Ricky suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, which is tough on someone who lives in the woods. However, he is very open about the condition which allows others around him to better understand the issues he may face.
At times, his mind might not agree with reality, which is common in the world of mental illness diagnoses.
Hear the short 2 min and 27 interview below:
One of his strongest fears is that of people trying to hurt him. Of course, we all have that fear from time to time, but our fear depends on the environment. Ricky could be in any environment and have that fear, which is why he keeps the location of his camp secret. He also has his camp set for traps to warn him of unwanted visitors.
He has many ways of coping with the illness that are quite ingenious. He does a lot of reading for not only relaxation, but to learn about his paranoia and to educate himself on a number of topics - including news.
One fear that continues to plague his thoughts involves someone coming into his camp destined to kill him and maybe other homeless living in the vicinity. He described the thought as a serial killer targeting homeless camps.
Up until today I never thought about serial killers targeting homeless areas. In fact, it is something that I have not really heard of. I don't know if such stories were not covered by the national media or if those things didn't really happen and Ricky simply created the fear in his head.
Upon researching it, apparently it is a bonafide issue which means real fears for some of our homeless community that reads, researches or looks into crimes against homeless as a means to better protect themselves.
It Really Happens:
In March of 2017, police in Las Vegas used a mannequin dressed as a homeless person as a decoy to lure one killer into their sites. They placed the dummy on the streets in an area where two sleeping homeless men had previously been killed with the notion that the killer would strike again. As luck would have it, Shane Schindler was caught on camera trying to "kill" the decoy. However, he has not been found guilty of killing the two sleeping homeless men as of yet.
A gang that said they were on a "Street cleaning crusade" killed 15 homeless in Moscow, according to reports in June of 2017. One victim was stabbed 171 times while others were struck with hammers.
In 2016, a suspected serial killer was arrested in California after savagely attacking five homeless during five separate events. If police didn't hear the screams coming from under a San Diego overpass in July of 2016, then Jon David Guerrero could still be killing. Luckily, officers caught Guerrero in the act and he was apprehended. The California native was accused of burning two victims alive and stabbing others.
In 2014, a man by the name of Aeman Presley was accused of killing two homeless men in Atlanta, GA as they slept. He was also accused of killing a third homeless man near Atlanta and a woman who was a hair stylist, but not homeless. While in a Fulton County, Georgia courtroom on January 20, 2017, the now convicted killer said he thought he was "Helping" at least one homeless man by killing him.
A former U.S. Marine stabbed a woman, her son and four homeless men to death to do the community a "Service," according to Orange County court documents from 2012. Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo reportedly stabbed some of the victims up to 60 times. Ocampo killed himself one year later in jail while awaiting to be transferred to a prison.
The above are just a few of the homeless murders that have occurred in recent years. Sad, but true.
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