HATE CRIME?Or A Badly Made Bed?

root - Posted on 31 December 1969

by Carol Harvey

I crossed the green park on Geary at Steiner across from the public library, and started up the spiral ramp to the pedestrian walkway over the street towards Japantown. At the turn I encountered a blanket laid out on the cement with a cart at its head, and boxes of clothes at its foot. The blankets were turned back and slightly disheveled as if someone had just left. I noticed something glinting in the weak light of a pink sunset. As I passed, I saw the base of a large glass bottle sitting on the rumpled bedclothes. The glass was transparent, so one had to look closely to see it. The base had been shattered from the rest of the bottle, and placed so the sharp edges stuck straight up. If someone had come and lay down on the bottle in the blind dark, the glass would have sliced deep lacerations into that person's body.

Passing the "encampment," I hesitated for a moment, wondering what had happened. How had that broken bottle ended up on the blanket? It did not make sense that the homeless person would have left it sitting there. I walked back the few steps and removed the base of the bottle from the blankets, a sticky substance, the juice or wine the bottle had once contained, coming off on my fingers. I placed the base sharp side down in a spot next to the railing where there was a small pile of glass fragments--- well out of the area where anyone could cut themselves.

This dark mini-event occurred yesterday, Sunday, January 27, 2002. The next day, I still cannot comprehend how the shattered base of that large glass bottle ended up on that blanket. But, I know that an unsuspecting homeless person did not lie on it in the dark and slash their arms, legs, back, or chest. That makes me feel only slightly better about the implications of what happened and what might have happened. I hope the glass got on the blanket by accident, but I fear it is not so.


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