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In Your Face Online 

Editor:

It is obvious that many people are concerned and angry concerning the amount of loitering and crime in relation to the homeless population in Humboldt County ("The Pitchfork and the Mouse," Oct. 22). Many feel that the amount of transients and "tweakers" in the area are creating more crime and are a danger to the law abiding citizens who live here. These worries are not unfounded. It is true that drug abuse is rampant in the homeless population and crime is related to these issues.

To combat this apparent increase in crime, Facebook groups have been formed and protests have been held to let it be known that crime and dereliction will not be tolerated. Signs reading "honk if you hate tweakers GTFO" and "get the scum off our streets" are commonplace at these gatherings. While I realize the frustrations voiced at these forums are partially just people venting, the sentiments behind their comments are dangerous.

The quest for clean, safe streets is by all means a just cause; however the route these people are taking to reach their ultimate goal is troubling. It seems that they just want the transients and homeless people to go away. They want them to be homeless somewhere else, anywhere else; just not here. They do not want to help these people; they want to forget about them. They choose to disregard the core causes of homelessness and drug abuse, such as rampant poverty and, to a much greater extent, mental illness. We need to help these people, not just sweep them under the rug. These problems will never be solved until we stop them at their source.

Chad Friefeld, Arcata

Editor:

A recurring theme in Linda Stansberry's cover story, "The Pitchfork and the Mouse," is that people need to restrain themselves on social media. She quotes a psychotherapist who claims that social media "can contribute to a lack of judgment and critical thinking ..." and that "being online comes with a culture of immediacy." Isn't that the exact description of someone who's intoxicated or high on drugs?

Yet law-abiding people using social media (on their own dime) are the ones being asked to exercise restraint. Meanwhile chronic alcoholics and drug users are to be treated with respect.

What's wrong with this picture?

Susan Dodd, Eureka

Editor:

Is it any surprise that aggressiveness goes up and maturity goes down when social media is involved? This isn't brain surgery, people. There's very little accountability when it comes to attacking someone in the virtual world, so of course folks are going to let their nasty side show. If you can't take the heat, then get off the playground.

I hope that it never becomes illegal to be a dirty underhanded little brat on Facebook, because then we'll know that political correctness has gone entirely too far.

On to the other topic of the article, vigilante neighborhood watch groups; more power to 'em. It's better than the government's strong-arm men (the cops), who have no clue what's going on in our neighborhoods, coming in from the outside to mediate our conflicts. Every community has the right to define who it wants to exclude. The NCJ seems to favor indulging drugs and crime at the expense of hardworking folks that want to protect their homes and families.

Life isn't a love fest where we all accept each other, that's unrealistic hippy hogwash. Maybe you folks would prefer that there was no such thing as conflict, unpopular speech, discrimination, exclusion, unpleasant discourse and witch hunts, but that's because you support a far greater evil: state-mandated niceness and conformity. I prefer to retain my freedom, thanks.

Janelle Andersen, Eureka


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