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Is There A Viable Alternative To Defensive Architecture Against The Homeless?

Prelude

I remember when I was early on in my adolescence, there was a short period of time when some of the guys from the neighborhood would meet outside a local church to see how far up we could get toward the top of its slanted roof.

I wish I could say I got to the top, but the reality is, I may have made it to the half way point, at best. Perhaps I could have made it, but it was too scary to try. That sloped roof must have been 35 or 40 feet high at a very sharp angle.

If you slipped and came tumbling down, there could be all kinds of hell to pay, and, thanks to a law I like to call, gravity, the higher up you got, the degree of hell increased exponentially. The risk to reward ratio turned me into a coward, so I never felt the exhilaration of my friends who made it to the top.

Some of the church members lived by the church. As you may imagine, they did not take kindly to kids scaling their roof for sport. We all felt that they should have been able to tell that we had no bad intent. We weren't trying to break in, vandalize, steal, or anything like that.

There really wasn't much harm we could have done to the roof. It wasn't like it was made of palm tree branches like a tiki hut, or anything. Yet, it's only natural you don't want to have kids climbing on your church roof.

They could get hurt, and you never know in our litigious society if one of our parents would have the unmitigated gall to try to turn it around and say the church was responsible and take them to court. And you certainly can't count on courts to always make the logical decision. In short, the church members had a right and a need to stop us from scaling their roof.

Call The Cops?

They might have alerted the police, but the truth is, we hardly ever did it. It wasn't a rising trend among the kids in our 'hood or anything like that. If they were ever called, they didn't get there when we were there. One conversation with the police would have done the trick, actually. Our 'hood wasn't very tough.

Get The Point?

The church may have discussed a fence, but that would cost a good deal of money, so they settled instead, on planting cactus plants right at the point that the roof sloped to the ground, all the way across. It didn't stop us. I never heard that anyone got impaled, so to speak, on the cacti, but I did think it seemed like a less than a Christian way to handle the problem.

I felt like I was psychically tuning in on a percentage of the members who actually hoped we would hurt ourselves really bad. Some of them, I'm sure, thought of it as a deterrent and they didn't think we'd continue to climb the roof, but I'd bet money that some of them we're hoping we would. We certainly didn't need the cacti there in order to be hurt really badly, so it seemed rather evil to me that these church people would add a layer of potential pain to the nightmare of slipping and sliding and rolling and tumbling down those sand paper like shingles.

Those Cacti Were Prototype Defensive Architecture

Well, I was perusing the Interwebs recently and learned about something that is being euphemistically called “defensive architecture.” That's what sent me down memory lane, revisiting the cactus plants the Methodists so lovingly planted for us.

Defensive architecture often comes in the form of small studs or rounded spikes, a few inches high and wide, that are placed around various spaces outside a building. They are being referred to as, homeless spikes. They make it basically impossible for a, “rough sleeper,” (as homeless people are called in the UK), to sleep in said spaces.1)

Ultra Conservative - Extremely Liberal

My reaction to defensive architecture is kind of interesting because my politics are schizophrenic. I'm extremely liberal. I'm extremely conservative.

Yes, there are some issues I'm liberal on and others I approach from a conservative perspective, but beyond that, I have both tendencies on the same issues a lot of times. I find myself agreeing with both sides of a debate.

Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

Homeless people is one of those issues. For instance, I find it ridiculous when cities have some event scheduled that will be garnering them attention, and as part of the, “clean up,” they start looking for things they can arrest the homeless for, to get them out of view.

In some cases, they will transport them to other municipalities. I'm not sure whether to be irate or to snicker like a kid reacting to someone farting in church, about that one. Man, that's just sneaky and silly. Who has the balls to go through with that?

The Liberal Angel On My Shoulder

The progressive in me says that until you find and deal with the cause of problems, nothing you do to mask the symptoms is going to make a hill of bean's worth of difference. Trying to find things to arrest people for just because they are in an unfortunate situation is contemptuous.2)

That tactic usually involves denying people their civil rights, like unreasonable searches. For instance, police use the person's homelessness as an alleged probable cause for possessing some manner of contraband.

