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ETpro's avatar

Can you believe this, 6 arrested in Orlando for feeding the homeless?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) December 22nd, 2011

Check out the video, 20 Orlando Police Steal food from Children, Arrest 6 MORE for feeding the Hungry. What can they possibly be thinking, passing a law against feeding the homeless?

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37 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Of course. It’s so warped. That’s why I teach my children to question the Law and especially clueless cops who will just enforce it without remembering they’re human.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Well, to the best of my understanding, they weren’t arrested for “feeding the homeless.” I read the other day that local authorities were actually helping this group to set up their program, they even paid for their permits, but they can only purchase the permit twice a year. This group gathers twice a week. They weren’t arrested for feeding the homeless, they were arrested for not having a proper permit, which is against city ordinance.

I’m not saying that I agree with the ordinance.

jca's avatar

It might not be right, but according to what I read in an article about it, they violated a city ordinance and so, despite the fact that ordinance is controversial, the cops have the right to arrest violators of it.

john65pennington's avatar

I can see the flack coming to me. after my answer to this question.

Let me say that I am not against feeding anyone that is hungry.

I am sure this park requires a permit for any function to take place in it and that includes serving food. The food has to be inspected, in order to not make people sick.

Also, if no permit had been taken out and the police did not close down the operation, someone from Victorias Secret would be next to set up a display and gripe that they did not need a permit, since the food distributors did not have one.

I understand what everyone is talking about, especially at Christmas. You must remember that police officers also have Sgts. and a Chief. If they give out the command to shut the park down, then the officers must abide.

I think its all about treating everyone equally.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s about PR, too. Like your question about arresting Santa, @john65pennington. Sometimes you have to not do the right thing in order that you can appear to be doing the right thing.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jca Having a right to do something doesn’t make it right to do it.

@john65pennington I understand what you’re saying, but a charity group hardly seems the same as a business. Charity groups don’t serve food in quite the same way as a street vendor.

john65pennington's avatar

SavoirFaire, I agree with the charity groups food. I have eaten at many functions and was thankful for being asked.

Suppose just one child became ill and died of food poisioning? The city would be sued,along with the charity.

Can you see the picture here? Its all about liability.

digitalimpression's avatar

It’s against the law. If they don’t like the law, perhaps they should vote. As far as I know, as long as they don’t feed more than 25 people it’s ok. So know the law people.. don’t just start chanting an uninformed rant.

john65pennington's avatar

I can see this is attack john night, so I am leaving and going to Youtube to listen to some music.

judochop's avatar

There are many laws that should just be ignored. If you do not have a permit to feed the homeless and you want to feed the homeless then please do so. Fuck the city ordinance and the city for profiteering on charity. This is a prime example of a long list of shit that is wrong in this country. I know they were not arrested for feeding the homeless per say but in the end, that was the objective.
@john65pennington, I am sorry you feel attacked bud but c’mon….I get that there are laws in place to prevent things from happening but that does not mean that all laws should be obeyed. Also, John, I lurve most of your answers but no one from V. Secret is coming next to set up a display in the park. Also, the permit is not to make sure the food is safe, the permit warrants time and place.
Bottom line, for a lack of better words, this is seriously fucked up. It would be nice to see some police have some balls and stand down against orders to shut things like this down. They should have got out of their cars, bought some food at the store and helped distribute.
So now, how much will this cost the city? All because someone wanted to feed someone.
Gawd dammit if people do not change their ways we are fucked as a nation and if people don’t start standing up against little things like this, all of our freedoms will be gone before we know it and the police and military whom are our families, brothers and sisters will be aiming the weapons at us and thinking that they are actually protecting us from something.

digitalimpression's avatar

@judochop All laws should be obeyed. Don’t like the law? Change the law. It was put there by the people. This complaint is tantamount to saying you don’t like that the postal worker drives a ford to deliver your mail. He’s just doing the job with the tools he was given.

