A 90-year-old Florida man was stopped and issued a citation by police last night for attempting to feed homeless people in a Fort Lauderdale park because the world is a cold, unforgiving place and humanity is doomed.
90-year-old Arnold Abbott and two others were stopped from feeding the hungry and ordered to appear in court because of a new Fort Lauderdale law limiting public feeding sites in an effort to curb the city’s homeless population, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Arnold Abbott, who heads the group Love Thy Neighbor, said he had served only three or four of about 300 meals he had prepared when police ordered him to stop.
Abbott, who has won past legal battles with the city over feeding restrictions, has vowed to go to court again.
Abbott, the Rev. Mark Sims, of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, and the Rev. Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, were each cited for willfully violating a city ordinance.
“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” said Sims. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”
According to the Sun Sentinel, the law, which took effect this past Friday, limits where feeding sites for the homeless can be located, and requires meal organizers to provide portable toilets. Seems pretty reasonable, but this quote from Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler will make your blood boil.
“I’m not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in city of Fort Lauderdale,” said Seiler. “Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive.”
Wow. Just, wow. This has to be the peak of blaming the poor and downtrodden in this country, right? Fox News has made a living off of blaming our country’s ills on supposed welfare cheats, calling America an Entitlement Nation. But claiming that providing someone with a meal is somehow “a part of a cycle” and “isn’t productive” is a new low.
The Mayor’s office issued a press release yesterday highlighting the many steps Fort Lauderdale has taken to help the homeless, and defending their ordinance as one needed to “reduce the public safety hazards and inappropriate nuisance activities that are negatively impacting our community.”
No one is saying that homelessness is an easy issue to tackle, but Rev. Black had the best response to the whole incident.
Black said he understood that large groups of homeless persons are considered undesirable by city officials, downtown residents and business owners. “But let’s just feed them,” said Black, “and then deal with other issues.”
[h/t Sun Sentinel; photo via AP]