There is an overwhelming sense that Seattle has done too much to encourage homelessness (particularly with the expansion of policies like this one). "Tent City" has spread so far that it's getting into the suburbs and from a residents perspective it's getting far worse not better. I have routinely seen people shooting up and smoking glass pipes (not marijuana) in broad daylight in the Downtown and Pioneer Square areas. There's shouting, theft, property crime at all hours of the night near my apartment (Though strangely compared to SF I know very few people who have had their cars broken into).
Regardless of the tone of this article, Seattle is not a model to follow, it's a cautionary tale.
The problem was, while not solved, massively improved by providing heroin to hardcore addicts
The only argument against it, really, is that it's morally wrong to hand out drugs to addicts. Leaving this argument aside the approach was (and is) widely successful. Not only for the city, as such, but also for the addicts who get a chance to stabilize their lifes, are much healthier and actually can hold down appartments and jobs.
A short read, a couple of pages. Extract:
The [heroin] addicts on prescriptions, by contrast, looked like the nurses or receptionists or Dr Marks himself. As a group, you couldn’t tell.
Faced with this evidence, Marks was beginning to believe that many ‘of the harms of drugs are to do with the laws around them, not the drugs themselves’. In the clinic, as Russell Newcombe tells me, they started to call the infections and abscesses and amputations ‘drug war wounds’. So Dr Marks began to wonder: if prescription is so effective, why don’t we do it more? He expanded his heroin prescription programme from a dozen people to more than 400.
The first people to notice an effect were the local police. Inspector Michael Lofts studied 142 heroin and cocaine addicts in the area, and he found there was a 93 per cent drop in theft and burglary. ‘You could see them transform in front of your own eyes,’ Lofts told a newspaper, amazed. ‘They came in in outrageous condition, stealing daily to pay for illegal drugs; and became, most of them, very amiable, reasonable law-abiding people.’ He said elsewhere: ‘Since the clinics opened, the street heroin dealer has slowly but surely abandoned the streets of Warrington and Widnes.’
One day a young mother called Julia Scott came into Dr Marks’s surgery and explained she had been working as a prostitute to support her habit. He wrote her a prescription, and she stopped sex work that day.
Just a perspective, not saying right or wrong.
Edit: added this:
And something nobody predicted took place. The number of heroin addicts in the area actually fell. Research published by Dr Marks in the Proceedings of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh compared Widnes, which had a heroin clinic, to the very similar Liverpool borough of Bootle, which didn’t — and found Widnes had 12 times fewer addicts.
I believe this to be quite self-evident. A heroin addict can be quite a succesful and functioning member in society, provided that she can maintain her habit, without the hassle that comes with bad quality drugs and the stress (and invariably crime), which is required to maintain the addiction.
That all falls away when the drug is made available cheaply, regularely and even paid for by health insurance.
(1) The drugs shouldn't have been prescribed in the first place. This system was creating the cycle of dependence, not attempting to manage it.
(2) Oxy and other opiates were prescribed for specific medical issues rather than recreationally. That leads to drug-seeking behavior once the normal course of treatment wears off, and eventually when cut off from legitimate supply, illicit alternatives.
The oxycontin crazy created opiate addicts in droves because it was given out virtually unchecked to non addicts.
This doesn't deter. Besides, most folks don't intend to get addicted and only a portion do. Many more can use opiates medicinally or recreationally without addiction.
It seems decriminalisation works. Safety nets help. Offering free, medical-based addiction help would help. Prudent disussions with doctors when using opiate main meds would help - you know, what to watch out for with addiction, help if it happens, and not treating folks like criminals the rest of their lives if it happens.
I'd personally advocate legalisation of most drugs, even if I wouldn't do them, just to keep folks safe.
It seems hard to argue that supporting someone's heroin habit wouldn't incur a higher than normal cost for healthcare?
> The painful truth
You're immediately claiming truth. That blocks other viewpoints. Also 'painful' which is a weasel word.
> people who actively use drugs
as opposed to passively use them?
> and decimate their bodies
you presuppose what they do 'decimate' their bodies. Maybe they do but it's a bit short on facts innit. And related, does taking copious amounts of alcohol (which I agree does damage bodies) count, what with alcohol being legal and socially acceptable?
> when provided a steady supply of drugs will simply die sooner?
A presumption, although one I'd have real trouble disputing. But facts are needed here.
> It seems hard to argue
dude, more weasel words!
> that supporting someone's heroin habit wouldn't incur a higher than normal cost for healthcare
The article gives examples of higher healthcare (and police) costs for not supporting them. Quite explicitly.
"when provided a steady supply of drugs will simply die sooner" and "incur a higher than normal cost for healthcare" may be incorrect - they may die sooner thus saving the NHS money because pensions and extended healthcare due to old age are avoided. I understand this argument has been made for smoking; smokers are claimed to cost less than non-smokers. I'll see if I can find a proper study for this.
> you presuppose what they do 'decimate' their bodies. Maybe they do but it's a bit short on facts innit. And related, does taking copious amounts of alcohol (which I agree does damage bodies) count, what with alcohol being legal and socially acceptable?
It's pretty hard to get Hepatitis C, AIDS, pulmonary infections, or collapsed veins from a few mixed drinks or beers...
> It's pretty hard to get Hepatitis C, AIDS, pulmonary infections, or collapsed veins from a few mixed drinks or beers...
I won't argue with the collapsed veins I guess, I don't know if there's a way to avoid that. I didn't know that pulmonary infections were associated with heroin, thanks for the info.
The other stuff is - I presume, and you may disagree - a product not of the drug but of the contaminants and circumstances. Hep & aids from shared needles (and see my other comment, <https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20165469> actually I presume it was shared needles, she was female so it may have been from prostitution). A proper needle exchange facility will fix that, perhaps.
Bad stuff certainly can happen from booze, stories like this <https://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-poisonous-mix-in-in... keep cropping up over the years from India. It's the contaminants which kill. There may have been similar stories from US prohibition but I can only find this <http://www.1920-30.com/prohibition/prohibition-poison.html> but it's actually from that age so its honesty may be suspect.
Regarding the debating style, it comes with practice - keep it up and all the best!
Society saves money with heroin programs, see "Chapter 4: Economic evaluation of supervised
injectable heroin treatment" of http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/attachements.cfm/att_154996_EN_H...
My guess is that since we already have studies where people are given heroin as a form of rehabilitation, there should also be some studies about the cost of such programs. Wish someone could share some of them.
Why would ?
Look up Purdue Pharma and their colleagues. Pay attention to the shenagigans they applied to get millions of Americans hooked.
Argueably the only difference between that lot and your average street dealer is that the street dealer doesn't buy himself a bunch of politicians.
You really don't. You seem like a straight-laced individual, if I told you heroin were legal in the US tomorrow would you go get some? I seriously doubt it. Anyone who wants it can already get it. Anyone not using isn't going to start due to legalization.
You know what legal thing I hear is fun but bad for you? Autoerotic asphyxiation -- but you don't see me hanging from the ceiling fan.
I urge you to research the Portuguese model, where all drugs were decriminalized to massive success .
Also, don't forget to mention that Norway is currently running a test program to give free heroin to its addicts.
(2) As of October 2018 (shortly before legalization) 47% of all Canadians have tried pot.  Now that it's legal, people are just more willing to fess up to it. Again, it's nothing they couldn't get before if they'd wanted it. Further  shows that the percentage of people smoking pot in Canada did not in fact increase after legalization.
I understand that about 60% of heroin users can use it recreationally in the way you or I would have a few drinks then stop because we know our limit.
That figure came from a letter in mewscientist mag but I can't find it, so treat with skepticism. I get the impression its reputation for certain and terrible addiction is the from anti-drugs campaigns and they aren't reliable, by design.
I can guarantee you that if this were to be attempted in SF, they would have to have the drugs administered by medical staff. They couldn't just hand heroin and crack to the patients. Pimps and dealers would send in mules to get drugs that could be resold for cash. That would also probably cause human trafficking to surge.
