Sunday, September 18, 2005
In the Ghetto
We've run into some ideological conundrums within our little neighbourhood group. Hands Across Hastings. It's a good thing, because I know that there is a fight a brewin', and it's just a matter of time before the shit hits the fan.
You see, our neighbourhood is strongly politicized, with many services for the homeless, addicted, and mentally ill. This is fine, and encouraged. But it is the criminal element that I personally am begging to take issue with, and this eventually boils down to the police not doing their job. Now I'll be the first to admit that I have some preconceptions about police officers, and this is based on personal experience. I have seen many occasions here in the city where the cops have basically run amok. And then there are the issues of abuse, which include assault and various other human rights violations committed on these same people we are asking them to protect. It's touchy and troublesome, and I can't even pretend to have it sorted out in my own head. I'm just wary of trying to speak for everyone, so we need tolerance.
Some people in the 'hood work for this group called the Portland Hotel Society. This group is in the business of managing peoples live, and it does so while at the same time serving their own needs. Which at times are altogether self serving. So while doing good work, they also rely on a steady stream of disenfranchised bodies to house and manage, so the criminal element to them, must seem to be an important link in the chain. I'm sure that they wouldn't come out and say as much, but they help users to organize and protest and ask for gov't sanctioned crack pipes. So for this interest that they have, I wonder why they can't just provide a marketplace for drugs on their own property, so that addicts can congregate there instead of everywhere else, and getting killed in traffic wandering oblivious into the streets. Something akin to a Farmer's Market. They're already opening dealing on the streets, so why not just flip them a courtyard to hang out in?
I see this element as something different when I see how it preys upon people. Especially women and young girls who really aren't making good choices, and either ARE or aren't aware of how cruel the world can be. Not to mention how seriously fucked up some individual's can be. It is harsh.
As it happens, when the gentrification begins, groups form to oppose the existence of these services, or the mere presence of these needy individuals. It's the typical Not In My Back Yard syndrome. One member of our little group, was a former mouthpiece for another group that bought condos in a super sketchy part of town, then began to protest the already existing issues that blighted the 'hood. He basked in some brief fame on the local news, and is quite zealous about his views. I don't feel comfortable aligning myself with him, because I'm more moderate and tolerant that he clearly is. On the other hand, I saw another couple of my neighbours in a vigilante style posse shout a hooker off the block. She had the saddest face, and it was someone I've seen many times. I would never shout her off the block. This pissed me off, but I really don't care to have johns lurking around either. I just thought that the two guys were a bit too Resevoir Dogs.
Guess I'm just venting off some steam. Will likely change my mind in an hour anyways. That's learnin' I guess.