EDITOR’S DESK: Calling Wonderland

       “Our homeless people must be allowed to live peacefully outside… Without the freedom to live as they choose, the homeless aren't free.”
       - (Gazette editorial, Oct. 29).
       OK, Alice, the joke's over. Will you send your friends back to Wonderland now?
       What's that you say… they're down at Fountain Creek, taking statements?
       Look, if this gets any crazier, we're going to all need a rabbit hole. When did the rights of trespassing transients outweigh those of everyday people who raise families and contribute to this community? Our taxes paid for those creeks, trails and open spaces. They were set aside for their pristine beauty, as places for people young and old to enjoy. Just because a guy wants to squat there doesn't mean he can. Hey, make an offer! The city and county governments are so hard up these days, they might just sell it to you. And as for the Gazette, since they're so keen on homeless-camping freedom, how about volunteering their front lobby to the cause?
       Right, I know, the advocates' stated concern is the rights of homeless veterans. Good one. How can caring people possibly go against that? How about this way? Ask most veterans what they fought for. Was it for this… to hunker down in public places and defile them at the expense of everyone else?
       And let's get serious for another sweet second here. What about simple public safety? The Gazette doesn't like reporting this stuff (that's why we're here, I guess), but a year ago a homeless shoot-out sent bullets flying near the Sonic restaurant off Fountain Creek and a mountain transient was the prime suspect in the Incline fire.
       The lunacy of all this is that the city has a working plan - luring these folks finto indoor programs, where trained specialists and volunteers stand ready to help them break their addictions, deal with their mental conditions and lead them back to fulfilling lives.
       But now, because of the off-with-their-heads Gazette editors and their lawsuit-threatening friends, not only is there a chilling effect on such efforts, but the city has suspended its cleanups of the camps indefinitely. And who knows, now that lawyers and politics have gotten involved, what kind of new law will eventually come to pass - one so wrapped in safe language that the squatters will essentially be given carte blanche to settle down permanently… with free city trash service, to boot?
       One guy at the Oct. 23 meeting who identified himself as formerly homeless said that if the city doesn't want such people around, then buy them a bus ticket. Talk about epiphany. This was an idea we had two years ago - Bus Out of Town (BOOT). But now I don't know . The bus seems to be stuck on the other side of the looking glass.

- K.J.