Portugal's efforts to reduce addiction and homelessness sound great too, but those won't work here either. We need to find solutions that are workable for our culture... or wait for our culture to change.
As they do in the UK I believe. I was once in a branch of boots IIRC (boots is a UK pharmacist) in a midlands city where there was plenty of drugs problem. A rattily-dressed guy came in and they gave him half a measuring cup of some thick green liquid which he drank in half a minute, while he chatted with them. They were watching him carefully, 2 of the pharmacists.
I dunno but I guess that was methadone.
There's no reason to assume that they'd simply hand out the stuff, and if it was by medical staff who expected to be taken as they watched, that's ok I think.
I can guarantee you that if this were to be attempted in SF, they would have to have the drugs administered by medical staff. They couldn't just hand heroin and crack to the patients.
I'm not sure about the logistics, but don't think they're that complicated. Getting into those programs is tied to quite stringent conditions. Like a certain age barrier and a number of attempts to go clean. I'd wager that there's more prescribed Ritalin resold on the black market than heroin obtained through those programs.
In one sense I believe it was fundamentally successul: It turned the drug from having a "hero image" in the 70s and 80s into a complete loser drug.
Harm reduction is one of the pillars in treatment of addiction, which now is widely and generally accepted. Proven by two referendums in which the public had a say on the issue. And harm reduction is unarguably a good thing, when it comes to addiction.
Who they are going to resell them to?
He functioned more or less fine all things considered, but used to get a little more than he needed and would trade the excess for weed with a guy who used occasionally.
They were only small amounts, and it was methadone rather than heroin so all of those caveats apply, but the situation seemed harmless enough to me at the time.
I remember that sometimes he'd be a little more out of it than normal, though, and it was when he'd have his supervised "usual" dose as a part of the program rather than the takeaway prescription.
Not sure why the weed dealer didn't get on the program himself, but I don't know what's involved -- maybe he really was one of the mythical recreational users, or maybe he was selling it on (seems unlikely in such small amounts, but that would depend on how many people he had that same arrangement with).
Give out only some milligrams of decent, even "organic" stuff per person, once every day - and the logistics will make it impossible to export any amount worth it, even at the todays prices.
Drugs are recreational. By outlawing, or otherwise restricting drugs, a government admits to a decision to not provide environment and opportunities for recreation, or any other affordable opportunity for fullfillment.
By not removing those restrictions entirely, it admits it still desires the resulting oppression. So it's pointless.
This isn't an excuse to do the right thing, though. I'm sure they've said it about gay marriage, integration of schools, and marriage between "races", women voting, and so on. Culture will move forward.
That would be because Dr Marks can't see himself. The difference between a high functioning, long term heroin addict and everyone else is that the heroin addicts require large support staffs that keep them high functioning.
Not really. They require their regular fixes, but are then able to be quite functional, if highly addicted.
Where the requirement for significant resources come in is initially, vetting an addict for eligeability to enter the program.
After that it's only a question of controling the distribution. Pharmacies can function quite well as gate keepers in the process.
These do not constitute such a large portion of the population that you can say that folks who do not require them are rare. If anything it's the opposite.
The point I make is that heroin addicts require everything that everyone else requires, plus medical support staff that provide them with cheap and safe sources to feed their addiction. Equating this with the tools of the trade of medical professionals is absurd.
Pharmacies serve quite well and rather cost efficient for this purpose. It's not really that far away of their core business of dispensing prescrition drugs. The substance is different, but the logistics are exactly the same.
You may think that pharmacy robberies are a concern, but it's not really an issue. I accept that this may not universally be the case.
These systems are already in place. Maybe I'm being presumptuous but they have pharmacies where you come from, right?
If they didn't need to rob for their habit then the large 'support staff' of police is reduced.
You seem to have ignored the facts in the article. That, or there's more about your position that is not obvious, perhaps you know or have worked with some addicts and have additional experience I haven't?
Is there any doubt, then, about who is bankrolling support for prohibition and why?
There is a heroin addict that lives on one street I use to walk to work. He can't have more than a few years to live, he's as broken as humans get. The street he lives on is littered with literally hundreds of his used needles across bus stops, gardens, yards, paths. He defecates on the street and in bags that he leaves around.
Letting people do this legally, which Seattle now de facto does, is not appropriate.
That’s sort of how addiction works. Drugs are a lot of fun and feel good for a long time and that lets you ignore negative consequences way past the point that someone not on drugs would make a change in their life.
People who are addicted to heroin would rather do heroin in a muddy ditch than be sober in a 5 star hotel.
The psychological problems that lead to addiction of any kind are very deep. The addiction itself is just a symptom.
What this decision is - is just a declaration of "let's stop fighting symptoms, maybe that will allow us to see the root problem".
You are correct that most of them had hard lives to begin with. Happy people with strong support networks don’t tend to use heroin, I wouldn’t think.
Their addictions would be better managed if they lived anywhere but the street.
> They don't want to live in shelters.
They don't want to live in dry shelters.
> They want to live in a tent and shoot heroin.
No, they want to shoot heroin, and when given the option between tent and heroin, versus a dry shelter, they'll take the former.
That doesn't mean that they wouldn't prefer having a managed addiction, and not living on the streets. 
There are people with therapists, homes, loving families, and good jobs, that are also opiate addicts. They have a hard enough time breaking their addictions. In light of that, condemning someone living in a tent by the on-ramp for failing to just drop their addiction, so they can live in a shelter is lunacy.
 Yes, there is a small percentage of the homeless population that can't reasonably be housed, period, regardless of whether their addictions are managed. I'm not talking about them - I'm talking about everyone else.
> "And just moves the costs elsewhere" / "the good old 'bus them out of town, let them be someone else's problem' non-solution."
> "The King County homeless census found the overwhelming majority of homeless in the area were living in the area before becoming homeless."
It's pretty obvious both aren't true. Either Seattle's homeless are produced primarily by Seattle, or Seattle's homeless supply is from other cities. If the homeless are coming from other cities, that supports the idea that Seattle is making itself attractive to the nation's homeless (and should stop doing that.) If Seattle's homeless are predominately from Seattle, not other cities, then Seattle should seek to emulate cities that produce fewer homeless.
Personally I believe the later theory is false. I don't believe that most of the homeless in Seattle are originally from Seattle. However many in Seattle buy into that narrative. I think Seattle is filled with homeless because other cities kick them out and Seattle welcomes them with open arms.
The way to do that is to just stop having well-paid jobs be created.
Are you suggesting that gentrification from an influx of out of state people looking for work are to blame?
But in a more direct sense, I think this all requires the government to take some sort of ownership over these people. That is to say, you are not free to live on the streets. Depending on your state (e.g. down on luck, or ill, or addicted), the treatment is different. We may have more holding centers for the government to keep people against their will who otherwise would use heroin and live on our streets. We could have some mechanism for them to go up for 'parole' so to speak, every 6-12 months. Otherwise they are treated humanely and given make-work type projects (e.g. farming or wood-working), or the opportunity to learn, should they take it.
Of course if they are truly severely mentally ill, they will just be taken care of by the government.
But none of this starts until we all agree that it is, ultimately, illegal to abuse drugs, sleep, and shit, on the streets of a city. Once we can agree on that, we can explore a entire solution set closed off from us.
Unfortunately, the 9th circuit doesn't... share my views.
So you’re proposing we turn addicts into slaves. Interesting.
The fundamental reason I suggested that is humans, particularly the type who suffer from mental illness or lack the ability to care for themselves, to the extent they end up destitute and addicted living in filth and on the sidewalk, require some sort of structure imposed on them. In the past that was done by the family, in our current world many of these family bonds are, sadly, falling apart.
Putting people in an asylum, only to sit around on a bed all day and take copious amounts of anti-psychotics is a miserable existence. Having the opportunity, if one chooses, to engage in meaningful work, can provide structure and meaning to life.
