Ban This, Ban That

As I write this column, it’s a very frigid, cold day and the night will be even colder. Naturally, I can’t help but think of those who have nowhere to go, and as I think of them I wonder why people are trying to run away or even hide the homeless.

I say that because cities all over this country are coming up with bans. Ban this Ban that. I think of Florida, which passed a law forbidding anyone to feed the homeless. And just to prove a point, a few weeks ago a 90-year-old man– that’s right 90– was arrested and fined for breaking that law. There are similar laws all over. Feeding, clothing, and giving blankets to the homeless is now a crime in some parts of the country. Even here, one city is trying to ban soliciting of any kind, which is nothing more than a thinly veiled way of outlawing panhandling. Not only would said law affect that activity,, it would also affect organizations like the Salvation Army bell ringers and even –dare I say /– Spare Change News (SCN) vendors. Anything that helps or empowers the homeless will be gone.

Speaking of street papers, there was one columnist in Washington, DC who suggested that they should be done away with altogether, arguing that they are nothing more than a prop for panhandling.

So, why all this banning happened? You ask. It’s simple. Really. If you do all this banning, the homeless will simply go away. Yes, boys and girls, this is the idiotic logic of some folks. It’s almost like treating a minor cut: put something on it, and in a couple of days, it’s all better.

Seriously, this is how people think. And why do they think this way? Because people are tired of homelessness and our leaders have run out of ideas on how to deal with it. They have run out of Band-Aids and now they figure if they outlaw giving or, in SCN’s case, empowering, it will all just go away. That’s like someone sweeping dirt under a rug and hoping no one will notice. Well maybe the homeless would go away if they actually had a place to go, especially here in Boston, except that someone forgot to fix the bridge.

Now before anyone starts to blame conservatives for all this banning, I’ve got a hot flash for you. Everyone’s to blame,. Why? There is little or no outrage around this from the left. Why,? Because homelessness is not sexy. It’s not saving the whales, the environment or a caged abused animals. It’s not rallying against a war or gay rights, And the reason why it’s not sexy enough is because of how people view homelessness. People still believe in that old myth that you’re homeless because you want to be. I’ve never known anyone that wanted to be homeless. No one wants to be homeless,. And as far as making it sexy, how about this? The next time you walk by a homeless person, think that that person could be your mom, your dad, your sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparents or your kid. You wouldn’t want to see members of your family out there. Why would you want to see someone else’s.?

Oh, I almost forgot, What if it was you? Think about it. Homelessness is not just going to go away because you ban things. It doesn’t work like that,. So before you jump on the ban wagon, ask yourself this: if you had a family member on the street and couldn’t help , wouldn’t you want someone to make sure they ate?



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