Sunday, August 16, 2015

Criminalizing Homelessness?

A small homeless encampment at Division and Bryant streets beneath the highway overpass in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. Photo: Connor Radnovich, The Chronicle

There is a recent statement by the Department of Justice that declares it is not constitutional to forbid people sleeping on the street.  This is one of those difficult issues for me.  I come down on both sides, the side that say we need to scrape these vermin off of the streets so normal human beings can walk the sidewalks in peace and without the revolting stench of urine and feces and without being accosted by mentally ill and drug crazed "homeless people" seeking money for their next drink or fix. On the other side I see that these people are suffering human beings whose lives have spun horribly out of control.  I see Jesus sitting by the side of the road, hungry, homeless and helpless and most of the time I turn from him in disgust and pass by on the other side.

I think part of the solution is actually less government interference in the problem.  Allow churches and organizations like Food Not Bombs to house and feed people without jumping through interminable hoops and piles of paperwork and fees.

I am convinced that in this, as in most every other problem society faces, government intervention makes things far worse than they would be if the people were allowed to seek solutions without interference from that grasping and controlling criminal gang called government.

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