The debate over the homeless has taken a hostile turn. I learn that from the Progressive Dane newspaper. It's right there in a headline on the Metro page of Friday's collector's item: "Debate here over homeless takes hostile turn."
Now, this is from a newspaper that has not bothered to go to street level to report the hostilities on the ground caused by vagrancy in Downtown Madison: the intimidation, the harassment, the fermented breath of leering alcoholics spewing the C word as they chase frightened visitors, students, and professional women to the opposite side of the street.
Instead, The Capital Times is reserving its approbation for those of us who question whether Madison's elite has "kind of institutionalized an enabling environment downtown for this transient population to grow unchecked," as Madison Police Lt. Joe Balles says.
Such questioning has rendered the debate so hostile that your faithful blogger is now the subject of prayers offered by Linda Ketcham, director of the Madison-area Urban Ministry, and her accomplices in the enablement business.
Asked what the group planned to do about inflammatory media depictions of the homeless, like those of blogger Blaska who has called for the resurrection of the workhouse for "vagrants," Ketchum replied: "First and foremost, we'll pray for them."
I thought I felt an odd tingling. Thought it came from the toilet seat at the Brittingham Park shelter.
As I write this, atop my iMac is affixed a small mirror pointed toward the isthmus - a reverse satellite dish to deflect any prayers that may come my way to those who truly need them. So, if you don't mind, I will re-direct those prayers to the real victims of vagrancy:
- To every citizen rethinking his route to avoid the harassing shakedown artist.
- To every child who yields the neighborhood playground to the invasive species.
- To Joel Marino and Brittany Sue Zimmerman.
- To the vagrants themselves. Yes, they are truly victims even if the victimization is self-inflicted.
- To Madison-area Urban Ministry and their fellow travelers, whose policies of entitlement without responsibility created this crisis.
There's a lot of it going around
I submit to you (for your approval, as Rod Serling would say) the following examples of "hostility." All originate from the Progressive Dane newspaper/blog's own on-line forum - hardly, one would think, breeding grounds for the Club for Growth - all in response to Patricia Schneider's article Thursday blaming the news media for "fanning (the) homeless scare and Friday's discovery of hostility:"
A hostile person identified only as Community Comments:
I'm a social service provider burn-out. Why? You go into the profession thinking you can save the world if you just give folks a chance. And you do everything you can to get people jobs, housing, a fair shake, etc. You also throw lots of energy and money at the problem, only to learn that you can't help people who refuse to help themselves. With the exception of people with mental illness, the rest of the perpetual homeless are folks who are where they are because they chose a lifestyle that includes criminal behavior, drugs, and a shitty work ethic. No homeless person who is honestly looking for a better life would ever associate themselves with the criminals and drug addicts at Brittingham. That's a fact.
Think you'll ever read that in Capital Times newsprint? Not with reporters like Patricia Schneider tending goal.
Here is another hostile person that could use our prayers. "Citizen for Brittingham Park" says:
Linda (Ketcham) showed up at a meeting we were having to find solutions for the problems at the park with her homeless friends. They were carrying signs and calling us 'racists'.
She gets paid for this?
And this one has so much hostility s/he requires an entire novena:
I think The Capital Times made a huge mistake in not reporting the long criminal record of the man held up as the 'poster boy' during the press conference last October.
This individual has a long history of violent crime, including repeated convictions for domestic violence, harassment, battery, disorderly conduct, theft, bail-jumping, etc. ...
I am a liberal Democrat and it seems to me that the Capital Times has an agenda to tilt the coverage in favor of so-called poor homeless victims -- many of whom are in fact alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals, and/or persons with mental illness.
Answering Madame Brenda
Brenda Konkel asks your faithful blogger a series of pointed questions bordering on the hostile.
Mr. Blaska, I know you read my blog, so I issue a challenge to you. Drop the rhetoric and show me the facts. Get serious and drop the inflammatory and ridiculous faux-solutions.
What programs are "keeping people dependent on the system"?
Yadda yadda yadda. There appears to be no way to communicate with her on her blog - she's a public official, don't you know - so I must post my answer here. Yes, I am a faithful reader of Ald. Konkel's blog. The dedicated pathologist must study the disease. Now, if Ald. Konkel were a frequent visitor to Stately Blaska Manor, she would have her answers. So let me employ the Socratic method by asking a question of my own:
Where on your blog, Madame Brenda, do you evince even the faintest glimmer, the slightest evanescence of the problem of vagrancy in Madison? Nowhere that I can find. No, in Brenda's world there is no intimidation, no harassment, no cursing, no shakedowns, no break-ins, no menacings, no pissings. Just pure sainted victimhood. No doubt the collateral damage of Cheney, Rove, Halliburton, and Blackwater, subprime mortgaged out of their McMansions and sentenced to stumble the streets of Madison, lurching from social services provider to adulatory press conferences, grimy hand in hand singing old folk songs of the struggle against a hostile news media and blogosphere.
Now everyone will want safe neighborhoods!
Here is what DOES get Brenda Konkels' goat - money for neighborhood watch programs!
Speaking of (Ald.) Thuy . . . when Thuy and the Mayor are in the same room, taxpayers, hang on to your wallets! Monday night there was a meeting with some neighborhood folks with Thuy and the Mayor and somehow, she walked away with the promise of more money. This time, $2,000 for a Neighborhood Watch. ... Thuy asks, the Mayor jumps. Makes many wonder why. And the alders are lining up to get their money for their Neighborhood Watches!
Talk about hostility!
If Brenda wasn't so busy tamping down neighborhood watch programs, I have every confidence she would be starting her own chain of homeless shelters. Franchise them like Starbucks. One every other block. Here in Madison, homelessness enabler Kristen Petroshius is the Colonel Chicken of responsibility-free victimhood. Put some vagrants in a mansion on Cambridge Drive and in a couple of weeks they'll be hosting the Frostiball!
See you there!
Join me Tuesday, April 15, at 4 p.m. at the Social Justice Center, 1202 Williamson St., for a public planning meeting on strategies to fight homelessness. I didn't call the meeting but I'll offer a few strategies on fighting vagrancy, if they'll let me. Do that, and you'll get a good start on licking homelessness.
Ora pro mea. (Pray for me!)
Previously on Blaska's Blog:
Maynard G. Krebs and Requiring Work
Let's all say it together: Fred Mohs is right about vagrancy
The Amazing Mr. Mohs says "enough is enough"
On the Forum: Blaska, Konkel and the vagrants