From THE WHITTIER DAILY NEWS:
He wasn't a City Council member, or a well-known county administrator, yet close to 60 people from different walks of life gathered in tiny St. Matthias Episcopal Church on Monday to honor the memory of 50-year-old homeless man Kenneth Griesbach.
It was discovered that Griesbach, who had been residing in the church's cold- weather shelter, was dead when residents awoke on Friday morning and he couldn't be roused. Those who knew him said the man had been in poor health for years.
"He was a big guy and had bad knees. He was using a walker," retired Pastor Bill Miller said. "Our health system didn't come through for him."
Longtime friend David Hickey, 54, said Griesbach had applied for Social Security benefits after the book bindery he worked in closed down two years ago.
"They told him his condition wasn't serious enough to receive Social Security. I feel personally that the system failed him," Hickey said.
According to friends, Griesbach dealt with congenital heart failure, sleep apnea and diabetes - conditions no doubt exacerbated by his big appetite and smoking.
Following the service, friends and church members gathered in the adjacent courtyard to exchange stories about Griesbach over punch and cookies and Sprague offered his reflections on the man who inspired such a sizable turnout.
"I miss him so much," Friedrich said.
Therefore, the idea of somebody being homeless because they have lost their job and being allowed to remain homeless with such a list of disabilities and illnesses is both alien and abhorrent to me. The nanny state can be infuriating at times; it creates too much red tape and can discourage initiative. But I's rather be nannied by my government than left to die.
Americans seem to think that the state is something separate from them. But, of course, the state is them. Okay, governments have a tendency to gather too much power to themselves and abuse that power. But in an advanced democracy it's down to the laziness of the voters if they get away with it. The irony is that Americans choose to rely on private enterprise for their security and welfare. Nowadays, such institutions are often international and less American than the State so many regard as somehow alien. Go figure!