A Tale Of Two Statements

Here are two statements I heard today.

'No one chooses to be homeless.'

'Absolutely Canada is a safer country than the United States.'

Let's indulge and delve into these blanket comments - the former courtesy of le gouvernement du Quebec and the latter Montreal talk show radio host Tommy Schnurmacher -  for a moment.

The first assertion is incoherent and paternalist babble speak. In fact, one can argue people deciding to be homeless is exactly an example of rational thinking.

I remember watching a documentary (I forget the name) a few years ago that followed a homeless man around the streets of Montreal. Listening to the stories people had to tell made you realize there is no neat explanation why people are homeless. It's impossible really.

I'm willing to bet free choice happens more than we care to admit or think. Asserting as much doesn't make one apathetic. It's just the reality of being a human endowed with free will. It's gross projection to ignore this fact.

Indeed, the main protagonist admitted as much. He chose to roam the streets without a home. It's all he knew or came to know.

I've seen this numerous times in various documentaries. One guy went to live among the homeless for a couple of months. Again, I forget the title and I believe this time the setting was Los Angeles. In this particular film we discover homeless people build communities and are comfortable with their choices. They're not looking for pity. Yet, we want to project our empathy where it's not wanted.

The fact we can't accept it is the very definition of arrogance and paternalism. Man can be one crudely arrogant and stubborn being when in self-righteous mode.

Trying to figure out why is almost pointless because it's a choice. People like all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons and they don't have to explain themselves to anyone.

To react to it incredulously because according to 'normal' people, humans need shelter.

In most cases, we do but not all people.

Last, the fact that the government pimps these sort of empty slogans in order to justify increasing control or in an effort to 'eradicate' a declared social malaise should raise your Spidey skeptical senses.

Note, I'm not saying other circumstances where choice is not an option leads to homelessness. All I'm saying we're severely overlooking choice. In doing so, we always be perplexed at why all our wonderful policies construed on mostly false premises fail.

Here's a good article on this oft ignored angle by Cameron Parsell at Shutterstock.  


I've already discussed North American violence many times on this blog. We've discovered together -  Because we're a team! - Canada and the EU actually has higher rates of violent assault and rape not involving guns than the United States. And where murders are concerned in the United States, a large number of it is connected to the drug trade and gangs as well as in places where there are strict gun control laws like Chicago.

Nonetheless, there is room for improvement despite overall crime being on the decline since the 1960s.

Even if by some measures the USA has higher numbers it's not statistically significantly higher than Canada as we see here.

Wo! Is that Sweden I see ahead of the USA? Unpossible! 

According to the FBI, America is more peaceful than ever - except for all the cops killing people and pets which is disturbingly on the rise.

In any event, comparing crime rates (and health care systems) between countries is something that should be treated with care since every country has its own method of doing so. 

In Canada, we take excessive pride whenever we come up with policy formed around safety and security. Yet, for all our gun control, Canada still witnesses, for example, mass shootings.

So is the USA that much more violent than Canada? Not really. Well not as much as we perceive it to be in Canada. It's not Mexico largely because it still has the rule of law and a functional law and order apparatus.

Yet another link on this subject at Crime Prevention Research Center.

(Image from CPRC).

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