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Clark demeans the vulnerable

Doug Clark wrote May 25 about people who frequent the STA Plaza. He facetiously recommends turning the plaza into a jail. He refers to street people as “a variety of street vermin: punks, predators and uncouth youth.” Clark also calls them “miscreants” and says the undesirables should be deported to Tacoma. He concludes by promoting “razor wire to keep the malefactors right where they belong.”

At this point, I’m not sure if Clark is referring to street people or jail inmates. Nonetheless, he is dehumanizing a marginalized segment of our population. Many street people, including youths, are in that situation because they suffer from mental illness, addictions, abuse or other life trauma. Most of these individuals deserve respect and compassion, not demeaning categorization.

I was a fan of Clark when he took up the cause of justice for Otto Zehm, the mentally ill individual who was killed by police. It is disappointing to read Clark’s current condescending characterization of street people, many who suffer from mental illness. Maybe Clark could write about the need for housing and services for the homeless and others who “loiter” on the streets.

Ann Kaluza



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