A couple of weeks ago, while walking to the office, I saw a guy with a Sawzall methodically removing all of the benches from the north side of Monroe Center Street here in Grand Rapids. I didn’t think much of it. Those benches have been in place for a few years and Michigan seasons are rough on everything.
Turns out, the city was replacing the single-seat style benches with benches made up of three seats separated by small dividers. The kind specifically made so they are uncomfortable to sleep on.
This is a prime example of hostile architecture, and completely in line with legislation passed earlier this year which restricts and/or outlaws panhandling and the keeping of possessions on the street. Grand Rapids, like every other city, has a homeless population, and like every other city here in the mid-21st century, is working to outlaw being unhoused. As with all conservative legislation (and any legislation which punches down against a vulnerable population is de facto conservative), the cruelty is the point.
There are always people who will, when in the presence of a panhandler or someone sleeping rough, say “get a job” or something similar. My reaction to this attitude is “Do you, personally, right now, have a job to offer to this person? Along with all necessary training, equipment, medical care, transportation, and housing, paid for out of your own pocket? If not, please shut your fucking mouth.”
The writing prompt for the upcoming week is:
Subject: Cryptids, Possession
- Losing the Plot: The “Leftists” Who Turn Right (In These Times) – this is a long article and well worth the read.