So, I finally have a blog.... Now what?
I wasn't sure whether I needed a blog or even wanted a blog... not even sure what I'd use one for if I had a blog; however, my understanding is that it is has recently become law that every online citizen must have at least one blog - even the ones with no valid opinion. Apparently, 'everyone' even includes the "little bastards in the back" - or the Nibble for short.
I'm not sure what I will put in my blog either, although, I'm thinking this will probably end up being the usual mishmash of technical notes and thoughts, diatribes about things that are bothering me, and weeks - perhaps months - of nothingness.
While deciding what to post for the all important 'first post', the topic - and the title of this post - fell from the sky.
I happen to run a community driven website for my neighborhood that is meant to serve as a notice board, meeting place, and general central location for people living in the community to express opinions and voice concerns. It's been running for a few months now with not much traffic - just the usual local interest stuff - until yesterday when a post with the title 'Keeping Undesirables Out of the Neighborhood' appeared. The crux of the post centered around reminding the neighborhood to refrain from placing bottles and cans in our recycling bins as this is "encouraging the homeless, and drug addicts into our neighborhood". I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry....
The person goes on to say that "Trust me, these are not the people that we want here, nor do we want to give them money that they will in turn use for crack cocaine." I wasn't aware that homeless people were all crackheads.... and I sure wasn't aware that they were organized enough to carpool their way out to the suburbs to raid our recycling bins - this is clearly a problem.
The fear mongering continues with "they will go after anything of value in our backyards, cars and even our homes, to pawn or sell. They are wandering in our alleys at all hours of the night." Wandering our alleys at all hours of the night! I'm not sure if you've been to Clovervalley Station recently, but it is not exactly downtown NYC circa 1978... in fact, I'd say it's a little closer to Mayberry circa 1961.
Instead of fear, uncertainty and doubt - perhaps the best response to a homeless person or crackhead that resorts to dumpster diving is empathy. Its pretty clear from the divers I've seen that this isn't their first career choice. In fact, if it wasn't for mental disabilities, debilitating addiction, and/or pure desperation, I assume the vast majority wouldn't be doing it at all. To suggest that putting a few bottles of cans in our recycling bin in a moderately rich suburb neighborhood is 'encouraging the homeless and drug addicts' makes a complete mockery of their actual plight.
The downtown Eastside is currently debating whether to begin locking the local dumpsters in an attempt to limit the amount of people cruising the alleys etc. Clearly, the downtown Eastside - perhaps more than any other neighborhood in North America - has grave issues with homelessness and crack/drug addiction.... but to keep the focus but shift the context of that debate to the suburbs is ridiculous.
I realize that 'crack isn't just a problem in the downtown Eastside' - and I'm not arguing that these aren't huge issues facing society as a whole. My argument is that spreading FUD in the suburbs is not the way to fix it. To be fair, the person that posted did finish with a couple of suggestions of where to donate if you really are interested in helping with the situation; however, if the person was genuinely interested in fixing the situation - why not just start with these suggestions and leave it at that?
I'm not sure how I'll respond to the post on my community website... suggestions are definitely appreciated! I find it ironic that on the same weekend that this topic arises on my community site, the Nibble gets blogs. For anyone wanting to keep undesirables like the Nibble from the 'Blog Neighborhood'.... too late ;-)