@john65pennington
By the way, I know you’re not watching any longer John, but thanks for serving. I don’t know if I’ve told you that yet.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m on the support the law side of this one People cannot just start serving food to the general public without following basic laws of preparation and safety. They fail to get a permit, what else are they failing to do

digitalimpression's avatar

@YARNLADY Thank you for bringing some reason to the table! I was beginning to think all was lost.

What happens when cops start to use their own belief system to decide which laws to uphold . What kind of structure is that? It would be chaos! God Bless them for following the letter of the law that was put in place by the people!

Linda_Owl's avatar

Unfortunately, this story comes out of Florida & in Florida they have a crooked Republican Gov. (Rick Scott) (rather like Perry in TX ! ). The state Legislature was taken over by the Republicans in 1996. The FL Gov. ran a company that was charged with Medicare fraud, but he had deep pockets & was able to ‘fail to be convicted’. Between him & his Republican cohorts, they have passed several controversial laws including a highly RESTRICTIVE voter registration law (what Jeb Bush started, Rick Scott has served up in spades). The Tea Party Republicans are not known to be overly concerned about care for the homeless & the hungry, so this instance was to be expected. So many of these Tea Party Republicans express religious sentiments, but they are hypocrites because they do not practice what they “preach”.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@john65pennington I agree that’s a good point. The liability is definitely a legitimate worry. I’m just not sure the analogy works.

Pandora's avatar

At first I thought, “what the hell”. But food permits are necessary for the publics health and safety. Every once in a while you have a food scare because some sicko, decided to put something dangerous in some food items. That is why we have all these seals on our packages to keep the public safe. Permits is a way of controlling who is providing food. If they don’t follow the law and someone gets food poisoned, than who do you think is going to get blamed. The police for not doing their job. And a nice lawsuit for the city. Yes, we made this country and now people have to live with consequences of lawsuits.
Also businesses that pay for their buildings and employees can potentially see less business if people just walk up to these places like its a block party and decide to go for the free food.
If they want to be able to do it everyday than they need to start rent some sort of facility where a health inspector can come and clear it for business.

mangeons's avatar

At first the title of the question shocked me, but looking into it, @john65pennington is right. There are laws about permits for a reason, and people need to follow them for the safety of others. Police officers can’t just decide which laws to enforce based on what they believe is fair or unfair, they have a job to do. If they’re ordered to shut it down, they can’t just ignore it because they think it’s unfair.

judochop's avatar

@digitalimpression wait a second…Are you saying that the law in question was put there by “the people?”

digitalimpression's avatar

@judochop Not directly… but in the sense that “the people” vote for the public officials who do write the laws. Get enough people together and just about any law can be changed by (yes), “the people”.

Supacase's avatar

The park would be overrun by people coming for food if they knew Food Not Bombs would be there twice a week. The parks are for the enjoyment of the entire community.

By no means do I think the homeless should not have access to the parks or food, but this group can easily accomplish their goal without the dramatics by rotating among the parks in the area covered under the ordinance.

Also …according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office, at least 10 organizations regularly serve food to the hungry downtown — several at sites within walking distance of Lake Eola. Between them, the organizations cover three meals a day, seven days a week.

If ten other groups can successfully cover every meal of every day of the week while working within the law, Food Not Bombs should have no trouble doing the same.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Thanks. That;s how it hit me.

@ANef_is_Enuf So they could feed the homeless twice a year. Gee, not many would be likely to starve going 6 months without food. Can restaurants only open 2 times a year in Orlando as well, or is this specific to feeding the homeless.

@jca I agree the police were acting within city law, and may have put their own jobs on the line had they refused to follow the law, but having a right doesn’t make something right.

@john65pennington Thanks for chiming in. I was hoping you would bring your unique perspective to this. I can imagine that many of the officers chaffed at the idea they had to arrest people for doing charitable work. It just seems to me that some accommodation could be reached in this. It is ridiculous to force a feed-the-homeless program to only be able to operate twice a year. The problem here is the law, not law enforcement.

