Advocates for homeless critical of Tempe crackdown

Is arrest the best way to deal with problems of homelessness? The police claim the crackdown was to deal with “aggressive panhandlers”, but homelessness seems the root problem.

Advocates for the homeless are calling the Tempe Police Department’s four-day crackdown on panhandling and other crimes in downtown Tempe heavy-handed, potentially undoing years of efforts to help the homeless in the area.

Uniformed and undercover police patrolled Mill Avenue during the “Downtown Enforcement Campaign” that yielded 30 arrests. They included four on charges of panhandling, 16 for public liquor-law violations, one for the sale of narcotics, a felony-burglary warrant and five for various city-code violations.

Summers said he wishes Tempe police would have spoken with organizations offering the homeless support before turning to a crime sweep.

“We’ve always had a good relationship with police,” he said. “We know these (homeless) people. We could have helped make a difference . . . talked to them . . . instead of scaring them.”

azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2009/07/02/20090702homelesscrackdown0702.html

This news story has to do with Tempe, Arizona but I think the problem is widespread. Often the police are used to crackdown on what is seen as problems caused by homeless people. But as someone in a related thread recently mentioned, when a person is homeless they can’t afford to pay fines.

And often homeless people are arrested for things that other people are not arrested. A study of homeless arrests during 2005-2006 in Cincinnati Ohio showed that:

Minor Misdemeanors accounted for 25.38% of charges and 46.88% for misdemeanors of all degrees. Some of the most common charges associated with homeless individuals are: open flask charges, public indecency due to public urination, sitting on the sidewalk, spitting in a public place, dumpster diving (upsetting public and private receptacles), littering charges, loitering charges, solicitation charges (commonly improper solicitation for panhandling), trespassing charges, and disorderly conduct charges.

www.cincihomeless.org/…/Criminalization_of_Homeless_Individuals_in_Cincinnati.pdf

hmm, I think the treatment of the homeless is just one small aspect of a much wider, bigger, deeper problem. A problem that, irrespective of the price of gas, or what happens on Wall street, has destroyed this country. Notice I didn’t say will, I said it has.

Here is a brief, general , thus necessarily vague, essay I recently wrote on the subject;

If you live in the united states, anywhere in the United States, go get in your car, and take a 20 minute-to 30 minute drive.
Do this at any time , any day of the week.

My bet is that you will run across two , or four, police cars in that drive.

I haven’t researched exactly how many police officers there are now.
Do I have to? Does not casual observation suffice?

These police cars are not rust -bucket wrecks, they are always relatively new.
How many police officers have you seen who looked poorly fed or down-at-heel ?

A police officer can retire on a pension after 20 years.
In the private sector, the sector of our economy that actually feeds and clothes us, in contrast, pensions are almost unheard of now. You won’t get a pension in the private sector after 20 years, or 50 years, or a hundred years.

Of course a police officer has to survive to collect that pension.
Ok. When was the last time you actually saw battalions of machine-gun -toting criminals outside of a movie or TV screen ?
According to insurance company statisticians, Deep sea fishermen and truck drivers have a more dangerous job than police officers.

What do police officers produce ? A FEELING. Otherwise they produce NOTHING. Not one morsel of food, not one widget or paper clip.
Granted, policing is defined as a service occupation, and there are many of those. But this isn’t cleaning out bedpans , wiping noses, or providing a shoulder to cry on.

Regardless of whether the laws are made by a small group of men, or a large group of men, the simple Las Vegas odds are that from time to time they will make bad laws.
It stands to reason then that at least occasionally a police officer will be required to put human beings in cages, and otherwise ruin peoples lives, for reasons he himself must think are wrong.

Now we all have to make moral compromises to make a living , we all rationalize those compromises. We all are to some degree or another prostitutes.
But what a degree this is !
ONLY a person of equivocal character can persist it that occupation, if not a sociopath.

A soldier may be , IF NOTHING ELSE, courageous. Fate may likely carry a soldier into the circumstance where he is obliged to fight an adversary just as numerous and just as heavily armed, and just as organized. But police almost never do, or, at least, their risk is no greater than that the ordinary ( and usually unarmed ) citizen faces.
So it is a haven for cowards as well.

If the police in Britain are not identical to the Gestapo,
If the police in the United States are not identical to the NKVD,
this is due to outside factors, not due to the character of this institutions denizens.
This institution is inherently evil , dire necessity does not mitigate or alter that basic fact.

But whether the above is true or not, one thing is absolutely clear, common sense cries out ;

Having battalions of well-paid, well-fed , relatively idle, heavily armed people standing about, cannot be a good thing !

We do have a serious, lethal, crime problem in this country ;

It is the conceit, the fantasy, that the ordinary citizen has, that he has the wisdom, and he should, micromanage his neighbors household.

The idea that ordinary men will love generally because their job description says they are supposed to.

This curious notion that in ordinary nakedness an ordinary man is untrustworthy and cannot be left to manage himself, but that if you put him in a funny costume he somehow becomes competent to manage strangers affairs.

You hear it every day, it has become ubiquitous, it has become rote ;
" we need another law. "

But EVERY law means at least two things ;

– behind every law is a man with a gun. ( what do gunmen produce? nothing. What is the cost of gunmen? )

– every law has a price tag.

Simple math, the kind of math any 6th grader can do, should clue you in that something is terribly wrong with this picture.

The past 30 years violent crime IS WAY DOWN.
It isn’t half what it was in 1975.

In that sense exclusively, the war on drugs, the war on crime, has worked.

So everything is rosy?

No, we are bankrupt, everyone is divorced or a career celibate, nobody trusts a handshake anymore, lawyers really are necessary. The only people I know who aren’t miserable are either on prozac, or on another drug named money. ( and the minute the money runs out, just like the minute the prozac runs out, guess where they are? )

What’s the use of anthropology or archeology? well, I can think of at least one use it has ;
archeologists and anthropologists tell us that the state didn’t even exist until 5,000 years ago. Hmmm, so what did humans do the other ten thousand years ?
My oh my what did we do when we didn’t have someone to stick a gun in our face or quiet us with bribes?

As one of those qoutes on CAF said just today , " The state was ever the enemy of Christ since the days of Herod. "

does the leopard change its spots? Never.

The family, and the church, was ever the real government.

What we have here now in the state is not reasonable , just, or humane.

It is the outrageously unrealistic desire of a spoiled child.

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