An atrocious murder of a homeless individual took place on August 15 overnight in the city of Kaluga, Russia. A company of teenagers was hanging out in the park near the Eternal Flame. The young people were drinking vodka and taking diphenylhydramine as a chaser. A homeless individual was sleeping not far from the teens. As soon as the drunk youths found the sleeping man, they decided to use him for entertainment. They started to stub out cigarettes against the sleeping man. Afterwards, one of the men, aged 17, poured flammable liquid on the homeless man and struck a match. The man turned into a living torch.
The teens are looking at the burning man and laughing. When they had enough and got bored, the people simply left. The homeless man died the next day at hospital of severe burns.
Many Russians do not take homeless individuals for humans. News messages about monstrous crimes committed against the homeless appear on a regular basis. It is generally believed that the homeless are guilty just because they smell and because they live at trains stations.
Ilya Kuskov, a priest, has been working with homeless people for many years.
"People don't know the reasons why other people become homeless. Many people treat the homeless negatively and think of them as drunkards and criminals, who do not want to work at all. The society believes that the homeless have neither education, nor culture.
"But one has to know the reasons why a person lost their home. The country is degrading, there is no work in regions, the situation in former Soviet republics is even worse. In search for work, people come to Moscow or other cities of Russia. However, many of them lose everything that they have in big cities. They get swindled, and have their passports taken away from them. We have to provide more truthful information about the life of the homeless to change people's attitude to them. It is simply naïve to believe that people become homeless just because they drink too much. This is just not true. Many of them start drinking after they find themselves homeless. I think that it is possible to do something about the problem if people try to help them come back to normal life. However, the society tries to stay away from homeless people, common people are mostly aggressive to those who live in the street. The homeless can see that the society stays indifferent to them - that's why they commit crimes," the priest said.
Elizaveta Glinka, the executive director of Fair Help Foundation, believes that people hate cardboard dwellers because the main Christian Commandment - you shall love your neighbor as yourself - has been forgotten. "For most people, a tramp is a second-hand creature who is guilty of all their trouble," she said.
The mayor of the city of Chita (Siberia) has recently put forward a suggestion to hunt for homeless people to destroy them. "The mayor is right. The homeless are guilty of their problems themselves. They are a burden for the state budget. They bother me, they bother everyone because they are dirty and they stink. They don't want to work, so they drink instead," an anonymous Muscovite said.
This is a common point of view shared by many Russians. Most people think that the state should not waste money on the problems of homeless people - it is much easier to simply kill them like dogs.
There was a period of time in the history of Europe, when the killing of homeless people was legally allowed. As many as 72,000 people were hanged in England during the time of Henry VIII. The number went even higher during the rule of the king's granddaughter, Elizabeth I. Gallows with dead bodies of homeless people could be seen all across the country.
In Brazil, killing a gutter-child was not considered an improper action. They virtually inundated the country in the first half of the 20th century. This situation is described in the novel by Jorge Leal Amado de Fariа - "The Sandpit Generals."
The issue of homelessness in Europe was raised by another prominent writer, Charles Dickens. In addition to gutter children with Oliver Twist at the head, Dickens described the so-called work houses, which were created after executions were considered ineffective. Vagabonds would rather die than find themselves in those houses. The number of homeless people in Britain was growing along with the development of industrial production.
In Russia, there are millions of homeless people. Each and everyone of them has their own story. Some of them spent a half of their life in jail, others fell victim to real estate swindlers, some others sold their homes because of debts. The army of Russian tramps has immigrants from former Soviet states too: Tajiks, Kyrgyzs, Uzbeks, Ukrainians and Moldovans. Many of them came to Moscow for earnings, but did not see a ruble for their work.
If a homeless person dies, and police fails to find their relatives, the body will be buried in a numbered grave. Many are buried in mass graves to save costs. Morgue employees may also decide to deliver dead bodies of homeless people to medical institutions for practical work and experiments. If the body can not be used st all, they simply burn it in a crematorium.
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