They say, that LA has 58,000 homeless. I passed through an encampment today, tents and trash and worse everywhere. It wasn’t there two years ago. Saw one enterprising Mexican-style sturdy shanty mixed in with the flimsy tents. At least Mexican shantytowns are organized. This was wretched helter-skelter.
If you’re homeless in LA, it’s the end of the line. There’s nowhere else to go, it’s 400 miles of desert in any direction. In LA you will stay. And since the City and County are now subsidizing the homeless, more LA will have, streaming in from every corner of the FUSA.
If you think it’s bad now, think about 100K, then 150K, then 200K. And then imagine that furtive thoughts never spoken will give way to whispers and then to secret trials and then to … Look, when it gets that large, it’s completely out of control, it becomes a metastasizing cancer. Where are 50K or 100K housing “units” going to come from, in a densely built-out city, to house people who are homeless because they can’t get it back together or are broken? Or have been “displaced” by the influx of automation and high-techery.
The other day I met a guy with bad teeth who ranted at me for 5 minutes with almost unintelligible speech, then got in a nice late-model car and left. Wtf? High, stoned, or strung out, who could tell? That was a new one. He’ll soon be joining the ranks of the 58K.
Those whispers … Imagine a designer virus. Sorta like the flu. Not particularly virulent, not airborne. It has one critical feature. It sort of just loafs along in your body, waiting for the right signal to go postal. Perhaps that signal is a person who for a few days becomes extra immuno-challenged. Perhaps that signal is a specific enzyme or antigen. Now imagine mobile showers for the homeless. Perfect delivery vector. Yecch. Showers again.
It has to be deniable. One person in a hundred every month. It has to look like the person just gives up on life. I’ve seen that, from relatives. People whose grip on life is fierce, even though their body is a wreck going down fast. And then one day, something happens that kicks them over the edge, they just start fading away, they just don’t care anymore, and you know the end is nigh. For deniability, it has to look like that. Who would notice 1 in a 100 just fading away?
Except of course, The Omega Man, and Twelve Monkeys. You were warned. But when 200K homeless are tearing your city apart, you’re gonna start thinking about and then doing desperate things.
Maybe it will be those AI machines that tend to the homeless with silicon-charged lovingkindness. Behind those crystalline eyes, the churning Zuckerberg-programmed AI engines are toting up the account of each of the unfortunates, and when one reaches the “too much trouble to maintain” threshold, they slip him the mickey. John Fleming commenting on "Homeless in Seattle" A Drive-By by Ol Remus Plus My Own Footnote