How two men who are homeless saved America

Well, they didn’t necessarily save America, but they did find a suspicious book bag and alert authorities in Elizabeth, N.J., on Saturday. The bag was found to contain five bombs, one of which exploded when an anti-bomb robot accidentally triggered it.

From The New Republic:

The fact that the two men were homeless is an important detail that should not be overlooked, given that homeless people are often stigmatized and criminalized for being in public places like train stations and parks. In this case, they were the “eyes on the street,” a notion about urban safety that was pioneered by the urbanist Jane Jacobs. Although she was mostly talking about neighbors and passersby, there is no reason why the notion cannot be expanded to include homeless people, who are often present and alert in public spaces and at the times of day when few else are around, such as non-peak commuting hours in New Jersey.

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6 responses to “How two men who are homeless saved America

  1. That’s really cool and everything…but let’s not turn this situation into some sort of “progressive” rationalization for homelessness.

    I’m not seeing in that article, or any other, a proffer of any sort of Thank-you from the government or the community for informing the cops after not getting themselves blown to pieces rummaging through the trash. You know…maybe a couple slightly more than decent meals… warm blankets..a place to sleep off the street. Something of value. Something they were looking for when they almost got themselves killed trying to survive the streets where they live.

    If it was a sheltered person who found that package? They would be in this week’s media parade of heroes. Instead? Is Hong really suggesting we should be happy and secure that’s there’s faceless homeless people “present and alert” on the streets of communities that, as a matter of course, couldn’t give a shit whether they live or die?

    Surprise! There’s a reason they’re called homeless people. And people generally, I think it’s safe to assume, don’t like folks leaving bombs laying around where they live. Fancy that.

    • No, they didn’t proffer anything of the sort. I thought it was interesting, though, that these folks could be held up as examples of how people who are homeless are, in fact, people, and in this case they performed a rather important service. I wouldn’t applaud us for having homelessness in the first place. I saw this as strictly a plea to consider that we all can serve a purpose, period.

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