Goodness gracious, another person responds with real dialogue about an issue! Wonderful!
Christopher Patton wrote in response to Gentrification Redux:
I don’t think urging people to use the police force as a proxy to handle ‘bad apples’ really solves the problem of homelessness or drug addiction. It is merely another attempt to push societal problems out of sight instead of trying to confront them on a personal, interactive level (Cliff Fisher and you might have more in common after all). If you truly value your community than you won’t relegate it’s policing to a group that upholds the power structure by treating already disadvantaged people unfairly.
I’ve dealt with alcoholics and drug addicts my whole life. I am, in fact, what I would consider a non-addicted alcoholic who made the decision early in life that I would not go down that path because the way I drank and the effects of alcohol on me WHEN I drank could too easily have led to addiction.
I was lucky because I became educated before the booze took over my life. Many of my family members and my children’s father’s family members did not have that advantage. Alcoholism and drug addiction claimed their lives. Some of them were homeless as well.
The one thing I know about an addict and had to learn through painful demonstration over many years of trying to save the alcoholics and drug addicts I have loved is that they will not give up their addiction until they become convicted that they have no other choice. They have to hit their own personal rock bottom.
People hit bottom when they have to suffer the consequences of their behavior. You may believe that involving the police in curtailing the abusive behavior of people who are drunk and strung out on drugs is treating an already disadvantaged person unfairly. I happen to believe holding everyone to certain standards of civil behavior is more than fair. It may be the best thing that could ever happen to an addict.
I’ve learned that the only kind of love that truly helps an addict or alcoholic is tough love. It’s the same kind of love a good parent gives their child. The best present I ever got from my son is a kitschy little plaque that begins “I had the meanest Mother in the world…She loved me enough to say no.”
I’m more than willing to interact with the homeless and would agree that there are definitely social issues that need to be addressed to solve the problem. I’m not advocating that the homeless be thrown in jail wholesale but I know better than to try to confront alcoholics and addicts “on a personal interactive level” while they are using.
They don’t have an interactive level in that state. It’s a waste ot time. Basically there is no one home because they aren’t going to remember the interaction the next day anyway.