Monday, February 14, 2011

Son of Seriously?

I got the latest Harper's in the mail recently, and was delighted to see that it had a feature written by William T. Vollmann.

Vollmann is, quite frankly, a weird dude, brilliant in sort of a dense, mysterious Thomas Pynchon way. He writes much about life and people on the margins, and Harper's has published a number of such stories in recent years. Like say, Cormac McCarthy, people tend to be binary about Vollmann, either loving him or loathing him with little middle ground.

Personally I like him, but then again I've never tried to read one of his Tolstoy-sized books, either...

Anyway, I digress. In the current Harper's Vollmann has a feature on his experiences among the homeless of Sacramento, where he resides. As always, it's an interesting read, but one graf in particular caught my eye...

From Harper's

Safe Ground is a movement to protect the homeless in their itinerary. It was formed in 2008 in response to Sacramento City ordinance 12.52, which makes it illegal to sleep even in one's own backyard for more than one night at a time. The law specifies: "It is not intended by this section to prohibit overnight camping on private residential property by friends or family of the property owner, so long as the owner consents and the overnight camping is limited to not more than one consecutive night."

That's right; in Sacramento, California it is against the law to sleep in your own backyard for more than one night at a time. So from that bit of trivia I can only infer that it must suck to be an adventurous child, a Boy Scout or homeless in Sacramento...


  1. Chad, I live in West Sacramento, over the river and in another county, and I must say that they seem to be working on quite a rough homeless issue in the big city to our East. Yeah, the law is absolutely stupid, but that city has a designated Wild & Scenic River running right through its middle, too.

    As for another relative of "seriously", look at Tom McClintock's proposed budget cuts, which include that pinko-hippie den of iniquity, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

    If you want some commie companies to protest, look up their corporate sponsors. I'll just give you a taste: Altria and Anheiser-Busch.

  2. SBW, I give you a big +1 for the Wire reference...

    Josh, it's only the beginning. It's gonna get ugly...

  3. I, for one, am glad to see Sacramento taking bold and necessary steps to address this serious issue, and I can only hope the rest of the nation will soon follow. Backyard camping is a gateway activity for those thinking of experimenting with homelessness, and thousands of young people dabble in it every year. Many never move back in inside. Backyard camping promotes idleness, interest in astronomy and owls and the telling of ghost stories, all of which contribute to being an unproductive, and possibly even pagan, member of society. If you've ever had to live with watching a family member descend the slippery slope that begins with backyard camping, you wouldn't be making light of this tragic activity.

  4. Word, Smithhammer. Gotta watch out for those budding're right: smack's got nothing on freh air as a gateway to a life of idleness and debauchery.

    Think I'll take a walk...