Re: Violence Is Becoming a Threat for Homeless

unclescam (
Thu, 23 Dec 1999 11:18:43 -0500

where's the solution ?
this story, if read by the angry youth , will spur more violence, as the target
has been defined and the facts show that the law does not protect the outcast.
nothing new in this. i've been one since the sixties and have felt the blows.
i've carried weopons for protection, it doesn't work.
where's the solution ?
unfortunately for the face of the homeless, the drunks and panhandlers, they
don't keep a good grip on their surroundings and are easy targets. on the other
hand they draw off the bile and in taking the blow prevent attacks on the
invisible homeless. like the bird faking broken wing to draw the predator from
the nest.
where's the solution ?
give us your solurtion not a rehash of fake death reports by a leading apologist
for the system, the n y times.
i don't need a law to arrest em, after they kill me.

Graeme Bacque wrote:

> December 23, 1999 The New York Times
> Violence Is Becoming a Threat for Homeless
> SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 22 -- In Denver, five were pummeled to death and two
> more beheaded. In Richmond, Va., one was beaten, stabbed and beheaded, his
> head then carried nearly a mile and placed for display on a footbridge. In
> Seattle, one was stabbed 18 times, another beaten bloody and then stabbed.
> There were others. One in Dallas, pelted with bullets from a 12-gauge
> shotgun for rummaging through trash. One in Chico, Calif., beaten to death
> for begging for spare change. Three in Portland, Ore., strangled for who
> knows what.
> They were all homeless people killed over the last year. And these were
> just the killings that made the news. Exactly how many homeless people have
> been victims of savage attacks is unknown. Police departments do not
> tabulate crimes against homeless people, and in many cases, such as several
> beatings that have frightened the large homeless population here, those who
> survive attacks often do not report them.
> What appears certain, advocates for the homeless say, is that living on the
> streets is becoming more dangerous. In the last few years, police
> departments across the country have reported more frequent, more vicious
> attacks on those who are homeless. Nearly always, the victims are ambushed
> as they sleep. Nearly as often, the suspects, who are not always caught,
> are described as young men who appear to attack for no reason. In some
> cases, suspects call it "bum-bashing" or "troll-busting," police and
> advocates for the homeless say.
> Attacks against homeless people rarely get attention, but nationally,
> violence against people who are unsheltered is becoming so common that the
> National Coalition for the Homeless is asking Congress to consider
> "homeless people" as a maligned minority, or protected class, in drafting
> any new legislation against hate crimes.
> "There have always been isolated instances of homeless people being set on
> fire," said Michael Stoops, a community organizer for the National
> Coalition. "But what we're seeing now is a trend. And what's most
> disturbing is that the likely suspects continue to be young people."
> Based on news reports, the coalition has counted 29 homeless people who
> were killed in 1999 in 11 cities, from San Francisco to Richmond, Va. It
> listed six others who barely survived attacks. The youngest suspects in
> these cases were 14 years old, and most were under 21.
> No one can say for sure why young people in particular seem to be attacking
> homeless people in increasing numbers. But looking at arrests in cases of
> violence against homeless people over several years, by far the majority of
> the suspects were young teenagers, or even pre-teenage boys, who bragged
> about the attacks afterward.
> In Seattle, for example, a 14-year-old middle school student was convicted
> in March in the death of a 50-year-old homeless man. The youth struck the
> victim repeatedly with a skateboard, robbed him, then stabbed him to death
> with a pocket knife. He was caught a week later, when witnesses told police
> he had been boasting about killing a "bum." In that same city, three
> teenagers were charged in August with the murder of a 46-year-old homeless
> man as he tried to sleep beneath an interstate overpass. Prosecutors said
> that one told friends, "Let's just say there's one less bum on the face of
> the Earth."
> John Urquhart, a spokesman for the King County sheriff's office, which
> covers Seattle, said he believed that the homeless were singled out
> probably because they are accessible, anonymous and stigmatized as
> "throwaways of society."
> Indeed, many advocates for the homeless blame increasing crackdowns on
> homeless people for sitting, sleeping or lying in public spaces as a
> significant factor in the increased attacks. In Chicago, a homeless man was
> doused with a flammable chemical and set aflame as he slept on a park bench
> in July. He suffered third-degree burns over 20 percent of his body. John
> Donahue, executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless,
> said that he had noticed more of these kinds of attacks with the increased
> gentrification of the city, the fencing of lower Wacker Drive, where an
> encampment of homeless people had lived undisturbed for years, and the
> increased police enforcement of laws designed to keep people off the streets.
> "It's the underpinning of these hate crimes," he said. "It legitimizes them
> because these people don't count. These people are criminals for being poor
> -- that's what the official position is saying about these people."
> Mr. Stoops of the National Coalition said that when he visited high schools
> and asked students what they thought about homeless people, they often
> called them bums and drunks who were too lazy to work. "We're obviously
> sending a message to our young people that homeless people are not worthy
> of their respect," he said.
> In Denver, where the only suspects in a spate of seven slayings since
> September are a 16-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old charged with
> murder for the death of one victim (and accused of the nonfatal beatings of
> five other homeless people), police are investigating talk on the streets
> that a pack of young men has been picking on homeless people for thrills.
> In the only case so far with a witness, police said that someone reported
> several juvenile men a homeless man in a downtown alley.
> The perpetrators, said Lt. Judith Will of the Denver Police Department,
> "may get a sort of high or thrill by beating up people, and homeless are
> such an easy target."
> There are, of course, instances where homeless people are killed simply
> because they provide convenient targets for a deranged person. Such was the
> case in San Francisco last year, when a man who believed he was a vampire
> slashed the throats of four homeless people, one fatally, and then drank
> their blood. In other cases, as one in San Francisco earlier this year
> where a homeless man standing on a corner was killed by a bullet meant for
> someone else, the victim is a bystander. And because many people on the
> streets are mentally ill or drug addicted or both, they are easier to
> victimize and harder to help, police say, since they are often unable to
> describe the time and place of their attacks or their attackers.
> In some cases, police say that they can find no evidence of attacks. In
> Rapid City, S. D., eight homeless men have drowned in a trout stream in
> less than two years, including three this year. The Rapid City Police
> Department initially considered the cases accidental drownings because the
> men all had high blood alcohol levels. But homeless men have insisted that
> the victims, six of whom were American Indians, had actually been pushed
> into the stream by racist white youths while the victims lay passed out
> from alcohol. Chief Tom Hennies of the Rapid City police said that the
> department, with help from state and federal law-enforcement officials, was
> now considering the drownings possible homicides, "even though we don't
> have a shred of physical proof."
> In Anchorage, where three homeless people were killed this year, at least a
> dozen older, homeless men have said they were attacked by bands of
> marauding youths. But they were not able to provide concrete details of the
> crimes or suspects, the police said.
> The only comprehensive survey done on violence against homeless people was
> a study in New York City in 1994, after several attacks where youths set
> fire to sleeping homeless people. The survey found that 80 percent of
> homeless people had been victims of violent crime.
> While there have been no spectacular incidents of violence against homeless
> people in New York since the survey was done, Mary Ann Brosnahan, director
> of the New York Coalition for the Homeless, said the coalition occasionally
> heard anecdotal reports of harassment.
> "We know that homeless people are far more likely to be the victims of
> violent crime," Ms. Brosnahan said, "than the perpetrators."