I'd prefer to think of it more as a therapeutic sort of work program, where those under conservatorship by the state learn how to live with structure, learn what it means to make something, and could even be compensated for their efforts.
In my mind at least, I am contrasting the reward of a hard days work tending to, say, an organic vegetable garden, with the mundane horror of sitting on a bed in between distributions of anti-psychotic medicine.
I hope my clarification gives you more context to realize I'm not suggesting slavery.
Why would it matter what they prefer? The homeless person in the parent post is clearly breaking multiple laws, is a public nuisance and a health hazard. We can optimize society so that people like that are happy or we can optimize society for people who aren't a constant burden on others. There should be intense societal pressure to not do these things. Have you been to Seattle or SF lately? Their homeless problem is out of control compared to places like New York that took a more aggressive and productive stance toward dealing with the homeless.
However, the one thing that won't get him in trouble is just having heroin in his pocket. All the other problems you list are still illegal.
It's effectively legal to trespass, scream, and use drugs openly in Seattle.
Now, in addition to the above, if someone has illicit narcotics, the police won't arrest them.
This has become a situation where our police, who want to do their job, are being effectively restricted.
> we begin to strip people of their humanity and instead we look at them as simply statistics or an nuance.
Where I live, the groups of car campers (or often times falling apart RV's) seem to attract crime, drug use, theft, vandalism, etc. I stopped going to one park in the middle of a city with a large group of car campers, when I found a used syringe in the fenced in dog play area, and saw two different heroin deals go down while playing with my dog. (one of them involved prostitution right in the back seat of the car in the middle of a city park)
I have personally witnessed a car camper leave their vehicle and barefoot chase an ambulance in the road, screaming profanities at the ambulance (right across from houses with small children). Through their own profanity-laced words, the person was trying to start a fight with the ambulance. Any reasonable person would assume that this car camper was some combination of a) beyond high on some drug, or b) suffering from severe mental health issues (if so, please revoke their license and get him proper help?). My neighbors and I both witnessed the situation, and called the police. Five police cars show up, get a statement from the ambulance driver, and sit the camper down. After talking to the camper for about 5 minutes, the police left with no action.
This _exact_ same car camper 3 weeks later threw a stolen bike at a moving car, out of the blue. 1 week later, I again saw this car camper kicking cars that were stopped at a traffic light, all the while swearing profanities at them. This person is still on the street, likely ready to harass the next underserving victims.
Here's another experience, which you might just write off as another anecdote. I was with my pregnant wife for a normal pregnancy checkup. A person who again was either high or suffering severe mental problems was being restrained by hospital security for breaking the hospital entrance door. The reason? The person was screaming that "the door was not supposed to be guarded by an evil spirit". Again, this person was clear high or mentally ill, or some combination of the two. However, NO ONE, including THIS PERSON, benefits from being left on the streets.
Oh, another anecdote you might write off. I take the bus to work. One morning, there was a school field trip that shared this bus. There was another person on the bus who one might assume was homeless, but agreed, looks can be deceiving. This person was drinking from a handle of cheap vodka, and then spitting back into the bottle. In between swigs, the person was swearing. What a great environment for children. We need to feel compassion for these troubled people, and provide help, but that DOES NOT mean that we should normalize these harmful behaviors.
Anyways, just some first person anecdotes to balance this thread out. It's easy to preach when you're not the one raising children around these folks.
*edit for newline
West coast states have similar alternative drug courts and rehab available, but they are underutilized, because there is no prosecution in the regular court system and therefore no incentive.
Theoretically though, if someone were to state publicly that it was completely ineffective, will they still get the option to stay out of jail next time?
It's not that simple. (Problems are never that simple.) I live in Ballard which has a lot of people living out of RVs and tents. Many of those people don't cause problems for anyone, however, I have personally experienced:
* People shitting in our alley.
* People pissing on our garage.
* Someone shitting in a medical commode on the side of the road in broad daylight. (I admit a certain admiration for this person's self-confidence.)
* In the middle of the night, someone standing at our fence gazing into our kitchen for several minutes while gesticulating wildly.
* Furniture stolen from our front porch.
* Someone rifling through our trash. (Presumably for identity theft. In Seattle, food goes into separate compost bins.)
* Finding used needles on the lawn. (I have small children, so I had to teach them that the shiny bright orange plastic things are not toys.)
* Frequent fights and people screaming at each other at all hours of the night.
* Multiple car break-ins from car prowlers. My wife caught and yelled at one car prowler before they were able to get into one.
* When they people relocate, they typically leave a pile of trash and human waste behind. Often, RVs will dump their blackwater tank directly on the street or sidewalk. This is, obviously, a health issue.
This is just what has happened directly to my wife and I. Other nearby events:
* My neighbor owns an RV in his backyard. Someone broke into it and stole several things, including an urn containing his father's ashes. He chased after the guy, who responded by pulling a knife on him. 
* A couple of blocks away, someone was stabbed in the chest when they confronted someone slashing tires (in what I heard was some sort of turf disagreement).
* Another neighbor found a discarded gun in their bushes. They have small children too.
* Our neighbors are constantly finding trash that's been dumped in their bushes.
* Many neighbors have been screamed at, harassed, or assaulted by people that are either mentally ill, in the throes of meth psychosis, or both.
* Public parks that used to be places to play with the kids but now are effectively off-limits. 
All of this is just in a couple block radius, just in the past few years. And this is in a nice part of town. Residents in the city have had a lot of compassion and a lot of patience for many years, but the city has failed to actually come up with any effective solutions. In the past year or two, people have simply run out of. It's hard to get people to empathize with someone who is actively causing them harm.
Fundamentally, humans cannot safely live at urban density without access to the full range of residential services. You can't just "car camp". Humans produce waste. Without clean water, garbage pick up, and sewage services, each of those humans is a walking disease vector .
Safe injection sites are not a solution. If you don't address the crimes that addicts commit to afford drugs, then your injection site just becomes a crime magnet. Mental health and addiction treatment centers are good. Shelters are somewhat good but many homeless people choose not to use them because most shelters prohibit drug use.
It's not about jailing homeless people or drug addicts. It's about jailing people who repeatedly commit property or violent crime. The root cause is usually drugs, and should be treated as part of a solution. But, at the same time, other people in the city (including many other homeless people who are one of the most common victims of crime) need to be protected and feel safe. Being a drug addict should not be a blank check to steal from, vandalize, and assault people.
1. Safe injection sites, free drugs, and housing? This will solve most of your property crime + health issues, at high cost, and some moral hazard.
2. Safe injection sites and locking people up forever for property crime? If you ever let them out, without addressing the reasons for why they are breaking into cars, they'll be right back at it. This is also incredibly expensive.
3. No safe injection sites and some combination of the above? You get the same costs + problems, but also more overdoses.
4. Some other option?
1. The War on Drugs still exists, creating an expensive black market for addicts where they have to commit crimes to feed their addiction - money that goes to gangs/cartels. Researching treatments is difficult due to drug scheduling. Treatment options are limited (like "free drugs").
2. When a particular locality attempts to address these issues in a callous way (like busing), it "solves" the problem for locals, but of course the people still exist and just move to the next town that is not cutthroat. This leaves a disproportionate amount of the problem to those living in cities, where the most services/shelter options are available.
To truly solve the problem, we need to end the War on Drugs, build housing, and properly fund treatment centers on a national level.
Your first option is about as good as it can get when trying to solve this problem using local tools. Safe injection sites, methadone/similar, and housing are all far cheaper than just a subset of what the chronically/drug-addicted homeless cost already and they actually attempt to address the issues of addiction and homelessness. Without housing, drugs/treatment, and injection sites you get: people on the street buying from the black market spreading disease that have numerous emergency room visits and nights in jail, costing everyone far more money than the housing/treatment. But folks in cities will still be paying far more than their fair share to do so and they'll be treating a lot of outsiders from places that don't offer those services, but should - the causes of the problems will still exist elsewhere.
