Sadly, the number of homeless people is increasing
When one thinks of homeless people, it is easy to understand the level of poverty putting a person on the the streets would cause extreme hardship. Food, water, bathing and so many other things that we take for granted become luxuries. But, I did not understand the danger of living in such an unprotected manner, just out in the world without shelter. I never dreamed that aggressive individuals would feel a need to harm and physically abuse those in such a miserable, vulnerable position. Here in Maryland, we had a homeless man killed where he slept in the grassy, wooded area of a highway cloverleaf.
US Senate urged to act on rising attacks on homeless
WASHINGTON — The US Senate was urged Wednesday to require that violent attacks against homeless people be tracked and formally reported as hate crimes, which could lead to stiffer penalties for the perpetrators.
Senator Ben Cardin (Maryland) said he was “shocked and horrified” by reports of 43 homeless people killed in 2009 alone, compared to 27 murders a year earlier.
The victims were specifically targeted by their attackers, including cases in which people were strangled, beaten to death with bats or set on fire, experts and family members of the deceased told a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing.
Cardin urged support for his “Hate Crimes Against the Homeless Statistics Act” that he introduced a year ago that would allow authorities to track homeless attacks along with other hate crime categories such as race, religion and sexuality.
“The homeless, just because they’re homeless, are being victimized and that has to stop in America,” said Cardin, who chaired the hearing.
Acts designated as hate crimes lead to harsher punishments for those convicted. For example, a second-degree felony would become a first-degree felony, with a maximum sentence bumped from 15 to 30 years in prison.
To read the entire article, click here.
It is hard to imagine this would be a problem, with teenagers being the main protagonists and advertising their cruelty by posting videos of their cowardly conquests on YouTube, but that is where we are. Apparently it is happening all over the United States. Here is some coverage of the situation and then comments by those who are determined to stop the violence. To watch, click play:
Heartless cowards are beating up homeless people, sometimes to death.
Hard Lives, Mean Streets, just released in May, 2010, has a well documented look at the dangers to one of the United States’s most defenseless populations. If the subject interests you, hover your mouse over the link below to preview the book:
Hard Lives, Mean Streets: Violence in the Lives of Homeless Women (Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law)