Counterpoints to last week’s guest editorials
Last Friday’s edition (Kirkland Reporter, Aug. 18) offered a two-fer of progressive-liberal editorials.
First, the guest editorial by Nick Goodwin, for whom many column-inches of the Reporter were given to expound on the plight of the homeless in King County.
Homelessness is real, Mr. Goodwin, that’s true, but it is also true that not all of the homeless feel “unworthy…hopeless…belittled.”
As has been reported elsewhere regarding the homeless enclave known as the Jungle in downtown Seattle, many homeless choose to be homeless. Whether from poor life choices, drug addiction or simply their desire to live an alternative lifestyle, many homeless actively reject help that is offered. Some don’t want to fit into the mainstream and are offended by do-gooders like Nick, who believe they are just like him (hard-working and earnest) and need only a more generous handout and an under-priced apartment in order for them to reintegrate.
Millions of county taxpayer dollars have been spent to address this problem, yet homelessness persists. The good news is low- to moderately priced housing is springing up all over Totem Lake, supported by subsidies from taxpayers. For this we should all take heart and be proud. And yet, for Nick and other “peace and love” advocates, tens of millions more should be spent until each and every homeless person has food and shelter at little or no cost, with no demands placed on their behavior whatsoever (homeless people tend to eschew Christian-based relief efforts and shelters that forbid alcohol and drug use).
Nick, in a free society there will always be homeless people, no matter how much of other peoples’ money you spend. Raising the minimum wage will do little to solve the problem. After all, cooking french fries or mopping a floor is not a career, it is (or should be) a stepping stone to a better job. People need (and most of us want) to be productive contributors to society. This is one of the cornerstones of self-worth. People deserve to be paid (and see their self-worth increase) in proportion to their acquired skills, not get paid an artificially inflated amount, just because they showed up to perform a menial job. Ask any legal immigrant who boot-strapped their way to prosperity.
The second progressive-liberal editorial, by Gina Frank, champions the creation of “safe injection facilities” as “a lifesaving approach.”
This is akin to advocating for “safe spaces” for tobacco use in restaurants and airports. Why should smokers be forced out into cold, rainy weather or relegated to the shadows of the pet waste area at Sea-Tac, just to engage in their drug habit? Wouldn’t it be a life-saving measure to create safe spaces for them to smoke? “Of course not,” you say. “Smokers deserve no sympathy. They deserve to be shunned and shamed.”
Guess what: heroin users should be, too. They should not be coddled or catered to. Providing a “safe space” (scare quotes because heroin and other opioids are not safe, no matter where you use them) will neither reduce usage nor safe lives. Recent data from Vancouver, British Columbia reveals that drug overdose deaths have increased dramatically in the years since they “pioneered” the concept of safe injection sites. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!