I’m as frustrated as you about vagrants and the local government lefties who enable them. These filthy feral humans camp on the sidewalks, poop in the gutters, accost respectable citizens and beg for handouts.
And the vagrants are even worse.
Several questions must be asked. First, no one seriously contends that people can’t get a job in this wealthy society bespeckled with help-wanted signs. So why exactly are vagrants on the streets?
There are two answers. First, it’s because we encourage them. We give them free stuff ranging from free food to free money to free sympathy to free drugs. We declare them to be victims, which in today’s culture is a more heroic status than hero. In the old days, we told them to get off the streets else they’d earn a night in the drunk tank, while now we reward, romanticize and glorify them.
It’s as if we’re leaving unsecured trash cans out overnight and then wondering why the raccoons keep coming and trashing the yard. But since they inexplicably do, we deem them heroic victims deserving of more and better stuff.
It’s illustrated by our lexicon. Vagrants were originally called “vagrants.” That wasn’t a derogatory term. Merriam Webster still defines “vagrant” as a person “wandering about from place to place usually with no means of support.” But the word “vagrant” was canceled for political incorrectness because it became associated with . . . vagrancy. Duh.
“Vagrant” was then replaced with “homeless” but we canceled that too because – you know where this is headed – it became associated with vagrancy. Now it’s “people experiencing homelessness.” I suppose that will last a year or two before it gets canceled for – yep – becoming associated with vagrancy.
The second reason for this epidemic of vagrants enabled by lefties is that we institutionalize far fewer people in prisons, mental institutions and drug treatment facilities. That’s where they belong, for their good and ours.
But solving problems is not the left’s objective. Their objective is to feel good about themselves. They get the most feel-good for the dollar (taxpayer dollars, of course) by enabling vagrants, not by stopping them.
I also suspect that the left likes having vagrants loitering around because they think it reflects badly on America.
Here’s another question. Why do vagrants squat downtown rather than in, say, suburbia where there’s much more open space? And why on the downtown sidewalks, medians and parks rather than, say, under viaducts where they’d be out of the rain and snow?
The answer to that question reveals the ultimate source of this problem. It involves the basic human need for love or, in the absence of that, attention. You and I get love and attention from our families, friends, jobs, neighbors, and even, to some extent, our houses and other material possessions.
Vagrants in contrast, despite the left’s glorification of them, have tiny miserable lives with no friends, no jobs, no neighbors, no house, no prospects and no love. And so they get attention where they can. They get in your face because that’s where you notice them.
A final question. Why do the voters of big cities keep re-electing local lefties who exacerbate the vagrancy problem rather than solving it?
The answer is that the voters in big cities are themselves local lefties. Like their elected officials, their reaction to any given problem is not to solve it, but to milk it. They use it to feel good about their thoughts on the subject. Think of it as emotional masturbation.
It’s the same sentiment that causes them to post ridiculous and contradictory virtue-signaling signs in their yard. Such as the one proclaiming that in their house they believe in platitudes like “Water is Life” and “Science is Real” even though every real scientist in the world would agree that water is not life, but is just a simple molecule with the chemical name of dihydrogen monoxide.
But not all big city residents are ignorant, preening lefties. I’ve heard of some residents actually solving the vagrancy problem, rather than just wallowing in feel-goodery about it.
They’ve resorted to pepper spray. Pepper spray is easily obtainable at any sporting goods store and comes in everything from big cans of bear spray to tiny keychain versions. It hurts like hell, but seldom causes lasting injury (though it could).
I certainly understand the motivations of these problem-solving pepper-sprayers. They’re fed up with the vagrants and their lefty enablers. That said, I disapprove of their effective but illegal method for driving them away. So please don’t pepper-spray them.
And don’t pepper-spray the vagrants either.
I propose that instead these loathsome creatures be given a place away from downtown, equipped with portalets and clean water. The vagrants can join them there.
