When Kindness Kills

Black Widow

Female black widows attract prey by showing off their shiny, red hourglass markings. This lures their unfortunate victim directly in to her clutches, where it will soon be wrapped in mounds of silk before being injected with digestive enzymes that turn their insides to mush.  The spider then sucks the liquid out (gleefully, I like to imagine), leaving only a dead, hollowed out shell of what was once a living creation behind.

A person stamped with a victimhood mentality eventually becomes an empty shell too.  Except in this case it’s not the spider draining the life out of them, but Western society’s pathological need to be seen as compassionate and caring when tough love and common sense are required.  This in turn can cause them learned helplessness and  a continual reliance on other people and things in place of basic life skills.

The homeless crisis faced by many cities around the country is surely at the top of a long list of cultural issues effected by this dysfunction. This was brought to mind recently when I read this blog post by Chris Megison, President and CEO of Solutions For Change, a wonderful organization dedicated to ending family homelessness who I’ve blogged about before.

Chris uses the term symptom relief when discussing the Band-Aid approach federal and state governments have taken towards trying to solve homelessness.  In fact he doesn’t believe “solving” it is even part of the equation.  His words:

It is very important to understand that the increase in homelessness and property crimes is happening by design, due to State of California’s legislative overreach that is handcuffing local cities.”

Chris is referring to something called Housing First, which fixates on providing housing for the homeless with no requirements that they stop drinking and/or doing drugs. This philosophy is poisonous according to Chris and because it’s permeated throughout the public sector some really bad policies and incentives have come about as he explains here:

“California’s homeless response system has done something that we believe is enormously dangerous. The state has systematized and operationalized codependency through a new design that provides taxpayer funded no-strings-attached drug housing for the homeless addict. The intervention they are using is a housing intervention with the misguided logic that the addict will decide, at some point, to get sober. The addict can now continue to use drugs in “free” government housing, commit property crimes to support their habit and have a place for other addicts to congregate

Sadly, the same public sector architects of this design have also decriminalized possession of drugs, even hard drugs like heroin and meth.  A person caught with 3 grams of heroin (30 uses) is considered to have “personal use” and let go.  Police officers are going on record all over California, saying that we are in full blown crisis caused by the confluence of multiple government policies that focus on the wrong thing; they focus almost entirely on symptoms.”

 Is it compassionate to provide free housing with no expectations that tenants behave like responsible human beings?  To release people caught with hard drugs because hey, they’re only harming themselves and who are we to judge anyway?  Or is it really just another way for politicians to look like they’re doing somethingwhen in fact they’re just making things worse?

And what about the homeless themselves, doesn’t this convey the message that they are incapable of overcoming their addictions and becoming productive members of society? That they are “victims” of forces beyond their control so let’s just give them housing and let them alone about their drugs so we can get back to our paper shuffling and say “see, problem solved!”?

The lure of being seen as compassionate is powerful and not in itself a bad thing.  When it becomes politicized and purely symbolic though it leads to greater evils than the initial problems being confronted.  In this case the devaluing of human beings and treating them as animals with no ability to help themselves.

This only propagates whatever dysfunction an already damaged population is dealing with, leaving a broken trail of carcasses ravaged by poverty, drug addiction and spiritual emptiness in its wake.

We need to rethink what we are doing to the most vulnerable among us.

For more information about the good work Solutions for Change is doing to empower people up and out of being homeless go here.



