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ETpro's avatar

Why can't anything be done for Benjamin Kyle (see details)?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) January 3rd, 2013

Benjamin Kyle is a man who somehow survived a savage beating that left him with no memory of who he was before he awoke from the coma. He can’t establish a new identity because somewhere, his previous self has a social security number, so the Social Security Administration will not issue him a new number. That means he can’t work, he can’t get a state ID, he can’t even be admitted to homeless shelters.

Watch his amazing story in this short video and consider his plight. When we all see that the rules need to be bent for an exceptional case, why can’t someone just bend them? If this story gets shared enough, perhaps someone somewhere will recognize him and give him back his stolen past. Robbing someone of their lifetime of memories is a pretty hideous crime, isn’t it? Imagine the joy a person would feel if they could recognize him and give him back his lost life.

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14 Answers

Shippy's avatar

Save a penny, save a pound.

Seek's avatar

The sad thing is, even if he is recognized by someone else, that person is still going to be a complete stranger to him, and the memories that person has will be meaningless to him. It seems that it would be incredibly difficult on that person – the emotional stress of simply willing a loved one to remember a life that, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists.

burntbonez's avatar

This is why I hate bureaucracy.

wundayatta's avatar

Bureaucrats keep their jobs by following the rules. They bend the rules at their own risk. The only ones who can change things are politicians, and they take majorities to do it. This guy is so screwed.

hearkat's avatar

It is an intriguing case. As he says it himself, that it’s kind of pathetic that there is no one who recognizes or will come forward to say that they recognize him. Therefore, we can only conclude that he did not have a very fulfilling life prior to 2004. His speech and language do suggest that he is from the USA. The FBI couldn’t even find information, so that got me wondering about the IRS. They are the ones who track social security numbers – but then I figured that there are thousands of people who become homeless every year, so they probably do not file taxes, either. On the other hand, if the homeless shelters require a Social Security number, are the homeless being tracked still?

burntbonez's avatar

I doubt that homeless shelters require ssns.

Seek's avatar

@burntbonez They require photo IDs. He can’t get one because he doesn’t have a SSN. He can’t get an SSN because he doesn’t have a photo ID.

burntbonez's avatar

Homeless shelters require photo IDs? Are you sure? That doesn’t sound right.

People are arguing about whether you need a photo ID to vote. But the homeless are the most disadvantage among us and least likely to have any kind of photo ID. To require them to have a photo ID to get into a shelter is to guarantee they will stay on the streets. And many of them are hard to get off the streets anyway. No. That can’t be right.

YARNLADY's avatar

So where is CSI when you need them? Anyone who ever had a driver’s license had their fingerprints taken. If he had a personal representative to stand up for him, there would probably be some way to solve this issue.

burntbonez's avatar

@YARNLADY, are you from California? Perhaps in CA they take your fingerprints for a drivers license, but not in many other states.

YARNLADY's avatar

@burntbonez Oh, sorry, I did not know that. In California they require a thumb print.

Seek's avatar

The video says he’s in Jacksonville or something like that.

Florida is redonkulous when it comes to stuff like that. No, you don’t need to be fingerprinted unless you’re under arrest or working in a school.

So if he’s Floridian, there’s a good chance he never had his prints taken. And I know for a fact that homeless shelters here require photo IDs. The cops LOVE to find homeless people with warrants, and all shelters report.

This state is horrible to homeless people. Oh, too many homeless panhandlers? Make panhandling illegal so we don’t have to look at them. Oh, homeless people have no where to live so they’ve made a tent city under a bridge? Make it illegal to camp in the city limits, and look the other way when people vandalise the tents and burn them down – often with people inside.

Y’know, because the problem will go away if you ignore it hard enough.

burntbonez's avatar

That really sucks. I guess it’s one way to keep the need for shelters down. Require a photo ID. No one who is homeless has a photo ID. Turn them all away and make them find their own place. They camp in the city? Make that illegal. Make them go to the shelter. Ship them somewhere else because they don’t have ID. It is a cycle worthy of a Soviet bureaucrat. It’s probably illegal, too, but then they probably make it illegal to advocate for the homeless in Florida, too.

I wonder if a lot of homeless like to go to Florida because it is warm there. I know I’d go there if I were homeless.

ETpro's avatar

@burntbonez I’d go where local authorities treat the homeless like excrement. That would tend to make me feel OK viewing them in similar fashion.

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