The vagrants will thereby get their needed attention from the lefties, the lefties will get their daily dose of feel-good from the vagrants, and they can poop all over one another. Cholera has that effect.
Even the raccoons will leave them alone.
In Minneapolis (George Floyd) there was a neighborhood that decided to allow homeless people to stay in the community’s Powderhorn Park. Needless to say, drugs, crime, and all sorts of sanitary problems were the result. Many in the surrounding residential area want the homeless to leave (and the City Council did finally pass a resolution cancelling camping permits), but other residents continue to support the massive encampment. What amazes me is how willing Leftists are to have their own and their family’s quality of life decline. For example, San Francisco was once one of America’s most beautiful cities. Now SF is a haven for thousands of homeless, the streets are filthy, used needles are everywhere, crime is commonplace, the City has become an urban nightmare. SF’s response to the homeless situation was to spend billions of dollars, pass all sorts of laws making it easier and easier for homeless people to steal, defecate in public, buy drugs, destroy private property, you name it, homeless people are allowed, even encouraged to do it.
Why so surprised that some lefties are willing to see their own quality of life decline in order to help others survive? They are walking their talk. And it’s a Christian thing to do. If more of us were willing to do that, we’d have a better world.
Helping others to “survive”? Well, maybe survive. But wouldn’t the actual Christian thing to do be to create safe, sanitary homes for those homeless who are truly down and out due to economic forces, appropriate institutions for those who are suffering from drug or alcohol abuse and, appropriate institutions for those who are mentally unable to care for themselves? And then to insist that the homeless accept these homes or institutions, while the municipalities simultaneously create and enforce vagrancy laws? The current practice is to allow the homeless to simply set down wherever they feel like doing so and then denigrating their own and everyone else’s quality of life, i.e. helping no one.
The lefties aren’t helping anyone. Didn’t you read the article? Their own lives become crappy (pun intended) while the vagrants keep doing what they do to keep the lives of lefties crappy. The only thing lefties do is look the other way.
I suppose if you went through this discourse replacing the word “vagrants” with “violent, anarchic insurrectionists, er, protestors” — who are laying waste to the same inner cities, your analysis would remain largely intact. Why can’t civic leaders in these places bring themselves to arrest, incarcerate, and/or institutionalize these feral creatures? It must be as you say — they can’t masturbate to anything less than the destruction of the civil order that they were elected to manage and preserve. Why does a man wreck his marriage with pornography?
Let’s just go back to calling them “hobos,” “tramps,” “vagabonds” and “bums” …
How many jails do you want to build and operate? After capital expenditures it costs about $145 to keep someone in jail for 1 day. This does not include the cost of police to get the person there or court costs. Multiply that by say, 50 vagrants in GWS and you are paying over $7k per day, over $2.5 million a year; that would be about $255 a year for every adult and child in the city. Great idea.
Then again, most of them don’t need trained security. We could just keep them in places sort of like decent barracks for single people and rooms with bathrooms and maybe shared kitchen and social areas for families. We might not need any security for most of them because if it was decent they might stay there of their own volition. That would lots cheaper than jail and accomplish the same thing. But wait, I’m essentially talking about a homeless shelter. We can’t have that. Your right, let’s build jails. To hell with the cost. It’s the right thing to do.
We do have homeless shelters, and they are typically unfilled. These people want to be on the sidewalks and in the parks because that’s where their need for attention gets met.
They don’t need a place to live. We’ve already offered them that, and they consistently reject it. They need a life.
Shelters have rules. The homeless don’t want to follow any rules.
How many jails? As many as it takes. And mental health facilities and drug treatment facilities too. The new administration is pushing four trillion dollars for “infrastructure” projects and the left thinks that’s just lovely even though only 5% is actually slated for improvements in infrastructure. So when did money suddenly become an object? Perhaps some are happy to live in a fecal society and wallow in their sanctimonious “concern”. Most of us are not.
As long as you are the one paying, not me.
