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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

Underestimating The Homeless

So what will life be like in Honolulu 2063?

I think it’s safe to say that in 50 years we will be experiencing problems with road repairs, broken water mains and traffic, and a handful of candidates will run for elected office with promises to fix them once and for all.

I’m equally sure strange things will be happening in our overcrowded prison system, with an abundance of promises by politicians seeking re-election based on their ability to tighten it.

And, no, the homeless problem will not be solved yet, even if it ends up with politicians asking for large sums of taxpayer dollars to build a homeless shelter in Waikiki. That would be almost comical – a homeless shelter in a tropical resort in the shadow of Diamond Head.

I think it’s pretty obvious that we are underestimating the homeless individual’s mindset. The homeless have been, from the very beginning, more than capable of side-stepping every attempt by government officials to make them play by the rules like the rest of us. I guess that’s why their antics hurt so much.

As an example of the latest altercation with the law, a homeless man allegedly stole a government dump truck and took it on a joyride in Waikiki. He then crashed and jumped into the ocean and went for a swim. He was caught, but in the process crashed into two HPD patrol cars and slammed into a tree on the beach, and mowed down several innocent parking meters. Luckily, no one was injured. Problem is, it requires time and money to repair all the damages and courtroom appearances to settle the matter.

During the investigation someone will want to know why the keys were in the dump truck. If they hadn’t been, the homeless man probably wouldn’t have been able to operate it and cause so much damage. But then we are falling into the trap of thinking the homeless don’t have skills or the intelligence to steal the truck.

Let’s face it, these homeless people have skills far beyond what our politicians give them credit for. They know how to play the media, tug at the heart-strings of nonprofits for assistance and panhandle with great effectiveness.

It’s interesting to note that financial institutions have hired convicted bank robbers to give their security personnel and tellers information to deter criminals looking for an easy target. That’s why you can’t go in a bank these days wearing dark glasses and a hat.

Homeless people need help, but don’t think for an instant they don’t know how to play the government’s game.

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