Friday, January 14, 2011

'From Rags To Riches To Rehab'

Remember the story of a couple weeks back about the homeless man with the marvelous radio voice? After his story went viral, he was offered a well-paying radio gig and a house to live in -- and lived happily ever after.

Not.

Not only did he have multiple job offers, but Kraft took him on as a macaroni and cheese spokesman and a mortgage company offered to pay for a house.

But now, with the announcement that despite his claims of being clean and sober for two years, he has not mastered the drug and alcohol problem that put him on the street, he becomes just the latest celebrity – if newly minted – to enter a private rehab facility in Los Angeles.

The course of action was disclosed in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on his syndicated talk show that aired Thursday. Mr. Williams’ appearance on the show followed an altercation Monday with his daughter that involved the police.

The journey from panhandling on a Columbus, Ohio, street corner to media darling and now fellow resident-with-the stars in a private treatment center spanned less than two weeks.


There is a belief (shared largely by those on the left) that the poor and the homeless are in their dire straits for reasons having little to do with their own actions. They are the victims of bad luck or of a society that, for some reason, discriminates against them. In their view, some money, a job or perhaps an education are all that is needed to lift them into middle class-hood and we are selfish if we deny them that.

Mr. Williams's story shows us once again, though, that we do, indeed, make our own beds. He's been given a marvelous opportunity at a new life and it may still work out for him; but not until he's able to shake the behaviors that put him on the street in the first place.

There's a cautionary tale here for those who think we can eliminate poverty and suffering by taking money from those who work and giving it to those who don't. Will they learn from it?

Not on your life.

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