If you have ever taken a psychology class you have probably been exposed to the notion of reward versus punishment. The basis being that you get more of that which you reward and less of that which you punish for.
Generally speaking it’s an accurate synopsis of how human nature works. When someone does that which society appreciates, something positive follows. When they perpetrate acts that we wish to discourage, some type of negative reaction transpires.
Yet in cities across the nation leaders are trying to convince the governed that they can rewrite the laws of human nature. These often times elected (but sometimes appointed) decision makers are in a frenzied race to prove that we can fix the ills of society by rewarding them.
While cities like San Antonio, Texas have worked on ways to eliminate the citywide epidemic of homeless panhandling by passing city ordinances to discourage this activity, just up the road in Austin they encourage the homeless to set up camp in any public space.
San Francisco is so consumed by the homeless crisis that they actually have city workers dedicated to picking up human waste from the street every single day. The tens of thousands of reports of locations where people decided to defecate on the street or sidewalk have been recorded, and when mapped these reports show a solid blanket of brown spots from one side of brown spots from one side of the city to the other.
In Seattle, transients have set up makeshift camps on nearly every empty piece of space they can find throughout the city. Why? Because there is no reason not to. Citizens there recently rose up against local elected officials demanding action as their neighborhoods become 3rdworld-like.
Meanwhile, back here in the Lone Star State, the City of Abilene has made aggressive efforts to end veteran homelessness…and succeeded. Lowering their veteran homeless rate to 0%. And they didn’t do it with an “anything goes”, zero enforcement of decency standards approach, they partnered with advocacy groups, law enforcement and others to find real solutions.
If you stopped reading right here you would think that I have some animosity or issue with the homeless, but that is far from true. In fact, I believe that the vast majority of these issues are driven by the two main factors: Drug addiction and mental health.