Rules Are Not Solutions

O.K., so sue me. I don’t always link to the articles and sometimes just respond to the headlines. So many topics, so little time. But this particular headline, “New MTA Rules of Loitering and Defecating Unfairly Target the Homeless, Advocates Say,” first made me laugh, because sometimes political correctness goes over the top and, quite frankly, I don’t think anybody should be allowed to take a dump on the subway platform, I am very much in favor of there being a rule against that.
But then, between the time I decided to blog on how funny that is and the moment I actually started typing, I realized there’s probably a great deal of truth to the statement. Laws against loitering, laws against taking a dump in places not specifically designated for that purpose (e.g. toilets), do not affect the rich, or even most of the working class, at all. If you have a home, you can hold it till you get home. If you have a job, you can hold it until you get there.
My next thought is that no rule will solve the problem. If they are going to lock people up for 30 days, or 30 years, for defecating in a public place, yet there is no public toilet nearby, people are going to go where they have to go. You cannot keep the shit inside your body forever. Eventually, you will either shit, or die. What’s needed is more public toilets, and not the kind you have to pay for. Maybe add in public showers, because for sure the homeless could use that.
It’s a basic flaw in human thinking. When looking for a solution to a problem, bureaucrats and politicians will think of a new rule, or a new law. Instead, we should be trying to think of actual solutions.

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