Opinion

COLUMN: Must give respect to earn respect, and help

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The other day, when the weather was still mild, I figured it was time to blow all the leaves off the driveway and dispose of them.

Not one to stint on tools, I had previously acquired the most powerful blower known to man … well, that might be a slight exaggeration though it is touted as the strongest hand-held.

Thus armed with the ultimate, I managed to clear the driveway and created a rather large windrow on the lawn. It was then that I discovered trying to blow leaves into a pile is somewhat akin to herding cats.

Not a lot of co-operation on the part of the leaves, or for that matter any from inanimate object.

It was then that I resorted to a rake, but being plastic they are not anything as effective as the old bamboo ones that were once ubiquitous in every garden shed. Whatever happened to them anyway … panda bears eat them all or what? At least with bamboo, I was able to use something that was presumably from a sustainable source as opposed to oil-based plastic manufacture.

Regardless, the leaves were finally gathered, loaded into the trailer and will soon be deposited in the compost bunker back of the barn.

Not so successful are the city’s efforts to control the “homeless” situation, exacerbated I might point out, by the earlier ill-conceived decision to dump chicken manure in an encampment area. You can’t herd people like leaves, or cats, and you can’t essentially poke them in the eye, which essentially was what the manure distribution did.

What the city didn’t seem to understand is that such decisions attract those who can and will speak up and, with ‘outside’ financial support, have the wherewithal to counteract almost anything the city does in mitigation.

Not only that, with the empowerment of activists there is now a rampant sense of entitlement by those who pose as homeless, but in reality are no more than anarchists who sense an opportunity to try to seize control.

For example, a manifesto entitled Declaration of War has surfaced claiming “we have the right to every street, alley and building . . . we have the right to evict any and all businesses . . .  we don’t want you here.”

Tell me that and I tell you, it is time to take back control of our city.

In the meantime those who are truly homeless, who are mentally challenged or drug-addicted, will see no benefit from the actions of anarchy. They’ll still live in tarp-covered cardboard boxes, live hand-to-mouth and continue to suffer long after the activists have won, or lost, and gone on to other things.

That will only change if the city, and truly well-meaning people, step up and provide serviced accommodation.

There is provincial funding in place for such but, like everything, if the dithering continues that funding will go elsewhere. There’s only so much money to go around.

Let’s face it, those who live on our streets in appalling conditions aren’t going away, so somewhere safe, and warm, where they can be accommodated and helped with the demons that plague them must be found or built.

On the other hand, it will take a commitment on behalf of those who supposedly speak for, and advocate for, the homeless and addicted to respect those of us who will provide the funding, the support and the desire to bring resolution.

If you want my help, and like so many others I’m willing to give it, you have to respect me to earn mine. Presenting a “Declaration of War” is not the way to accomplish that, or anything else.

markrushton@abbynews.com

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