Now do the math on building and operating homeless shelters. In SF the tiny house solution costs more than $56K per unit for 1 person homeless units just to build. The land is free. No operating costs included. Building jails is not a solution but but building and funding operations for alternative homeless housing and support services for occupants is expensive. https://abc7news.com/oakland-tiny-home-village-coliseum-homes-for-homeless-youth-spirit/9635305/
They congregate in communities where they can satisfy their alcohol and/or drug habits without fear of consequences. The number of non-addicted “homeless,” if there even be such a thing, is vanishingly small. Their actions are completely rational, assuming the underlying premise that addiction is something they either will not or cannot overcome. What is irrational is the behavior of their enablers in society-at-large (witness the comment from “rkd1fc19c5b0160” above, assuming it is meant seriously and not mere trolling or satire) and the government such people elect. As one who resides far away from such places, my attitude is simply one of benign neglect; the vagrants and their enablers deserve one another. A pox on both their houses (or makeshift shelters, as the case may be.) Or, as many others have commented, “Let. It. Burn.”
The rewarding of bad behaviour gives us…
Altruism is obviously not the answer here. We have a lot of grown adults who are acting like children.
Start browbeating and fining them in the same way that a regular citizen gets browbeaten and fined for building something without a permit.
They need to learn the self love that a job well done can give. Then they would have the money to pay for their own housing and food and basic necessities.
There was a time when an able-bodied adult was expected to do something, however menial, that was of sufficient value to the society at large to earn enough to put a roof over his head and food in his mouth, not to mention the heads and mouths of his progeny.
Those days appear to be behind us.
The AP style guide now frowns on the word “homeless,” preferring terms like “unhoused,” “unsheltered,” or “people experiencing homelessness.”
Pick a place in the middle of the desert and put them there. One way in, one way out unless you walk. Guard the only road so nobody gets out. Put an employment center there and when they want to leave they go through the jobs center. It would be a situation where (at the risk of sounding very un PC [especially with the asian thing going right now]) no workee, no leavee.
The old Japanese internment camps (Manzanar, etc.) in California fit the bill.
The homeless are going to have to wait in line … Biden is already snatching up these FDR era camps for the mess he just created at the Southern Border.
Since the terms bum, vagrant, homeless etc. have taken on such negative connotations I propose the next term to be applied to these heroic dregs, at least until it also assumed non-PC status. How about “Persons living a nomadic lifestyle” Throw in a little Native American imagery and you’ve got a whole new culture…
“So please don’t pepper-spray them.”
But Glenn … the pepper spray makes them ALL SMELL BETTER … the politicians, the Leftists, and the homeless!
Cops walking the beat. A gentle jab or tap with a nightstick will help any vagrant to consider that the option to move along is the best choice. It doesn’t have to hurt but it does require eye contact and a clear message to leave this vicinity.
I live in a small city in the South. The first person here to put up a tent on a sidewalk or defecate on it will quickly be in jail. It’s not allowed in our parks or any city property. Some years ago we ended up with a campground of bums (remember when those camps were called the hobo jungle) and someone was found dead. The camp was finally cleaned out by the cops. The vagrants either moved into one of our homeless shelters are moved elsewhere.
Once upon a time we had sanitariums for the mentally ill. Then we turned them loose to live on the street. Vagrants are another matter, they are just lazy bums living off of us and the mentally ill.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” had the same impact on custodial care of the mentally ill that “China Syndrome” did on nuclear energy.
“Cuckoo’s Nest” took place at the Oregon State Mental Hospital 50 miles south of Portland. Once liberated, the cuckoos didn’t have very far to fly in order to find birds of a feather.
Give the bum a dime. Give the Lefty a roundhouse to the snout.
I remember reading about one city out west that was going to bring in high pressure hoses to clean the streets, but someone on the city council complained that the hoses might bring to mind the fire hoses that were used to attack civil rights marchers. So, the whole thing was scrapped and the poop is still there.
Late, but here it is: Again, only once again, you are brilliant, Glenn! Keep up the great work!