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Solidmch
11-02-2007, 4:49 PM
I checked if someone elese posted this. I did not see a post so here it is.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/02/EDD5T43Q0.DTL

Back to the streets of San Francisco
Caille Millner

Friday, November 2, 2007

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Unfortunately, I've just gotten back to town from Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). It's unfortunate because I felt much safer walking the streets of that notorious city than I do walking the streets of San Francisco.

I'm no sociologist, so I can't say whether or not I actually was any safer there. I'm sure some number cruncher could tell me that I probably wasn't - we are talking about a squalid, chaotic city packed with 4.5 million people within its official limits and 14 million within its extended ones. But I know how I felt, and it's a real shame. It was nice to spend a couple of weeks in a place that didn't have disheveled men swaying on street corners, screaming at everyone in sight. It was a relief not to have to have that fleeting moment of worry about being shot by the bottle-chugging guy near the BART station with the crazy look in his eye.

My feelings of comparative safety had nothing to do with my reaction to the soul-killing conditions under which many people in Kolkata are struggling, either. There's nothing like a stroll around Ganesh Chandra Avenue to remind me that the lives of most people on this planet are destitute and depleted, and that compared to the rest of the world, Americans - even poor Americans - live in unimaginable luxury. San Francisco in particular is laughably wealthy. It has nothing on Kolkata's homeless problem - many busy thoroughfares are lined with string beds at all hours of the day there, and you'll see entire families sleeping on them together - and nothing on its difficulties with infrastructure and employment.

Our unbelievable privilege just makes me angrier, though. If things are so much better here, then why do I feel less safe?

It's clear to me that San Franciscans have abdicated their responsibilities on certain key issues, and that we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Take the issue of homelessness. The homeless in Kolkata are just desperately poor. They're not sleeping on the street because they "want to." It's not nice to say so, but some members of San Francisco's homeless population are doing just that. They're taking advantage of the citizenry's squeamishness about the issue, our worry about being called "non-progressive" if we dare to declare the situation unacceptable and to enforce that declaration, to continue living the way that they see fit - even though it's taking a huge toll on our public resources and our feeling of public safety.

Not all of San Francisco's homeless are this way, of course. Many, if not most, of them are mentally ill and aren't in a position to care for themselves. It's even more egregious that we let them rot on the street, and that we do it under the banner of "progressiveness." What kind of city thinks it's OK to treat the vulnerable that way?

One that feels less safe than Kolkata. Consider this trifecta of difference between our homeless and the homeless of Kolkata - mental illness matched with easy access to hard drugs and automatic weapons. Once again, this is not comforting.

The access to automatic weapons, at least, isn't San Francisco's fault. We've tried, unsuccessfully, to slow the flow of guns into this city with an ordinance that banned the ownership, sale and manufacture of guns within city limits. I'm not commenting on whether or not this ordinance, which has since been struck down, was practical or not, especially in the wider context of a country that is completely obsessed with guns and makes them readily available to any yahoo who wants them. I'm only saying that San Franciscans recognize that limiting access to guns might be helpful in curbing gun violence.

But other things are certainly our fault. We've failed to enforce "Laura's Law" in this city, which allows local governments to compel outpatient treatment for people whose mental illness poses a danger to themselves or others. Laura's Law isn't incarceration. In a city like San Francisco, where it's so clear that a small percentage of the population can't or won't manage its problems responsibly, it shouldn't be controversial at all. But we can't seem to implement it. Mayor Gavin Newsom has said that he really wanted to do so, but that it's proven politically impossible. I say he hasn't pushed hard enough.

I have no doubt that certain elements in this city have made it very difficult for him to implement this law, and I understand their reservations about how it might be used to force treatment on people who don't want it. But this view prizes an ideological vision about individual rights at the expense of public safety, and the first responsibility of a democratic government is to recognize where to draw that line. The bottom line is that someone's going to have to die before San Francisco's officials get on the right side of this issue, and that's one of the reasons I get a little nervous every time I see that shifty-eyed guy twitching in front of the BART station.

Years after San Francisco passed the Care Not Cash program, decades after San Franciscans first claimed to be "fed up" with our homeless problem, it saddens me to see us still in the same place. It saddens me even more that Kolkata - a city known the world over as the face of destitution and agony - feels safer, at least to this traveler, than San Francisco, one of the richest cities in the world. Something's got to change.

Caille Millner is a Chronicle editorial writer. You can e-mail her at cmillner@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page B - 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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Comments(2)Share your thoughts on this story.
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Just another San Francisco Chronical Employee that has it all figured out. If she and San Francisco can just make guns illegal, than she would be sooooo much safer:rolleyes:

For someone with so much education she sure is uninformed. She has a email address. Maybe someone could write her a polite letter showing her how she is wrong. I tried, but stopped because I was coming across as "yet another gun nut!" :rolleyes:

Its shocking how people are so willing to give up liberties.

bulgron
11-02-2007, 4:55 PM
San Francisco has a problem with mentally ill people having easy access to automatic weapons? :rolleyes: Wow, that's just got to really make things exciting on a Saturday night.

McMadCow
11-02-2007, 5:08 PM
I wish I had access to automatic weapons here in San Fran! What makes the mentally ill so special that THEY get all the fun toys, huh...?! :mad:

Ford8N
11-02-2007, 5:11 PM
The crazies can get full autos?


:willy_nilly:

milsurpshooter
11-02-2007, 5:16 PM
i cant wait till they sink into the ocean. all calgunners and family in sf this does not apply to you.

