Earlier this week, I posted a story about an art gallery owner in San Francisco who was at the end of his rope due to the homeless issue in his city. It was a story that caused some controversy because my take seemed incredibly cold.
The story goes that a man named Collier Gwin, a 45-year resident of San Francisco, runs his gallery on Montgomery Street in Jackson Square. The homeless/drug addiction issue that has infected the city has made it to his storefront, and every day, Gwin has to deal with the piles of trash and erratic behavior of these poor unfortunate souls.
According to Gwin, people have stopped coming to his gallery due to homeless people bothering would-be customers. The area is disgusting due to their constant toxicity, and Gwin was becoming increasingly desperate. He had attempted to contact authorities on multiple occasions to come and remove the homeless, but he received no help.
One homeless woman, in particular, had set up in front of his art gallery and would exhibit unstable behaviors. She slept in his shop’s front entrance and every morning, he’d spend time cleaning up after her. At one point, Gwin’s anger over the issue became too much and he began spraying the woman down with a water hose, in an effort to get her to move. The moment was naturally caught on video and Gwin became a social pariah overnight.
I penned an article on the video, arguing that Gwin’s behavior wasn’t good but it was completely understandable, given his situation and desperation. My position was that the blame rests more on San Francisco’s leadership, which has enabled this situation to grow worse, than Gwin who is equally a victim of these policies.
This elicited a reaction from the left, who mocked me for my cold attitude toward Gwin’s action and, moreover, that I’m not being very Christian. Here’s one such comment below.
You will not enter the kingdom of heaven
— beanman (@ApelikeMongo) January 11, 2023
Let’s take a step back here for a second and consider a few things.
Gwin’s actions are certainly regrettable. The man did this out of anger and desperation, and it’s not something he would do normally. The woman he hosed down, according to his own confession, is mentally ill. She babbles incoherently, randomly screams, and generally behaves like a crazed lunatic.
Ultimately, Gwin did her no harm. His goal was to annoy her into leaving the area, not hurt her. What many people are overlooking is that Gwin wouldn’t have had to resort to this measure–if the city had just done its job and taken this woman to a place where she could get some help.
My view of the whole thing as a Christian is pretty simple. It begins with how I would see “helping” this woman, and it looks very different from what the left would consider “help.”
For one, this isn’t the simple problem of a poor person who needs a leg up. This person is likely, like many San Francisco homeless, drug addicted and driven to insanity by it. Tossing her a bit of cash and helping her find a job is off the table. If she recovers any ounce of herself, she’ll likely take that money and feed her addiction. This, sadly, makes you an enabler.
The logical move here would be to remove her from the place where her addiction is being fed. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us that “Bad company corrupts good character.” Right now, the bad company she’s being corrupted by is the city of San Francisco–and its policies that keep her stuck in this loop.
The two solutions to this are to either vote out the policymakers or take her out of San Francisco, the place where she’s being enabled more than helped.
By leaving San Francisco, she could find a place where she can get shelter, detox, or at the very least, find the help she needs to live safely under the watchful care of professionals. However, this requires time and money, both of which not everyone has.
That leaves voting out the politicians who enable this behavior.
In fact, these enabling policies are at the very center of San Francisco’s increasingly nasty homeless/drug problem. It goes beyond San Francisco. It’s the entire state of California.
A Christian can give money to homeless shelters or rehabilitation centers all day, but the underlying problem will still be there in the end. This is thanks to the California left’s unwillingness to correct its policies to better fit a capitalist system that opens up jobs and opportunities. Regulations, taxes, and even the California culture smother businesses and self-starters. They make a path to prosperity beyond difficult to achieve.
The leftists who push these policies are the same ones that look to close down churches during pandemics and limit the Christian’s abilities to help those in need. Instead, an incompetent government attempts to step in as the main source of charity and passes laws to “help” these drug-addicted homeless, such as making clean needles readily available in order to avoid diseases.
Since it’s too dangerous for a Christian to invite a drug-addicted homeless man into their home, feed them, clothe them, or give them money, the best recourse a Christian has, in this case, is to vote out the enablers. That’s the fastest way to help these homeless people.
The Christian thing to do is resist these policies and politicians. It’s to elect business leaders that will grow and strengthen the economy through free-market principles, opening up more opportunities for workers. It’s to bring down housing prices and relieve the tax burdens, to make things more affordable.
It may seem cold to sympathize with Gwin, but it’s far colder to virtue signal and continue to enable the problem.