Local Homeless Law Trend

To combat that police issue, cities have passed laws banning certain human behavior outdoors. Anyone caught sleeping outside can be arrested. Often just sitting down on a sidewalk is now an arrestable offense, even though the individual is wide awake. In Hawaii they're calling it, compassionate disruption. Critics say they see the disruption, but the compassion, not so much.3)

It goes further: Putting any personal possession down on the ground allows police the right to confiscate the possession, in some cities.4) Asking people for any kind of donation, food, water, money, is a crime, as is simply standing in areas, like freeway exits, where a homeless person may be able to generate some income. That is increasingly becoming a criminal act, even if the cop does not witness panhandling.5)

It's gone so far that some cities plan to have certain areas where you can be arrested for eating outside.6) In a number of municipalities, homeless people are simply barred from walking through downtown areas.7) Yes, even if they are not urinating behind a dumpster, sitting on the sidewalk, sleeping in a cranny behind a service entrance, eating or standing on a downtown exit ramp, they can go to jail just for being there.

What To Do When The PoPo Get Distracted?

Then again, it's one thing to have those laws, but it's another to enforce them 24/7. A lot of times police ignore the homeless, even though their city commissioners have given them plenty of legal options to arrest them. That's where the homeless spikes come in. If you have any areas around your building that provide a slight bit of protection from the elements, or maybe a little privacy, they might attract rough sleepers.

You could choose not to use them because it makes you appear to be cruel. However, if you're planning that if and when the homeless show up, you'll just call the police on them, perhaps the spikes would be the more humane of those two options. These days, police of becoming alarmingly aggressive and willing to not merely commit to unnecessary violence; a lot of them will think nothing of taking a life if they can come up with an excuse to do so; (and they seem to have a real proclivity for killing homeless individuals.)8)

Or maybe you are the type of person who will personally confront someone sleeping on your property and tell her she has to leave the property. If it happens a lot, the odds increase that some of the rough sleepers will be rough characters in general. You might be putting yourself at risk from the homeless person, just as much as you could be putting the homeless person at risk from calling cops. If you look at it like that, who is to say that the only reaction to homeless spikes is outrageous indignation?

The Conservative Angel On My Other Shoulder

My conservative side tells me that a lot of homeless people have simply given into their alcohol and other drug addictions. Or, they simply refuse to work and would rather beg other people who are working to help give them a free ride, albeit, not a very appealing ride. One thing that really pushes my buttons is to see them holding a sign asking for money, and you look at the back of the sign to see it's a local business advertisement that some hard working entrepreneur paid for.

What? You Can't Pretend To Be Willing To Work?

The signs used to at least pretend they are willing to work, but it's been years since I seen any homeless person's sign the makes such a reference. The same holds true when they ask me in person.

What I really find perturbing is the fact that people who are not homeless ask me for money. Homeless or not, nobody ever approaches me and says they are willing to do a task like clean my car windows inside and out for a personal donation of my choosing.

No, it's usually just, “Do have have…” X amount of money? You gotta love the way they way they phrase it. It's as if they're just assuming that if you have it, you should give it to them. Increasingly it's not change they're looking for, and often it's not just a single dollar, either.

If you answer, no, you don't have it, I wonder if that has an effect on your own psyche, and your ability to manifest more money. After all, you are putting energy out in the universe stating that you are lacking in money. If you don't want to put that kind of energy out there, you end sounding like you're a jerk, or possibly even trying them, challenging them to get physical: Yes, I have it, but I'm not going to give it to you.

Does He Or Doesn't He?

To hear this side of me, you might think I never say yes.

I have given money, food, water, you name it. Hell, one time I invited a homeless person to my place to get a bath and clean his clothes. Then I had him as a guest on my public access TV show.

