Is It a Crime to Be Poor and Homeless in America?
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At the same time homelessness is on the increase, some cities are passing laws that make it harder to survive on the streets. Is poverty being criminalized in the midst of a recession? Also Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak comes to Washington, and men with handguns and AR-15's outside President Obama's healthcare rallies raise questions about the right to bear arms.
Banner image: A woman shows a sign saying 'Please Help, Pregnant, Hungry and Homeless' as she begs for money near Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Mubarak Makes a Trip to the White House ()
- Peter Grier: Washington Editor for the Christian Science Monitor
Is It a Crime to Be Poor and Homeless in America? ()
The recession is driving Americans out of their homes and into poverty, increasing the need for shelters and free food. But many cities are passing ordinances to punish what more and more people do to survive: sleeping, eating, sitting or begging in public. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty's recent report called Homes Not Handcuffs says it's now illegal in some places to share food with groups of homeless people in public spaces. We look at two of America's "meanest cities." Do other cities get different results with polices that are kinder and gentler?
- Maria Foscarinis: Executive Director, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- Carol Schatz: President/CEO, Los Angeles Downtown Center Business Improvement District
- Casey Horan: Executive Director, Lamp Community
- Richard Shiver: City Commissioner of Daytona Beach, Florida
- Pegeen Hanrahan: Mayor of Gainesville, Florida
Gun Freedom and Bearing Weapons Outside Obama Protests ()
At President Obama's town hall in New Hampshire last week, a man was arrested for carrying an unlicensed, loaded gun, while another man with a handgun strapped to his leg was within the law, as was a man who carried a semi-automatic assault rifle outside the President's rally yesterday in Phoenix. He told reporters he was armed, "Because I can do it. In Arizona, I still have some freedoms." While Associated Press reports that a dozen protesters also were armed, Phoenix police say no crimes were committed and no arrests were made.
- Alan Gottlieb: Founder, Second Amendment Organization
- Paul Helmke: President, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
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