The homeless should STOP criminalizing themselves!


By Max R. Weller

One thing I’ve learned in my 13+ years of being homeless in all kinds of settings and different cities is that ninety-nine percent of us are capable of conforming our behavior to ordinary standards of decency, in accordance with the law, when required to do so. Only the very few mentally ill in the midst of a psychotic breakdown are unable to do so; BUT, even these folks will generally be okay if they choose to stay on their prescribed meds and avoid alcohol or street drugs.

We are NOT helpless NOR are we hopeless. It seems to me that the self-styled homeless advocates here in Boulder, CO want us to believe we can do nothing for ourselves — and we all belong in some “program” with hugely expensive budgets (from both public and private sources) and unrealistic expectations — but I’m here to tell you that living outside of the mainstream can be done in a way that hurts neither society nor ourselves.

Of course, the fundamental principle is SOBRIETY. Everyone has total control over the choice of whether or not to take that very first drink, or that very first toke, or that very first dose of dope in a vein. Granted, once you have weakened and the mind-altering chemical is in your system, as an addict you no longer have control — so don’t do it in the first damn place! ALL of the misbehaviors (criminal and otherwise) I see from the worst-behaved transients are associated either directly or indirectly with substance abuse and its self-destructive lifestyle.

I’m sorry, but nobody is criminalizing you. You’re doing it to yourself!

And don’t tell me that there is no alternative to being cited over and over again for various petty offenses, such as Illegal Camping. Anybody can avoid this, and I’m living proof, never having been cited in over eight years during my time living as a homeless camper in Boulder, CO. Exercise a bit of discretion by being quiet and out-of-sight, and I can promise you that nobody will care, least of all those in authority who have better things to do. Respect yourself, respect others, and respect the community in which you live.


Have you had enough?


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