Hammering Homelessness

Not homeless, shopping carts. This isn't an issue about homeless in my representative's mind, it's about shopping carts. It's about cleanliness.
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Bully. It's the word we use for people who harass others weaker than them. That's what Tom Brower was this week. Nothing about harassing homeless people is cool, or intelligent, or helpful to the conversation.

And I voted for him.

For those who need a catch-up: This week State Representative Tom Brower decided to 1. Pick up a large sledgehammer, 2. walk the streets of his district, Waikiki, and 3. Take it upon himself to destroy and disable "shopping carts" that are no longer being used by local area stores. One day he was proud. The next day he declared he would stop because the point he was trying to make "has been made".

What was that point? From the same article: "the issue of shopping carts is on our minds".

Not homeless, shopping carts. This isn't an issue about homeless in my representative's mind, it's about shopping carts. It's about cleanliness.

Don't believe me? "I'm trying to attack the issue of cleanliness, but some people interpreted as an attack on the homeless." Who would interpret it that way? You were only walking at them with a sledgehammer, making them get out of the way. But don't let me paraphrase; here is what Tom Brower said the reaction to his sledgehammer-antics was:

"When you are walking down the sidewalk with a sledgehammer," he told the Star-Advertiser, "people get out of your way."
Whoa! This doesn't land you behind bars? Can I do this? Can you? He's not doing it with any special statement of powers from the city. Is Honolulu at the point that we can walk the streets smashing things? He seems to think nothing's wrong with it. So can a group of Brower fans do the same? Guaranteed they get arrested.

And I voted for him.

But Brower's not just a bully; he's a liar. He expressed, if he recognizes the where the cart is from he returns it, right? That's what he says.

Except for this video, which clearly says "Don Quijote" on the side.

If you need to take personal time to clean up, why don't you take a bucket and some scrubbers and work on the molasses in the harbor? What about helping convince some homeless that mental illness programs might be a great help? What about cooking for them and talking with them, since they are members of your district, maybe they'll give you some knowledge and they'll buy you some shoes. I assume they have a hard time with mail-in ballots.

Naaaaaah, smash 'em sounds easier.

Are we done with this story? Is it over? It shouldn't go away. This is his solution to problems, this makes the problem worse. I'm beside myself that this is where my vote went.

I liked the movie Thor too. Thor stands up for the weakest in society, those who cannot defend themselves. He doesn't prey on them. He's a benevolent ruler. That's how you swing a hammer.

Since I started this column I've made it a point not to only point out problems, but to offer my own alternatives. And since this is about shopping carts, and cleanliness (and maybe a little bit homeless) let me offer my own perspective.

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