Government is Just All of Us Together, Preventing Each Other From Feeding the Hungry


For the "why do libertarians get so mad at the state, which only exists so the less well off won't get screwed by the wealthy and powerful?" file, via NBC News.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, a couple—Debbie and Chico Jimenez—out of the kindness of their hearts have for the past year on Wednesdays offered full cooked meals to the city's homeless in Manatee Island park. Over 100 hungry are typically fed.

Naturally, they've been fined by the city for it, along with some of their helpers—including a wheelchair-bound man who himself just escaped homelessness. (Maybe this fine can push him back in it! See this previous article from me about how even the pettiest of state fines can ruin lives.)

The crew of criminal philanthropists owe a total of $2,238 in fines.

Why? Some people don't like what homeless people do in the park, including human acts of excretion and drunkenness. (As if the people feeding them invented the homeless, or provided or police the park.)

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood stands by his act:

"They were told (the previous Wednesday) that if they come back there, they would be cited and they could risk going to jail," Chitwood said. "There is a segment of the homeless population that is homeless by choice. I don't want to impugn them all. But some are homeless because they are sex offenders, substance abusers and bank robbers. That's why we ask (Good Samaritans) to coordinate with our social service agencies, because they know who needs to be served."

Daytona Beach isn't alone in making sure care for the hungry is centralized and bureaucratized:

According to a report co-released by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, during the past seven years Gainesville, Fla., began "enforcing a rule limiting the number of meals that soup kitchens may serve to 130 people in one day;" Phoenix, Ariz., "used zoning laws to stop a local church from serving breakfast to community members, including many homeless people, outside a local church;" and Myrtle Beach, S.C., "adopted an ordinance that restricts food sharing with homeless people in public parks."

I wrote for Reason back in 2013 about a lawsuit over a similar situation in Dallas that ended with making feeding the homeless a thoughtcrime, OK if done for a religious motive, not if not.