Homeless man sentenced to house arrest?

I was confused by “Vancouver panhandler gets house arrest for attack” on National Post, which describes a drug-addicted panhandler attacking an old man who always gives him money in front of the man’s church, and getting a sentence of house arrest.

Er, am I missing something here? What house arrest? Are we arresting that man in his garbage can? His favorite corner behind the mailbox? Or maybe the judge is gonna let the robber sleep in his guest room?

The judge commented on the Vancouver’s homeless problems as if he was new to this city and was surprised to see homeless people walking around peeing in dark alleys and injecting drugs.

To quote from the article, the judge said:

“Two generations ago there were almost no street people in Vancouver. If a person slept or begged on the street the police would intervene. Somehow society coped without creating the chaos on the streets that we now have.

“Today in Vancouver there are perhaps thousands living on the streets and in the parks. They sleep everywhere — even in the doorways of the courthouse and police station. Public areas are their bathrooms and garbage disposal facilities.

“Society created this situation. Law-abiding citizens condone it and it has become the expectation of those like Darcy Jones. In fact, it is more than an expectation it is viewed as an entitlement — the public are expected to respond favourably to silly justifications for demanding money such as ‘squeegee’ car windshield [washes] or doing push-ups on the street.

“It is not surprising that some street people have taken the next step of physically enforcing their right to this support.”

After prolonged exposure to social issues, social equity, drug problems, I’ve always viewed the panhandlers/homeless/”street people” as victims of their time. So I was utterly surprised to find someone to openly express their hatred towards the homeless.

Like I don’t think there’s a solution to the global issues such as AIDS pandemic, environmental degradation, and climate change, I don’t think there’s a solution to the problems of drug addiction and homelessness in Vancouver.

But I think someone should put that robber in detox and put that judge in Carnegie Hall for a good while.

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