The brand-spanking-new mayor of West Palm Beach – who ran on a platform that included addressing a burgeoning homeless population – is attempting to drive the unsheltered out of his city by tortuous means. Now blasting through speakers in downtown neighborhoods comes a playlist that would cripple the most stalwart, mentally and physically healthy person if forced to listen: the obnoxious and not-so-dulcet tones of Baby Shark and Raining Tacos. (Please hold Liberty Nation harmless if you clicked on either link.)
Can you imagine being among the underserved, possibly mentally ill, most vulnerable of our American citizenry and being subjected to music loudly and repetitively played that drowns out the silence much needed for a small modicum of rest?
Apparently, the newbie self-described CEO of West Palm Beach, Mayor Keith James, believes this torture is warranted:
“For whatever reason, this particular tactic — and that’s what it is, one of many tactics — has gotten a lot of attention. How did they choose the song? I don’t know. I understand that it can be a pretty aggravating song.”
Parry Gripp, who created the parental all-you-can-hear-taco-buffet earworm from hell, did not intend for his catchy tune to be used to torture and remove homeless people from West Palm Beach. He’s contacted an attorney. “Something has to be done for these people, and that’s not it. You can imagine how I feel. I’m part of this thing that’s terrible.”
Other Tortuous Tactics
Abuse of the unsheltered population is nothing new – but somehow the crisis just doesn’t make the nightly talking heads circuit. Global warming, no, wait, climate change, no, wait, climate justice: Now that makes the news. CNN just held a seven-hour town hall – in one sitting — that a dozen or so people watched as Democratic candidates for president bent on saving Mother Nature talked from both sides of their yaws. What else makes the news? A perceived racist remark. Yeah, that’s way more important than the 553,000 homeless Americans.
The nation has a crisis that no one seems to be able, or have a desire, to solve. It’s an issue that gets kicked along down the road into someone else’s purview of responsibility. But every metro area with a fair share of homeless folks has been coming up with creative ways to send the message “you aren’t welcome here.”
Let’s take the progressive enclave of Seattle, WA, which, with sheer brilliance, installed bicycle racks where poor folks loitered and slept — under bridges and overpasses – where no one rides a bike. Hostile architecture, including bars spanning the middle of benches, sloped bus stop seating, small secured fencing in business niches and nooks, and even cement spikes protruding through the pedestrian sidewalks have been used to keep the downtrodden plodding along to new encampments.
San Francisco has been blaring Vivaldi and Bach at a Burger King restaurant near 8th and Market – a heavily traveled Bay Area Rapid Transit hub – to deter the loitering of homeless. Concertos bray long into the wee hours of the early mornings, but as tactics go, it has been extremely successful. And wealthy commuters are enjoying the lack of shopping carts and drug paraphernalia that usually littered the sidewalk. One commuter, Craig Westbrooke, commented to a local news affiliate, “Usually you can barely walk by. There’s grocery carts, blankets full of merchandise that’s not theirs, drug use.”
City resident David Allen also spoke in favor: “There used to be a mob that would hang out there. And now there may be just one or two people.”
Being homeless is not for the faint of heart because it appears no one in government, from local to federal, wants to do much about it.
Democrats, Where Are You?
Whatever happened to the party of social issues? The era of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who wanted to fix America first? Have the Democrats devolved so much that now the focus is away from any and all Americans? Are the Democrats turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism within the halls of Congress and attempting to eradicate the US Constitution? What gives, Dems?
This is your issue. This is your time to shine. Own homelessness and fix the problem. The conservatives will open up the markets, give tax breaks to the middle class, decrease unemployment, and increase available jobs. Now you do your job. Help these people get off the street and stop masking America’s most shameful legacy.
Mayor James isn’t the first to allow, even condone, the psychological mistreatment of his community’s constituents. But perhaps it’s time to make him the last.