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why does public use have to be punished?



Because having junkies and drunks meandering about significantly decreases the liability of the public space to the majority of people.

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 [0] - Ignoring the "dogs on a leash" or "no dogs allowed" sign

[0] 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?


it seems like your position is that Behavior A often leads to Behavior B. Behavior B can harm you or your kid, so make Behavior A illegal.

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.


As absurd as it sounds...

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.


BO disgusts you but you don’t mind someone smoking meth or shooting heroin on the train/bus near to you? Because I’ve experienced both of these in SF, and it’s a bit unsettling.


I also have encountered both. It seems like a bad idea to me but as long as the second hand smoke isn't invading my space then no I really don't care. There are sanitation concerns but if that's the real problem lets address that and get over being icked out.

Edit:

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.


Do you have kids?

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!


I'd prefer my child not see such things but I also know that my right to shelter my child is not some all encompassing right that subsumes other people's rights.

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.


> it seems like your position is that Behavior A often leads to Behavior B. Behavior B can harm you or your kid, so make Behavior A illegal.

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 certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me, but imo you have not done anything wrong until you have actually harmed another person or at least exposed them to an immediate, concrete risk. littering directly harms the environment that we all live in. leaving dirty needles on the ground is even worse than regular trash; it's a biohazard. there should be serious penalties for doing this stuff. if it's so likely that degenerate drug users are going to leave dirty needles in the street, is it too much to ask that a cop wait five more minutes to watch them do it, then lock them up (substitute whatever punishment satisfies you here)?


But the cop isn’t sitting there the whole time watching.


"between a guy quietly enjoying a beer on a park bench"

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.


I recently spent a day in Vancouver, unfortunately in / near what I guess is "Downtown Eastside." There were blocks of major streets we just did not go down, but even skirting the edge of it was incredibly unpleasant.

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.


[0] you could try, they probably won’t show up or do anything if they do. Speaking as someone who has been chased off the playground in Seattle multiple times this last year by drug users. Btw as a parent in Seattle I always do a sweep for needles as the playground.


Thankfully, I left the West Coast after three months. Where I live the police will show up in a jiffy for doing drugs in a playground.

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.




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