Unfair to the Homeless

If you live in a city, you know the problems that vagrants can cause. The stink of stale urine. Trash, broken glass, and and other detritus littering the area. Graffiti-covered surfaces, noise, and general disorder all adding up to a desire to get out of there as soon as possible.

On the one hand, hardly anyone wants to make things even more difficult for people who already have problems dealing with the challenges of life. On the other hand, there is the issue of their making places unlivable for everyone else. When I lived in D.C., derelicts urinating in the stacks of the District’s Martin Luther King library were an ongoing problem, as was being driven away from reading areas by the unwashed stench of sleeping homeless. And only recently a friend of mine entering a D.C. Metro station surprised a homeless guy in the act of defecation when her elevator door opened.

To most people it probably seems that taking steps to prevent or limit such assaults on civilized society, and the damage they cause, is a rational thing to do. One might argue over effectiveness versus cost, or whether certain measures are humane. But the idea that we, as a society, have the right to set certain standards of behavior and  protect property from vandalism would seem to be be pretty reasonable. Unless, that is, you’re R.J. Wilson, writing on a hipster website called URBO:

Hostile Architecture: How Cities Are Designed To Control Your Behavior

The title reveals Wilson’s prejudice on the issue. It refers to items such as park benches designed to discourage sleeping on them, studs on flat surfaces that discourage loitering, etc. In fact, the author is so prejudiced that he (or she) allows his bias to get in the way of good semantics. The items he refers to aren’t meant to control my behavior or yours. Their point is to prevent certain activities, activities most of us aren’t interested in carrying out anyway. And, of course, they aren’t really hostile at all; they’re defensive, and passively so. Their existence is an unfortunate fact of today’s urban living, resulting from the anti-social actions of a few. In a more civilized society, park benches wouldn’t need to be designed to be too uncomfortable to sit on for long periods. The fact that they must makes all our lives a little less civilized.

As if to emphasize the author’s complete lack of a rational perspective, he (or she)  manages to drag in a completely irrelevant reference to antebellum slavery. But it’s not as if communities and property owners have no good reason to try to discourage vagrants, winos, and drug addicts.

I got some firsthand experience of the problems “hostile architecture” attempts to address when I lived in a scruffy Washington, D.C. neighborhood. I often had to oust winos from the alley behind my place. It’s not that I wanted to make life hard for them. It’s just that they would urinate all over the place, leave broken bottles in the alley, get into fights, make a lot of noise, intimidate residents, and generally contribute to an atmosphere of chaos and decrepitude. I also had a lot of bicycle tires ruined as a result of broken glass in the alley — especially at night — and finally had to resort to picking up the bike and carrying it to my back door.

One time I found a couple of winos cracking open a new bottle purchased from the convenience store on the corner. I told them, “Hey, guys, why don’t you move on and find another place to do that.”

The winos were apparently unused to being challenged, and incensed by my audacity. They shrieked, “We got as much right to be here as anyone!” and called me names.

I said to them, “Move along.” When they ignored me I said more forcefully, “I said, MOVE ALONG!”

One of them said to the other, “C’mon, man. That’s the po-leece talkin’!” and they left. But soon enough their places were taken by others.

The disorder promoted by the winos and junkies in the neighborhood had far-reaching effects.  Every morning on my way to the Metro station I would pass at least one car with a window broken out and its interior ransacked. Anything of value that wasn’t bolted down or locked up would disappear in an instant if you took your eyes off it. Burglars ran rampant. And the disorder in common spaces caused people to withdraw from them, and from each other. The people who shared the alley hardly spoke to each other, each keeping to his own building as if it were a fortress. Nobody bothered to maintain the area, which continually stank of urine. Weeds grew in the pavement cracks, dirt and trash accumulated, and someone abandoned an old car behind a vacant house, which neither the house’s owner nor the famously efficient D.C. municipal government somehow ever got around to taking away for an entire year.

The car soon became an overnight shelter for some junkies, who greatly added to the chaos, defecating in the open and scattering used needles around for children to pick up. For a while I would roust them from the car. But then they got used to me and learned to lock the doors, while I got no help from the neighbors — some of whom looked on my efforts as being unfair to the poor junkies.

So the problems of having “homeless” people around aren’t just that they aren’t pleasant to look at, or that they offend some people’s sensibilities, as the author of the article seems to believe. It’s that they do great harm, not only to property, but to communities as a whole. There’s no easy, humane solution, but trying to stop attempts to discourage them from damaging civilized life is simply insane.

The thing is, such insanity is utterly consistent with the modern radical Left’s agenda, which  seeks to tear down the structures and institutions of civilized society, using such proxies as uneducated illegal immigrants and uncivilized “homeless” people to do the dirty work. Giving free rein to an underclass that destroys order and civility is, for them, a feature, not a bug.

