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About Down But Not Out, its beginnings, why it came to be and where it is heading

addiction is rampant in Canada. The primary contributing factor is disaffection with  a social system that has placed the accumulation of wealth ahead of any moral integrity.

best is a random selection of my best photography & art that can be viewed as a slide show

contact Ronzig by email or visit Ronzig's other web pages or explore related websites.

contribute Do you have a story about poverty, homelessness or addiction that you would like to share? This is the place to get it off your chest.

economics The financial cost of ignoring moral integrity is reflected in the precarious state of the world economic system.

environment Global environmental issues, Climate Disruption, Right to Water, extraction methods used by the Mining and Oil  Industries.

events Rallies, protests, symposiums public forums and training sessions that you may wish to attend.

health  homelessness is synonymous with disease and premature death. Denial of the right to housing is a death sentence.

homelessness a view from our perspective

internet   The internet is our best hope to take back control from the power brokers.

media coverage by mainstream and independent media sources of current events & issues that are of concern as we enter the 2nd decade of the new millennium.

new content recently added to this site.

news Ronzig in the news

photoArt is a selection of my art organized by subject

politics How the government is addressing the issues we must deal with to move towards a more just and sustainable society.

portfolio Ronzig's portfolio site where you will find a large selection of photography and art created by Ronzig.

poverty is the main cause of most of the problems that our society struggles with, including homelessness.

society   how we think, feel & act as a society will determine how history judges us.

speaking Ronzig will speak to your group about social issues, art or photography

videos by Ronzig about homelessness & other important issues that are contributing to the malaise we live with every day.

war  Canada's role in promoting Imperialism

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Digital photoArt by Ronzig depicting homeless people and their squats plus articles and commentary by Ronzig about crack cocaine, heroin alcohol and other addictions. What is being done and what needs to be done and the support systems in Toronto. Stories of addiction and its effects on the people addicted and on society as a whole. You can comment on content seen on this page by going to the bottom of the page. Every page on the site will have a comment section at the bottom.

Tom: Have you had any personal experience with 'harm reduction',  do you have any feelings you might like to share?

Ronzig: Hi Tom. As far as harm reduction experience is concerned, here's a couple of stories that should interest you. I got my hep C by sharing a needle with someone I was pretty sure had it. At the time we were under the Gardiner and I needed a bump of heroin to get down from a 7 day crack run. I was on the verge of a heart attack and needed to slow my pulse down. I asked her to leave a little in the needle when she did her hit  to help me down. Not being a regular heroin user, I didn't have any fits of my own. Well, I got down and ran for another day on crack and later confirmed that I'd contracted hep C.
One of my street daughters got an apartment in a building with a large population of heroin addicts. Most of them were HIV+ and they all shared needles on a regular basis. Of course she's HIV+ now too.
The point being that where drugs and addicts are concerned, the risk of disease is not a big worry. Life for most of them sucks and dying is not such a bad thing to look forward to. There comes a point where you just don't give a shit if you live or if you die.
It would be interesting to see the results of a study of people who have contracted these diseases to see how many of them were pretty much aware of the certainty of contracting the disease at the moment that they actually got theirs. This is one aspect of harm reduction that needs to be addressed. How do you instill the importance of protection on someone who just doesn't care? How do you go about making clean equipment available when and where it's needed? For when an addict has drugs to do he's not likely to wait to find clean equipment if the alternative is right there.

Tom: I really like, am intrigued by the point of your two stories. I do not want to lead your think, so let me ask - allowing some people do not give a shit and dying just may not be such a bad idea ... then what, so what do we do? What can we do? Would that be part of harm reduction?

