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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Rough patch

See, it was all well and good to stop calling people bums and tramps and winos and use the much more sensitive term "homeless." But you know what happens when we try to change reality by changing perception. The new, better word starts being used the same way the old one was. Be honest, when you hear "homeless," you think "bum." So we new an even newer, more sensitive term than homeless. Oh, wait, here's one:

The issue of rough sleepers has been brought to the forefront following a deadly explosion this week at a homeless camp that claimed a life.


On Tuesday, one man was killed and two others badly injured after an explosion at a homeless camp in the southeast.


The explosion was ruled accidental and police believe the fire was fueled by propane tanks.


Homeless officials say the problem of rough sleeping is getting better, but they are still encountering these makeshift camps on a daily basis.


Just weeks ago, Stacey and Joel's home was a tent in Carburn park.


The couple, who have been married for 10 years, spent months rough sleeping after suffering medical problems and not being able to work.

"Rough sleeper," huh. Could have been homeless myself once or twice if that's what we're gonna use. I checked out the term, and it hasn't shown up in the Urban Dictionary yet, but it's apprently been in use for a few years, especially in England and Canada. Who knew?


Sun, 09/18/2011 - 11:24am

One can be homeless, and many are, without being a bum, a tramp or a wino. Those are not synonyms for each other. "Rough sleeper" seems to be a term for people who sleep outside, particularly when they can't afford otherwise. Again, not a synonym for the other terms or some wimpy "politically correct" phrase.

Tim Zank
Mon, 09/19/2011 - 7:49am

My guess is "Rough sleeper" is favored because

"Honk if you support your fellow citizens of the world suffering in this awful Imperialist nation who are currently forced to slumber in non-traditional makeshift temporary domiciles because of the evil corporations and wealthy wall street employees and all republicans that obviously don't pay their fair share and know darn well there were never ever homeless and poor people in this country before Bush-Hitler stole the 2000 election"

wouldn't fit on the bumper of a Prius.