I think it depends on if I see something in them that seems like they are not just looking to use people. As of late though, the vast majority of them are looking that way to me. Perhaps I'm becoming jaded.

Would You Ever Use A Homeless Spike?

As to whether or not I would ever consider using homeless spike, aka rough sleeper studs (which sounds like something entirely different than what it is); I think I'd look for another use of the space, that had the same result, but only if homeless people sleeping around my building had really become a problem. For instance, I'd put in planters and things that beautified the space, that also served to take up space.

I would hope that I'd first talk to them. I'd see if I could help them get to facilities that are there to help them get back on their proverbial feet.

Book Him Dano

When I lived in Los Angeles, there was this one guy I was running into on Hollywood Boulevard a lot. He had so much going for him, but was homeless. I gave him a copy of the book, Illusions, by Richard Bach. A few months later I bumped into him on a bus and he had a place to live and a job. I asked him what he did to turn things around. He said it all came together for him by taking the message of Illusions to heart.

I was taken aback, with delight – shocked delight, but definitely delight. You never know how you are going to affect a person. My metaphysical understanding, though, is we are all going to find out when we die and have our panoramic life review.

A Great Reason To Be Kind

Countless thousands of people who have had life changing near death experiences (NDEs) have reported how they experienced their entire lives, in a 360 degree kind of vision experience. The trick is, they saw and more importantly felt it, from the perspective of the people they affected. This experience is something every last one of us have to “look forward” to.9)

Since I know this to be the case, (or you may say, since I believe it to be the case), do I keep that in mind when homeless people ask me if I have a dollar? Really, I don't. Perhaps I should, though.

My Two Angels Fight But Atlas Shrugs While Wallace Wattles

Here's the fight the two sides of my mind have. As I age, I'm starting to feel Ayn Rand had some things right – and that just giving handouts, more times than not, doesn't really help people.

In national parks there are always signs instructing people to not feed the animals. It's not even primarily a matter of safety. It gets them dependent on people and they more or less forget their instincts and focus on people as providing them food. Then yes, it can and does become a matter of safety for people as well.

So, it seems to me that giving stuff away to people who are able to do for themselves, actually is not doing them a favor. In an amazing little book by Wallace Wattles, The Science Of Getting Rich, (circa early 1900s), he spoke above charities in the same way. Charities end up making the very things they are trying to help, worse.

I know it's sounds harsh, and believe me, one of my angels is, frankly, appalled. Here am I saying the government shouldn't give hand outs, but unlike most people, who say if that's the case, then private charities should take that on, I seem to be saying, do not give to the charities either.

If everybody had that attitude, there would be nobody giving out aid to anybody. What happened to my liberal mindedness?

Let's Not Get Drastic

First off, for people who really can't do for themselves and people in extreme circumstances, I'll always believe that everybody should give gladly to them. And you know what? If that means that there are some people who get over on us, and get hand outs when they could be doing for themselves, well, that's the price we pay for making sure we take care of those who really need it.

It's so bizarre to me that conservatives can be so up in arms to think of individuals getting over on the system, but when it comes to multi national corporations, no problemo amigo. Keep giving the underprivileged oil industry billions of dollars annually. That's a great idea. Right?

Anyway, the answer to how I can be down on charity and massive government hand outs can be found by reading or listening to, The Science Of Getting Rich. I believe what Mr. Wattles told us. The universe is abundant. It is normal and expected that everybody should be rich. There is enough to go around. We can manifest it for ourselves if we learn the steps and apply the actions.

There Is A Science To Getting Rich

So, instead of giving people enough to keep them poor, how about giving them the tools to make themselves rich?

You can say that the truth Wattles speaks of are no longer valid because of the control grid that had been placed throughout the planet by dark forces, who on the 3 D level are best exemplified by the global banking structure, which is creating constant wars, and enacting a eugenics depopulation program, and setting up financial systems that are squeezing the last bit of wealth from the people to the banksters.

