Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, October 30, 2006

Help The Homeless, Go To Prison

Is America getting meaner? Some American cities are not only cracking down on the homeless; they’re also prosecuting those do-good bleeding-heart liberals who try to feed them.

WTF??? Where’s the logic? The Conservative/Self-Reliance/Libertarian view is that homeless people shouldn’t be helped by the government; they need to straighten up and fly right, or fuck off and die. I don’t agree with this, but at least Libertarians are consistent. They want the government to stay out of people’s lives, period. Don’t help me and don’t tell me what to do.

But now, when churches and volunteer groups are feeding the homeless, these limited-government types are calling in the police — i.e. the government. Make up your minds, assholes: Do you want the government involved with homelessness, or not?

All cities and local governments are short of cash. Suddenly they have funding available to arrest and prosecute people whose “crime” is volunteering to feed homeless people. Un-fuckin’-believable.

Orlando and Las Vegas are the two most recent examples. In Las Vegas, it’s now illegal for one person to give food to another person who’s “indigent.” If you’re walking along with a sandwich and you don’t want any more of it, you’ll be arrested if you give the rest of it to a poor person. A local homeless advocate said “It’s revoltingly immoral. It literally enforces a class regime by defining criminal behavior based on income.”

Hopefully in this case, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What they are doing is trying to shift the homeless out of the city, I would imagine.
Then they will go to a more liberal place. Like a blue state.
We have to pay for everything else, so what else is new??

October 30, 2006 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

"Hopefully in this case, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Hopefully it gets overturned in Vegas and Florida.

October 30, 2006 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

Wow...the creation of a bonified caste system, right here in the US.

October 30, 2006 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mike: Unfortunately, most of the Sun Belt is pretty conservative. So if they go to a more liberal city they'll probably be freezing their asses off at this time of year. Yup, the blue states will be footing the bill once again.

Stephanie: Yeah, I sure hope this gets overturned.

Kvatch: Yup, a caste system, that's what it amounts to.

October 30, 2006 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Conversely, in Los Angeles the court has ruled that the city must provide a place for everyone to sleep. Until such time as they do, the homeless can camp out on any public sidewalk and the authorities have no mandate to "move them along."

They argue that moving people around amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Tent cities are cropping up in front of apartment buildings, and this is sure to create a backlash.

October 31, 2006 at 2:21 AM  
Blogger ender said...

omg ... will the insanity never freaking end? how crazy have we gotten?

let's see, we should reduce all federal help b/c the faith initiatives can take care of everyone.

except if they feed the poor. WTF?

October 31, 2006 at 5:31 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

I would like to see people trying to find out what causes homelessness, and see about going from there. I believe there must be more to it than simple laziness... seems there might be mental health issues at work too.

I don't think that legislating against homeless people is going to end homelessness. Homeless people may leave Orlando, but that doesn't mean homelessness will cease.

If people need help, why not help them? Why not allow individuals or groups to help them? That is one sad article...

October 31, 2006 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger I.M. Dedd said...

I predict that in 5 or 10 years, this country is gonna be like dickensian england.

October 31, 2006 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

I predict that in 5 or 10 years, this country is gonna be like dickensian england.

You mean we'll have 'debtors prisons' and stuff like that?

October 31, 2006 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Jenn of the Jungle said...

There is a reason they passed that law in Vegas.... And this is not new, it started months ago. If you actaully read up on it, you'd find...."City officials said they instituted the law in part because of recommendations from some who work with the homeless who say offering food separately from other services, such as counseling and drug treatment, is counterproductive."

That and they were getting out of control. They want to try to get them help, not just "feed" the problem.

Though, as I volunteer with a group that feds the homeless, it does kinda piss me off. They've got to eat.

October 31, 2006 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Sounds like LA’s approach is a little too far the other way. There’s gotta be a happy medium.

Ender: That’s a good question — how crazy have we gotten. And how much worse will it get.

Snave: Yeah, that’s definitely a sad article. Talk about trying to sweep problems under the rug.

I.M. Dedd: Yup, we’re definitely heading in that direction. It might not even take 5 or 10 years.

Kvatch: Debtors’ prisons — I think last year’s bankruptcy “reform” law was just one step away from debtors’ prisons.

Jenn: I’m skeptical of their alleged reasoning. I’ve heard that theory and there might be some truth to it. But in Vegas more than anywhere else, they don’t want tourists to have to look at anyone who’s poor or homeless or unsightly. I’d guess it’s the same for Orlando. I doubt if this law is based on any good intentions; it’s easier to just sweep the problem under the rug.

October 31, 2006 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Sounds like LA’s approach is a little too far the other way. There’s gotta be a happy medium.

Yea, that was my feeling too. I'm afraid the backlash might lead to more draconian measures like the ones you outline here.

November 1, 2006 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

While I agree that long-term help is better than a quick-fix, not everyone is ready for long-term help and that's a significant factor as well. Help only works if the other person wants it, and is ready for it. You can try to help, but until they decide to accept it it's not going to make a difference. Accepting a little help (like a sandwich when you're hungry) is like a baby step to accepting the help you need (like medical care, job skills training and a safe place to sleep) to eventually do for yourself. If they never get the small help, they're not going to live long enough to accept the more productive help.

As for protecting the poor tourists from the unsightly-ness of it all, I really wish people would get over that. If they'd just take a look and try to see the person in the situation, then maybe there would be more help available and they wouldn't have to look so "disgusting". It's far too easy for people to dismiss the humanity of other people when they never have to look at the people in question.

November 1, 2006 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Yes, that backlash is a very real possibility. San Francisco attracts homeless people like a magnet, but there’s a lot of public anger and resentment towards them. Homeless people there get harassed and assaulted from time to time.

Stephanie: That’s a very good take. Yes they do need long-term help but it has to be when they’re ready and willing to make use of it. Trying to keep them out of sight and swept under the rug so tourists won’t be offended — that’s just unconscionable.

November 1, 2006 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

What's next, will I be prosecuted for having a dinner party and feeding my hungry friends without checking their proof of residency to make sure they're not homeless? I mean, how many things can you really legislate?

November 1, 2006 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Elizabeth: Yup, that sounds like the next step. I wouldn't doubt it.

November 1, 2006 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Jenn of the Jungle said...

That may be part of it Tom, but I know from many trips to Vegas, that I was too drunk to care about anyone who might or might not be homeless, all that free booze, get's me every time.

Well.... Homeless people don't bother me, that is, I don't cross the street when I see one coming, so I've never been bothered in Vegas. In fact, since I stick pretty much to the strip, I don't see very many. So as a tourist, I can say they never bothered me.

November 2, 2006 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger char_29 said...

this is stupid im outraged!! my husband got sent back to the states where he left a family behind NOT BY CHOICE!and was forced into being homeless!! hes been searching for a job but none are available. he has experience in many feilds and is a loveing and careing man! its not helping its makeing matters worse for him to get back on his feet i have to support our daughter here and him out there! this is an outrage!! it sickens me! hes trying so hard! and they're makeing it harder, this is NOT helping at all not all homeless are drug addicts!!!

June 26, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

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