Whoopty. Now King County will let 125 to 150 homeless people sleep in the west wing of the King County jail. For nothing.
This is so great. Until now, you had to fight or steal your way in there. No more having to punch a cop and risk getting shot and killed before getting a bed indoors. No more having to steal a loaf of Wonder Bread, that you didn’t even want, from a 7-Eleven.
I’ve actually known people who were so cold in the winter they threw a trash can through a store window just to get a ticket to a bed indoors. OK. One person. And he was nuts. But things are looking up, now that he can just walk into a jail. I sure hope they don’t demand ID.
When people can get into jail for free, utopia is surely just around the corner. Next thing you know we’ll have free public schools and roads.
Finally we’ve found a way to house homeless people that the general public will approve.
Recently, I ranted at length at the proposed city budget because it wouldn’t pay for my connected trolley system. Anitra “She Who Attends Meetings Every Day” Freeman pointed out on the very same day I wrote that rant that I failed to mention that share/wheel’s self-managed shelters were also cut off, worrying that someone might complain about it at some meeting. Yes, I said, but that’s not at all as funny as me not getting the trolley system I want.
Well, now it’s getting funnier. Because share won’t be funded by the city, but the county can bear the cost of sheltering people at its jail. Maybe the county should be funding share, so they can go back to jailing folks who throw trash cans through store windows.
Haha, no, the funny thing is that the west wing of the jail was already closed as a jail because it was too expensive. So for the past six years it has been used just for offices and classrooms. Who needs offices, classrooms and learning and stuff? Using the space to shelter homeless people is a win for everyone.
It also makes good fiscal sense. It’s only going to cost the county $2 million to renovate the space for use as a shelter and that much per year to maintain it. You can’t jail a fifth as many criminals for that price. Or non-criminals.
Maybe the extra trolleys we bought that won’t be needed could be turned into shelters, too. There’s no point in letting them go to waste.
Speaking of savings, the state Supreme Court has lifted a huge financial burden off the state by preventing the state from spending itself into debt executing people.
So the state won’t be needing that death row anymore. Another potential win for homeless people and makers of mats!
The court based its ruling on the grounds that the death penalty is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner and is invalid. And it isn’t a deterrent. And it serves no “penological” purpose. I didn’t make that word up.
I’ve always thought that murdering people sends a bad message to the non-murdered, even when you don’t like them (the murdered). You don’t want to encourage the murdering of people. It’s that whole slippery slope thing. Like I was saying recently, I tend to personalize everything. So I can’t help but think, if people decide it’s OK to murder criminals, they’re going to come for me by and by. I’m not all that easy to get along with.
Exercises to broaden our minds:
“Death is the last thing anyone should do for the state.” How much truth is there in this statement? Can I have an Amen? If not, why not?
“The death penalty has been applied in a racially biased manner.” What else can you think of that has been applied in a racially biased manner? To make this question easier, you are allowed to answer by saying what hasn’t been applied in a racially biased manner. You’re welcome.
In a completely different vein, the Trump administration is spending $12 billion to bail out farmers and/or farm corporations that might suffer as a result of tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. Included in that will be $1.2 billion spent buying commodities for public distribution (emergency assistance, food banks, etc.) What lesson are we teaching the Chinese? Is it anything like the lesson we have previously been teaching the executed?
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
Check out the full Oct. 17 - 23 issue.
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