While our attention has been rightly focused on the senseless killings in the Denver suburbs at the movie premier, a frightening number of attacks on homeless people while they slept came to an end. Starting around Independence Day, a man attacked a homeless man with a knife and left a "death warrant" with the man. The homeless guy who was not named wandered into the street and was taken to the hospital. Three homeless individuals were stabbed while sleeping in Greater Los Angeles, and two homeless people were suspected of being stabbed in Santa Barbara. A man, Courtney Robinson, turned himself in after he was identified as a "person of interest," and the Santa Barbara police were close to making an arrest.
One of the stories that got me thinking was a article in the Los Angeles Times while the individual terrorizing homeless people was still on the loose. There was a plea by city officials and police for homeless people to come inside. I was thinking what would happen if all the people sleeping outside in any city in America heeded the advice of the police and tried to get inside? We estimate that there would be 140% more people showing up and requesting shelter in Cleveland if everyone came inside, and I am sure that Los Angeles and Santa Barbara would have even more people to contend with. For homeless people reading the Los Angeles Times they would laugh at these statements. They know that showing up at a shelter to request sanctuary from a killer would be fruitless. If Los Angeles officials have opened the Coliseum or the Arena or closed down schools to serve the thousands who would show up requesting help that would be a sign they were serious. If the City does not have a solution that would serve the population, why make the suggestion? But to say publicly get out of the way of a potential killer and stay hidden is worthless and just sends terror through the community.
The other interesting note is that this story mentions the serial killer from December 2011 and January 2012 who targeted homeless people. There is a lot of ink dedicated to this last threat to homeless people in Los Angeles, but what was missed was the contribution by the Los Angeles Times to that story. If you remember, the Los Angeles Times published a story urging homeless people to go inside and there was a picture of a guy living outside with his name and location who within 10 days was the next target of the serial killer. John Berry was hunted down by the serial killer and killed on January 13, 2012 after his picture was featured on the front of the paper. The Times never apologized, and never announced any changes in policy after this breach of privacy. Notice that there were not any pictures in the story that appeared in the latest story, so apparently learned something.
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