A Democratic state representative in Hawaii says he wanted to do something constructive to solve the state’s homeless situation so he has taken to the streets and is destroying people’s possessions with a sledgehammer.
“I got tired of telling people I’m trying to pass laws,” state Rep. Tom Brower told Hawaii News Now. “I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets.”
Brower showed the TV News crew how he scours streets for shopping carts that homeless people use to transport their belongings and then and uses a sledgehammer to destroy them.
“I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them,” he explained. “I also create a situation where those carts can’t be pushed around the city. I think it’s a good thing.”
Mental Health America of Hawaii Executive Director Marya Grambs said that Brower’s tactics were sending the wrong message.
“His message to the public is that it’s okay to commit acts of violence against homeless people, against vulnerable people. It’s okay for vigilante justice,” she noted.
And Connie Mitchell of the Institute for Human Services pointed out that the practice could be dangerous for everyone involved.
“There are some people who are not that stable and maybe drug-affected that could really react to him,” Mitchell said.
Brower insisted to Hawaii News Now that he had not yet taken a shopping cart out of the hands of a homeless person, but he didn’t rule it out.
In the end, the sledgehammer-wielding lawmaker did not explain how destroying shopping carts would reduce homelessness.
Watch this video from Hawaii News Now, broadcast Nov. 18, 2013.
(h/t: Think Progress)