

Well, that’s good to know.

Danny Westneat admits that there can be a thin line between a snitch and a whistleblower; one person’s snitch is another person’s whistleblower.

Sort of like the terrorists and freedom fighters in Central America during our 1980s proxy invasion.

“Oh my God, did you read about this? A bunch of anti-government guerrillas came sweeping into a village and massacred all the women and children and tortured all the husbands!”

“What country was that?”


“Hail the Freedom Fighters!”

“Oh, wait a minute, no it was El Salvador.”

“What??? Those bloodthirsty F#$%&!$# terrorists!”

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Blogger Ricardo said...

I guess the question to ask here is what was this man doing that they found so wrong? What was this man "promoting" that was such a threat?

Ah, yes. I know. They don't want him possibly ruining the atmosphere for their high end clients. He's promoting a reality that these "high end folks" can't handle so he's got to go. Not because he was a danger. Not because threw rocks at the window. Not for anything else except that he MIGHT have made their place look bad to a small select few.

My guess is no one would have noticed had they not made such a big deal. The whole story just annoys me to no end Tom.

July 21, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: Yup, the story is annoying to no end. A caviar distributor (or whatever he is) siccing the government on a homeless person who's living in a treehouse and not bothering anybody -- it just sucks. And with this two-tier haves-and-have-nots society that we're heading for, stories like this will probably become much more common.

July 21, 2008 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger rockync said...

WEll guys, I don't want to rain on your parade, but I guess I need to start a sprinkle; up to that point the guy was minding his own business and just trying to live - fair enough. Here in the South, we probably have more than our fair share of unique individuals who are usually allowed to peacefully coexist. That being said, the other thing that happens here is said individuals usually have relatives in the area so the person's history is usually well known.
It would have been more productive if someone had engaged the Squirrelman in conversation, perhaps brought him a meal and had a chat and in doing so, determine his state of mind and if, in fact, he was capable of being on his own especially with winter right around the corner.
I'm glad someone offered him more stable digs in the country. They will probably also make sure he is warm and fed over the winter.
Country folk haven't forgotten the art of true conversation and helping out a "neighbor."
As for the business owners; they had an opportunity to do something meaningful to help a fellow human being and they blew it. I don't think their karma is going to be too good for a while...

July 22, 2008 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Seattle isn't alone, but it doesn't surprise me as it has a reputation for being such a "beautiful city." When Chicago (my former home) began redeveloping, the city hijacked one area where the homeless lived and were known to live--Wacker Drive. People were arrested for begging, even for selling things on the El, like the paper Streetwise which was created to give the homeless a job. I haven't seen the same purging in Philly, but I live in the areas where there are many homeless--I am sure in areas like Old City, they are washed away. Many homeless sleep in the subway stations during the winter. I used to be part of a group that fed them every week.

Middle class people want nice neighborhoods. They are sheep. We are all two to three paychecks away from homelessness. Karma is going to bite all these folks in their blind behinds!

July 22, 2008 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Squealer was an AC/DC song. I don't think it was about squealing in the finest Seattle tradition. ;-)

This story is so fucked up that everyone practicing apathy would have been a better outcome. People don't choose to be homeless.

July 22, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Rockync: Good point about the south. This is a huge generalization of course, but for the most part the south is less transient. People are more likely to have lived in their community for a long time, and they're more likely to know their neighbors, etc. And they're more outgoing; there's less of a wall between people in the south than in other parts of the country. The midwest is like that too, to a lesser extent.

Again, those are generalizations, but it's my own observation from the few times I've been to the south. And a long time ago I had a coworker from Arkansas, and she said everyone in her hometown thought it was really weird when she decided to leave and go to California. "You mean you WANT to leave Arkansas and go out to California??"

So yes, a homeless person in the south (unless it's right downtown in a large city) would probably be treated more humanely. Or in any case he/she would be seen as a person and not just "eww, there's some homeless person over there."

Enemy of the Republic: Yup, Seattle is one of those cities that's grown so fast, most people are from somewhere else originally. It almost rivals L.A. and San Francisco for that lack of permanence.

Those redeveloping/changing neighborhoods are probably the most intolerant, like the street in Chicago you're talking about. And of course the touristy parts of town are the most notorious; those icky poor people might drive tourists away.

Like you said, most of us are 2 or 3 paychecks away from homelessness. It would be much better karma to not just think "oh, it's those wretched homeless people; I work so that could never happen to me."

July 22, 2008 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: True, apathy is one thing, but somebody going out of their way to screw over a homeless person -- that's a new low.

I guess I don't know that AC/DC song, unless I've heard it without knowing the title.

July 22, 2008 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

I love how this couple tries to take credit in the linked story for getting him a better place to live by snitching. If they took this guy into an alley and shot him they wouldn't care.

July 22, 2008 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: Yeah, ain't that a kick in the ass. This couple screws this guy over by squealing on him, and when somebody else rescues him, they take credit for it. Talk about chutzpah.

July 22, 2008 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

The squirrel man seems to be a good charactor. That just sucks. The person(s) that screwed with him have a lot of personal issues!

This reminds with the reading the comments of little unknown town called UH????? I think If I remember right NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA???

Peace and Freedom

July 22, 2008 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger American Hill BIlly said...

The squirrel man seems to be a good charactor. That just sucks. The person(s) that screwed with him have a lot of personal issues!

This reminds with the reading the comments of little unknown town called UH????? I think If I remember right NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA???

Peace and Freedom

July 22, 2008 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

AHB: No doubt, those 2 people are a couple of pieces of shit, with wretched miserable lives. They may be wealthy from all their caviar sales, but I wouldn't trade places with them for anything.

July 22, 2008 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Fire hazard. Right. Wonder why they never thought to help the poor S.O.B. It would be satisfyingly ironic if they were evangelical Christians wouldn't it?

Dumbasses In Government

July 22, 2008 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Carlos: I guess "fire hazard" makes a better soundbite than "this is a nice neighborhood and he was blighting our view."

July 22, 2008 at 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor fella, just can't get a break.Even homeless people are getting their homes foreclosed on. The fact that he lives in a box and is called the Squirrelman is pretty sad in itself. But it just goes to show that the "outers" are inconsiderate people who obviously think that they are saving society. Ughhh


July 22, 2008 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jo: Yup, it's pretty bad when "even homeless people are getting their homes foreclosed on." I did some more web searches on that guy, and he was a bona fide carpenter, or had been. It goes to show that a skilled worker can still end up homeless.

Those outers are beneath contempt.

July 23, 2008 at 1:09 AM  

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