There is a persistent urban menace in Vancouver and other cities that just won't go away and that of course is the drug addled, homeless, riff-raff that camp out on streets, commercial doorways, and in parks, openly drinking, taking drugs, and panhandling. Filthy, unashamed, and disturbing to most people passing by, they defy all social norms and any attempts to move them along. Without access to washrooms they urinate and defecate in public, they scatter their trash everywhere and, in their deranged state, they are usually yelling among themselves or intimidating pedestrians with their disturbing behavior.
Neither the Provincial or Municipal governments seem capable of enacting legislation to outlaw vagrancy, loitering, or panhandling never mind dealing with homelessness or addiction. Even though it is painfully obvious that most of these people need to be forcibly put in treatment centres for their own good, various human rights and advocacy groups seem to have more sway than the voices of residents who are forced to confront the problem on a daily basis. And every year the problem keeps getting worse.
Adding to the problem of course is the well-intentioned, but counter-productive, actions of sympathetic and gullible citizens who donate food and money to these people and leave out recyclable bottles for them to cash in. All this does is contribute to even more panhandling, dumpster diving, and begging as the word gets out that certain intersections or streets make for an easy mark. Rather than getting them to seek treatment, giving them money simply allows them to perpetuate their way of life.
These street people have become just like the habituated bears who live on the margins of suburbia near the forest line. Living on the margins of the city the street bums are a dangerous nuisance and the public needs to think of them the same way they think of bears and not leave anything out for them. Signs everywhere point to the fact a fed bear is a dead bear and, until our lawmakers come up with a proper solution, we should be thinking that a fed bum is ultimately a dead bum.