Can’t sleep under the stars; it’s the law.

Driving home after dinner last night, we were rumbling (rumbling is what you do in a Jeep, by the way) down Yamato and we saw a Boca Raton cop harassing a homeless guy (or what seemed like a homeless guy) who was sleeping against a light-post. Thing about it is, the guy was just sleeping.
I didn’t know there was a law against sleeping. Why is it illegal to lay down and take a nap, if you’re tired?
The argument was posited that it’s technically *not* illegal to sleep in public, what’s illegal is vagrancy. Fact is, it *is* illegal to sleep in public, apparently, and it’s true, vagrancy is also illegal. So apparently, the poor homeless guy – the guy who doesn’t have two nickels to rub together – probably got two tickets last night, and maybe (hopefully, I guess?) he won himself a night in jail. I mean, I wouldn’t want to spend a night in jail, but in my experience(s) you do get to sleep in a sheltered environment (and air-conditioned too!) and you get fed at least once, maybe even twice. So it’s possible that might be desirable, I don’t know.
What’s unbelievably upsetting to me is that *it is illegal to be poor.* It’s *illegal to sleep wherever you want.* There is something fundamentally wrong with this. I can see the arguments against this: “Would you rather there be bums everywhere?” I don’t know, I suppose not… but I definitely wouldn’t want the cops to be able to dictate where and when I can lay down and sleep.
Okay, a little unfair – it’s not the cops who dictate, they just enforce. It’s the ├╝ber-rich politicos who’ve had their existence handed to them and have never known a hard day in their lives that dictate the laws. And even then, they’re (technically) just the instruments of ‘the people’. Of course, ‘the people’ are mostly anybody who can pay to be one of ‘the people’, so really the homeless man has no representation, despite being a citizen. Do you think vagrants would vote for a law stating they can’t curl up and sleep in a park when they don’t have anywhere else to go?
Yeah, there’s homeless shelters, but that’s not the point. The point is that I shouldn’t be told where and when I can or can’t do something that is a basic human function. Sleeping, eating, and even defecating. Society dictates that we do these things in private, and that’s fine. But that there’s a *law* against it? That seems extreme. And even so, that shouldn’t give the police license to freely harass people. Oh wait, you took offense to the tone an officer took with you? Perhaps you don’t feel like complying with his request? Then you get arrested for ‘failure to comply with an officer’s request’, or ‘talking back to an officer’, or even ‘passively resisting arrest’. *Passively* resisting arrest? What the hell is that?
Maybe I just don’t like it when cops are hassling people. They get a little too into it sometimes, stopping people randomly on the street and questioning them. The (somewhat) recently passed law that states that a law enforcement officer can *require* you to show identification (ze papers, now!) is worrisome. Public servants, indeed. While I’ve had some experiences with police officers that were very pleasant (relatively speaking, of course), and I wouldn’t fault them for being professional about their business, I’ve also witnessed plenty of experiences where they’re out of control. The really terrible part is that the experience you have (I believe) depends on their perception of you. Unfortunately, in many cases their perception of you depends on how nice your car is.

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