Drop that plate right now

Well merry Xmas to you too, Fort Lauderdale. (Look, I said it! I’m an atheist and I said merry Xmas. Booya.)

Fort Lauderdale was, until a judge suspended operations, happily arresting people for feeding the homeless in city parks. Nöfuckingel.

A Florida city that made it illegal to feed homeless people on the street and arrested a 90-year-old charity volunteer for defying the ordinance must sit down for mediated talks with opponents of the law after a judge issued a 30-day stay of the law on Monday.

Meanie judge. The cops were having so much fun busting do-gooders for giving food to poor people.

Fort Lauderdale’s city council passed the homeless feeding ban last month after an all-night session beset by protesters. Arnold Abbott, a World War II veteran and longtime charity volunteer in the community, was among the first people to be arrested and charged with violating the new law. “One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” Abbott told Local 10 after his arrest. Days later, he and other volunteers served the homeless again while police looked on and filmed them.

That guy fought in Dubya Dubya 2 and yet he’s unpatriotic enough to ignore a LAW that says you can’t feed the homeless in the park? What the hell happened to The Greatest Generation, huh?

Like several other cities in Florida and elsewhere that have enacted similar crackdowns on helping the homeless in public, Fort Lauderdale’s policy is the brainchild of a man called Robert Marbut. Marbut believes that on-the-street feedings only enable the homeless to remain homeless and the poor to remain poor, and makes claims about how panhandlers behave that are contradicted by research findings.

Marbut charges cities between $40,000 and $50,000 to share his insights, which are then used to justify legal crackdowns such as Fort Lauderdale’s.

Ah that’s nice. This crank goes around Florida handing out his crank Wrong Things and gets paid 40 to 50 k for his trouble, while homeless people get new obstacles. That’s the American Dream right there.

The National Coalition for the Homelessestimates that Fort Lauderdale was the 13th city this year to impose restrictions on where homeless feeding programs can be located, and the 22nd to make it harder to feed the homeless in general.

A Broward County official who works with the Fort Lauderdale government complained to the Sun Sentinel that the press coverage of the anti-feeding law has created an unfair and inaccurate picture of the city as a hard-hearted community. But the feeding ban is only the latest in a sequence of petty crackdowns. Earlier this fall the city made it illegal to sleep in public. Over the summer, city leaders passed a law empowering police to confiscate any personal belongings stored on public property, in an apparent effort to discourage homeless people from keeping what few possessions they have with them on the streets.

Or they could speed things up by shooting all the homeless people for “resisting arrest.”



  1. Matt Penfold says

    One would have hoped the police had more sense than to bother doing much to enforce such a law.

  2. Anthony K says

    One would have hoped the police had more sense than to bother doing much to enforce such a law.

    What? North American cops love punching down at street people almost as much as they love developing substance abuse issues and beating their spouses.

  3. anbheal says

    This could be a poster for Libertarianism. Nobody should have the Galtian Liberty to do anything, except rich white guys in gated communities. It kills me how the anti-regulatory mob that now runs the country loves to regulate the SHIT out of the rest of us.

  4. PatrickG says

    @ Matt Penfold:

    Well, it’s Florida. They’re not allowed to investigate shootings anymore, so they have to do something with their time

  5. tulse says

    Perhaps instead of food they should have offered to Arm the Homeless, as I’m sure no true-blue right-wing patriot would deny anyone their 2nd Amendment rights. Then those in the part could have gone hunting.

  6. rcs says

    It’s just a natural progression of hiding those “unsightly vagrants” which was the basis for Seattle’s “civility laws” back in the 90s. Remember when they banned sitting on the sidewalks here in Seattle?

  7. rcs says

    I remember long days standing on my feet at work, having to wait for a bus and no longer being able to sit because it was more important to hide the low- and no-income than to accept that they exist. Conservatives are all about sweeping the unpleasant facts of society under the rug.

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    So stand your ground is fine, but don’t go around feeding hungry people.

    I’m now convinced that even the supposed xians are convinced that Jesus was a myth.

  9. says

    Marbut believes that on-the-street feedings only enable the homeless to remain homeless and the poor to remain poor…

    Right. Because people who are starving magically acquire jobs and homes. The only thing standing in their way is insufficient hunger.

    It’s the good old “I’ve got mine, so fuck you” approach.

  10. says

    Well, I think the answer is obvious. The homeless should start charging $50 000 to give talks to local cities about feeding Robert Marbut. The cities can help the homeless become not homeless by paying them for their thoughts and Robert Marbut will probably have to leave if he wants to eat.

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