If you commit property or violent crime you go to jail. Rehabilitation services should be made available there.
Seattle, by itself, cannot solve the homeless problem, we can only hope to maintain it to some extent, many of its root causes are far outside of our city limits. 80% of our nation is paycheck to paycheck, until that changes neither will homelessness. We need more housing of all kinds immediately, even if it means imminent domain, and we need clean needle facilities. We also need to give the wealthiest employers in king county a choice, pay better wages or get taxed, and ownership and investors must take the pay cut and the cost cannot be passed to the consumer. Landlords need to have some limits, they are driving the costs up enormously. Free markets were supposed to be free from usury and rentiering, not protections for them.
King County has one of the highest minimum wages in the United States. There are several organizations giving out clean needles in King County. We are building new housing at a very rapid rate and many areas of the county were upzoned just this year so we can build even more housing.
To me your comment is asking for us to do more of what we are already doing, even though what we are doing is barely slowing the growth of homelessness. There is no amount of taxation on businesses the city, county and state can impose that will provide a home for everyone that needs it. This approach will not produce positive change.
Our national economy is a ponzi scheme, and our homeless are its primary victims. Until we solve the scheming, the homeless problem will only get worse.
The downtown spots have a high and constant density of mostly undangerous people, involved in low level anti social behavior.
White center has a low and volatile density of somewhat dangerous people, doing some nutty stuff. Just in the past few months, I can recall: A guy got his throat slit, while driving his car, because he had given his passenger's girlfriend a ride earlier. There was an armed robbery outside of Triangle. A 59 year old got shot in the bathroom of Tug on St Patrick's Day. I lived on 16th until recently, and would flip the scanner on every time I heard sirens, just to keep a pulse. It's not chicago, but it's legitimately dicey sometimes.
With that said, I agree that we need more housing, though I think seattle is doing an excellent job of that compared to SF, and it's reflected in the flattening rent prices. We could be doing more, though. No reason we can't have significant multistory buildings in west seattle.
However, I still think we're in pretty dire straits:
> The report finds, in 2018, that 61% of adults would cover a $400 unexpected expense using cash (or its equivalent). Politicians and many in the media seem to be subtracting 61 from 100, and concluding that 39% of people, to use Warren’s phrase, “can’t come up with” the money they’d need to handle this situation.
> Instead, as the Fed report makes clear, though “the remaining 4 in 10 adults” “would have more difficulty covering such an expense,” many of them would be able to make it work by carrying a credit card balance or borrowing from friends and family."
That's still really bad. 39% of people can't cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing money from someone else, or effectively taking out a loan at 20%+ interest.
And the 12-14% figure for people who actually would be unable to come up with that $400 via any means is also troubling.
I guess the key question is, does the other 39% not have liquid assets to cover it and thus have to take on debt, or would they choose to cover it for other reasons? I have $400 in the bank but would likely put it on a credit card because I don't like carrying that much cash nor using my debit card (to reduce risk of it being leaked). So would I be in the 39% or the 61%?
Important to note that it’s often a funnel, homelessness -> addiction, so you have to work on both sides.
I don’t have the perfect solution, nobody seems to, but Seattle and a few other cities seem to be going down the wrong path with vigor.
Probably lots of room to cut costs too.
We can discuss this with no implication that there's a static amount of soda consumption in the world, or that people want to be obese from consuming it. We understand life is a series of choices, "when to consume sugary drinks" makes up some of them, and that by disincentivizing that choice, people are more likely to choose a different beverage.
Nobody "chooses" homelessness, but like anything else, becoming / staying homeless often is the result of numerous choices, some of which are easier than others for various reasons. When you artificially remove bad consequences from some of those choices, it is not surprising that those choices are made more often.
> Nobody "chooses" homelessness, but like anything else, becoming / staying homeless often is the result of numerous choices, some of which are easier than others for various reasons. When you artificially remove bad consequences from some of those choices, it is not surprising that those choices are made more often.
Consuming soda is just one way people can become obese. The problem is obesity. If you are an obese person, you may not really be able to "just stop" being obese, but if policy leads to people choosing healthier beverages, it helps fight obesity.
...and the opposite is true, too. It would not be difficult to imagine what might happen if we subsidized soda until it was free, for example. Except we probably wouldn't have advocates claiming that because nobody wants to be obese, the incentives can't possibly be affecting the increase in soda consumption.
The issue with drugs (as opposed to soda) is that the illegality in itself a lot of times tends to make people homeless by heavily limiting their hosing/employment/etc. perspectives. De-incentivizing drug consumption by heavily taxing them and making the proceeds go towards rehabilitation for addicts and helping those people get on their feet and find employment? I am with you on that. But I cannot really support, in good conscience, punishing drug users to the point where they are pushed to become homeless.
To a large extent I agree with your point here, but these cities are well beyond simply not punishing drug users.
Mobile safe injection sites, needle exchange programs, cash handouts, unfettered defecation in streets, naloxone handouts, lack of enforcement of petty crimes like vehicle break-ins and theft. There are plenty of policy decisions being made here that affect the choices people make, and none of that even touches on actually enforcing drug laws.
Moral and financial cases can be made for any of the above, and we can debate that, but to me it's really drinking the Kool-Aid to claim these don't encourage homelessness. They certainly make it easier to make bad decisions that can start or keep you on the track of homelessness.
This does seem to be a topic that is (for whatever reason) very difficult to have a straightforward conversation about.
There was a talk by a finance minister from singapore who was asked about his country's social safety net, and he replied to the effect of: we don't have a net, we have a trampoline.
Enforcing vagrancy laws might.
Adding support for an activity provides extrinsic motivation for doing something.
Basically, cities get what they pay for. If you pay for homelessness you get it.
That said, I'm not saying we shouldn't help people, but that we should make sure that whatever support we provides guides people towards self sufficiency and not dependence.
“The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber, ... To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America.” – FDR 1935
Therefore, ppl who would otherwise being in jail for crimes are living on the streets.
There was a documentary about this done by a local Seattle TV station. I don't know how reliable it is, but at the end it actually gave fairly humanitarian and progressive solution to the problem, despite spending most of the show arguing lax and progressive policing attitudes created the problem to begin with 
 by, a criminal being more likely to become homeless, or by desperation driving the homeless to crime
 Their proposed solution, inspired by a program in RI (? maybe ME), is to treat drug addiction as a disease to be treated by having effective programs.
One approach includes both reward / consequence. In this model, things like theft, various forms of violence particularly in shelter or public housing violence, even taking over extremely large areas of public space (ie, 3-4 tents plus dogs plus...) results in consequences, while avoiding issues along the above lines results in rewards (ie, eligibility for service or additional service). In addition, these approaches tend to also consider impact on the non-homeless (ie, prison time linked arguably with a reduced risk of property crime)
Other models are focused primarily on making life as bearable as possible for the homeless - basically the straight service model. Under this model, resources are provided and consequences are reduced in the event to solve homelessness.
Some folks going through the tougher love systems (ie, jail vs rehab etc) say good things, other folks ask how can homelessness be criminalized and focus primarily on reducing risk of govt involvement (this can also save money in some cases - prison is expensive, rehab is expensive etc).
While I can't speak to the truth of the belief that people are actively moving to Seattle, I can say that there's little incentive for someone to follow basic property or drug laws in this city.
EDIT: To your point on how this differs from "Homeless people are lazy" I guess the idea is that we've created a situation where there are even more factors pushing homeless individuals to the streets and suburbs of Seattle, that Seattle has made homelessness more attractive in a sense.
Again, I find this logic to be extremely confusing. How related is "car camping" to Seattle's homeless? Is there some implication that the majority of them have cars they sleep in? Or am I missing something there?
As for the incentive to follow basic property or drug laws, again, how does that encourage homelessness? I could understand if you argued it encourages crime, but why homelessness?
