Victimized Homeless People

by ah-kane_frederic on September 17, 2013 - 11:44pm

Homeless people are some of the most marginalized members of society since they are typically depicted as a nuisance in the public eye. They share our world yet don't benefit of the same privileges as the rest of the population and have to face hardships a majority won't on a day to day basis.

As a self proclaimed thinker, I like to reflect on topics such as this one on my spare times. This case has a particular appeal to it because it touches an aspect of reality that is often overlooked until we think about it.

The interesting fact about homeless people, which is pointed out in the article: "Homeless People Need Protection By The Law, Not Punishment Under It" by the lawyer Scott E. Bernstein,  is that they're more often than not the victims of society.

Violence against "hobos" is on the rise! Though most crime involving vagrants as victims aren't as sensational as Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs, some still manage to appear in the news. The term "bum bashing" which describes acts of violence against tramps has even surfaced on the internet in forms of videos for the viewers entertainment. Meanwhile, most culprits get away with it without too much trouble. The sad truth is that homeless people are as unfortunate as ever since society turned a blind eye to their situation and continues persecuting them for minor offences, such as occupying public property, vending and jaywalking. It's as if the law was working against the homeless instead of being in their favor.

Homeless people are as human as anyone else but they are also inferior from a social stand point. Which begs the question: Should homeless individuals benefit of the same rights as the rest of the population?

In my opinion, based on the principle that all humans should have equal rights, society should be more considerate to the less fortunate. The homeless are labels as bad because of all the stigmas associated with them. Stigmas are, by all means, justified for the most part. However, it's important to remember that they are just individuals who's mistakes and misfortune lead towards the homeless life. A crime isn't or shouldn't be less significant because of the victim's social status. What defines a crime is the action in itself. A vagrant killing a businessman is as bad as a businessman killing a vagrant. The criminals must be charged in court and the victims must be protected. Similarly, if most people disobey the law by, for example, jay walking; there shouldn't be a high incidence of a social class being targeted by the law but rather a uniform penalization for the wrong doers. The law should be the embodiment of the idealistic image of lady justice...

Nonetheless, let it be known that there are more than a factor that have an influence on the decisions that are made in life. Whether it is about the law or about what's for dinner tonight. One of these factors is the economical aspect of this situation. Granted that the justice system is funded by the government thus by tax payer. It can be argued, in all logic, that only tax payers should be protected by the justice system. It all comes down to paying for a service which in this case is to have one's rights enforced through the system in place. Since homeless people don't pay taxes, they do not pay for this services. Consequently, they do not deserve to be covered by the system. Though this is a rather morbid way of interpreting the situation, the argument holds some truth to it. To summarize, either you pay for a service or you don't access it. This is the essence of capitalism...  

On this note, who or what is at fault for society's negligence of the homeless and why?

*Try not to answer society and be specific ... please!

 Link to the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/scott-e-bernstein/homeless-law-protection-vancouver-stanley-park_b_1952195.html

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