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33 Responses to When Kindness Kills

  1. Good post, Tricia. The worst thing you can do for an addict us to treat them as a victim, to nuture their sense of self pity, and to make their lives easier by giving them money, free housing. In fact, compassion can and does kill.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Doug says:

    Homelessness is not the only national “malady” where only symptoms of the problem is treated… but it is certainly one of the more visual. Personally it bothers me when religious institutions feed them during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, then forget about them during the year. The other one is feeding the homeless in exchange for their having to attend services in the hopes that God will fill their lives, or something, and they will come around.
    To even begin to address the problem one has to understand where it originates. I’m an old statistics guy.. I used to own a business that designed vehicles for data collection. While each homeless person has a story.. there are common factors that provide links in defining the origins. I have no access to any scientific data on the homeless but I do know a little about human behavior… and it’s fair to surmise a bit that much of it originates on some level of mental illness. No question there are likely a good percentage who are of some level of sound mind to prefer just being homeless, without responsibility or a care in the world. But likely most are victims of mental illness and drug use… or the after effects of a drug use past. It’s that time of year here in the high desert of SoCal where they will arrive or become more prevalent because of the warmer season. I have no answers.. and yes, seems just treating a symptom doesn’t get anything done.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Elihu says:

    It reminds me of the proverb that says, “faithful are the wounds of a friend, but profuse are the kisses of the enemy.” I do not trust this support of victimhood that our universities and governments seem to encourage at every turn. It’s only creating weakness and dependency which will lead to further robbery of our freedoms.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      You said it perfectly Elihu and that proverb is a good warning about the dangers of compassion, especially the state sanctioned type. It certainly benefits those that push such an agenda, not so much the people they claim to be helping.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Al says:

    How can you possibly criticize liberal policies like this? Are you not aware that they know what’s best for everyone? For example, look how well sanctuary cities are working. And gender fluidity.

    Have a great day.
    Your pal, Alice (identifying as a woman today)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tricia says:

      What was I thinking, right Well Pal Al? It’s not like our major cities that have been governed for years with hard progressive polices aren’t literally crumbling down or anything.

      Thanks for the giggle. 😉


  5. Wow! Didn’t realize this was going on. Clearly not a helpful approach. No wonder homelessness is skyrocketing.

    Love this: “The lure of being seen as compassionate is powerful and not in itself a bad thing. When it becomes politicized and purely symbolic though it leads to greater evils than the initial problems being confronted. In this case the devaluing of human beings and treating them as animals with no ability to help themselves.”


    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Michael. And this is happening in every major city dealing with the homeless. That Housing First initiative starts at the federal level where grants are not given to outfits like SFC who require their housing tenets to give up the booze and drugs. Combine that with legalizing drugs and the overall loosening of small crimes laws and we have a disaster in the making.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ok , before I can properly comment— I must first get over that picture and the whole black widow spider thing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Citizen Tom says:


    When someone is spending someone else’s money on someone else, they are less likely to be careful about either how much they spend or whether what they spend produces useful results. Instead, we have to pay attention so that don’t steal something for themselves. So what are the Liberal Democrats getting out of this program for themselves?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      That’s always the case with other people’s money, isn’t it Tom? The Democrats in this case get to seem like they are the good and compassionate ones that are “solving” the homeless problem. Giving people houses without going after the root cause of why they are homeless to begin with doesn’t begin to address what’s wrong though.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. In the same way our culture likes to simplify disease by using (often inaccurate) terms like CAUSE and EFFECT, we tend to assign these same inaccurate terms to “social diseases.” Most problems in life arise from a multitude of harmful factors that lead to poor outcomes. In this case, by assigning “the CAUSE” of poverty, drug use, unemployment, etc… to homelessness, a solution (EFFECT) is easily achieved. Provide housing to those living on the streets supported by local communities, states and federal funding, and a “simple” compassionate answer is provided. In reality, however, this approach (although possibly laudable in intent) lacks any PROCESS necessary for exposing the various ROOT CAUSES of social inequality resulting in the promulgation of gross social imbalance. The ANSWER (more likely) requires a combination of financial assistance and means to programs designed to educate and provide work placement assistance. It is impossible for the masses living without educational opportunity and basic means to exist to go from a state of “crawling” to “running.” It requires community support, financial assistance, education, and most of all…a great deal of PATIENCE (which people and government LACK.) Just because opportunity may be available for the homeless doesn’t mean their mindset will accurately perceive the benefits. When an individual or group of homeless have lived in “survival mode” for so many years, it becomes a state of existence few will surrender. “Throwing” housing, money and education at them will not (in and of itself) provide a constructive path toward real improvement. It will require skilled integration with community leaders and gradual evidence of sustained improvement, for reflexive survival behavior to change.

