It seems kindness is now a crime.
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Arnold Abbot is a WWII veteran who has been feeding the homeless for 23 years. On Wednesday, November 5 he was ticketed for breaking a new law.
There’s a new ordinance in the city banning public food sharing, which is the reason Abbot has been cited and fined twice now. This crime makes feeding the homeless punishable by up to 60 days in jail. The first time was on Sunday, November 2nd, when with 2 pastors as a part of his nonprofit work in the area through his Love Thy Neighbor.
The city government holds that the new law is meant to help the homeless and encourage them to come to use government services.
“It’s a pubic safety issue. It’s a public health issue,” reasons Mayor Jack Seiler. “The experts have all said that if you’re going to feed them to get them from breakfast to lunch to dinner, all you’re doing is enabling that cycle of homelessness. They don’t interact with anyone, they don’t receive the aid that they need.”
Abbot doesn’t see it that way. “What the city is doing by cutting out feeding is very simple — they are forcing homeless people to go Dumpster-diving all over again,” Abbott said. “They will steal. That’s what the mayor is forcing the homeless to do.” (via)
Already, Abbot has gotten support from people all over the world who agree with his point of view.
This is a matter of public safety colliding with public service. The kindness of individuals in the community is being met with unexpected resistance. Government services aren’t always enough just as relying on individual citizens to provide is unrealistic. A combination of these is better than the condemning of one over another. Let’s hope the ordinance will undergo some review.
What do you think?…
Which side do you agree with? Is the ordinance going to help or hurt the community?