You are the Enemy: “Officer Safety” is more important than yours.

I have to say, I was already fed up with all the pompous nonsense about cops “putting their lives on the line,” etc. After all, what about the lumberjacks, farmers, miners, fishermen, linemen, construction workers, and all the others that work at jobs much more dangerous? They put their lives on the line, too, so that we can live comfortably in the modern world, but they don’t rate the same kind of regard, apparently.

Those guys don’t get the enormous traffic-blocking funeral motorcades, with saluting firemen on the overpasses; the lugubrious candlelight vigils; the faked sadness on the faces of newsreaders reporting on some uniformed thug who stumbled into the path of a bullet.

The thing is, after all that blather about “putting their lives on the line,” when the time comes for cops to actually do it, as often as not it seems that they don’t. During the Virginia Tech massacre, for instance, the cops waited outside for 5 minutes, giving the shooter time to take out more innocents before finally making himself safely dead.

They took their own sweet time showing up, too, when Stephen Paddock was mowing down people from his Las Vegas room. Cops were in the building reporting gunfire from the floor above them at 10:12 PM. But somehow they took another six minutes to make it up one floor to his door. And it took them another hour before they finally broke down the door, by which time Paddock had also become conveniently non-hazardous by killing himself. The Las Vegas police department still won’t say when they were first notified there was somebody shooting innocent people.

The same thing happened in Florida last week. There was a “resource officer” — the educationist term for campus cop — on the scene, who conspicuously did nothing. And then three more cops showed up, and also did nothing. They just cowered and listened to the screams of kids getting shot.

As reporters have dug into the incident, more and more police outrages have come to light. First we learned that a woman police captain ordered the deputies on the site to “form a perimeter”, instead of going into the building and stopping the shooter. And now the Miami Herald reports that radio traffic recordings show the “resource officer” ordering other officers to — stay away.

I don’t think this is some kind of anomaly, either. As I pointed out 15 years ago in an essay entitled “You are the Enemy,” police in this country have been trained to view us civilians as “others.” We are seen, not as fellow citizens or taxpayers to be served, but as potential threats. And along with that, they are taught that their number one priority is “officer safety.” Not our safety. Theirs.

That’s why there are so many reports of cops shooting unarmed civilians. “Officer safety” training justifies shooting unarmed citizens first and asking questions later: “The officer perceived a credible threat when the 62-year-old grandmother reached for her purse. It was a justified shooting.”

And it means police work is even more attractive to cowardly bullies than it used to be. Let’s face it, most actual criminals are so pathetic they’re not really much of a threat. In fact, if you want to beat up on them, who’s going to believe them when they say they didn’t resist? Nobody important. Or you can just steal their money and drugs, as the Los Angeles cops did in the Rampart scandal, or the Baltimore cops convicted just a few weeks ago. Or the Chicago cops just indicted. Or the Philadelphia cop recently indicted. Cop rapists is another encouraging trend. Protect and serve!

But every once in a while an actual threat to the citizenry comes along; the kind of threat against which you’re actually supposed to put your life on the line, to save the lives of innocents. And what happens then, Mr. Tough Guy?

So I don’t expect you to protect me or anything. Just, please don’t gratuitously shoot me at a traffic stop, okay? And also, don’t give us any more rubbish about “lives on the line.” That’s all I ask.

The Broward County Sheriff’s incompetence is even worse than you thought

REVEALED: Broward County Deputy Who Gave ‘Stage’ Order That Kept Cops Outside Parkland Shooting

Isn't political correctness wonderful?
Isn’t political correctness wonderful?

 

It turns out that part of the reason four deputy sheriffs loitered outside Stoneman Douglas High School was a captain who ordered them by radio to form a “perimeter” instead of going in and saving some lives.

And guess what? That captain is a woman.

So we have:
  •  A policy of allowing juvenile criminals off the hook to prevent a “school to prison pipeline,” for minority members. Said policy prevented the arrest of the Hispanic shooter even though he had committed crimes, because he was Hispanic. Thus he was able to walk around free and collect an arsenal when he should have been in jail;
  • A cowardly deputy “resource officer” who hides instead of confronting the shooter;
  • A woman commander who orders her charges not to interfere with the killing.
  •  The Sheriff, who boasts of his “amazing leadership” in promoting politically-correct policies and personnel, and in hiring incompetent staff.
  • Plus, the FBI admits it didn’t do what it was supposed to do when it was tipped off that Cruz was dangerous, thus, again, allowing him to run around loose.

We find this out at the same time that they’re telling us we shouldn’t be able to arm ourselves; that we should trust the State to protect us instead.

Ever get the feeling that our rulers don’t really have our best interests at heart?