Ronzig: As for how this aspect of addiction relates to harm reduction, I'm sure that at present it doesn't, BUT IT SHOULD!!! There are all kinds of ideas that could help with that part of the problem. Right off the top of my head, I'm thinking of putting kits in dispensers like they do with rubbers and having the dispensers and disposal units situated right at the places where the drugs are usually used such as in alleys, under bridges etc. Of course they would have to be FREE of charge, but if the kits could be accessed 24/7, right at the locations where drugs are being used and not be subject to the addict having to deal with asking for them (Privacy is a part of the problem), there would be a substantial increase in usage and a parallel reduction in the spread of these diseases. Considering the cost of treating these diseases, this would make economic sense as well as humanitarian sense.
The greater issue of addicts who lose hope and feel that death is an attractive alternative, requires a much broader treatment. Educating the population to have a little empathy or sympathy towards the addict and not completely exclude him from all aspects of the society would go a long way towards remedying the hopelessness that addicts live with. The greatest punishment that early societies designed to punish members who broke the rules of the tribe was ostracization and this often resulted in suicide. This is currently the normal way society deals with the addict. And when the social support structure is removed and the addict has no-one but other addicts to turn to for human contact, the desire to keep going evaporates. I don't suggest inviting addicted strangers home for dinner, but if people began to see addicts as people who are suffering rather than vermin who need to be avoided, that simple change in social attitude would make a world of difference. I know that it's difficult to ask non addicts to change their attitudes in order to benefit the addicts, but that small change would make a world of difference and I believe would greatly increase the success rates of rehab programs. The benefits to society would be a 2 edged sword cutting through this epidemic. If addicts begin to feel wanted and loved by society, they would regain hope and start trying to get back more sincerely. This would result in less money being wasted on failed rehab programs and on medical expenses to deal with drug related diseases and at the same time it would bring more addicts back into being willing and able to contribute to society. I've often said that the worst part of being a homeless addict is EXCLUSION. If addicts were treated as part of society they would try harder to be worthy of that status and less likely to seek an end.
One of the reasons I work as hard as I do is to show society that there are human riches being squandered because of attitudes towards addicts. There are plenty more like me out there who would make valuable members of society if they were shown that they were wanted. Just knowing that you're wanted is in my opinion the most important element that is missing that makes rehab success rates so dismal. A government funded advertising program that stresses the value of the humanity that is being shunned could make all the difference in the world.

Tom: A way to actively value people as a starting place for harm reduction? Where would we start, what would that look like? Schools? Teachers? professors? Policies?

Ronzig: Yes Tom, all of these would factor in. If tolerance was an important part of school curricula from early years thru university teaching appreciation for all humanity including racial, religious, cultural, economic and physical & mental health, the addict could be worked into the equation quite easily. The resultant reduction in hate crimes and increase in the assimilation of all groups into the community as an extended family would certainly set the stage for a previously unheard of level of co-operation and respect throughout the community.

One particular area where policy should be re-evaluated is in the legal system. Criminalizing an addict who is more a victim of social crimes than a criminal himself has a proven track record of failure. It’s definitely time for a new approach to the epidemic of addiction. That said, we have a sever crisis within the police system Although the official tone is tolerance there is definitely an unstated policy within the various police departments that addicts are fair game to harassment and brutality by the police and this comes right from the top. Police chiefs and senior officers need to be strongly reminded of the responsibility of every officer to treat all citizens with dignity and respect and avoid harassment and brutality under penalty of criminal prosecution as well as dismissal. Police violence, threats of violence and other forms of harassment are common in our communities and that is intolerable. Turning addicts and other minor offenders into virtual slaves of the system thru enforced volunteerism to avoid jail sentencing should be abolished. There is no possibility of human dignity when a person is ordered to work at demeaning jobs for no compensation whatsoever in order to avoid a jail sentence. This only serves to reinforce an addict’s feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. How counterproductive can that be when any hope of rehabilitation requires rebuilding the addict’s sense of self worth and value to society? Being forced to work without pay certainly does nothing to add to his self esteem.

As I have been saying for years, the primary cause of mental health and addiction issues stems from a widespread disaffection with our society. When we as a society learn to stop placing a dollar value on lives, (much higher for some than others,) and affirm that human life is invaluable regardless of whose, we will be heading in the right direction for reducing addiction and mental health issues. People don’t willingly or deliberately choose either of these debilitating states, they retreat into them when life within this society becomes intolerable.

A squat similar to one I used to live in. How would you feel if you had to call this home?

added Dec 22 

Legalization of Drugs

There is much study and debate going on in countries aroung the world revolving around the prospect of legalizing drugs as a means of controlling them and taking the huge profits out of the hands of criminals. I for one believe that this is the only possible route to follow if we are ever going to reduce the social destruction of human lives that the current policies create. 

A blueprint to Drugs legalization.pdf A blueprint to Drugs legalization.pdf
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The following is a Power Point presentation about Methadone Treatment that was presented by my friend Eleu Pontes at a CAST Canada seminar we participated in recently. Clicking on the link below will allow you to download and download it.
Methadone presentation 1st draftX.ppt Methadone presentation 1st draftX.ppt
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The following is a Power Point presentation about the politics of Methadone Treatment that was presented by my friend Eleu Pontes at a CAST Canada seminar we participated in recently. Clicking on the link below will allow you to download and download it.
biopolitics of MMT.ppt biopolitics of MMT.ppt
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How we survive
An Important Anniversary Sunday March 2, 2009

Four years ago on this date, I left the homeless life behind for good and swore off drugs and alcohol. I've been clean and sober and off the streets ever since. To all the wonderful friends who supported me and helped me to accomplish this, I want to say THANK YOU.

