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Loaves & Fishes Friendship Park may close until 9AM, Monday

Evoking its ongoing backward policy of punishing all for the actions of very few, Loaves & Fishes Friendship Park co-director Garren Bratcher informed park denizens Friday morning that unless there is a safe opening of the park on Monday [at 7AM], park officials – the Green Hats – will empty the park and keep it closed until 9AM.

This information came to the park denizens minutes after the park opened at 7AM last Friday, over the park's loudspeaker. The complaint of park officials is that people ran during the rush after the gates were opened.

This blog, and many park denizens, are disgusted with a policy that can greatly disrupt responsible homeless people's day – particularly those of homeless people who have jobs or appointments they need to get to – because of the actions of a few irresponsible people.

Currently, the park directors keep lists of those who have been barred from the Loaves & Fishes facility or just from Friendship Park for periods of time. There is no reason that the directors cannot punish just those meriting punishment, and not everyone.

Understand, please, that I am greatly impressed with Garren Bratcher as a man of heart, but I cannot reconcile many of this actions and threats of actions with his bright, shining attitude.

[See SacHo's blogpost from May "Friendship Park: Open, Closed, Open, Closed," and a Homeless Tom blogpost from 8/17/08, re-creation of a flyer distributed at the park: "Your Time has Value; Your Life has Meaning." ]

UPDATE 8/17: Friendship Park opened at 7AM. The powers-that-be were not troubled by any rule breaking in the period following the opening of the park, so it was not closed (and re-opened). All is well ... except that many denizens of the park, including me, are troubled by an ongoing policy of closures and threats of closure.


Kevin Barbieux said…
Officials do this kind of thing when they become lazy. It is believed by some that if you punish the whole group, then the group will begin policing itself... Well that tactic just doesn't work because homeless people are all mavericks....they have no inclination, or reason, to comply to peer pressure. Sadly, this tactic is used way too often.
Tom Armstrong said…
Thanks, Kevin. I think your analysis is right.

The tactic of "punishing all" is meant to bring about peer pressure, or, as I think it can rightly be termed, promote vigilantism.

Only the Friendship Park staff should be enforcing park regulations.

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