Interesting Morning For Law Enforcement

Title and text by zinzin:

copters all fucking morning, woke me up around 530. no idea what it was.

around 7, a couple cruisers were moving the slumbering bums out of Dolores Park. Fairly polite, surprisingly non confrontational. none of the bullhorn / night stick tactics you’d see in NY in the Giuliani era. One yoga / exercize person shouted at the cops to “leave em alone, they’re not doing anything”. then a dog walking person who was standing right there…but out of the field of vision of the exercize person, shouted at the exercize person, and quite loudly…basically saying “shut the fuck up, it’s idiots like you that make this neighborhood (and i quote) ‘into an asylum’…”. the exercize person jumped a mile and looked sheepish. the dog walking person went over and thanked the cops. actually shook their hand.

then around 8, about 6 emt vehicles and cop cars converged on 19th between mission & san carlos. north side of the street. i peered over to get a look, and everyone was crowded around a bum, who was…literally…mastubating. “furiously” is the word that came to mind. i’d say this makes that person more of the “afflicted” mentally ill type, than the “addicted” typical mission bum…but these are never mutually exclusive…and i’m certainly no expert.  anyways…i overheard one of the EMT women saying this is the 3rd time this weekend they’re picking up “this jerk off”. everyone had a nice holiday laugh over that one. poor sap, i was thinking. over 50 “advocacy” groups within 500 yards, and this guy is rubbing them out in the street – all weekend apparently, though i never saw him –  with no effective mental health services within, well, it may as well be 100 miles. here’s to progressive politics.

then i came home and had toast and watched pink panther cartoons with my kid. he loves the soundtrack.

10 Responses to “Interesting Morning For Law Enforcement”

  1. Rob Spectre says:

    zinzin nails the issue in his observation. San Francisco’s heart is completely in the right place with respect to its homelessness problem. Quite unlike other places in the world and indeed the United States, the recognition that poverty is not a lifestyle choice and decisions made in that state of despair often aren’t entirely the work of those deciding.

    Where San Francisco fails in helping her homeless is in execution. Mental health services in this town *suck*. It’s not that SF doesn’t want to help these people; it’s that SF is really bad at it.

  2. zinzin says:


    while the people of SF may have their heart in the right place…. i am not so sure about the advocates. again & again i feel like the ecosystem of these groups is flawed…that they are more an industry than an advocacy…and that their economy is built on the backs of the people they’re supposed to help.

    it reminds me of a the bakery co-op i go to in the sunset. the product is good – when you can get it – but it’s the PROCESS that’s most important to the people that work there. whether or not you get to buy your baked goods is totally secondary to them.

    so while i think that most advocates WANT to help people, i think they’re blinded by the process and their own interests.

    my other thought is around civil rights. many would say that forcing the psychotic gentleman i saw this AM into some sort of treatment would be an attack on his civil rights. Or the woman passed out in the playground with a needle in her arm. Or the naked guy on South Van Ness from over the weekend. (These are the people in my neighborhood, in my neighborhood….)

    is that really true? is it their “right” to live in such a degraded state? i mean…do they really WANT to? outside my yuppie, nimby i-just-dont-want-to-look-at-it-every-fucking-day vitriol….really, is it their RIGHT to refuse treatment?

    i dont think so.

    that being said, there ARE no treatments into which we can force them…so the issue is moot…unless they’re hanging around where tourist dollars might be spent…and then, at the very least, we can force them into the Mission.

  3. zinzin says:

    oh, and wtf with the copters? anyone know?

  4. KC says:

    Randomly, yesterday I’m at the Pt Reyes Visitor Center, having a quick picnic lunch (cold, grey, hurried…) on the way to hang with the tule elk. There, bumbling between the table next to us and his disheveled van/home, is a clearly wigged out guy talking to himself. Ranting to no one in particular. Being from the city I think nothing about it. Harmless loon. Safe to ignore.