October 1, 2009

Four years ago on this date, I moved into my first real home in 10 years. At first I couldn’t get used to it. I couldn’t sleep and I missed the street. I felt claustrophobic with a roof over my head and isolated from everyone and everything that I knew, but I couldn’t reach out to my past. I had to avoid familiar places and familiar places. There was danger there. I had to regain my strength before I could see my old friends without relapsing.

It’s safe now though and I spend a lot of my time visiting the old haunts and hanging with the old friends. I do this as part of my mission.

When you’re a homeless addict, you feel so very hopeless. Nobody who gets out ever comes back unless they relapse. If a friend hasn’t been around for a while, you assume he left town or is in jail or the hospital or DEAD. It never even crosses your mind that he got clean and sober.

I go back to show that IT CAN BE DONE. I don’t preach about it. I just let them see that I made it. That way I figure that they can hang on to hope. When they are ready they will know that I did it and they’ll know that they can too. That little spark of hope is perhaps all that they need to try once more. Maybe this time it’ll work.

So I visit my old friends, but I have many new friends that are part of my new drug free life, so I am doubly fortunate, thank God.

Me at my work station
Am I Paranoid? Maybe!
Anyone who thinks seriously about the drug situation has to come to the conclusion that the politicians, judges and the police are if not directly involved in the supply, at least complacent to it. How could such vast quantities get into the country without political, judicial and police assistance? We’re talking thousands of container loads annually!

I see two reasons why there is so much corruption.

1. MONEY. There is such an immense amount of money involved here that the drug lords can afford to buy just about anyone they think can protect them. That means police who only go after the unconnected dealers and leave their bosses alone, thereby eliminating unwanted competition. That means judges who refuse to convict or provide light sentencing to connected traffickers. AND that means politicians who refuse to put any teeth in the legal system.

2. Even more sinister is ECONOMIC SLAVERY. Our socio-economic system is designed to force people at the bottom to work like slaves all their life to keep a meagre home for themselves and their families. They live in perpetual debt with the constant fear that everything they have can be confiscated at any time if they don’t tow the line. The men of power who benefit from this system of slavery direct the politicians to legislate in their favour; the judges to rule in their favour and the police to enforce in their favour. Drugs have become a tool that the fat cats appreciate because it is a means of silencing the people who refuse to accept the slavery. THEY DON’T WANT THE DRUGS TO STOP. To counter the few who do speak out, they have created the myth that these brave souls are PARANOID.

If paranoia means being appalled by the cynicism and corruption that permeates our society at all levels, then I AM PARANOID.

Hands of despair

What happened?

It’s common knowledge that substance abuse is endemic amongst the homeless community, but have you ever stopped to wonder why?

I have met pre teen girls whose addicted mothers started them on heroin or crack and put them to work as prostitutes.

I have met young boys and girls who grew up in homes where alcohol and drug abuse were the norm.

I have met children who left their homes because of physical, psychological or sexual abuse and turned to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.

I have met aging and dying people who should have become revered seniors in our society who are the result of similar situations.

I have met countless homeless people who never used drugs before society turned its back on them and left them to struggle for survival on the streets. When society turns it’s back and life becomes a minute by minute struggle to stay alive, substance abuse is a natural and nearly inevitable result. Every one of us would seek some kind of comfort from the pain of exclusion.

I have met many others like myself who were unaware of the dangers of drug use until it was too late, We thought the warnings were just more lies from the slave masters of our present socio economic system.

I have NEVER MET anyone who woke up one morning and said to themselves, “What should I do today? I know, I’ll become a drug addict.”

Other than homelessness and substance abuse, these people are NO DIFFERENT than anyone else. They laugh, they cry and they try to survive.

Think about it. Should society penalize these victims and condemn them to a premature death or should we do more to find a way to help them?

 

Danger

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Comments

Anonymous
Aug 11/10
Ronzig. Thanks for your inspiring words. I have been clean and sober for 14 years and fell blessed for each and every day.
Thanks for your comment and CONGRATULATIONS!!! Its always good to hear from a fellow survivor! Be happy and keep clean!
Anonymous June 15/09
The "why" people aren't told the TRUTH about drug and alcohol use is because they left sold America on its use starting in the 60's and has kept that trend popular to this day.
THIS is who is to blame for it, nothing else.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you're trying to tell us. Please explain.

