Shawn Vestal knows nothing about homelessness, and he offers no effective solutions (“The ‘cure’ Spokane needs is complex,” Aug. 30). I offered to accompany him for at least one weekend of living out; perhaps he’s too afraid to do the homework. I’ve been homeless, I’ve been threatened, and I’ve been robbed.
Those are my qualifications.
The statistics speak for themselves. Downtown Spokane’s a mess. I’m tired of my streets smelling like urinals. It’s sickening to watch people who are out of their minds left to fend for themselves like animals. And Vestal’s lying if he tells us he spends much time downtown and hasn’t been accosted by panhandlers or outright maniacs. I’ve had my belongings stolen out of locked cars, and I’ve had to cross streets to avoid being screamed at because I won’t feed someone’s addiction.
It’s an eye-opener to ride with a young friend while he points out how many youths have died, committed suicide, or are walking zombies thanks to addictions. Some are from great families. They’re kids he grew up with, now empty shells controlled by drugs and alcohol. They need restraint, monitoring, and case management. De-institutionalization has failed everywhere.
Stone’s just scratched the surface of Spokane’s ills. Vestal’s all wind.