Thursday, February 15, 2007

Republicans claim living on the street is a 'choice.'

It's tough being homeless. Last week I reported on the dumping of a homeless paraplegic out onto the street with no wheelchair in Los Angeles by Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Today another shocking story comes out of San Francisco. And this time it highlights the hazard that people on the edge of society often face simply because they are easy targets.

Homeless woman burned to death in revenge for reporting to the police that she had been beaten and robbed.

SAN FRANCISCO - Two women were accused of soaking a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute with gasoline and burning her to death after she reported that one of them had robbed her.

Leslie "Jill" May, 49, was abducted from the street and killed at Candlestick Park the day she told the police that Mia Sagote, 30, robbed and beat her over a debt May's boyfriend owed, authorities said.

May's boyfriend owed money. So she was robbed to pay the debt. That already makes the case that homeless people can be a target, even for situations they haven't created. But then when she told the police-- well, we see what kind of people target them in the first place.

The irony is contained in the last paragraph of the story:

After being selected for a city program that tries to find services and housing for the chronically homeless, she got a place to live in the fall.

"She was permanently housed," Amyes said. "She was happy. She was successful. They were little baby steps. The average American would say that's nothing ... but to live inside successfully for six months was huge."

So she was moving ahead with her life. Until it was brutally snuffed out. Like so many, many others that we don't hear about.


Anonymous said...

Your title for the blog, "Republicans call living on the street a choice" is not appropriate since your blog doesn't quote one Republican who said that living as a homeless person is a choice.

Please give me an example of the Republican who said that homeless people are only homeless because they choose to be. I don't recall ever hearing or reading such a thing.

Eli Blake said...

That's easy.

What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and that is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless, you might say, by choice.

--Ronald Reagan (source.)

It was wrong then, and it's wrong now. But you hear Republicans like Rush Limbaugh and quite a few other conservatives mindlessly repeating this myth, because the great Reagan said it.

Anonymous said...

What? Why how could this happen in San Francisco? That liberal, blue utopia where everyone has flowers in their hair and is filled with love for their fellow human being (especially mayor Newsome, who is so full of love that he can't hold it in?) San Francisco, where even the Presa Canarios are filled with love and compassion towards their fellow creatures, and all live in peace and harmony under the benign, beneficient gaze of the Matron Saint Pelosi! I just don't understand how this could happen in such a wonderful place, I mean I thought this kind of stuff was supposed to only happen in places like Alabama and Texas. And then you tag-labelled 'San Francisco.' Oh, the agony!

Eli Blake said...

Hey, San Francisco is where it happened. There are some wonderful people who live there, and there are some horrible people who live there, just like anyplace else.

And just last month, San Francisco was named as the eleventh 'meanest' city for the homeless (which is actually an improvement from last year when it cracked the top ten.)

I'm glad the community there generally votes the right way in elections, but that isn't a reason to not criticize them when they need to be criticized.