Wheelchair destruction

“I think a society building on love and cooperation would work a lot better than a capitalist society.”


The Boston Globe reported, “Police in the United States city of Boston Tuesday night destroyed three wheelchairs in a garbage truck compactor as part of a crackdown targeting the city’s homeless population.

“A 38-year-old homeless man, Jared Rennick, told the Globe Tuesday that he needed the wheelchair that was destroyed, along with the backpack that held all of his possessions. 

“The man uses a cane to walk, back brace and a walking boot since he was run over by a car last month. “It was heartbreaking to speak with Jared, who lost not only his wheelchair but everything he owns,” homeless advocate Cassie Hurd tweeted.

“According to Hurd, in spite of pleas from Rennick’s partner to the police, and the fact he wasn’t there at the moment, officers threw away the wheelchair and the possessions.

“It was heartbreaking to speak with Jarrod, who lost not only his wheelchair, but everything he owns that he keeps in his backpack. He was hit by a car last Tuesday.  This is inhumane and cruel. 

“This assault on the handicapped homeless citizens was part of “Operation Clean Sweep” that began last Friday, which witnesses said involved about a dozen police cars and Department of Public Works trucks. 

“That is not protocol and that is not supposed to be happening, and we’re going to work with the Police Department to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Marty Martinez, Boston’s chief of health and human services, adding the disposal of wheelchairs should not have happened at a community meeting in the South End Wednesday evening.

Events such as this are only a small example of similar issues around the world.  226.7 million people are starving in Africa. The countries most affected by extreme poverty and hunger in Africa are mainly those located south of the Sahara. One in four people suffers from hunger there – which means that the share of the world’s hungry is highest in sub-Saharan Africa.

Why is the destruction of three homeless wheelchairs similar to 226.7 million people starving in Africa?  Because they are both examples of the ruthlessness and uncaring of human beings. The 226.7 million are our brothers and sisters, as are the three who lost their wheelchairs.  The point is: why are we not doing something about it?

There is another event which shows uncaring, this time by those who control our economies.  There will be a global climate strike on September 20, 2019. Millions will walk out of school and work.  Why?  “[T]o demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.  Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.”

The owners of fossil fuel companies can pretend that what they do has no impact on our climate.  But scientists all over the world disagree with them. “Tens of thousands of scientists in more than a hundred nations have amassed an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to a clear conclusion: Humans are the main cause.

We’re the ones who burn fossil fuels and clear trees that absorb carbon dioxide, sending heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.” 

It is obvious that all human beings are not in agreement about climate change.  But those who oppose the clear conclusion have a reason: they have and are becoming rich on fossil fuels, and they do not want to give up their wealth.  Nor do they want to contribute to buying houses for the homeless who lose their wheelchairs. Nor do they want to do anything about starvation in Africa.

Is there enough wealth in the world to solve all these problems?  For example, the world produces enough food to feed all 7.5 billion people, yet 1 in 9 people around the world go hungry each day.  There are enough wealthy people who could contribute to solve this problem.  

What can we in America do?  We can participate in our local rally in the Global Climate Strike.   And we can vote in 2020 for Bernie Sanders and/or Tulsi Gabbard and/or Elizabeth Warren (your choice).  Personally, I want Bernie, but others are certainly acceptable. I certainly hope that the Democrats do not give us Biden or Harris or some other sellout.  Do whatever you can to make the wealthy people finally decide that they need to change the world.

Let us remember this (if you are wealthy).  You are born, you live, and finally, you die.  The only thing you can do that is worthwhile is make the planet green and fertile and stop all the suffering around you.  I would point to Tom Steyer, who has $1.4 billion and is investing $1 million to try and get himself elected president. He was the one who tried so hard to get Trump kicked out of office through impeachment.  That didn’t work, so he’s trying something else.

How much should billionaires give away?  All of it. That’s what Andrew Carnegie did.  He was the world’s richest man in 1901 and gave away all his money before he died.  By 1911 he had given away 90% of his money.

I don’t count on all of the wealthy imitating Andrew Carnegie.  Instead, we need to restructure our society so that the wealth in society is used by society.  The ownership of wealth is guaranteed by no one. The existence of wealthy people in our society really does nothing for the general population; that has been proven over all the centuries in which wealth has existed.  It is rare to find a wealthy person who follows Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth.” 

My own idea? “I think a society building on love and cooperation would work a lot better than a capitalist society.  We could borrow some of the better things from our present society but eliminate inequality, poverty, etc.  I really don’t see that people wouldn’t be motivated by trying to make their society better. Under the structure I am suggesting, everyone would have a way to gaining power in society and making society better.” 

This way, we won’t need to take away wheelchairs, because no one will be homeless.


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