#1 By: Cory Doctorow, January 28th, 2014 15:22
#2 By: Ipo Nokaoi, January 28th, 2014 15:41
Dumpster diving is not a crime. Can't be. I don't care what anyone says.
Foraging the urban wasteland.
#3 By: Stephen Schenck, January 28th, 2014 15:41
#4 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 28th, 2014 15:48
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
How is it in our "enlightened" modern age we still criminalize the homeless and the destitute in exactly the same ways we did during the 1800s?
#5 By: logruszed, January 28th, 2014 15:56
"The total value of the items taken allegedly amounted to £33" No, the total value was zero or they wouldn't have binned the shit.
#6 By: Shuck, January 28th, 2014 15:59
Yeah, that struck me, too. They were trespassing, but hopefully the defense will be able to use the fact that they were literally stealing worthless garbage to get theft charges thrown out. (Is it "burglary" if you break into someone's house to take out their trash?)
#7 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 28th, 2014 16:10
Breaking into a house for any reason is technically breaking and entering, so it isn't really an apt comparison to mere trespassing.
A better analogy would be taking something out of the trash can / bin someone leaves in their yard or on their carport or whatever - that way there's no "breaking" or "entering", as the yard is open and accessible to anyone who wants to walk in, making it simple trespass.
#8 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, January 28th, 2014 16:11
Because we never stopped loathing them?
#9 By: Brian Sizemore, January 28th, 2014 16:15
Well in most of America the answer might be, "Don't know, I shot an intruder in my home."
I don't know about the burglary aspect, but it's still breaking and entering.
#10 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 28th, 2014 16:15
Isn't it strange that we've made greater strides towards righting the wrongs of racial slavery, patriarchal dominion, and oppression over sexuality than we have toward having pity on the poor bastards that our economic, legal, and social systems fail to provide for?
#11 By: Eric, January 28th, 2014 16:15
Burglary is the act of breaking in, not the theft.
#12 By: Shuck, January 28th, 2014 16:16
I didn't mean to imply the two situations were equivalent, but it sounds like they had to go over a wall to get the trash, and the "theft" has turned simple trespassing into a burglary charge [or rather some 19th century vagrancy act version of burglary]. I can't imagine that that they would have bothered to prosecute if this was just a matter of climbing a wall (which is functionally all this situation amounts to).
#13 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 28th, 2014 16:18
To be fair, it's breaking and entering with intent to commit a crime, often interpretted as an intent to commit a felony specifically.
Of course, it's a "common law" term, so that makes it somewhat wishy-washy. Best to be more specific and separate out the breaking and entering, and the theft itself, I say.
#14 By: Shuck, January 28th, 2014 16:23
[Edit: someone already pointed out the intent bit.] I'm unclear what they're actually being charged with in this case, but it seems like the intent to commit a crime is a key part of it, turning simple trespassing into something substantially more serious.
#15 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 28th, 2014 16:24
Of course they would bother to prosecute! The authorities want to look tough on "crime" by punishing some poor starving bastards who took food that was going to the landfill, because catching actual criminals is a lot harder and isn't a ready source of instant publicity for their re-election campaigns!
That's like saying "I can't imagine that big bloke with the arms like meathooks would have bothered to beat his scrawny classmate senseless behind the schoolhouse unless the little guy deserved it", or telling a victim of domestic abuse, "Mrs. Stewart, you must have provoked him."
Bullies are cowards who prey upon the helpless to fuel their own egos. Anyone who prosecutes a homeless person for taking food that is otherwise going to rot is a bully devoid of human empathy, and who values their own ego and outward appearances more than they value the lives of those monstrously less fortunate than themselves.
#16 By: Shuck, January 28th, 2014 16:27
Right, and here, without a "theft," it's just trespassing. But I guess if the trash hasn't been put out for collection, it's not technically trash yet? (Or is that even a distinction, given that they're using an old vagrancy law under which to prosecute them?)
#17 By: newliminted, January 28th, 2014 16:34
They deserve life in prison. Too small not to go jail.
#18 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, January 28th, 2014 16:51
Have you noticed how intense the fights get over whether, say, homosexuality is a 'choice' or whether it's an inborn characteristic can get? Or the spats over whether some unenviable statistic about the current status of blacks or women or others is due to historical wrongs?
Why? Because even total assholes find it hard to continue beating up on people for things they have absolutely no control over forever. The pleasure of moral rightness just doesn't last. People who 'chose' to be whatever depraved subhumans we are talking about today, though, nothing is sweeter than punishing the wicked for their crimes.
For some reason, and against apparent logic (even economists who don't start laughing uncontrollably when you say 'trickle-down economics' tend to concede that some amount of unemployment is 'structural') we've concluded that people choose to be poor because... um... government cheese and laziness are totally an attractive lifestyle or something.
This makes minimal sense; but it classifies the poor as sinners rather than victims, so the open season continues (in this vein, you may notice that even die-hard haters-of-the-poor will have a largely ad-hoc 'virtuous poor' category, who are seen as victims for some reason or other. This group tends to be a lot smaller than the set of poor people, so it isn't very socially useful; but it allows a comparison of how people, even a single person treat 'poor as victims' vs. 'poor as morally defective parasites' under controlled conditions, so it's useful for study purposes.
#19 By: TheGlitchEcliptic, January 28th, 2014 16:56
So to sum up, you think the difference, then, is that being poor is still seen as being the poor person's fault? That the public perception is that if only they were smart enough and hardworking enough they could claw their way up from the gutter to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company?
The American Delusion lives on.
#20 By: IMB, January 28th, 2014 18:08
It's repetition of divide and conquer tactics. The powerful create a narrative that drives animosity towards the lowest on the rung, constantly reinforcing that they are stealing the scraps from those one step up, where less and less is to be gained because it's taken by the master. It maintains the status quo of kicking the dog, instead of biting the master, who beats up on everyone. No one wants to be that dog. So it's easier to retrieve the leash, or whip, so the master can beat the dog and keep him in line, than it is to fight the master, who might make you the dog next.
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