Index of Ronzig's web pages

Website:

Down But Not Out

As well as Ronzig's Gallery, Ronzig built and maintains Down But Not Out, a website dedicated to social activism and providing information about many of the current issues that threaten to destroy our planet and the social structures we have developed. This link will take you to the Home page of Down But Not Out which was recently ranked as the 12th best website about homelessness on the internet and the following information will explain each of the pages on the website. You will have the opportunity to comment on what you learn here and read the many comments of other visitors to the site.

Learn more about Ronzig and why he created Down But Not Out and why it began as a website discussing the issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction and how it evolved into much more, encompassing issues a wide ranging as politics, war imperialism, conspiracy, economics, health, the environment and more.

Having been a crack addict for nearly 2 decades, during the 2nd of which I was homeless, I have acquired an in depth understanding of addiction, how & why it begins, what it does to a person, what is involved with getting free of this curse and the social implications of this ever increasing plague on civilization. I disclose some little known and often ignored information and insights that will assist you in coming to a better understanding of what addiction is all about.

I have created a page where visitors to Down But Not Out can contribute by telling their story about how the issues discussed on the site has affected them or someone they care about. I encourage you to read what others have to say and please tell us your story. You can remain anonymous if you prefer.

There is an extensive examination of the economy on Down But Not Out with discussions about the recession, economic collapse, the increasing disparity between the rich, the poor and the middle class. I delve into the phenomena of the shrinking middle class and the emergence of a 2 class society where an economic elite rule and the rest of us are rapidly being relegated to economic slavery.

Whether you call it Global Warning, Climate Disruption or choose to adopt one of the euphemisms that opponents to addressing this impending disaster use to seek to reduce the significance of the crisis to protect their ill gotten financial profits, it is a scientific fact that our global environment is on the brink of collapse. If meaningful and immediate action is not taken the human race along with almost all other forms of life on the Planet Earth will soon face extinction.

Whenever I have time I try to post notices of significant events that you may wish to attend including rally's, protests, political meetings, or other relevant items here. I also use this page to post notices of upcoming art shows where my work will be on display.

The social, economic and political issues revolving around health and healthcare are currently creating an environment where universal healthcare in Canada is under attack. It is evident that the elite no longer wish to ensure adequate health services for an aging population. They see no need to preserve individual health when there is no shortage of replacement economic slaves to step in when one of us succumbs to preventable illness and dies.

There is a worldwide epidemic of homelessness that has emerged in the past couple of decades to plague society and the wealthiest nations, ones with more than sufficient resources to provide housing for their populations are the worst at addressing the situation. Having lived long enough to realize that even when our society was steeped in relative poverty compared to today's situation, homelessness was never a significant problem until recently as the elite grab more and more of the world's wealth and resources, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep a roof over our heads.

With the advent of the internet, hope for a just society has been restored, yet there are sinister powers threatening to crush that hope. Just when internet should be reaching the point of universal global access, these powers are forcing an increasing internet divide, where surprisingly millions who once could afford access are being economically deprived of this crucial commodity, for a commodity is what it has become and it is for sale at price not reflective of costs, but of what the market will bear. Perhaps we should be considering defining internet as a Necessary Service that is available to everyone at affordable rates of free of charge.

With the corporatization of mainstream media, it's difficult to find any honest reporting in this media, as they tend to stick like flies on flypaper to the elitist party line. However even the most cynical of these outlets of information are forced to include a modicum of honesty in their reports when faced with the vast amount of conflicting evidence distributed freely on the internet. It is beneficial also to be up to date on what they are saying in order to point out the inadequacies and outright lies that they distribute.

Over the years, Ronzig has been in the news on several occasions, both as the subject of articles and as interviewee. Of course I've commented on many news items as well. you'll find some of these pieces on my news page.

There is a disturbing trend in politics that is increasingly threatening the very fabric of Democracy, or the sorry excuse for such that we have  adopted. I'm speaking of the merging of the Capitalist manifesto into the political agenda to the effect that today's politicians see their job almost exclusively as serving the requirements of capitalism and corporate profits rather than the needs of the citizens who are the true backbone of any nation.

Ever wonder how it is possible that in the richest civilization that has ever existed on the planet, extreme poverty is reaching epidemic proportions?  The answer is obvious. Every single year for the past 3 decades the wealthiest 5% of the world's population have taken control and ownership of a greater proportion of the world's resources leaving less for each of the remaining 95% of the people who have to live on this planet. In every industrialized nation the middle class is under attack and is shrinking annually as people are forced down the economic scale into the burgeoning poverty class. The truly terrifying aspect of this is the fact that the members of the middle class which is the primary target of this attack believe that when the middle class is eliminated they will be part of the elite upper class of rulers rather than economic slaves of these rulers. Because of this the middle class votes consistently for politicians who serve this elite ruling class and don't even realize they are voting for their own destruction.

