A great listener email: Stop using "homeless" to describe street criminals.
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
I suggest everyone stop using the term “Homeless” in describing street criminals. This term was made-up to de-stigmatize vagrancy and implies an involuntary status that is somehow the fault of capitalism or our society. (Society must not be providing enough homes.)
There are of course people who, for whatever reason, have fallen on hard economic times and are temporarily without homes. We should try to provide these people with the humane help they need to get back on their feet. They are not criminals. I urge everyone to support organizations doing this work. However, as you have pointed out, this group probably represents only about 20% of the people being lumped together and described as “homeless”.
The problem we are dealing with is a growing hoard of addicted and/or mentally disturbed disorderly street criminals. I suggest the phrase “street criminals” to describe this group but you may have a better suggestion. Their addiction and/or mental disorders may be a contributing factor that needs to be addressed but, if we do not deal first and foremost with their criminal behavior, our society will further degrade and disintegrate. People should be safe in their homes, safe in their businesses, and safe on their streets. We have the right to be free and pursue happiness without being accosted and threatened by street criminals.
Public safety is an essential government service. That is why government was instituted. It is a primary responsibility of our elected officials. It is well past the time for them to start doing their job and stop hiding behind misleading language.
My comments about the misuse of the term “homeless” are not original but I believe they are worth repeating. Too often we allow misleading descriptions to control the debate.