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The homelessness crisis sweeping the nation has prompted a rather unconventional response from a man in Denver, Colorado. In an act of protest, he dumped a pile of feces from homeless people that was left on the ground in front of his office. Many cities are failing to adequately address the problem, which might prompt more people to do the same.
Tired of cleaning up human waste outside his Denver office, Independence Institute CEO Jon Caldara sent a message to the powers that be by depositing the refuse on the front steps of the Denver City and County Building.
“Here is — oh, my God — human feces that I’ve cleaned up,” Mr. Caldara told reporters at the Monday poop-dump, as shown on CBS4 in Denver. “This is a present from the homeless to the people who have kept this homeless problem going.”
He also encouraged Denver residents to follow his example as an “act of civil disobedience.”
“Next time you clean it up, drop it off here,” Mr. Caldara said. “Drop it off at city hall as an act of civil disobedience, to ask them, to demand of them, to address the problem.”
The issue of homelessness has plagued cities like Denver for years. Mayor Mike Johnston and other city officials have repeatedly declared their commitment to addressing the crisis. Unfortunately, it seems that solutions have been sparse. Caldara’s poopy protest seems to represent the frustrations of many in the community.
Caldera, along with other residents, is no stranger to the daily struggles faced by local business owners when dealing with the homeless. In essence, his private property has become a public restroom of sorts for those who do not have other places to go. Security cameras around the city have captured homeless individuals defecating outside of public businesses and leaving vomit, urine, syringes, used condoms, and other unsavory items on the ground. Since the city isn’t doing its job, business owners have been forced to play the role of janitor, cleaning up after the homeless.
Even further, Caldera has repeatedly appealed to law enforcement and the mayor. Unfortunately, his pleas have been ignored. His actions might be controversial, but when the local government seems uninterested in solving the problem, what else is he supposed to do?
Further compounding the issue is the fact that many cities don’t allow private individuals or entities to step up to deal with the homelessness problem. In Gastonia, North Carolina, the city council has targeted a pastor who opens up his church to the homeless, feeding and clothing them and providing shelter. Initiatives like this could do more to rectify the issue than simply allowing it to persist. Nevertheless, the local government is bent on preventing him from doing this.
This situation is playing out in most major cities across the country. If local governments are unwilling to come up with actual solutions to the problem, perhaps more people should engage in this form of protest. If business owners have to deal with feces, syringes, and other items being dumped on their property, perhaps forcing government officials into the same boat might actually get their attention.