submit to reddit

In today’s editorial about the New York City A and C-train subway fire caused by a homeless person over the weekend, the New York Times writes, “It is not safe for them and, as Sunday’s fire makes clear, it is not safe for the millions who ride through those tunnels every single day. The city’s police and homeless outreach programs need to be mobilized right away.”
The real issue, Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine says “isn’t homelessness, it’s insanity… One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is as much at fault as any politician, for it made the institution frightening and the people who run it bad guys.”
Jarvis adds that the homeless who don’t obey the law and refuse good-faith help “need to be hauled off to Rikers Island,” a statement I find crazy. What happens when they get out?
Homeless people don’t need jail time. Most homeless need medical treatment – mental and physical. And only when their health is stabilized, can they benefit from job and housing assistance and currently non-existent re-habilitation programs.
I believe that physical illness adds another dimension to the homeless problem. Many homeless are addicts and alcoholics, both illnesses, or suffering from AIDS or other physical problems. I reject the theory that homelessness is just another lifestyle choice. Nothing will ever make me believe that any human being chooses to live on the street during a blizzard, hungry, cold and stinking of his or her own excrement. Nothing.

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit notes that de-instittionalization of the mentally ill was the real culprit. And undercaffeinated agrees.