The only remaining argument is basically "this encourages already homeless people to move to Seattle", which I can see being a problem, but of a different kind. It shares certain aspects with the immigration-related problems: in both cases, it's an effect of a deeper underlying problem that acts as a root cause and should be solved.
Car camping is intended to be as shown at ; no more than a few days, tidy, and not overflowing with garbage and sewage. These campers are here to do pre-game tailgate parties for the nearby stadium.
However, largely because Seattle doesn't enforce limits on car camping, that same street will soon look like . This is a small permanent homeless camp that will remain at this location for months. The trash pile across the street will grow and attract vermin. Eventually, after weeks of health issues, sometimes fires and other illegality, the city will do a 'sweep'.
These sweeps are problematic on their own, since it is obviously dehumanizing to chase people out of their homes. They're also depressingly impermanent. The  location had been recently swept before the Google car came through. It already looks like .
This brings us back to CodeMage's first question:
> At a first glance, it looks like a passive aggressive implication that homeless people, if they just tried harder, wouldn't be homeless.
This is effectively what you're arguing. That homeless people just need to try harder. Or you're arguing that you don't care if they're homeless as long as they're not near you.
In Seattle, there are a lot of people living in tents, cars, and temporarily-parked RVs. They all get lumped under "homeless" because they don't have permanent addresses or access to municipal services.
> The only remaining argument is basically "this encourages already homeless people to move to Seattle", which I can see being a problem, but of a different kind.
It's really hard to get good data on this, but, yes, there is a widely shared belief that Seattle gets more than it's "fair share" of the country's homeless epidemic because we have a lot of compassionate people, services, and, increasingly, lax law enforcement. Talk to any local and they'll tell you anecdotes about other counties or even states buying people one-way bus tickets to Seattle so that it's not their problem any more. It's hard to tell how much of that is urban legend.
Okay sure, but the data we have indicates that it's not true, and yet people like yourself insist that it is. In a world where my options are to a) make my best guess based on imperfect data, or b) make something up that fits my worldview, it seems like the correct thing to do would be a, but you're going with b.
> states buying people one-way bus tickets to Seattle so that it's not their problem any more
Ironically, this is effectively the approach people in this thread are arguing for, except without the bus ticket.
I absolutely did not. Did you read my comment carefully?
> Ironically, this is effectively the approach people in this thread are arguing for, except without the bus ticket.
Another irony: you're lumping all homeless people — criminals and victims — into the same bucket, which is the criticism many homeless advocates have of "NIMBYs". What I think many people in this thread are saying is that repeated offending criminals should be locked up. Some of those people happen to be homeless, but I don't see comments in this thread arguing that non-criminal homeless people should be discarded.
Shouldn't the city do something to dispel that perception, y'know, such as enforcement of vagrancy laws?
I'm pretty sure it's better for society overall for the homeless population to be widely distributed than concentrated in one place.
> would try harder to [...] move to another location.
I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me. The best data we have indicates that most homeless people are from the area, so I don't think there's any evidence to support the idea that people are moving here from elsewhere.
The idea that homelessness is "attractive" is even more absurd. Do you seriously believe that if we just criminalized people a bit more, they'd simply stop choosing to be homeless?
You seem to be arguing for criminalising poverty. That's going to work just as well as criminalising stupidity, short-sightedness, death, or losing your car keys.
The only solution is exactly the kind of thing this article is talking about. Providing consoling / rehab services and helping people turn their lives around one by one. There is no blanket solution.
As a kid I caught busses every day on 3rd Ave without a problem, and yes, the same open drug dealing still happens at 3rd & Pine (by the crackDonalds), but that has been going on since before I moved here in 2003. When I transfer there now, not much has changed in terms of the people you'll see.
The level of danger hasn't changed, but the homelessness crisis has worsened and become much more visible as we fenced off the underside of bridges, replaced parking in the inner suburbs with bike lanes (in large part to push the van dwellers out) and rent has increased. We have an opioid crisis that is going untreated, high rents and few middle income jobs.
Our society is stratifying badly between the 90% that is getting poorer every year (and feels no hope) and the 10% that are able to afford rent in prime cities.
Indiscriminately firing a gun into a crowd of people seems like something that a reasonable person should be wary of.
Your sole citation is a single shooting from three years ago.
The City of Seattle publishes actual geolocated statistics. Feel free to rummage around those and make a real case.
The block on 3rd between Pike and Pine is the second most dangerous on KIRO's compiled list when looking at violent crime in Seattle according to those statistics. It looks like this data is from 2010-2013.
I also can't find geolocated statistics - the best data I can see is at the beat level here: https://data.seattle.gov/Public-Safety/Crime-Data/4fs7-3vj5
You sound like you know more about this than I, can you point me in the right direction?
FYI there is a live crime map, along with an interface to search older reports if you wander around seattle.gov
The live map only shows the last 24 hours, and links to the data I provided above for anything older than 24 hours. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place for data which has more specificity in the location tied to it.
Pioneer Square, however... whole different story.
The only viable answer is programs like what this article is talking about. Providing consoling/rehab services and helping people turn their lives around one at a time. There is no blanket solution. These are individuals that are suffering and trapped in a cycle.
If you think violently oppressing the already downtrodden is a good solution please leave and go to another city. This is probably not the place for you.
They have not reached consensus on what to replace the deterrents with, so now there is a void and no oxygen to even criticize the outcome.
The goal is to provide incentives to get sober but not ruin someone’s job prospects forever for being addicted.
That is Hollywood, not reality. Tossing happy drunks into cells to sober up overnight is not a thing.
(1) There are no happy drunks. The drunks cops arrest are loud and aggressive. Often the physical act of arresting them results in more violent behavior.
(2) "Drunk" is not a thing for cops. They don't know if the person has had too many beers or had just taken LSD, or both. If they assume a person is simply drunk, and that person dies in the cell of an overdose, the cops will be responsible because they isolated that person. Cops are forced to treat intoxicated persons is more like patients than a 'drunks'.
(3) Mental health problems can look like, or at least exacerbate, intoxication. Cops cannot casually lock people up under the assumption they are dunk when in all likelihood they may be a non-drunk person in the middle of an episode. So cops must test people, evaluate them to determine what is at play. That takes time/money.
(4) Police cells are not happy places. They aren't private 8x4s with a soft cot. Spend a night in an LA lockup. You will not be getting much sleep. Casually throwing hundreds of drunk people into that mix will not help.
Assuming this is just about happy drunks, businesses that get people drunk and let them loose on the streets share the responsibility. We cannot allow bars and liquor stores, and their patrons, to rely on a pleasant police force ready to keep drunk people safe after the bar closes. If a bar is going to serve someone to the point of arrest-worthy intoxication they must contribute to the cost of keeping that person safe.
I saw a BBC doc yesterday about drinking in the UK. They have stores selling 3-liter bottles of 7.5% cider for four dollars. That is ridiculous. 3-liter bottles of dirt-cheap alcohol, cheaper than coke, are not bought by happy social drinkers. Any store selling those knows what it is doing.
Speak for yourself! The Strongbow 2-litre (sadly now £3-00 but was definitely closer to £2-00 back in 2000's) was the staple of many the happy teenager.
There’s a drinking game called Edward ciderhands where you tape a bottle to each hand and try to drink them both before going to the toilet.
The hardest part of Edward Fourtyhands is that you’ve got to consume 80oz of strong malt liquor without peeing. Or... figuring out some way to unzip your pants...
Alcohol is deeply embedded in French and German culture (and surely other nations) - I have seen a 3 year old sipping some beer in Munich in a beer house. Amusingly, neither of the countries really has binge drinking culture as the UK or US has so
>but we set drinking ages for a reason
is not really true...
I know at least 30 friends, family, fraternity brothers, and classmates who were arrested for being drunk in college or minor possession of alcohol for doing something stupid and being too young.
I also know people who had drug habits when they were 18/19 and were arrested for drugs. Some quit college immediately because they knew their job prospects would be limited.
