Letters for October 30, 2003

Those impulsive homeless geeks: Regarding Eric Alan Barton's article covering the homeless guy who got sent from West Palm Beach to New York via bus, am I, or we, supposed to feel sorry for this guy ("Shipped Off," October 23)? Throughout the article, it's painfully clear that "Homeless Joe" continues making foolish choices that perpetuate his homelessness. He is homeless due to no one else's fault but his own. Why is it Palm Beach's or Boca's or New York's responsibility to continue bailing guys like him out?

Barton states that often when homeless people are given bus tickets to somewhere else, the problems of homelessness follow them. You've got it backward. These guys chase after homelessness themselves by indulging in every impulsive behavior that crosses their paths. Joe gave us the perfect illustration as to why he is in his situation. His dad wired him $50. What does he do with it? Find some cheap food, eat, and stash the rest? No... He quickly burns through it with frivolous wasteful cigarettes and expensive bar drinks. Why on Earth would anyone give a guy like that money? How many times should his parents be suckered to bail him out of situations of his own doing? How many times should society? If I were in his situation, broke, homeless, etc., and someone gave me $50, I would eat off that for a week.

I'm not some cynical suburbanite far removed from inner-city situations. I spent years living in inner-city Chicago and was involved in an inner-city church and homeless ministries. I got to know many of the street guys personally. The conclusion? Every last one of them was there by choice. They chose to spend whatever money they could get on booze, cigarettes, and drugs instead of rent, bills, food, or gasoline. Society didn't leave them out. They chose to leave society. Any money burned a hole in their pocket and went straight to the desire of the moment.

Those tattoos on Homeless Joe's arms cost money that could have paid his weekly rent and filled his fridge. Every pack of smokes is a meal lost. Every drink at a bar would pay for three bus fares. Look at his first protocol for his destination: getting hammered.

Homeless Joe is not homeless because of society or lack of opportunity. He is homeless because he is a completely irresponsible idiot, lacking any self-control whatsoever. Pretty soon, guys like Homeless Joe will be able to sue the state for being homeless. I feel no empathy at all for Homeless Joe.

Kurt Kelly

Fort Lauderdale

She's my wife, and she'll do what she wants: As a journalist and reporter of 25 years, I find your slanted storytelling and revisionist historical accounts from non-credible persons such as Laura Peveler obscene and disturbing. I covered the Angela Puccetti tragedy 15 years ago. I met Ms. Peveler in 1988 and interviewed her at length. She never disclosed to me any of the preposterous allegations that she now voices to your paper. She told me that she had not seen nor personally heard from Georgia since just days before the shooting in 1986.

What you conveniently fail to report is that, even after she left the Puccettis' home after six months of court battle with the former roommate, Georgia and the Puccettis maintained a close relationship for more than a decade. I should know-- I was there. I was there when Mrs. Puccetti helped Georgia recuperate after her nose surgery, and I was there when Mrs. Puccetti, as a nurse, looked after Georgia following her back surgery in January 1994.

The first time Mrs. Puccetti told me that she loved Georgia, I just couldn't understand how or why. I thought this lady was confused, grieving, in denial, and desperate to somehow replace her daughter -- even if it was with the girl who shot her daughter. As a father of a then-3-year-old, I could not grasp the relationship that these people (including Mike Puccetti, father of Angela) had forged, and I certainly could not understand the why or how. Then I got to know Georgia.

I make no excuses for her. I've had a ringside seat to all her escapades and public rants and raves for 15 years now and still counting. I've been on the receiving end of her low blows and her vicious verbal attacks, but I love her because she is a good person deep down. Her father yelled, so she yells. It's all she's ever known.

What your readers and the public do not know is that she frequently donates blood, and she's been typed and tissued to donate one of her kidneys to a stranger. She has swerved off the road to avoid a deer and once thought she had hurt a deer and went looking for the wounded animal into the woods to make sure it was OK. I've caught her watching TV in the middle of the night, crying her eyes and heart out during the Feed the Children promotions. She used to come home from the Dan Marino Center and talk incessantly about the autistic children she would encounter at work and how life was so unfair to them and their parents. Every morning, she wakes up our 8-year-old twins with tickles and countless kisses.

She never asked me for a penny, not one red cent for child support those first three years (1995-98), and she never enforced child-support payments in a court of law. I asked her to marry me when I got her pregnant, and she declined because she felt it would have been for the wrong reasons. She wanted to get married not because she was pregnant but because it was the right thing to do as a couple.

To know the real Georgia is to love her. You can ask any of her seven bridesmaids, most of whom are former cheerleaders and beauty queen material, why they still love and support Georgia. She is fiercely loyal, and once you get past all the layers and her defenses, you discover an innocent and vulnerable lost little girl who is a girl/mommy/ woman/girl all wrapped into one spirited package.

I am not very proud of my wife and what little she has accomplished in the 15 years I've known her. But she is the mother of my children, and their safety and emotional welfare take priority. To know the real Georgia is to love her. Period.

Gary F. Roberts

Via the Internet

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