From Prison To Paradise

I say that if we, the people, really get the message from that tiny but amazing book, we will bring that control grid down, without even trying. It would be an automatic side effect that would happen in stages. The control grid can not stand if the masses put out the psychic energy and the action to back it up, that that book talks about.

Earth can become a paradise planet, as opposed to the prison planet model we have allowed to happen. We start by finding solutions and then when they work, we tell others about them so they can try them to.

Utah Don't Need No Stinkin' Defensive Architecture!

The state of Utah seems to have found the solution to most of homelessness. Since 2005 they have an 85% percent reduction in homelessness, and their projection is to have it taken care of completely by some time in 2015. (I write this half way through 2014.)

This is so fascinating. People can say what they will about religion, in general. I know I have often cited the down sides of it, including all the wars, historically, and the hypocrisy, and everything else.

Give Religion Its Due

That said, the best people in the world are so often found in religious belief systems. I've met the kindest Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, you name it; the most generous and caring people with whom I've been fortunate enough to cross paths.

I grew up in a sect of Christianity, and the people were incredible. I remember a local, non profit radio station having a fund raiser when I was a kid, and they were happy to announce how much money was given. My church had just had a charitable project, and while the pool of people was like a fiftieth the size of the number of donors to the radio station, the amount they gave was like fifty times as large.

It was at that point I realized how more caring and generous religious people can be compared to the secular world. I bring that up because of how many Mormons there are in Utah in general, and the state legislature in particular.

Mormons Teach Ayn Rand A Thing Or Two

While I don't recommend anyone going into the Mormon organization, Mormon individuals must be given their due. There are a lot of truly great people who ascribe to the belief system.

I do not find it to be a coincidence, as the Young Turks say here, that Utah is the state that came up with this solution. It is off the beaten path in terms of what you would expect a government to come up with. That's even more true when you consider that they are extremely conservative.

Conservatives Go Liberal In Utah

They came up with a really liberal program, but it started with fiscal conservatism. They added up the amount of money it costs them to arrest homeless people, take them through the court system, as well as to pay emergency room costs, due to their ill health that comes from the lack of nutrition and living on the street.

They looked into how much it would cost them to give them places to live and feed them and get them help to get over drug problems and other issues. It turns out, it cost more to have homeless people on the street, than it costs to give them free room and board.

As they become grounded and improve their lot in life and start making an income, they start paying. The more they make, the more they can pay. They are charged a third of their income. Of course, they can choose to move if they don't like the deal.

You would think there would be incentive to just stay home and never find a job, but they have been at this for nine years at this point, and they are not only saving money; they are saving lives and helping people to drastically improve the quality of their lives and find meaning in life.

Go Tell It On The Mountain

This success story needs to be shared so the idea can spread to other areas to see if it duplicatable. It's like Portugal decriminalizing drugs 13 years ago (2001). People predicted disaster but it's been tremendous. Drug abuse has actually decreased, especially among teens.

There are huge increases in the amount of people who go to rehab as well as the a giant decrease in the spread of HIV and other diseases. There is also a huge drop in drug deaths. In addition, many of the problems that were created from the old standard policy have disappeared.10)

When something works it needs to be celebrated and duplicated. The Utah homeless program and Portugal's drug decriminalization are resounding successes.

I don't know if anyone has come up with an answer to the problem of kids scaling sloped church roofs, but as far as these other solutions, it's up to all of us to spread the word.

Time For Action

I'm not just saying time for action. I'm serious here, folks. Take advantage of the window of opportunity we still have to make things better, because there are forces trying to close that window and get on with an end game that we surely don't want.

So please, copy this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_k8J2rE-Q It's from the video I linked above.

Post it on your Facebook or Twitter pages and ask for shares or retweets. Ideally, we should go further by writing letters to our state legislators. It's time for all of us to get involved in the solutions our planet desperately needs. We can no longer afford to be participants and just sit around and talk about Game Of Thrones.

Politics


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