Temper homeless compassion

Published: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 - 2:02 pm

Re "Homeless deserve compassion" (Letters, Feb. 23): In his critique of my letter on enabling the homeless, letter writer Richard Heltzel characterizes the homeless as virtuous victims worthy of our compassion. As my letter acknowledged, many undoubtedly are.

But many others are victims only of their own laziness, irresponsibility or self-indulgence. Showing compassion for these undeserving homeless enables their bad behaviors and squanders scarce resources needed by those truly worthy of our support.

Life can teach powerful lessons, but not when misguided compassion moves us to skew the consequences. Making homelessness people more comfortable discourages the slothful from becoming self-reliant. Instead, give those capable of independent living a hand-up rather than a hand-out. The deserving will step up; the shiftless will seek out enablers.

-- Robert Parrish, Granite Bay

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