Was Deep Space Nine Prescient?

It was a single paragraph in The New York Times which caught my attention:

About 171,000 people living in California are homeless, a total that, stunningly, accounts for nearly one-third of all the homeless people in the United States.

According to the Census Bureau’s July 1, 2022 guesstimates of population, California had 39,029,342 residents, out of a total of 333,287,557 people in the United States. 39,029,342 ÷ 333,287,557 = 0.11710410779, or the Pyrite State having 11.71% of our total population. Why, then, does California have “nearly one-third of all the homeless people in the United States”?

Rising Frustration Over the Homelessness Crisis in Sacramento

The county district attorney sued the City of Sacramento for what he says is lax enforcement of laws that could help stem its homelessness problem.

By Soumya Karlamangla | Wednesday, September 20, 2023 | 9:00 AM EDT

About 171,000 people living in California are homeless, a total that, stunningly, accounts for nearly one-third of all the homeless people in the United States.

This growing problem is hard to miss: Camps are sprawling across sidewalks in some places and are overwhelming public parks in others. And there are 40,000 more homeless people in the state now than there were six years ago.

That’s made California a target for Republican critics who point to encampments in San Francisco and Los Angeles as proof of failed liberal policies. But it’s also led to increasing frustration among liberal voters and elected officials in California, who have begun to criticize progressive policies and court rulings that have thwarted the removal of camps.

In a surprising move, the Sacramento County district attorney sued the City of Sacramento yesterday, claiming that the city authorities were not doing enough to remove homeless people from the streets.

There’s more at the original.

It’s not terribly surprising that the homeless would choose California: with a significant part of the state having a milder climate all year long, one would think it a better destination for people who do not have shelter than a state with New England or Midwest winters.

But Sacramento does have winters, and if they aren’t particularly cold, and snow is rare, the same could be said of the southeastern states, and they have far less of a homeless population. And when even self-described progressive Democrat, Governor Gavin Newsom, starts talking about the problems in, gasp! conservative terms, you know that the problems of liberalism are beginning to reach the liberals!

In recent months, Mayor London Breed of San Francisco and Gov. Gavin Newsom have pointed to homeless camps as a sign of society’s increasing dysfunction. Newsom has successfully placed a measure on the March 2024 ballot that will ask voters to direct more money into housing and treatment for homeless people.

“People’s lives are at risk,” Newsom said in a Sacramento forum held last week by Politico. “It’s unacceptable, what’s happening on streets and sidewalks. Compassion is not stepping over people on the streets.”

Translation: as well-meaning as the good liberals in California might be, they are sick and tired of the results of their policies being seen sleeping on their sidewalks and pooping on their city streets!

The governor has also ramped up his criticism of federal judges who have ruled that people have a right to camp if cities fail to house them. Last week, Newsom went as far as to say that he hoped a 2018 ruling on the matter made it to the Supreme Court, so that justices on the conservative-leaning bench could make it easier for states like California to remove encampments legally, or at least could provide more clarity on what was legal. “That’s a hell of a statement for a progressive Democrat,” he said.

Oddly enough, however, such doesn’t appear to have led the Governor to question the results of ‘progressive’ policies in general.

California Democrats Want Courts to Let Cities Clear Homeless Camps

Five years after a federal court restricted cities in the West from removing homeless campers, Democratic leaders are blaming judges for the growing number of people living on the streets.

by Shawn Hubler | Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Five years ago in San Francisco, a federal appeals court upended homeless policy in California and across the West. In a 2018 ruling against the city of Boise, Idaho, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that cities could not enforce local laws against outdoor camping if they didn’t offer enough shelter beds for people living on the street.

Since then, the ruling in that case, Martin v. Boise, has made it exceptionally difficult for cities to clear tent encampments in the nine states under the Ninth Circuit’s jurisdiction. The decision has spurred state and local governments to address homelessness in new ways.

But billions of dollars in government spending have not yet solved the problem. And as tent cities have grown, political pushback has intensified, even in cities dominated by liberal voters. Which brings us to San Francisco again.

