The ACLU-backed Homelessness

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - May 21, 2008
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The Bible says in Deuteronomy 15:11:

“For the poor will never cease from the land. Therefore I command you, saying ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy in your land.”

Clearly, God wants us to take care of the poor who will always be with us.

Currently, the notion of the “poor and needy in our land” is manifested in the burgeoning numbers of homeless in our island community - from beach-dwelling families along the Waianae coast to sotted bodies asleep in Chinatown doorways.

Their residue is omnipresent, from the stink of urine and feces in the nooks and crannies of our cities to shopping carts stuffed and draped with tattered plastic bags full of God knows what.

The homeless fall generally into three categories, with which two are more easily dealt.

There are the “economic homeless” who have lived paycheck to paycheck, and for whom the loss of a job can be the tipping point, blue tarps and a portable barbecue on the beach become the only alternative.

And for these folks, the city and state have made significant strides in providing temporary shelters, job training, health care and relocation counseling. Still, much remains to be done.

The second category of homeless we could call the “illegitimate homeless” - they’re poor because they want to be. They can’t tolerate the regimen of a job or a shelter. They want to live on the beach, take over the lavatories and showers as their own: “Hey! Why not? Free rent, yeh?”

The lure of a carefree life, living off their taxpaying neighbors, free health care at the emergency room, food stamps and food bank distributions and maybe a daily “fresh catch” from the ocean tide them over from day to day; not to mention the occasional “fresh catch” from the trunk of a tourist’s rental car.

These “homeless” hardly qualify for the “mercy” exhorted in the Bible and should receive none.

The third category is the toughest to address: the “helpless homeless” - the street people who suffer from dementia, bipolar disease, schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

They are “helpless” because, in most cases, they don’t even know or are willing to acknowledge they are sick and need help.

We used to be able to gently remove these souls from the streets to facilities designed to treat their illnesses, provide proper medications and rehabilitate them to live normal lives.

Tragically, this is no longer possible.

The ACLU, through the twisted logic that it is one’s civil right to be homeless, one’s civil right to be mentally impaired, one’s freedom of speech to lie in a gutter or live in a culvert, has convinced liberal courts that to forcibly remove homeless people from the streets is illegal.

In city after city across America, legislation to transfer the homeless from the street to shelters or mental-health facilities has been struck down time and again by lawsuits initiated and argued by the ACLU - and at a very high cost.

The young student responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre last year had exhibited dangerous tendencies and was clearly mentally disturbed, but when referred by campus security to a judge, the judge’s legal basis to commit him to an institution for help has been so badly eroded he could only “recommend” treatment.

In essence, the student had a “civil right” to be disturbed and dangerous.

I am personally acquainted with a bright, talented, educated young woman who suffers from acute delusional bipolar disease, but whose own parents are powerless to commit her to a treatment regimen because it is her “civil right” to refuse it.

The last I knew of her, she was homeless.

So the next time you see a pitiful homeless person who is potentially a danger to others and to themselves wandering the streets or a park, think of the ACLU.

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