Amazing people arrested by terrible people for doing something good.
Seriously, what is going on here?
Seven activists, while slightly grungy and a little cliche, were arrested on Monday for feeding homeless people a vegan breakfast in Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. They weren’t just simply told to disband and take their good-intentioned hippy food with them. Instead, they were cuffed and taken to jail.
It makes one wonder, if you’re going to arrest someone why not arrest the homeless people so they have a place to live and food to eat. Why arrest the benevolent hipsters? If humanity takes it upon itself to better its society, why should the law, created exactly for that purpose, hinder the goal everyone should communally share?
The international movement called Food Not Bombs, is co-founded by Jonathan ‘Keith’ McHenry, 54, one of the men who was arrested and bailed on $250—each activist was held on similar bail. He and his cohorts were charged with trespassing and warned to stay away from Eola Park, a place they regularly dished out freed food to combat poverty.
One activist, Ben Markeson, however, plans to continue serving in the park. “I don’t know why they’re so threatened by people ladling out food,” he says and that question, indeed, should be asked.
It’s a matter of permits according to spokesperson for the Orlando police, Lieutenant Barb Jones, “They can feed twice in each park with the permit, there are other places they can feed, and the city has set up locations for them to feed. This is just a group that has decided that they want to be able to feed no matter what the city has done.”
Jones is correct—it is a group of people that feel, regulations be damned, they should be able to provide food for the impoverished anywhere at anytime as a God-given right to help someone in need, and that is something everyone should support.
Furthermore, I’m having trouble finding a counterpoint to the activists’ quests. They’re giving out free food to people who have no money to otherwise purchase it, so there’s nothing advantageous occurring in their efforts to disadvantage local vendors.
But Jones seems unrelenting, “‘We paid for their permits. These are misdemeanors, as drinking alcohol in the park is a violation. There are a lot of things you can’t do in city parks.”
Lieutenant Jones is comparing drinking alcohol to giving homeless people food. Where has the morality gone?
It has been replaced by superficiality: ”The City doesn’t want homeless people downtown because it considers them unsightly, annoying and bad for business and an impediment to the local social/political/economic elite’s goals of downtown redevelopment and gentrification,” says Food Not Bombs.
Orlando’s solution was an ordinance limiting groups from distributing food to more than 25 people to two times per year per downtown park, to which Food Not Bombs replied, “The city seems oblivious to the fact that people need to eat every day, not just two times a year.”
There have been other measures the city has taken to prevent food distribution such as creating unappetizing distribution zones and not calming the teenage crime that takes place there.
“It’s inhumane to tell people they should not give food to the hungry,” says activist Jessica Cross.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Orlando is trying everything they can to insure the homeless aren’t fed and for nothing but benevolent reasons the activists are making sure they are.