Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Homeless evicted from national forests

It's hard to know how to react to stories like this.

On one hand, the public has an interest in minimizing human disturbance of our national forests. On the other hand, how do the homeless do any more harm than tourists?

They don't. This is about class warfare by the government.

If I was homeless and was near a national forest, I'd probably live in the forest just as the folks in this story did. What choice would I have, when city governments go out of their way to punish the homeless and no effort is made to restore the means that once existed to escape poverty?

The Arizona Republic reports that many homeless in Arizona and elsewhere are living in national forests even though they work in town. But the Bush regime started throwing the book at them.

Last year, officials cited a man for "trespassing" in the forest. One problem though: The forest is public land - owned by all - and it's impossible to "trespass" on your own property.

When the man couldn't find a home and continued camping in the forest, he was arrested. He was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 6 months in federal prison - and banned for life from all national forests.

I'd hate to tell the Bushists this (sigh), but as a member of the public, this man owns the forests - ownership he shares with the rest of the public. The government can't permanently ban someone from property they own.

If the government is going to bust the homeless for sleeping in the woods, why don't they also go after tourists on camping trips? Many vacationers drive ATV's about the forest, disturbing other visitors and wildlife. Why isn't anything done about improper ATV use?

Where exactly is a person supposed to go if (despite having a job) they can't find a home, and the cities chase them out? Away - according to our corporatist overlords. Once you're through being exploited, the forces of greed prefer you simply drop off the face of the planet.

If our cities would stop launching mean-spirited pogroms against the poor and homeless, maybe fewer would be exiled to our national forests.

(Source: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/08/11/20090811squatter.html)

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