@digitalimpression Do you personally know everyone in that Feed the Homeless organization and follow them all so closely that you know they don’t vote? I doubt that. If you don’t know, then what makes you feel the need to denigrate those who do charitable work for the needy by proclaiming they never bother to vote? They appear to be highly motivated members of the electorate. I’d be willing to bet that most of them do vote, and not the way you would wish them to vote..

@wundayatta Excellent answer. How true.

@SavoirFaire”, @Pandora & @mangeons I am sure that if food safety concerns were the real issue behind this city ordinance, Orlando could easily deal with those issues in exactly the same manner they regulate food safety in restaurants. I seriously doubt Orlando restaurants are only allowed to serve food twice a year for fear that if they operate any more than that, they will poison children and the city will get sued.

@judochop How right you are about bad laws. The nazi ss troopers who kicked down boors and herded, Jews, homosexuals, union members, communists and the Roma people into concentration camps for gas chambers anc crematoria were simply following the law. Might does not make right.

@digitalimpression & @YARNLADY So you think the Nazis were perfectly right in rounding up people for Genocide, because that was the law at the time. If they didn’t like it, they should just wait till Hitler decided to hold a vote? I don;t think you really believe that.

@Linda_Owl That’s what this is really about at it’s heart. It’s the philosophy of seeing the poor and disadvantages as leeches to be cut from the public teat so that privileged few can have ever more. Turn them over to good Christian Charity, the rallying cry goes. Oh, and by the way, make charity illegal.

@Supacase Good points. It’s being done for political effect, not just to feed the homeless. But the Food not Bombs people have the political high ground here. If the wrong-wing hadn’t driven economic inequality to pre-depression levels by 30 years of trickly-up baloney, these OWS and Food not Bombs people wouldn’t be taking to the streets and parks. And the wrong-wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Fox News have used plenty of their own political theater and photo ops to drive toward ever more for their greedy oligarch patrons.

Supacase's avatar

@Linda_Owl The ordinance was passed in 2006. Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, is a Democrat who was elected in 2003 and supports the ordinance.

digitalimpression's avatar

@ETpro Actually I wasn’t referring to that organization at all. It was the “hey we can do whatever we want in a public park” people that I was referring to (and as previously discussed.. you can’t do whatever you want…).

Whether they vote or not it gives them no excuse to break the law.

It’s clear though that you are quite the voice for the lunatic-wing so I’m probably wasting my time clarifying.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ETpro Ha, ha, that’s the way to win a discussion – trot out the Hitler worst case scenario. Never mind that we live in a Democratic, For the People, By the People, society. We do have to keep in mind that being active and informed is what make this country work.

judochop's avatar

@digitalimpression Man, I want to live in your world. In my world it takes a movement from the people to change law and only after many have died and many have been put in jail does the government even begin to listen. Changing laws is not as easy as getting the people together. The people have to stay together and be willing to work at it.
I also do not hold a strong belief that the folks we vote for actually get elected. I’ve lost a lot of faith in the electoral system when I was at war for the American government. There are a lot of votes that never get counted and there are some sketchy practices involved with counting them.

comity's avatar

Different areas – different attitudes. I recently found out, that in Ithaca, New York there’s a place called The Jungle near the railroad tracks where homeless set up camp. Some actually work, but earn so little that its the only place they feel comfortable. RR engineers throw food out the window to them.There’s a restaurant where they can get a meal, besides religious institutions around. Young people from Cornell University sometimes help out in the area. Contrary to some, it doesn’t cause more to be homeless, more blight, or laziness. In the cold winter though, it must be difficult for them but there are people who are always reaching out to help. There have been complaints every once in awhile, but they’ve always been resolved. This has been going on for many a year. One of the reasons I love living here!

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
jca's avatar

@ETpro: Of course restaurants are allowed to serve food more than twice a year. A group setting up shop in a park to feed people is a tad different than a restaurant. Restaurants go through a time consuming process of permits, code enforcement, etc. Even hot dog trucks that set up shop in a public open place need permits and have to comply with local laws and ordinances.

