What is the original idea behind making it illegal to feed the homeless in Fort Lauderdale? You know what, I actually don’t care about the letter of the law, because no matter how innocent or sanitized the wording may be, a law can still have selfish and sometimes sinister motivations.
For example, it use to be illegal for a woman to marry after husband died. Then a really hot woman’s husband died and the law changed on the spot.
Sometimes a law can have honorable motivations, like prohibition, but society doesn’t respond well to those laws and members of government eventually realizes how disposable they don’t ignore the whinging minority. But what happens when it’s an active majority that cries foul? Suddenly it becomes illegal to feed homeless people in public, but perfectly legal to binge drink on an open beach.
This is what leads myself and others to speculation. This speculation is never good for the parties involved with making and enforcing the law, because ideas are hard to repress. And when you go out of your way to try to shut someone down for expressing an opinion, you only make people want to hear it more, as is the case with books that get banned for stupid reasons. I guess what I’m saying is, please blow my carefully thought out speculation out of proportion and draw as much attention to me as possible. Thanks.
The fact is I don’t know how liberal Ft. Lauderdale’s drinking laws are, or the entire state of Florida for that matter, because on the basis of crocodiles eating household pets and giant cockroaches roaming the countryside, I refuse to set foot in the big wang state. So I can’t make any confident assumptions about open container laws, or licensing that allows big parties to booze it up on the shores of the beaches. But I can fairly say that the law in most places is rarely on the side of the person who is unable to fend for themselves financially.
You have to remember that New York’s anti-vagrant laws are pretty clear, although it doesn’t stop people from becoming homeless. And now Beverly, Massachusetts, which lies just over the bridge from where I’m typing this, is in a debate over passing a camping ban. That in and of itself really sucks for the homeless who can at least afford a tent, because the shelters tend to get very packed this time of year and there are so many people a shelter can legally take in before it becomes a health and safety hazard.
The perfectly innocent rationale behind this is that if you continue to make life difficult for a homeless person, somehow they will be magically motivated to improve their situations in the face of adversity. And I’ll give certain law makers and protestors the benefit of the doubt in assuming that is the case, for some of them. But you can’t ignore the mentality of others that may very well be along the lines of, “If they’re not front of me, they’re not my problem. If I can rig it so that they either the leave the town entirely, or better yet, die, then they’re not my problem.”
Is that the main motivation behind the law in Ft. Lauderdale? Binge drinking on the beach could definitely lead to deaths. But feeding the homeless may keep someone alive for another day and then what could happen? Why those people might beg for change and inconvenience the wealthy tourists and then society would be in disarray. It would be better for all involved if no one fed the homeless, forcing the people who can’t fend for themselves to possibly slink off and die quietly?
Before you disagree with me, just ask yourself if you have a realistic view of how homelessness and poverty works. You can’t have one if you’ve lived in relative comfort all your life. If you’ve never had to worry about the hours at work that got cut back, or whether you’re collecting enough tips at your waitstaff job to feed yourself and your kids, then you don’t have a realistic angle on dealing with being homeless.
Yes, in some cases, people are capable of improving their situations if they can get access to the right resources. Sometimes those resources just aren’t there and punishing the few people who go out of their way to try to give someone a little bit of hope, or a leg up in the world, is not going to win you any popularity contests. At least not among the people you want to consider yourself popular with.
That’s not to say that the homeless are immune from the law. Like everyone else, they do need to respect boundaries if they want to be treated with respect. But is arresting a 90 year-old man for feeding the homeless a realistic solution to the problem, or are you just enforcing my opinion that the real motivation is to starve the homeless to death to make the tourists happy?