Re: PETA gives homeless people furs - effective tactic?

Peace through Reason (
Sun, 08 Feb 1998 06:52:20 -0500

Immediate reaction to furs for the homeless:  brought a smile, and the
thought, well that's better than throwing them away, but then I remembered
the Christmas in D.C. a few years back when some folks decided to give away
brightly colored ski jackets and matching mittens to the homeless.  Before
a month was over, just about everybody who had received one was back to
wearing raggedy old stuff.  I asked several people why, and they'd had
their coats stolen while they were asleep, or had been mugged, by the scum
who love to prey on the poorest of our society.  I also remembered when
someone gave me a very cleverly designed faux fur (you had to look inside
the coat to be sure), and I wore it once, to a meeting, when I wanted to
look not-poor, but being poor, I had to ride the bus when I left the
meeting later that cold, lonely night.  Two bus drivers were incredibly
rude to me.  It seemed they thought, "what are you riding the bus for,
rich-bitch?"  I also felt very conspicuous going through the poor
neighborhoods on my way home.  Usually I dress in street clothes (we all
know what those look like), and I'm never afraid in those neighborhoods,
'cause nobody glances my way.  

So, my response to your survey is:  while it's a nice, suburban "ooh, let's
help the homeless" idea, it probably will backfire.  Either the people will
be mugged, or they'll sell their coats to the first comer.  I suppose at
least that way they might get a night or two in a hotel.  

et in dc