    Suddenly I hear shouting and look up to see multiple park ranger SUVs and a group of rangers confronting the loon. They are up in his face. On guy in particular getting totally confrontational. It almost immediately escalated to the loon getting cuffed and laid out on the pavement. Exactly the kind of over reaction zinzin would expect of Guiliani thugs. I’ve heard the feds (and GGNRA rangers) are real hard asses. Maybe its there way of telling the homeless to get back to Golden Gate park…

    Predictably, the loon doesn’t handle it well. Getting louder and more profane, telling the lawmen to f— themselves. I bet the poor guy spent the night locked up. Then again, maybe he was angling for that? Its getting cold and jail has some advantages… But does he loose his van?

  5. zinzin says:

    yeah i guess the folks patrolling Pt Reyes are feds. different budget, different bosses, and different mindset…not to be fucked with.

    also, living in your van in the park isnt the same as “enjoying the public space”. i mean, i feel for the guy if he’s off his rocker, living in a van & all…but shacking up near a national park visitor center just aint gonna fly. and if you are going to try to live in a national park, you’d probably want to ingratiate yourself with the feds…and make yourself scarce for the most part. you living there out in the picnic area = them not doing their jobs.

    similar deal in the hood, my view. LOTS of homeless folks working to be respectful of others and keeping a general lid on things. others, well, not so much. sometimes it’s affliction or addiction…sometimes i guess folks just tire of being beat down…and some are just fucking assholes…just like everywhere else.

    far as the smackdown this guy got….could be they asked the guy to not live there before, and he kept coming back. could be the guy was confrontational with them first. could be they were fascist assholes. hard to say.

    mess with the bull, though…you get the horns. most part…it’s a good thing.

  6. SimonSaysSoListen says:

    fuck the bums, get em outta here… at least the day laborers (a close 2nd to bums) actually look for work. they need to go too though…

  7. Janet C says:

    Zinzin, did you call the Mission Police Station to ask about the copters?

  8. zinzin says:

    ya know i never thought about that. some mornings (like yesterday at 6am, there was one) i figure it’s a traffic report thing…looking at the 101 / 280 / 380 mess

    but this particular morning there were a lot of them. i will try to call. be interesting to see what they say, if anything…

    here’s a new one just happened with calling:

    i call the non emergency dispatch to get cops to roll up and move bums camping on my block. i used to just go over & ask nicely (or at times not so nicely), but quickly realized i could be endangering myself (one guy showed me his knife). i’m a dad, so that matters….

    so anyways…i called the other night and the dispatch asks “are they blocking pedestrian traffic?” they never asked me that before.

    this was a tactic used by many cities to enable cops to move bums: making the blocking of ped traffic technically illegal.

    i dont know if the rules have changed, or if this is a rule in SF, but it was interesting. i didnt have time to query….will do so next time.

  9. Neo Displacer says:

    I’ve seen an up tick of anglo bums in the mission. Aggressive too. Is this our depression future? Will it get ugly? Will it be the barely-hanging-on versus the lost-their-grip?

  10. zinzin says:

    there’s an uptick of all sorts of bums in the Mission. anglo, african american, female, specifically heroin addicted, shopping cart pushing, older, younger….

    the demographic has changed quite a lot in the past 12 – 18 months. the population of folks living (not hanging out…LIVING) in Dolores Park has gone up quite a bit too.

    the reason is that civic center and soma have well organized, well connected merchant associations & tourist dollar associations that pressure city govt and cops to push the bums out.

    the mission on the other hand has over 50 “service” organizations many of whom are poverty pimps with their livelihood built on the backs of the marginalized folks they’re supposed to be “servicing”….along with a youthful, transient population that thinks “progressive” politics are cool and so is a “gritty” hood that they’ll leave for the burbs when they hit 30 anyways…. and a huge recent immigrant population that’s too scared or uneducated to complain about anything.

    (this has nothing to do with the current lack of services, future budget cuts that will make them even more scarce, the need for these services to be mandatory for individuals endangering the community or themselves, the lack of any sort of balance between the “rights” of bums and the “rights” of other people in neighborhoods where they are, the difference between a crazy bum and a family or individual in fiscal distress, etc).

    so, long story short, all the bums in the city are pushed into the mission, because apparently we LIKE bums. they’re more aggro because they’re more chronic types which have not lived here before in any great numbers…but do now.

    ugh. i could go on all fucking day.