Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hate Crimes: Bum Edition

Excerpts from Hate crime law may be expanded on The Daily Texan:
The bill, co-authored by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, could make attacks on the homeless equivalent to those dealing with race, religion and sexual orientation. It would require law enforcement to track crimes against the homeless — something few law enforcement agencies in the nation do at this time, said Michael Stoops, National Coalition for the Homeless executive director.

“It’s clear that [hate crimes] have been happening,” he said. “We think by adding homelessness, it will send both a symbolic and practical message that attacks against the homeless will not be tolerated.”

“We have crimes that are occurring with homeless involved all the time, but when we say hate crime, we try to be very clear that somebody has said, ‘You homeless bum,’ or something that indicates it’s been an act of hate because they’re homeless,” Troxell said.

House the Homeless also works toward raising minimum wage, set at $7.25 nationally, which Troxell said is not enough to cover basic living expenses.
“A full week at [minimum wage] and you won’t afford the basics of life in Austin and, without that ability, you’re going to end up homeless,” he said. “If you’re homeless and on the streets, then you’re subject to these atrocities where people conduct these hate crimes.”
I'm having a hard time believing this is serious. The article describes an incident in which some punks used a pellet gun on some homeless dudes downtown. Guess what...they were arrested and confessed to the crime they committed. So why exactly are our lawmakers wasting time to make a new law? How about stiffer penalties for the existing law if that's what is needed?

And does it really matter what they make the minimum wage? I don't really think a high percentage of the homeless population is trying very hard to work. They've already got more expensive medical care than me. They can get free meals and shelter so the only 'work' needed is just enough to cover drug and alcohol costs. And I'm told by my downtown source that many of the homeless accomplish this by: aggressive panhandling, acting as lookouts for drug dealers, and theft. If they really wanted to work they could easily show up at one of the many day-laborer hang outs and do some honest work.

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