In a society which professes to be primarily Christian is it not a paradox that we have created such an un-Christian attitude toward our neighbours? By assuming the philosophy of "Looking our for number ONE", we find it easy not only to allow our brothers and sisters to suffer and actually perish because they can not afford to pay for the basic requirements of survival, nourishment and shelter, but many of us are arrogant enough to hate them for their predicament. How are we to overcome this tide of apathy and animosity which in the end will destroy us if we fail?

If you group is interested in Ronzig's experiences and philosophies, I do speaking engagements and will talk on any of the topics covered here. I have had great success with audiences while speaking about homelessness & addiction, Democracy & politics as well as photography & art and would be pleased to accept a request to speak to you group.

Primarily because of American Imperialism the world has been in a constant state of war for the majority of the past 6 decades. Isn't it amazing how we can call making war on another nation a Police Action or Peacekeeping Action to camouflage the fact that we are invading a nation to seize control of its resources or to use it as a staging zone for our aggressive moves on its neighbours, yet we call defensive retaliation Terrorism? We call the slaughter of innocent civilians Collateral Damage to hide the fact that more than 80% of the people we kill in our wars are civilians primarily women and children. I find it disturbing that Prime Minister Harper has eagerly jumped into bed with the Americans and is arming Canada to fight along side our neighbours to the South as we seek to seize control of far off nations. We stand idly by and allow Israel, the puppet state of the Americans which exists solely because of American arms and financing to commit wide scale genocide in its attempt to eradicate the legitimate population of the region from the planet.

Website:

Go to Ronzig's Gallery digital photoArt, photography,  video, photographic & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images and art on ceramic tiles top home page.

Learn about Ronzig and Ronzig's Gallery: What is digital photoArt? Ronzig's guerrilla photography and video. Art on Ceramic Tiles. Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images, Mini Video Tours of Toronto. And photographic and video recording services.

View some of Ronzig's best work in a slideshow or individual images from Ronzig at Ronzig's Gallery of digital photoArt and photography.

You can contact  Ronzig's Gallery by email, telephone or by snail mail to his address to inquire about Ronzig's digital photoArt, photography, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images. video, photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto and art on ceramic tiles or to purchase his products or services. You will also find numerous links to other websites where Ronzig has a presence.

Read the Legend of Ronzig the Wizard and his battle with his evil twin brother Ronzak the Sorcerer in the story of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that has been going on since the creation of the universe.

This is where you can order  Ronzig's products and services from Ronzig's Gallery such as digital photoArt,  photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, art on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images.

Ronzig creates spectacular panorama works either as photographic images or as Digital photoArt that are available in standard sizes up to 44" x 13" on either canvas or archival quality photo paper (larger sizes available by special order).  Ronzig's Gallery will also embed a panorama image into the glaze of a series of ceramic tiles to create a unique wall or floor covering surface to your specs.

Ronzig's Digital photoArt & photographic images from Ronzig's Gallery cover a broad array of subject matter and themes resulting in highest quality art works to suit any preference. These images are all available on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards as well a more traditional canvas and archival photo paper in a wide range of sizes to suit your requirements.

All of Ronzig's best work is available on Collector Series Postcards on archival photo paper, suitable not only for mailing a unique greeting to friends and loved ones, but also for framing as a group to hang on your wall.

Ronzig has done work for a wide range of clients from law firms to developers, health services facilities and the City of Toronto, all of which would certainly provide excellent references to Ronzig's Gallery.

Most of Ronzig's best work, be it video, photography or Digital photoArt is available as stock video clips or stock photo & art images at extremely reasonable prices for royalty free applications that you are producing.

Most of Ronzig's best work can be embedded into the glaze of ceramic tiles, resulting in virtually indestructible art works suitable for architectural uses such as surfaces for walls, floors, counter tops, back-splashes, fireplace surrounds or mantlepieces. As home furnishing uses they provide unique surfaces for tables or any other flat surfaced furniture. There is a series of 4" x 4" tiles with a protective backing designed for use as coasters that are bound to intrigue your guests as you entertain. Of course they make timeless stand alone art suitable for framing or placing on a stand for display.

Ronzig produces a wide range of videos, including Documentary works, event recording such as children's birthdays, activism and social protest works, art films, Mini Video Tours and special effects clips. Ronzig's Gallery is fully equipped and has access to support professionals to create original works with multi-camera filming, still photography and custom music for any production. He is presently working on a special fx movie, The Legend of Ronzig the Wizard, for which he the writer, art and costume designer, producer director and star.

 

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