In recent weeks, a related legal battle — the latest in a series — has led to an uproar, to the point that Mayor London Breed of San Francisco shouted about dead bodies at a rally last month outside the federal courthouse as advocates for the homeless demonstrated nearby.

Dr Bashir and Commander Sisko after their arrest.

In January of 1995, the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine aired the two-part episodes of “Past Tense,” in which characters Benjamin Sisko, Julian Bashir, and Jadzia Dax are part of a transporter accident which sends them to San Francisco in the year 2024.

Commander Sisko and Dr Bashir are found by a pair of police officers, who believe them to be vagrants and warn them to get off the streets. They are escorted to a “Sanctuary District”, a walled-off ghetto that is used to contain the poor, the sick, the mentally disabled, and anyone else who cannot support themselves.

It’s obviously science fiction, but, set as it is next year, I have to wonder: if the courts will not allow the cities to clear out the homeless encampments, to make the streets safer for the voters about whom the politicians actually care, unless those cities otherwise provide shelters for the drug addicts, alcoholics, and other riff-raff homeless, were series writers Rick Berman and Michael Piller at least somewhat prescient with their script? When you add the unchecked illegal immigration crisis and the costs cities are incurring to house them, at what point does a Konzentrationslager some form of internment camp, a ‘sanctuary district’ walled-in ghetto as depicted on Deep Space Nine become the only viable solution?

These unregulated homeless camps aren’t like you or me pitching a tent for a brief vacation in the Daniel Boone National Forest:

California officials are cleaning up what’s left of a 3-mile-long homeless encampment in Orange County after officials evicted more than 700 homeless individuals from the area on Sunday afternoon. Located along the Santa Ana riverbed, the encampment isn’t far from Disneyland.

So far, the cleanup of the homeless camp has led to the removal of over a thousand pounds of human waste, 5,000 needles and about 250 tons of trashFox News reported Monday. The clear-out began Tuesday, after a lawsuit brought by seven homeless people living at the camp resulted in an agreement that the county would offer monthlong motel vouchers or a shelter bed to the homeless people affected by the move.

“It’s becoming part of the permanent landscape in those communities, and there is no way we are going to allow Orange County land that is supposed to be used by residents to be occupied by the homeless,” Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer told Fox News.

Emphasis mine.

It would seem to me that “over a thousand pounds of human waste, 5,000 needles and about 250 tons of trash” out in public constitutes a pretty serious public health problem. When Governor Newsom mentioned decent people having to “step over” junkies and derelicts sleeping on the streets, he was concomitantly telling us that the ‘human waste’ and trash and drug needles aren’t just in some camp somewhere, but right in the normal pedestrians’ footpath.

But there’s more to it. If the cleanup of this California homeless camp yielded 5,000 needles, that means that at least some of the junkies therein had enough money to buy drugs, money that they didn’t spend on housing. Drug addiction makes people wholly irresponsible societally, and capable of thinking only about themselves, and where they’ll get their next fix.

I really don’t like the idea of ‘sanctuary districts,’ or whatever they’d be called, but years of neglect of these problems have led to a situation that such might be the only thing we could do now. What else could be done to get the homeless off the public streets and still provide them with some shelter?
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1 thought on “Was <i>Deep Space Nine</i> Prescient?”

  1. Well, you mean spirited, racist, sexist, misogynist, astrophobic, scruffy looking nerf herder! You conservatives stopped the Democrats, especially the gracious OBAMA, in passing the **Federal Employment Act.** That would solve all these problems. :<)

    I remember this two part episode and I recall how simple a solution (just passing a law employing everyone) that solves everything. And Cisco lecturing "the Bell riots started getting the United States to finally handle the social problems it was avoiding for decades…" or words to that effect. And at the end of the episode, he said gravely, "Yes chief, how could it have gotten so bad."

    A couple of years back I rewatched the entire series because I knew I missed an episode or three when it was first run. But I skipped "Past Tense." If I want mindless left wing lectures, I'll read the New York Time

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