The Chronicle traced the law back to 1942, when it was delightfully titled "molesting garbage containers." A 1988 rewrite expanded legal protection from molestation to recyclables...

The city of Houston, Texas is officially more concerned about the safety and dignity of trash than the city's homeless. The Houston Chronicle  reports: 

James Kelly was hungry and looking for something to eat. He tried to find it in a trash bin near Houston City Hall.

For that, the man, who said he spent about nine years in the Navy but fell on hard times, was ticketed by a Houston police officer.

According to his copy of the citation, Kelly, 44, was charged on Thursday with "disturbing the contents of a garbage can in (the) downtown business district."

"I was just basically looking for something to eat," Kelly said Monday night.

... the increasing criminalization of homelessess, which AlterNet has written about  here. Here's how it works: instead of spending money on social programs, cities spend way more money harrassing, fining, and jailing the homeless, in the hope that they'll magically disappear. Cities continue to do this, despite the fact that investing in social programs ends up being cheaper AND more effective in the long run. [emphasis mine]


photo source

Does this seem inhumane to you? In my youth I was happy to get clothes and furniture from "the trash fairy." Now I'm afraid of bedbugs.

Tags: criminalization of homelessess

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Replies to This Discussion

Remember when the fat, pill-popping Rush Limbaugh belittled people he called "dumpster divers" when the folks he called "liberals" expressed concern that a lot of street people were dying because they actually slept in the dumpster and were maimed or killed by the waste management collection equipment?  Only an unspeakable bore like Limbaugh would encourage people to laugh at the misfortune of others.  As for bed bugs, having a bit of  Cimex-phobia is perhaps wise.  I don't believe those TV ads about a "green" product that eradicates them.

Yeah Rush Limbaugh - he is horrible.

He likes to belittle those that are less fortunate.

That is such a weird law. I didn't know about it.

Thank you Ruth.

I've never been molested by a garbage container, not even when I got a lot of furniture and useful things from them. I'm all in favour of recycling, but I want a society in which people have got a basic income that allows them to buy healthy food. And it's sickening when poor people are criminalized!

Even without/besides criminalization, I've seen plenty of signs -- such as gratuitous multiple armrests on park benches, to discourage sleeping on them -- that authorities would like people who are homeless to disappear from public view.

Damn, that's what those are for?  I am going to start protesting third armrests wherever I  see them.  I had no idea.

Relevant, from Clay Bennett:

Apt image!

Yes, it seems inhumane

I work in security, and my staff often have to remove dumpster divers from our accounts. They often protest this: why are they being criminalized for reducing the size of landfills, or for turning recyclables into revenue?

The answer is liability. Unfortunately, we live in a highly litigious society. Injuries sustained on the property while doing this could end up in court. It's not economically wise to allow this.

Another problem is identity theft. A little scavenging can seize such documents . Just tearing them in half won't protect your identity. Safer to discourage scavenging altogether.

Same reason we chase skaters out of public places.  Not because of the nuisance to pedestrians  but because they could sue if they got hurt.

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