The self-described “progressive” who wrote San Fransicko thinks that one reason homelessness in California is so persistent is that individuals are not held accountable for their choices, e.g., to consume drugs.
Until the early 1980s, many people described the homeless as “bums,” “hobos,” and “vagrants” who chose their lifestyle and were undeserving of help. “It was advocates who coined the phrase, ‘homeless,’” said the University of Pennsylvania’s Dennis Culhane. “They’re the ones who thought ‘homeless’ would be a soft, fluffy term for the public to be sympathetic to.” The term was used as a way to advocate for public subsidies for housing. “The anti-homelessness movement chose the term ‘homelessness,’” wrote Gowan, “as opposed to ‘transient,’ ‘indigent,’ etc., for its implication that the biggest difference between the homeless and the housed was their lack of shelter.”
Words are powerful. The word “homeless” not only makes us think of housing, it also makes us not think of mental illness, drugs, and disaffiliation. The word directs our attention to things perceived as outside of a person’s control, such as the high cost of housing, and away from things perceived as in their control, such as working, parenting, and staying sober.
The news media have framed homelessness as poverty since the 1980s. “It hasn’t been this bad since the Great Depression,” claimed KQED, San Francisco’s main public broadcaster, in 1983. “Yet the stock market is booming. Venture capitalists are making millions of dollars overnight in Silicon Valley video games. For a few, it’s the best of times. For many more, it’s the worst.”
It was a grossly misleading statement. The poor farming families like the Okies who fled to the Bay Area in 1933 were utterly unlike the crack-, heroin-, and alcohol-abusing single homeless men of San Francisco in 1983. The two groups were homeless for completely different reasons and needed completely different things to improve their lives. As for unemployment, it declined dramatically, from nearly 10 percent in 1982, the year when the national news media started to heavily cover homelessness, to just over 5 percent in 1989.
Arresting and prosecuting the homeless for things like defecating in public, injecting fentanyl publicly, and living on the sidewalk is unethical, say a growing number of progressive political candidates and elected officials, because the people doing those things are victims of racism, poverty, and trauma. When he ran for office in 2018, San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin announced, “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes. Crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc., should not and will not be prosecuted.”68 Enforcing the law contributes to further victimization, says Boudin. “Jails do nothing to treat the root cause of crime,” read his campaign platform. In early 2020 Boudin said, “There are people who are harmed by the addiction crisis in this city, by open-air drug use and drug sales.” But, he added, “those are technically victimless crimes.”
(Living and working in Berkeley, the author may be unfamiliar with the fact that the U.S. actually does have a political party out there for people who think as he does, i.e., that people who use a lot of meth and heroin may have made affirmative choices to use a lot of meth and heroin.)
Is there any class of individuals whose behavior is so outside of cultural norms that progressives are willing to blame them? Let’s look at the official newspaper of the progressive faith. “Doctors and Nurses Are ‘Living in a Constant Crisis’ as Covid Fills Hospitals and Omicron Looms” (New York Times, 12/17/2021). The article itself doesn’t contain anything new or interesting. The NYT reports that Covid is raging in the parts of the U.S. that have the highest vaccination rate. And the reader comments are consistent with this:
The urgent care center on my street has a line snaking around the entire block right now. In Manhattan, in a zip code with vaccination rates in the 85-ish percentile.
Summary of the core article: The folks who collect 20 percent of GDP aren’t happy about having to work extra hard for two Covid waves per year in any given state. What is important for today’s topic is the sentiment expressed in numerous comments. Examples:
I know it sounds cruel, but we need to have a discussion about denying the willfully unvaccinated medical care for Covid – they are keeping it around, helping it mutate and taking up valuable resources that can go to those in real need, to say nothing of destroying our medical systems.
Let the unvaccinated die.
If a person has refused vaccination and a booster, they should NOT be allowed to a hospital. Let Fox News set up Covid-19 hospitals to care for those it continues to mislead for its own profit.
The unvaccinated are destroying our health care system. Time for drastic and draconian steps. If you want to be admitted to a hospital, please provide proof of vaccination. Otherwise you can have a bed at a field hospital that has been set up an an old warehouse, where you will have a bed and a bedpan and no guarantee that anyone will be checking on you.
It may sound cruel, but in all absolute fairness to medical personnel here, people who refuse vaccination and who contract Covid should be treated as attempted suicides. They should be triaged separately and placed in heated tents in available fields or parking lots and treated there by a volunteer or military medical auxiliary, so that hospital personnel can go about their normal duties of handling sane ER cases, strokes, heart surgeries, able to heal those who want and need healing, allowing medical personnel to be preserved themselves from extreme PTSD. If the non-vaxxer patients complain of primitive conditions, they should be reminded of their own primitive behavior in refusing vaccination, when help was available all around them. The medical profession in this country should not be destroyed because of selfish, insane and deliberately suicidal people.
The time to stop accepting people that don’t believe in modern medicine, i.e. vaccines, was 6 months ago.
(from Boston!) Unvaccinated Covid patients can have tent hospitals with their family members taking care of them.
When doing triage, the unvaccinated should go to the bottom of the list! It’s time for insurance companies to refuse to cover treatment for unvaccinated Covid patients, (unless they have a real legitimate reason; not religious, which is almost nobody)
No vaccine should mean no hospital care, no insurance coverage for Covid, and no access to public places.
Stop treating the unvaccinated and send them home. They cannot be allowed to continue on this path of destruction.
Stop admitting the unvaccinated for covid-related care, with an obvious exception for those who couldn’t get the shot for true medical reasons.
(from California) in my world it would look like this: field hospitals in tents with bare bones amenities and treatments for the unvaxxed. Pay the doctors and nurses and facilities staffing these places an inflated rate to compensate for the horrors of it all. Allow hospitals to return to normal, and reserve in-hospital care, vents, etc. for those who are vaccinated.
(response to the above) I’d gladly tell their relatives why: Your husband [dad, son, uncle, brother, or whomever] is in this parking lot Covid facility — probably dying and responsible gif the full cost of treatment — away from responsible patients because he refused to behave like an adult, get vaccinated and wear a mask. This was your husband’s choice.
(Minneapolis) Hospitals need to require people to be vaccinated before entry. No vaccination, no hospital.
(Oregon) Why is it a “ choice “ to remain unvaccinated and be fully responsible the strain and toll on our health care workers , not to mention the financial strain and millions of dollars that have been spent in an effort to keep these people alive . … Why can’t we refuse to treat those who make that choice .
(Separately, some brave commenters pointed out that the hospital staff pictured taking care of COVID patients were not wearing PPE that might be effective against an aerosol virus:
It’s alarming to me that none of the staff pictured are wearing n95’s or eye wear while taking care of these patients.
How can the unvaccinated shield themselves from blame by progressives and, if present trends toward increased government power continue, internment in Protection Camps? What could an unvaccinated Deplorable do that would make him/her/zir/them immune to criticism and demands to live somewhere other than where he/she/ze/they has chosen to live? The unvaccinated must start taking meth and heroin! Full post, including comments