Saturday, February 03, 2007

How we used to be, and how I wish we still were

First, let us set up the modern-day situation. Anyone who has ever visited K Street in downtown Sacramento can attest to the fact that especially during weekends, it is a wasteland of bums... excuse me, homeless people, and all kinds of weird... excuse me, eclectic characters roaming the street and alleyways. Tonight, I found out that our city's derelicts were not always treated so tolerantly.

I didn't get a chance to open up today's edition of the Sacramento Bee until dinnertime. There was a 150 year anniversary insert that included a reproduction of an edition of the Bee for Tuesday, February 3, 1857. As I perused what was going on in town 150 years ago, I came across this in the local news section - not the editorial section mind you - the local news section:
ATTENTION LOAFERS -- Recent accounts from all portions of the mine, show that there is plenty of work for all honest men, and those willing to labor can obtain from two to three dollars per day and board. There are about three hundred loafers in this city who have not performed a day's work for many months, being too lazy to do anything but beg and spunge on their neighbors, friends, and the public, and some means should be adopted to get rid of them immediately. If the Marshal would instruct the police to arrest every vagrant known to them, and if the Recorder would give them one week in the chain-gang, or the privilege of leaving town within twenty-four hours, the city would be cleared in less than a day. Now is the time to get rid of the vampires, as they cannor plead in extennation of vagrancy, "inability to obtain employment."
Taking into account the leftist proclivities of the Bee's current editorial staff, can you even fathom something like this being written in our local paper today? Nay, can you imagine this being written in any local paper in our country? Keep in mind, this was the attitude of the United States during our country's ascent, not during our decline today, where attitudes toward the bums on our streets are much more permissive. What a fascinating view into the window of our city's past.

Good Day to You, Sir

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