@judochop: You know darn well that @john65pennington was not seriously meaning that Victoria’s Secret is coming to set up a kiosk in a park. He was giving a hypothetical example of any corporation or anybody at all wanting to replicate the actions of this group and setting up a kiosk in the public park.

As @john65pennington said, police officers have sargeants, chiefs, lieutenants and the Mayor over them. They personally cannot be blamed for enforcing a law. It’s their job, and whether or not we agree with what they enforce, they don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing what to enforce. They might sometimes be able to reason with people, for example if they’re ready to write a parking ticket and the car owner comes along, they could let it go, but if their boss (the sargeant, lieutenant or whatever) says “arrest these people for being in the park” then they would lose their jobs if they did not obey. It’s called “insubordination” and government workers including the military are subject to it.
This law about serving food in the park is apparently controversial. The answer to those who don’t like it is to write to the government officials to change the law, not to blame the police for enforcing it. The police are doing a job, whether or not we like the job (the same as code enforcement officers, parking enforcement officers, etc.) They get paid by the public, through taxes, to do a job, which is to enforce laws that are on the books, not to make decisions about whether or not they agree with the laws.

digitalimpression's avatar

@judochop That’s a pretty dismal outlook.

saracore's avatar

This is pretty ironic. The people appalled by this video voted for more government regulations over the market, and now they’re complaining about the injustice of the regulations they voted for.

SavoirFaire's avatar

False dilemma, @saracore. While there are many people who are unthinkingly anti-regulation no matter what, there are very few people who are pro-regulation no matter what. So being in favor of some regulations doesn’t make one in favor of this one. Moreover, almost everyone on this question is ambivalent. Maybe you missed that. I, for instance, have not actually expressed an opinion on the arrests (though perhaps my comments have been misinterpreted as one).

saracore's avatar

Yes, I expected that to be the next logical answer. “We will use selective reasoning. We will decide who the government should regulate and who should be exempt from regulations.”

saracore's avatar

@SavoirFaire wrote “While there are many people who are unthinkingly anti-regulation no matter what,”

This too is false. We have a record amount of regulations right now, so that means the majority are for regulations. It’s a minority that are anti-regulations, and it’s not unthinkingly, it’s with good reason.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@saracore It is not selective reasoning to say that some things should be regulated and other things should not. In fact, the sort of all-or-nothing reasoning that would have to be behind calling that selective reasoning is itself another instance of the bifurcation fallacy.

Your second response is also fallacy-ridden. Let’s take them in order:

(1) That we have a record amount of regulations right now does not mean that the majority are in favor of them. The majority of people do not wield the majority of power, meaning that it is possible that a minority of the population could be responsible for the majority of the laws. Indeed, we see this in the case of banking regulations. Thus it is a non sequitur to argue from amount of regulation to majority opinion. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, for your argument about opposition to regulation being in the minority.

(2) The word “many” does not mean “majority.” There can be many redheads in my family even if the majority are brunettes. To say otherwise is to misunderstand the English language. Thus again, it does not follow that there are not many who are unthinkingly opposed to regulation even if those who are do not form the majority of the population.

(3) That there are people who are anti-regulation for good reasons does not entail that there are not many people who are anti-regulation unthinkingly. As a libertarian, I am anti-regulation in many cases. I would also hope that I am not unthinkingly against regulation. I believe there are often good reasons to be against certain regulations. That there are good reasons for something, however, does not mean that everyone who is anti-regulation is aware of those reasons. Thus it does not follow from there being good reasons to oppose some regulations that those who are anti-regulation are not so unthinkingly.

So in conclusion: it is perfectly possible for the statement “there are many people who are unthinkingly anti-regulation no matter what” to be true regardless of what the majority thinks and why they think it.

Response moderated
Pandora's avatar

The issue of permits in this case is probably because they are feeding people out doors. If they are going to do it an want to do it every day than why don’t they just go and help out in a soup kitchen where permits already exist?

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