Last time I went to a baseball
game someone got arrested for having a thc vape. It’s a felony in my state.
Context and witnesses matter as well. There's a big difference between the police being called to handle drunks at a sports event and a passer by calling 911 to report someone intoxicated on the street. There's no context for the latter.
Or have certain areas where police don’t arrest people like the wire? I think we will have homeless camps we can’t get rid of.
If you’re going to decriminalize something you need to provide services or incentives to get people to stop using drugs.
If you’re shooting up on your porch, outside, at work in your car, someone where in public it should be a crime. The drug shouldn’t be illegal but the act should be illegal in public.
But I would say that cops should not be arresting people simply for being drunk in their own homes, or in the very businesses that intoxicated them. Arrest people who are violent, not simply anyone who is drunk.
I would argue that nobody is responsible for your bad decisions but you. Additionally, your logic leads to some absurd conclusions.
Should we also go after the farmers and distillers that make the alcohol because their product might be misused? Where does the chain of accountability end?
If we accept your premise that individuals are not wholly responsible for themselves, then you can arbitrarily blame anyone for anything if you try hard enough. Maybe you should get fined for shopping at the same liquor store that got that person drunk. You supported the business even though you knew what it was doing. Maybe the UPS driver that makes deliveries there should be fined. He knew what he was doing.
For another example, I think most people would agree that the author of an open source library should not be liable for damages if someone uses their code to write a virus. Why should physical goods be different?
Alcohol is heavily taxed in most jurisdictions - usually more so when served for consumption on the premises.
TABC was out of control back then though.
Hahahahaha! <knee slap> Good one!
Police can shoot unarmed people in the back with impunity.
What gives you the idea they give a fuck about drunk / drugged people in their “care”.
Edit to add: I’m not being hyperbolic here, they don’t care, particularly if you’re an Aboriginal Australian:
A 2018 investigation found that over half of the Indigenous people who died in custody since 2008 had not been found guilty. In Australia, all deaths in custody trigger an inquest. In general, there has been a lack of action on recommendations arising from inquests, including the recommendations made as part of the 1987 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
As if being guilty excuses a death in custody. How absurd!
I love (/s/hate/) these kinds of generalizations that are broad to the point of inaccuracy.
Let's try some more.
Cops arrest mothers.
Cops arrest loved ones.
Cops arrest wives and husbands
Cops arrest innocent people.
Cops kill all of the above.
These statements aren't false, but they paint an inaccurate portrayal of the world. I hope you know that statements like that create genuine animosity towards both sides of the coin, cop or criminal.
Before Thatcher alcohol was widely available - in pubs. There were not corner stores and supermarkets selling the stuff everywhere. If you wanted take out beer to drink at home you bought it from the 'off license' bit of a pub. If you wanted wine you went to a specialist wine shop that would not be open all hours.
Now the thing that is going on in the USA is a lot of drug taking at quite an unusual level compared to what goes on in Europe.
Drugs in the UK exist but not in an epidemic. Teenagers and students smoke weed and then move on. In America the view of weed is that it is kids stuff, drugs start with white powders and things people stick into their veins. It is at a whole different level and quite terrifying.
It is a winner takes all capitalist society in America. That is where the drug problem comes from. Socialist republics (not that there any) don't have this problem.
Why? Most of my drinking has been done at home _in groups_ with retail bought alcohol. I don't see this is a problem. If anything, might not the opposite be true? You're encouraging people who want a drink to go out, increasing the risk of them being a nuisance to other people, and increasing the risk of them drink-driving.
this is not at all true from my understanding of MDMA usage in the UK
Thats sounds great except
1. Accusing the police of questionable arrest tactics, mistreatment, death while in police custody (even from lack of treatment) is already a PR issue that has caused huge public outcry.
2. Overdosing and sobering up isn't strictly safe on alcohol or on opioids. Where drug overdoses are a top killer in society right now.
3. Homeless and drug addled people don't have the cash to pay a small cash fine. They just spent it on their last score, or the only cash they have is stolen or pan handled. And if they don't have the money to pay, you've just criminalized them more or put them further into a debt they will never pay.
4. Denial is the first sign of a problem. Sure, tell a stranger to go to rehab. Thanks to the undoing of forced institutionalizing, that's all you can offer.
It's the same with alcohol, I can legally walk or drive around with a sealed container during transport. If I open that container in public and drink from it, I am breaking the law.
I 100% agree that possession of any drug should not lead to automatic arrest. But public consumption should not go unpunished nor should it be encouraged. Though, what is a good compromise for punishing public consumption? I say confiscate the drugs and paraphernalia while offering help as a good start. Arresting them just wastes time and money as once released they will go right back to doing what got them there in the first place. Jail is useless, they need a complete reboot in life which is extraordinarily difficult. I have no solution for that as there is no one size fits all approach.
Life isn't like in college full of debauchery and little of how our actions affect others . The public space is a space where we all have the responsibility to ensure that our enjoyment doesn't trample on others. Including:
- Not speeding on a street. (it's not a road, it's a street)
- Cleaning up for yourself
- Not making a nuisance of yourself
- Not taking drugs/booze at the playground 
- Ignoring the "dogs on a leash" or "no dogs allowed" sign
 Don't worry. If you're intoxicated or doing drugs in my kids playground, I'm calling the police. Why does my kid have to dodge your drunk ass or your syringes to get to the slide?
there's a difference between a guy quietly enjoying a beer on a park bench and a drunk plowing through children on a playground. you don't need a blanket ban on public use just to have an excuse to arrest people who are actually harming others. unless you're arguing that the mere sight of people being on drugs/alcohol harms you. in that case I propose that we also make it illegal not to bathe. dirty people make public spaces "unliveable" for me.
Number of times I've been driven from a train, street car or bus because someone's BO was goning to make me barf, dozens.
Number of times I've been driven from a train, street car or bus because someone was using drugs, 0.
I've literally had my kid with me when someone's been injecting in a public space and while it wasn't my favorite moment in life it still wasn't a big deal. He asked me about it and I explained that the man was injecting something like medicine but that it is mostly not good like medicine usually is. And I explained that he probably shouldn't be doing it there but that he probably couldn't think right and no longer understood when it was appropriate to do something like that.
My kid understood and as far as I can tell and was not traumatized. Literally he got over something most adults can't and he's 7. Why? Because instead of going into grossed out, full panic, cover your virgin eyes mode I explained it, with words.
Imagine a kid, who has vivid memories of getting vaccinated and anyways knows sharp things are terribly painful, seeing a guy stick a needle in his arm. That's the stuff kid's nightmares are made for.
I'll give my kid (as young as two) a bill to give a homeless. I don't want them ever to not see the humanity of any individual. But I do not accept that their innocence is stolen from them!
To me, the benefit of sheltering my child is not worth the cost of forcing hundreds to thousands of people a month through the criminal justice system which will invariably make their entire lives much worse.
For now, that dichotomy represents our options. I will support state intervention when people are ready to let the government intercede in less life impacting ways and people are willing to put significant money behind some public interventions other than imprisonment.
But I will not advocate contribution to the ruination of lives to save myself or my child some unpleasantness.
For certain things, it's reasonable to police Behavior A rather than Behavior B. One could imagine speeding not being illegal, and punishing people extra for accidents if they were speeding. Society quite reasonably chooses to enforce the behavioral norms at an earlier stage. Likewise, if your kid almost steps on a syringe in a park (this is not uncommon in D.C.), what do you do? Arrest the guy who dropped it there?
I don't mind a quiet beer in public spaces. It's one of the things I enjoy about Savanah GA. But Americans (I'm not) seem unable to quietly enjoy a beer in a public spaces without becoming obnoxiously drunk.
Did I feel unsafe? Yes. These streets were also filled with seemingly average-joe locals who did not give a damn about any of the things I saw that freaked me out, though, and I saw cops a few times that day (not just the ones who showed up for what I'm assuming was an OD a few blocks from me), so I figured statistically, at least during the day, it probably wasn't that unsafe...