56Chevy
11-02-2007, 5:26 PM
i cant wait till they sink into the ocean. all calgunners and family in sf this does not apply to you.
There are a lot of fat people in San Francisco. They probably won't sink. They'll float.

Solidmch
11-02-2007, 5:32 PM
There are a lot of fat people in San Francisco. They probably won't sink. They'll float.

Homeless fat people!:eek:

milsurpshooter
11-02-2007, 5:37 PM
Homeless fat people!:eek:

homeless fat people with crazy death rays.

Solidmch
11-02-2007, 5:42 PM
homeless fat people with crazy death rays.

Homeless fat peole, with crazy death rays,:20: and automatic weapons!

milsurpshooter
11-02-2007, 5:43 PM
and a crazed look in there eyes

RAD-CDPII
11-02-2007, 6:16 PM
San Francisco has a problem with mentally ill people having easy access to automatic weapons? :rolleyes: Wow, that's just got to really make things exciting on a Saturday night.

Does this mean that the crazy luny who wrote the article has access, that's just down right unfair!!!:iggy:

aileron
11-02-2007, 7:19 PM
I was thinking it needed to be re-written.


San Francisco has a problem with mentally ill people having easy access to automatic weapons?

To something like....


San Francisco has a problem with mentally ill people having easy access to writing opinion pieces in the press?

Patriot
11-02-2007, 7:42 PM
I'm only saying that San Franciscans recognize that limiting access to guns might be helpful in curbing gun violence.

And limiting access to bananas might be helpful in curbing banana violence.

People, not tools or even weapons, have violent inclinations. People are responsible for violent crime, not weapons. There are two parts to so-called violent gun crimes: the shooter and the gun. When was the last time they locked up the gun? :rolleyes:

The part about automatic weapons reveals the writer's ignorance about the true state of the 'gun scene' in CA. .gov and hollywood probably have at least 95-99% of the automatic weapons in CA.

Homeless people are much more likely to carry knives than guns of any sort.

halifax
11-02-2007, 7:50 PM
So let me get this straight. She thinks the homeless people are the ones with the guns going around the city killing gang members and innocent by-standers? What's she been smoking? :wacko:

Can'thavenuthingood
11-02-2007, 8:02 PM
........this view prizes an ideological vision about individual rights at the expense of public safety

Yes. That is where the line is drawn, that is America.

Vick

mike100
11-02-2007, 8:11 PM
ha.. I used to work downtown (not SF) right in the thick of the homeless population. Homeless people almost never have guns. If they ever got a hold of something worth $200-$500, they'd sell it straight away for crack/booze money.

It's the people who live in the nearby slums who are preying on the street people, robbing liquor stores, and selling pharmaceuticals without a license . The writer couldn't identify with either the SF bums or the hordes of homeless Indian untouchables because she is out of touch with the lower class. She'd be fun at a party. Just about anybody could probably derail her agenda even with a few drinks under their belt.

dwtt
11-02-2007, 10:35 PM
Does any rational person take the San Francisco Comical newpaper seriously? Why would anyone get upset over this braindead trash?

Solidmch
11-03-2007, 8:20 AM
Does any rational person take the San Francisco Comical newpaper seriously? Why would anyone get upset over this braindead trash?

Just the sheep take it seriously. We are out numbered,

:jump: :willy_nilly:

bulgron
11-03-2007, 9:47 AM
Does any rational person take the San Francisco Comical newpaper seriously? Why would anyone get upset over this braindead trash?

The only time I get truly P.O.'d about the Chronical is when they call me up trying to get me to subscribe to their paper. "But why," they cry, "why won't you take our newspaper!"

Often they're offering to deliver it for free for some amount of time, and it frustrates them to no end when I still say no. The conversation is ultimately pointless so I just hang up on them these days when they call. There's no point in explaining 2A issues to a telemarketer.

As desperate as the Chronical is to get more subscribers, I have to assume that they won't be with us much longer. :D Happy happy day!

Wulf
11-03-2007, 10:07 AM
I know nothing about the legal system in India, but I'd be willing to bet if some nut-job, bum, member of the underclass gets their hands on a weapon and commits a felony with it the local equivalent of the DA tries and convicts them within weeks and extracts a SEVERE punishment. So quick and speedy would be the trial and so severe the punishment, that if such a thing happened in "The City" it would send every editor at the Chronicle scurrying for their word processor to write an op-ed decrying the inhumane, cruel and unusual punishment of a good citizen of "The City" that was homeless and mentally ill through no fault of their own; Bush's fault is what they'll say to be sure.

Perhaps its the first-world justice system of "The City" that makes her feel safer in a third-world country.

Muzz
11-03-2007, 11:26 AM
. It was nice to spend a couple of weeks in a place that didn't have disheveled men swaying on street corners, screaming at everyone in sight. It was a relief not to have to have that fleeting moment of worry about being shot by the bottle-chugging guy near the BART station with the crazy look in his eye.

That's because they would be beaten to death and their skeletons sold to western medical schools.

MedSpec65
11-03-2007, 11:36 AM
Does any rational person take the San Francisco Comical newpaper seriously? Why would anyone get upset over this braindead trash?Exactly why this newspaper is losing ONE MILLION DOLLARS A WEEK because of diminishing readership. It's inconceiveable the William Randolph Hearst Corporation and family foundation could absorb this much longer. Phil Bronstein has taken this paper to the gates of hell.