Re: Fight homelessness, not homeless

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 08:57:04 -0700 (PDT)


Hi, everyone...Pat Myers here.  This was an interesting article, thanks,
Tom!  Especially since my conversation yesterday with daughter #1, who has
lobbied for homeless and works with (voluntarily committed) street youth
to receive high school education.

I am told that it is now illegal for minors (under 18) in WA state, to
have cigarettes in their possession.  Now, this is hard to argue, since we
know that smoking shortens life, etc. but...

The various extant agencies and shelters with which we're familiar  --
University District, mostly  --  are knee deep in trying to figure how to
get around what is a state law.  Do they just not ask age, or find a way
to believe kids when they say they're over 18  --  because to deny this is
to, all to often, lose the young person  --  understandable!

What blew me away was that Rach says that the Seattle police have let it
be known  --  albeit quietly  -- that they are not ready to enforce this
law  --  yet.  

I agree with my daughter's analysis:  this law will be used, ONLY as a
mean sweep tool...when for some reason (visiting VIP, etc.) the sight of
homeless youth would be, well, embarrassing, for merchants in the area, or
for government.  At that point, the word will go out, and the young people
will move on, to avoid consequences of police attention.

For Olympia (our state capital), this is *great pr...doing something most
with which most adults will approve (because they won't / don't think
through critically, who benefits from this crap, and how), and at the same
time, while "allowing" police and cities autonomy, give themselves a
"well, we tried" reflection come election time.  The police, for their
part, have yet another tool by which to attempt to control the movements
of this population...

And all fer free!

Pat Myers

*********************************
"To live dangerously is to live
in the Borderland, where desire,
justice and love meet."
                    Henry Giroux