    We, as a culture, are not willing to use our resources in this manner. We want people to think and behave the way we do. This is not REALITY. Therefore, both major political parties will continue to approach these problems with the SAME unrealistic solutions that remain the only options offered (ex. Republicans will offer trickle down growth to provide a path toward “middle class”, while Democrats will “fend for those in need” by reassigning wealth in the name of fairness.)

    The possibility of change will unlikely occur until the 23rd hour nearing “Armageddon.” This is the way our government “functions” to implement policy changes. Even then, these changes are only temporary stopgaps as we continue to “kick the can” down the road until the same crisis arises again. This system maintains inequality and sacrifices real progress because the elite continue to prosper. Rather than using quality tools specifically designed to create quality changes to our social infrastructure, we choose to settle for patchwork. We anesthetize the PAIN of social injustice by quelling the masses with the same promises using a PROCESS that continues to fail to deliver any significant substantive long term improvements . This, unfortunately, is the American way!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Hey Jonathan, so nice to hear from you. I agree the issues behind homelessness are deeply ingrained and the ” just snap out of it” method is far from effective. There is so much wrong though that as a society we seem to cater to that produces the opposite results of what we should want. In this case encouraging more dependency and helplessness instead of empowering people to move on up and out of homeless. It’s a multi pronged effort involving addiction therapy, mental health treatment and learning basic life skills. Solutions for Change does take this approach which is why I champion them whenever I can.

      Unfortunately too you are very correct that anesthetizing pain is the American way!


  9. Dennis says:

    Great post and you hit the nail on the liberal head again Tricia!!
    Just as an aside, I once had a girlfriend that did much the same to me as the aforementioned spider! Teen love will get you every time but it was a fun ride!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anonymous says:

    You are right on. This is an Orwellian inversion just as you described. Everything is this way!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Solutions For Change sounds like a wonderful organization. I agree with you… empowering people is a very important component to overcoming a lack of self value. Providing assistance to prevent spiraling poverty and crime is essential. Stability, however, cannot be maintained using wealth redistribution.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on The culture alternative and commented:
    Here is a great article on homelessness that is well worth the read.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sandomina says:

    That’s expressed so succinctly in so few words.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What to do with people with mental illness and drug addiction is only going to worsen in time as the legalization of drugs expands in the USA.

    Why politicians avoid this tragedy is beyond me. For example, the Speaker of the House district she represents has over 50,000 homeless people living in the streets of her district, yet she stated it is immoral to turn away immigrants.


    Regards and good will blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doug says:

      You said it yourself in the beginning of this post, Rudy. Mental health is a huge problem in this country.. far worse than a measles outbreak. Life is full of choices. The greater percentage of those 50,000 homeless folks (I am assuming that number is accurate) are folks with mental health issues… and as such are not generally of sound mind to completely deal with life’s choices. People down on the border are desperate for survival, especially the families. You are comparing apples to oranges. Obviously Mr. Trump has been a good mentor to you.
      Another curious question.. your first sentence… mental illness and drug addiction will only get worse as the legalization of drugs expands? Other than Mary Jane… what other addictive controlled drugs are being let loose onto society?

      Liked by 1 person

      • The 50,000 are LosAngeles. Mary Jane leads to hard drugs for many. Add alcohol and other misery to the mix, u have a lot of problems in California.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tricia says:

        Mental illness plays a role in being homeless without a doubt, but a lot of what I’ve read puts addiction.l and poor decision making at the top of the list. I think Rudy is right about things not looking good in the future as pot and mental illness also do not play well. together.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Indeed scattered, it most certainly is mind boggling.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. sandomina says:

    A very powerful message you have given here. Thanks for sharing. Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

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