How long before we just decide to kill the poor
By John W. WrightSo now the rewrite of the story of the good samaritan, the Samaritan does not help the unfortunate soul, just points out the police the place where his belongings are hidden, so they can be removed from his possession. Beautiful.
December 24, 2004
A little over a year ago, some San Diego residents lost everything they owned in the Cedar fire. In response, families invited others into their homes; food services for the hungry appeared; emergency shelters sprung up quickly for the displaced; policy-makers established long-term programs for the sustainable life of those who suffered the calamity of their sudden poverty. Last Sunday, Dave gathered to worship as part of our congregation. Dave had lost everything he owned the previous week as well. He watched from afar as police in La Jolla took his sleeping bag and backpack that he had carefully hidden in the bushes, threw them into the back of their squad car and pulled away. Despite his best attempts to remain inconspicuous, someone had seen where he was sleeping at night. Dave became visible, thus committing a crime in San Diego: being visible while poor.
Police seem to have begun a campaign of aggressive prosecution of the crime of being visible while poor in San Diego. Ticketing those sleeping on the sidewalks for not having housing would seem to represent a new level of moral callousness, except for events of last week when the winter shelters opened. Persons who slept in line overnight to get a spot when the shelter opened were ticketed; those who came too late to secure a spot were ticketed as well. Both groups were guilty of loitering – they became visible while poor even as they tried to slip into the shelter to become invisible.
Yet loitering itself is a class crime in an attempt to stop the poor from being visible. An all-night line for Chargers playoff tickets would be a sign of civic pride with full media coverage; for the poor trying to secure refuge from the elements of winter with no other options, it is a crime.
This shit is a kick in the teeth, a shot to the solar plexus, and for a moment thought that it would kickstart my furious muse, but alas she which seems to be on a walkabout, and in the backup system the "tank of Snark" only fumes remain.
Yet loitering itself is a class crime in an attempt to stop the poor from being visible. An all-night line for Chargers playoff tickets would be a sign of civic pride with full media coverage; for the poor trying to secure refuge from the elements of winter with no other options, it is a crime.There is more, its good, and as I can only seee red right now I can add nothing of value
Herding the poor into a distinct corner of the city to struggle for the meager resources available by well-meaning agencies is another strategy to keep the poor invisible. Yet downtown development has changed the ability of the poor to stay invisible even in their sequestered corner of America's Finest City.
It has become controversial even for churches to feed the hungry who live in the hotels and on the streets downtown. In walking to a location to eat, the poor commit a crime – they become visible.
Being visible while poor is a crime because we now live in a society where all of life is market driven. One's ability to consume in the public marketplace determines human worth, dignity and status.
We have discovered that we can treat all of life and life's services as commodities to be traded. Resources flow to the highest bidder. In such a system, the poor cannot win. They just do not have resources to consume.