Hawaii State Representative and general scumbag Tom Brower has been prowling the streets of Honolulu with a sledgehammer, searching for the carts that homeless people use to store their belongings, and smashing them, in what he calls a quest to “clean up the streets.” Clearly an advocate of the “out of sight, out of mind” approach to society’s problems, Brower has also made a habit of waking up homeless while they’re sleeping and telling them to go somewhere else.
“I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them,” Brower said. “I also create a situation where those carts can’t be pushed around the city. I think it’s a good thing.”
Brower, a five-term Democrat, doesn’t actually remove the shopping carts that he demolishes; he smashes them to the point of inoperability, then leaves them on the side of the street. To the extent that he’s devoting any thought to his actions, his belief seems to be that homeless people are homeless because that’s more preferable than having a stable job and apartment, and if that a vigilante destroys their ability to eek out a living on the streets, they’ll finally give up the ruse, retire their shopping carts and get that well-paying job they’ve been steadfastly avoiding for so many years.
Sadly, Brower’s approach to tackling the homeless problem is indicative of Hawaii’s as a whole. The state has a higher percentage of homeless in the country, but has opted to solve the problem not by increasing funding to mental health clinics, or encouraging low-cost housing development, but rather by offering the homeless a one-way flight out of the state.
Some local officials are concerned about Brower’s one-man wrecking crew.
"You have to remember that there are people who are traumatized out there,” Connie Mitchell, executive director for the Institute of Human Services, told Hawaii News Now. “To see someone with a sledgehammer sometimes can be re-traumatizing for a lot of people.”
Marya Grambs, executive director, Mental Health of Hawaii says that Brower is sending the message that “it’s okay to commit acts of violence against homeless people, against vulnerable people.”
“I don’t wanna be threatening to anybody,” Brower claimed, “but I think it’s threatening to steal things, and then walk around with them like it’s, it’s your own.”
He didn’t explain how he knows homeless people’s goods are “stolen,” or how passively pushing around stolen goods could possibly be as threatening as going on a rampage with a sledgehammer, or why targeting and punishing citizens with less political power than any other demographic is in any way helpful to the the betterment of society.