We are fully aware that this arguement exists, but is not valid as far as I'm concerned, as a reason to give up one's principles and convictions. This assumption (which has been brought up several times) needs to be seriously challenged. Some people are always going to have a problem with another person's actions. The shelters have done their best to distance themselves from Kristen and David, and so I feel that if someone chooses to stop helping the homeless because of the actions of a handful of homeless people, they are not making a proper decision.
What you suggest has been taken into consideration as one of the reasons to back off, but in the end, it was decided that the harm done by these actions is minimal if at all to the larger homeless population, especially if the bylaw is clarified in the way that we would wish to see it clarified. There is also the arguement that the attention that has been brought to the issue as a result of these arrests has forced the province to put up more money for emergency mats, and has spotlighted the need for action, whether it be volunteering or donating money or challenging the system.
However, this theory is just as untested as hat we are causing harm.
Where does the money come from to support the poor, homeless and other unfortunate members of our society:
1. From city, provincial and federal government programs. Collection of taxes and redistribution of wealth are core principles in Canada. It is essential that a rich country like Canada provide a safety net and support for those in need. Citizens can vote for elected representatives but have no choice as to the funding levels and disbursement of the money.
2. Fund raising drives by charitable organizations. United Way, Our Place, Salvation Army Kettle , etc. provide another important mechanism for funding social programs. Charitable donations are voluntary and rely on the goodwill of citizens.
3. Private donations and charitable gifts. These are self-driven donations and range from donating items to the good will store or food bank, giving money to panhandlers, estate gifts upon death and volunteering time to charity.
The first source of funds is not voluntary but the last two are voluntary charitable donations. You can "challenge" peoples motivations to give or not all you want but they are based on how they feel about their community and their perception of need. If people choose not to financially support the homeless with their own money that is their prerogative and you are wrong when you say "they are not making a proper decision." Perhaps they will choose to make their charitable donation to the Cancer Society, Heart Foundation or some other worthy cause because they feel better about where their gift is going.
In the last 50 years there has been a dramatic shift from church and citizen charity to state and organizational funding of social programs. This means that those receiving benefits, in most cases, do not see the faces of the givers. This anonymity tends to obscure the simple fact that fellow citizens are also directly supporting those in need. Their kindness should be met with some semblance of respect and as I mentioned in my first post camping under the city hall Christmas tree is an affront to those supporting them. Perhaps a little less talk about rights and a bit more about personal responsibility.
Chris your post has indicated that you have been able to rationalize the activists agenda and feel that I am wrong. I just ask that you think about human nature for a few minutes and consider what motivates people to share their hard earned money with those less fortunate.