As you read this blog prepare to be appalled, frightened and ashamed. Simply put, in many areas of the country people are living (and dying) as they did in the Middle Ages. Many news outlets have begun reporting outbreaks of diseases such as typhus, typhoid fever, hepatitis, shigella (spread via feces), trench fever (spread through lice), and the plague in CA and other areas. Delightful!
Vantage News has characterized it as the “return of ‘medieval diseases.’ ” Furthermore, don’t assume that these diseases will remain solely in the homeless population. Public health officials have warned it would not be difficult for these diseases to “jump” into the general population. Already, there have been reports of police officers on the beat being infected. In addition, LA Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood reported she contracted typhus in City Hall, where she works, and which is infested with rats, last year. The situation was so dire that City Council President Herb Wesson had to close down his office, rip up the carpeting and authorize a thorough cleaning.
We have long had a homeless crisis in America, but now it is approaching existential threat levels. We can debate the causes, who is to blame, and how to fight the problem, but the overriding problem is that so far the politicians in charge, who should have been dealing with this problem, have failed miserably to do so. The US, the richest, most advanced country the world has ever seen, has some 16% of its population living in conditions that characterize the Middle Ages, and we seem powerless to do anything about it.
In this blog I am not going to attempt to solve the homeless problem. The origins and solutions are far too complex for me, an ordinary citizen, to do that. My main objective is to report the gravity of the problem, which, as I said, has reached crisis levels. The resolution lies in the hands of the politicians who run these cities, who heretofore, have been incompetent and ineffective, and who need to take corrective action NOW.
For purposes of this blog I will focus on California, which seems to have the dubious honor of being the poster boy for the problem. Health officials report that about 1/4 of the country’s 550,000 homeless are in CA. But, don’t think that the problem is limited to CA. It’s present, to varying degrees, in cities in Oregon, Washington, NY, Washington, DC., and elsewhere, as well.
Every night the news programs show pictures of tents set up on sidewalks, in CA’s major cities, such as LA, SF and Sacramento, trash in the streets, homeless shooting up and using the sidewalks as toilets, and used needles lying in the streets. Worse, there have been reports of vermin, such as rats, and various health-related communicable diseases, as noted above. Glenn Lopez, a physician with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, who treats homeless patients in LA, calls the streets a “Third World environment.” Welcome to the 14th century.
According to CNN there are some 60,000 homeless in LA County. (I question the validity of any statistic relating to homelessness, since I don’t believe anyone has ever conducted a reliable census of them, but I will work with that number.) Moreover, according to CNN, although the county has spent “hundreds of millions” of dollars on the problem in just the past year (on what, I can’t imagine) nevertheless, the total has risen 12% during that time. Homeless people just keep pouring in. To be sure, many of them are illegals, who are attracted to the area because of the mild climate, free social services, sanctuary policies and permissive government, but a goodly number are also from other sections of the US, even other parts of CA. No one knows the actual numbers, which is part of the problem. We just know they are there.
CNN has reported the following:
1. In LA’s Skid Row tents line the sidewalks for block after block.
2. Some homeless have even tethered their tents to buildings and fences.
3. Pet owners have created dog parks for their pets.
4. One of their reporters observed some women washing their hair and laundry under a fire hydrant.
5. These are indications of permanent, not transient, residence.
6. There are reports that many of these people have resisted moving into public housing. Inexplicably, they prefer to remain where they are.
7. Police report that the elaborate set up of tents has hindered their ability to detect crimes, such as drug dealing, human trafficking, assault, and rape. As one might expect, the most vulnerable are women, children and the elderly, who are easy marks. Moreover, criminals have been charging “rent” to live on certain blocks.
8. The sanitation Department claims its ability to collect trash is being hindered, because its men cannot always discern trash from someone’s belongings.
9. Many who have mental and emotional health issues cannot be identified and treated.
10. Politicians, notably the Dem presidential candidates, have been touting grandiose plans to deal with the issue, but little or nothing has been and is being actually accomplished.
So, what causes one to become homeless? Contrary to popular thought, the homeless are not all lazy bums who just want to hang out and mooch off society. For the most part, the homeless do not get that way by choice. The most common reasons are job loss, drug or alcohol addiction, a serious illness not covered by healthcare (or a lack thereof), divorce and/or a dispute with a family member who basically kicks them out of where they are living. As you can see, these circumstances can befall anyone. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and do not have a sizeable financial cushion to deal with hard times.
One group of people that has been affected adversely by the homeless crisis that has not gotten a lot of notice are the small business owners whose establishments are in the areas of these tent cities. These homeless camps have been destroying their businesses. Who would want to pick their way through the encampments to patronize their businesses? Essentially, they have been powerless to do anything. The local politicians have been no help. In fact, they have deemed that the homeless are entitled to camp on the public sidewalks, and they cannot be removed forcibly. Lately, some of them have taken matters into their own hands. Some of the “outside the box” deterrents, include putting up barriers, such as fences and walls, and planting cacti and other thorny bushes.
In my opinion, the homeless problem, at least in the various CA cities, has been exacerbated by the misplaced priorities of the politicians who control the state and those cities. As it happens, the Democrats have been in total control for a long time, but I would feel the same way regardless of who was in charge. Apparently, the governor and the mayors are more concerned with issues of lesser importance to most voters, such as climate change, political correctness, and Governor Gavin Newsome’s longshot/no shot presidential campaign than in implementing the hard, decisive choices necessary to deal with this existential issue. For example, NBC News has reported that LA Mayor Garcetti cannot even handle the simple, mundane task of collecting the garbage. It has been piling up in the streets for months.
Furthermore, the politicians need to rethink their sanctuary policy and other permissive, pc policies, which I maintain have attracted many homeless. There are simply too many people in need of social services, and they are overwhelming the system. There is not sufficient infrastructure or money to accommodate all of them.
Once again, we see an example of the failure of socialist policies. They sound good, but, ultimately, they don’t work. Never have; never will.
Remember my opening line? Are you appalled, frightened and ashamed? If not, you should be. This is supposed to be America, but, for some, it is the Third World. The calendar says it is the 21st century; but, for some, it is the 14th century.