Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC.
Ramsey was sitting on the curb near the US Capitol building in Washington, DC holding a hand written sign saying, “Please help a homeless veteran.” He was being ignored by everyone who passed by on their way to work this busy morning. Initially Ramsey tells a believable story of serving with the Marines in the first gulf war as well as other stations in the Middle East and having trouble adjusting to civilian life upon discharge. His story then becomes profoundly bizarre and paranoid. He comes to Washington, DC from Nashville, TN where he was held by the KKK who control the one and only homeless shelter in Nashville. He comes to DC to alert Congress that his former wife is a Salvadoran gang member who has infiltrated the Congress. He would have continued with this delusional story had I not changed the subject to how I might help him out. Since he hadn’t eaten for a few days he was willing to trade a food voucher for this photograph but insisted that I not show it to him. I didn’t ask and didn’t want to know why. As soon as I got the shot Ramsey was up and running in the direction Union Station, hopefully to use the food voucher I just gave him, at least I hope so. It is impossible to determine the veracity of Ramsey’s history in the military. It is quite clear that he is mentally ill and like a lot of mentally ill persons he has been drawn to Washington, DC, driven by his delusional thinking. The tragic fact is that unless you engage him in conversation and see that he is mentally ill, he is just another invisible homeless person that you pass on the street on the way to work.