At the time of writing the Jim Wolf video is nearing 12 million views, it is powerful and succinct. It goes without saying that what Rob Bliss can do with a camera and idea is mind-blowing. It is hard to find someone who can connect people consistently like this.
My issue is not with the video or Rob Bliss at all in fact both are vital to the next step...
My issue is with us.
When things like this pop up we surround our devices and consume the 2:50 video, like it, share it with our friends, and move on. But someone like Jim Wolf deserves more than 2 minutes of your time. Jim is not only homeless but he is battling with alcoholism and as someone who has seen far too many people battle this demon - it is a terrible disease to go at alone. To prove that, just days after this video was shot Jim was arrested.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans 13% of the homeless in this country are veterans, Jim Wolf is far from alone. When it comes to homeless, veterans or otherwise, we have gotten very good at taking care of the basics or at least offering food and shelter to our homeless but what Rob Bliss' video for Degage Ministries shows is the next step.
Using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs you can see perhaps what we should all work towards as a society, together.
When you offer food and shelter you only address the first level of human need which is a long way from self-actualization, which was the highest level for humanity according to Maslow.
What Rob's video did was move Jim up into self-esteem level but bypassed both safety and perhaps more importantly, belonging and love. Which according to Maslow is a dangerous way to end up back on the bottom level and perhaps a factor leading to his arrest days later.
So as Veterans Day has come and gone and the din surrounding this video posted on Buzzfeed, People, Drudge, etc has passed, who is going to check up on Jim Wolf? More importantly who is going to help the rest of the homeless vets in GR have a chance at self-esteem or even love?
Don't think this is our job as a society?
Can one honestly look at this video and not think we failed him somewhere? He served his country only to return and through some series of bad breaks ends up homeless. His story is not unique in this regard, what could be unique, is instead of searching for a new cat vine or Lorde single after you watch the Jim Wolf video - what if we all decided to take a day of our own and attempt to change the life of someone in need? Enact REAL change.
The Internet connects us all, it is what we do with that connection that usually leaves me scratching my head. In a country where we play 1900 years of Call of Duty each day, I think we might have some free time we could dedicate to something of impact.