Letter Re: The Overnighters: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

Hello Mr. Rawles, 
I felt compelled to write in regarding Frank C’s recent article, The Overnighters: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You, and share my experiences working in the non-profit world over the last four years.  While my experience is significantly different from Frank’s, he is in my opinion right on the money.
I live and work in a northeastern state.  The state has a low population, is very rural, but has a massive “public assistance” community within its borders. In other words, lots of “social programs.”  I am a die hard capitalist, gun-owner, conservative, Christian.  Not the best prepper, but I’m trying to change that.  About four years ago I began working for a non-profit, which was quite change from having been in the defense industry.  The operation is self-funded (operates as a business) so it fit with my personal beliefs.  The operation performs very basic services for area businesses, and pays people “piece rate” for each product produced.  In short, the harder they work, the more they make per hour.
How this relates to Frank’s article is this: we have a great many “Overnighters” that “work” for us.  It is the same crowd.  They have been given everything, and they cannot fathom a world that does not include a taxpayer-funded check every month.  Being independent is not on their radar screen. If you try to explain the concept and they  go completely blank.
Many business owners might be able to relate to this, but many who read this blog may be surprised how, even in this economy, it is very hard to get people to show up, work a full day, and then repeat that on a regular basis.  We give jobs to anyone who wants one, regardless of background, past indiscretions, etc.  We are here for everyone.  People don’t show up, barely give an excuse, and then expect to be put on the work schedule again, when it is convenient for them.
The smoke, drink, have fancy cell phones, and find it a major inconvenience to come to work occasionally, to fill in the gaps left by their “benefits.”  Many of them are completely without shame, and state emphatically that the only reason they are there is because, “the state cut my check.”  Many of them strategically work only the number of hours they can without upsetting the handouts.
These are the type of people who Frank mentions going door-to-door in his article.  When the checks and stamps dry up, these people will get ugly–very ugly.  What I have learned over the past four years is that this type of creature can exist anywhere. As I mentioned, this is a rural state, and the “city” I work in would not register as even a large town to most urbanites. But here they are.  The system has created them, and they have filled a massive population vacuum.  I live over an hour away, which is somewhat comforting, but these types of humans are even in the small towns of America, and they earnestly expect to be taken care of. Thanks, – Scott O.

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