Tuesday, November 11, 2003


One piece of NYC insanity is finally winding down. Excerpts:

New York City has finally won the right to evict violent and disruptive vagrants from its homeless shelters. In so doing, it has exposed the advocates’ Big Lie: that they want the homeless off the streets.

State law has long given the city the power to ban unruly individuals temporarily from shelters if they repeatedly violate behavioral rules. The advocates, however, successfully sued to prevent the city from using that power. Now a court has just reversed the advocates’ reign over shelter management, enabling the city to enforce safety in its massive shelter system. In response, the advocates are emitting their usual whine: The city’s heartless action will result in more people on the streets.

What a joke! For 20 years, the homeless industry has dedicated itself to keeping deranged addicts, alcoholics, and criminals on the streets and out of treatment.

Remember Billie Boggs (a.k.a. Joyce Brown), the psychotic colonizer of a steam grate on Second Avenue, who became liberals’ favorite symbol of the right to live on the streets? From her sidewalk campsite, Brown ran out into traffic, threatened passersby, covered herself in feces, and tore up, burned, and urinated on paper money given to her by charitable pedestrians. Her sisters begged the city to hospitalize her for her drug-fueled psychoses, and New York Mayor Ed Koch agreed. But the New York Civil Liberties Union successfully fought Koch’s effort to get her off the streets and into treatment. The left-wing trial judge who ordered Brown back onto the steam grate established a pattern: his moralizing was directly at odds with the consequences of his actions. “It is my hope that the plight [Brown] represents will also offend moral conscience and rouse it to action,” wrote Judge Robert Lippmann self-righteously. But the Koch Administration was taking action; it was Lippmann and the advocates who were abandoning a deranged woman to the streets.

It is beyond the advocates’ ken that the purpose of rules is more to prevent bad behavior than to punish it after it occurs. To be sure, some violent shelter residents will wind up getting kicked out. Others, however, will start to improve their conduct simply when faced with the prospect of consequences. And if the advocates are right that it is fear of disorder and violence in the shelters that keeps so many derelicts in the streets, the number of people who now will start using shelters overwhelms the number of people who will be evicted.

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