Yes, I saw people setting up to smoke crack on the sidewalk of a busy street. Yes, I saw a man making sure there weren't air bubbles in his needle. Yes, the detritus if drug paraphernalia was everywhere. Yes, I walked right past the front door of a crack den blaring music, with trash (largely composed of burnt foil) piling up around doors and windows. Yes, there were used needles all over the place.
The blatant drug use shocked me, but it's not what had me on edge that whole goddamn day.
That day, I saw dozens and dozens of people who, if I'd met in other situations, I'd think should be in a hospital. It was, to me at least, some serious post-apocalyptic shit. I'm not new to the appearance of long-term addicts, but this was another level.
I watched a band playing music in a park for a few minutes, before an unhinged man started screaming and yelling all kinds of nonsense. I watched a woman weaving all over the sidewalk, tearing at her clothes, crying. I watched a man covered in scrapes and cuts shuffle down the sidewalk, take off a shoe, then continue shuffling, and I can't even begin to figure out how to explain how wrong he looked. I walked by so many frail, disease-ridden bodies, and so many people acting terrifyingly _wrong_, I don't have words to describe how I feel about it.
There were times my brain said "oh shit, do we need to call an ambulance?" in the middle of a busy sidewalk, but everyone acted like nothing was happening.
I'm not sure what to do about this. I live in the SeaTac area, and am also concerned that Seattle will become as bad as Vancouver. I'm worried that policies like this result in an influx of vagrant drugusers. I'm worried that both this policy and resultant increase in users will make it even easier for dealers, who will flourish with the more stable user base. I'm worried that between easier availability, more obvious useage, and a dozen other factors, it will be even easier for people who find themselves homeless in Seattle to try crack or heroin (etc), and even harder for them to come back from that.
No, I don't think people's chance of livelihood should be harmed by a drug record. I'm just not certain this is the solution.
What most impacted me was a homeless man that collapsed and everyone walked over him as if he weren't there. What humanity! West Coasters will allow this man to destroy himself with drugs and booze, but will walk over him as he collapses.
I work downtown cooking for a bar (despite my deep involvement in tech as a child/teen and early work programming and some infrastructure stuff, life's challenges haven't enabled me access to significant wealth or appreciable social status). I've found survival, and I deal with drug addicts, mentally ill, the deeply traumatized and abandoned. The biggest thing anyone needs in these circumstances is love and acceptance.
Coming from a place of privilege, your leaning to exclude the suffering from society is wildly antisocial and a leading cause of the rise in "eat the rich" mentalities.
I think the issue is the choice of word 'unwelcomed'. Aggressive may be better in capturing (what I assume is) the author's intent, but I would still find it a bit lacking. Some homeless behavior isn't aggressive but is unpleasant enough to cause people to make changes to avoid it. How do you describe such behavior without also describing behavior that a different group may choose to avoid that they really shouldn't be avoiding?
Maybe we can define it as aggressive or unsanitary. Not perfect, but it is the closest I can get without shooting over the intent.
I'm not even commenting on whether these things should be legal in private, but there are very good reasons they shouldn't be allowed in public.
People literally think i'm a child molester. People like my dad. People like the two guys who assaulted me for absolutely no reason, in public, while no bystanders did anything whatsoever (as a trans woman, i'm glad he police weren't called -- my friends have been arrested and charged in similar circumstances).
Get out of your bubble.
No one really wants to have to deal with used heroin needles on the ground.
>But I think a community must have ways to discourage or push people out of the public sphere who practice unwelcome and unsocial behavior.
The point is, in much of even modern day US, and even more so in the past, just existing as a transgender individual who doesn't attempt to pass is deemed by a significant portion of society as unwelcome and unsocial.
When you tie discrimination to what is deemed unacceptable behavior, you encounter an issue when deal with a society that deems acceptable behavior as unacceptable.
Laws are the strongest, the ones which we agree to directly take action against people who break these rules. That could be a fine. That could be years in prison.
Morals or mores are the second, where we will tend to exclude people and openly speak against them, but not take direct action. What actually constitutes a social more is quite hard to define as they aren't written down as laws, often change, and often are based in part on things we don't want to admit (such as having built in racism or sexism). In parts of the US, being openly transgender is against the exist social mores.
The last is folkways, where we generally have an accepted way of doing things but not really one we have openly agreed upon, and upon breaking it we don't have any socially agreed upon response. These are the weakest and are things that are more weird than wrong. A man having long hair would qualify as breaking a folkway in parts of the US.
Why do I bring this up?
Because, while transgenderism isn't against the law, there are definitely parts of society where it is against the mores of that portion of society and with some people being strongly enough against it they want to make it against the law. They likely won't succeed, but even the punishments for breaking social mores can be drastic.
The law is not the end all definition of socially unacceptable behavior, and it is a given fact that some portions of US society deems being openly transgender as against social mores. To call this out is not trolling.
What does it mean to make transgenderism illegal? In the US it would not be possible to legislate someone's appearance or how they choose to identify.
Make it illegal for people to change their birth certificate. Make it so that all laws apply based on their original birth certificate, regardless of any changes having been made in other states or countries. Make it illegal to use facilities meant for the opposite gender. Expand fraud to include claiming and presenting as a gender not on their birth certificate, specifically when the other party is paying (yes, this could run into free speech issues). Legally declare it to be a mental illness (much like how federal law declares marijuana to have no medical value, actually being aligned with existing science is not required). Passing laws banning any form of transitioning involving minors. Pass laws introducing trans-panic as an affirmative defense for assault or homicide. Laws that prevent adoption by trans individuals (to the extent the state can do so).
I'm sure law makers spending months can come up with far worse laws that I could in 5 minutes.
Except that they haven't though. A lot of the things you list have never even been seriously discussed. Some of them are very debatable (pro or con) on their own, such as making it illegal for minors to transition.
I think you're making a strawman and I still don't see what any of this has to do with not allowing public drug consumption.
>I think you're making a strawman
I think you don't have a good understanding of the sentiment large groups of the population have for trans people.
>and I still don't see what any of this has to do with not allowing public drug consumption.
You might want to go reread the entire thread. One use posted about a potential foundational reasoning that could be used to outlaw drug use in public and the rest of the conversation has been about how that one foundation is inadequate because of the unintended consequences of applying it elsewhere. Specifically, it was concerning one individual who reacted to it on a personal level, and trying to explain why the second individuals interpretation was not incorrect even if unintended.
A person can use entirely different foundations to reason that public drug use as bad and this wouldn't apply at all to them.
Put simply, this is not about not allowing public drug consumption, this is about one potential reason for not allowing public drug consumption.
> I lean heavily towards giving people the freedom to do what they want, but in 'private' and without burdening public life of others. If people want to light up or shoot up, so be it. But I think a community must have ways to discourage or push people out of the public sphere who practice unwelcome and unsocial behavior. The gov't fully feeding, clothing, and sheltering large groups of addicts is impractical and unviable in most/all places.
As you can see there's nothing about trans people in that statement. I don't agree that this is an invalid way to feel, it's ok to label some behavior as antisocial. That doesn't mean that all of the sudden totally unrelated topics become antisocial. You say yourself that the anti-trans people don't have the power to impact these laws (and the constitution would stop them anyway). Do you really believe that there's no such thing as antisocial behavior that should be discouraged?
gay and trans panic defenses are still allowed and used, today, in much of the usa
No one is tying discrimination to the issue though. It’s 100% about public health. See my examples about dirty needles and crack smoke.
Why do you all really care if I smoke crack in public?
As a casual user, keep it indoors and I don't really care. I'll still throw your pusher in jail for a while.
> Do you really want rooms full of people smoking crack everywhere?
I don't think anyone should smoke anything in public indoor spaces. it's unfair to people who have to breathe it. outside, at a designated smoking area? smoke whatever you want. I won't be inhaling it.
> Also, crack makes people kinda crazy, no?
maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. if they start acting aggressive, we already have laws against that.
I've now seen this debate play out many times over the years. people talk about health concerns, litter, violence, and all kinds of things like that. but it's already illegal to litter and it's already illegal to threaten people. if it's not already, it should be illegal to leave dirty needles around. but I think these are all just ways to avoid saying what people really mean: they just want drug users banished from their sight so they don't have to think about it.
Perfectly said. It's amazing how often this train of thought derails the discussion about drug legalization.
This by the way is a perfectly legitimate opinion to have. There's all kinds of stuff I don't want to watch people do in public, hard drug use is near the top. It's pretty weird that people think it's some sort of right they have (or should have).
As for heroin, you can't just arrest people for shooting up in public and hope that's going to stop the problem.
The kinds of people who shoot up or light up a pipe in public are at such a low point in their life that the disincentive of arrest (and fines/jail) means literally nothing to them. They're also often homeless. Where exactly do you expect the homeless junkies to shoot up?
People doing hard drugs in public isn't like someone smoking a joint while walking down the street or even like someone drinking a 40 oz in public.
Instead, the better option is to take a pragmatic approach. In my city, in areas of high drug use, they have put needle disposal bins in the public toilets and other places people shoot up. Surprisingly, they actually do get used and have significantly reduced the number of used needles on the street.
Apparently, you are incorrect:
> As for heroin, you can't just arrest people for shooting up in public and hope that's going to stop the problem.
The problem is that they are shooting up in public, so if you take them out of the public then it sort of does stop the problem.
So I do think, stepping up a meta-level that a general opposition to using force to suppress people and behaviors that some or a majority of society sees as degenerate, dirty, or a threat to public safety (but not a direct harm to others) relates to the grandparent commenter being trans.
 No Godwin's Law here - literal Nazis: https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/AACC...
The argument is that public drug use is a harm to others. I don't see how shooting up on the street has anything to do with being trans. One is a public health hazard, the other is a personal choice.
Yes there exists discrimination against trans people. That's an entirely separate issue that is not helpful to discuss with the original topic. We should be able to decide if we want second hand smoke, dirty needles, strung out people... in public without poisoning the debate well by bringing in non-related issues.
it's this fundamental lack of perspective that leads to y'all blithely supporting policy that will end with egregious human rights violations.
everything that sucks in our society is a result of how we've designed it. come to reality. your ideologies kill people.
it really sucks that "tech" has been fully subsumed by capital -- many of the visionaries that made the endless wealth fountain possible shared a vision of an equitable future that brought a better world and it was rooted in anticapitalist, social justice oriented philosophy. that feels so dead, these days.
these people are victims of social views and policy as much as me. they aren't "hardcore drug use" they're people with a serious illness that develops as a result of something about our biology, culture, and environment.
i believe strongly in accountability. which is why i believe, as a society, we must hold ourselves accountable and that means facing the hard truths such as: any of us posting here is wealthy in some way and that wealth has come at the cost of suffering and death in some way. the very least we can do in this (potentially last?) period of widespread economic development is work to build systems that are humane and healthy. it's not going to happen overnight, and it will never happen if we build a world that hides the unpleasant things from the public.
we see the impact of the problem, but if your solution is to hide it then you haven't identified the actual problem and in this case externalizing the cost of actual human lives and suffering.
> I do not understand how you expect to have a functional, just, and free society based solely on individual accountability if you can just externalize human suffering and stash it elsewhere
You must accept that there will be some level of human suffering (quite a lot of it actually). It's quixotic to believe this will ever go away. All humans die eventually after all. Other than that, empathy at the individual level will bubble up in aggregate. This will vary from person to person. Some people want to go volunteer their time for charity, some won't. Again, this is all an immutable feature of living creatures.
Also your conclusion at the end is completely wrong. Prison excludes people from society. Letting them exist in society by imposing some rules is exactly the opposite.
This is just false. Even in 2019.
Prison abolition is a thing. We can do better, but it requires more humanity than your comment displays.
Actually I should say "societies", because it's a highly international community, and these lines are drawn differently in different countries. Mainstream positions in one may be extreme in another. The same is true of regions within countries.
As for "libertarian bent" or other ideological biases, this is mostly in the eye of the beholder. We see just as many comments like, say, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15307915.
Nearby was a POC smoking weed. When a cop came through guess who got a ticket? The guy smoking weed — and this is despite that weed is supposed to be the lowest priority crime in SF.
When laws are enforced this arbitrarily it’s no wonder governments are taking enforcement away from beat cops.
1) Where is the line for what is socially acceptable to do in public?
2) If a line exists, why does it exist where it does?
3) Should there be a standard that society must follow, so we don’t end up with drug litter, litter, and human waste on the streets and around us all of the time?
Some commenters have brought up that maybe there should not be a standard that we strive to achieve with regards to public behavior and cleanliness. I am concerned that slowly we are becoming so individualistic(in the since of other people can do whatever they want), and liberal with standards of behavior, that the worst kinds of behavior will eventually be permitted because that is “their right” to act that way.
I am curious if other people feel that we are not very far from being a society that keeps saying “everything is permissible, because anyone has the right to do as they please.” Or I might be extremely alone in this regard.
>The gov't fully feeding, clothing, and sheltering large groups of addicts is impractical and unviable in most/all places.
It's completely viable it's just impractical. There are not THAT many homeless people. However there are diminishing returns for everything... Some people are on the street because they trash any home they're given access to. Also the better you take care of this population the more homeless people move to your progressive enlightened area. It's viable but nobody wants to pay for that shit when there are other social goods you could be doing.
As a comparison: The F-35 fighter program is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over 55 years. That's $27 billion per year, or about three times as much as it would cost to fix homelessness.
Let's compare with what you're advocating, which appears to be the status quo. The existence of homeless people (not all of whom are drug addicts, by the way) shows that drug criminalisation doesn't work.
Homeless people don't need more suffering to finally get their act together. Life on the streets is plenty uncomfortable and dangerous, and nobody operating according to your simplistic model of sticks & carrots would chose it.
Further criminalising behaviour you don't like such as being badly dressed or prone to shouting random, schizophrenia-induced nonsense seems not just heartless, but rather close to dividing society into your kind and "subhumans" to be exterminated. Because if you don't think they deserve food or shelter, and you want to drive them out of cities (and, presumably, towns) where are they supposed to go? I want to be as charitable as possible here, but "push[ing] people out of the public sphere" seems to be a euphemism to bus them into the desert and not watch them die.
Being slightly annoyed by homeless people is also the least you can do if you actually believe in the "public sphere" as a community of citizens, and not just the place to get cheap takeout. If others' suffering cuts into your bliss, either through its annoying smells and sounds or because there are remnants of empathy in play, that should be motivation to solve the problem. There are many countries poorer than the US that have far smaller homeless populations, so it is entirely possible.
> close to dividing society into your kind and "subhumans" to be exterminated
As does this bit from another post:
> why you seem to be indulging in such fascist revenge fantasies
It's not ok to argue like this on HN, regardless of how right you are or feel, or how wrong someone else is. If you wouldn't mind reviewing the site guidelines and commenting more in the spirit of this site, we'd appreciate it.
You can say that, but it's very, very incorrect. Seattle spends $1 billion on services, clean up, housing, and etc. for a homeless population of 12,000.
They'd do better just giving these people $1500/month to live on, along with some counseling services to get them reintegrated into society.
Every place that has had significant success in combating homelessness has done what you say. They've payed less attention to the "social ill" side of the token and have just put people in houses.
It's just not feasible for anyone to live in this city on only $1500/month, even if they don't require any social services.
What happens if you do that and next year discover that now you have 1,000,000 homeless people?
You're responsible for all of the consequences of a program, even the unintended ones. The line between "supporting" and "enabling" is very fine and hard to navigate. It's difficult to help people on the bottom while avoiding incentivizing people to stay on the bottom.