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Should homeless camping ban apply to Occupy Colorado Springs protest? Homelessness is often also protest.

COLORADO SPRINGS- Activist Steve Bass was arrested last night for overstaying his welcome in the city’s Acacia Park, violating the ordinance against pitching a tent in a public park. While the city is asserting that the anti-homeless no-camping ordinance ban applies to overnight free speech and assembly, and the OCCUPY COLORADO SPRINGS protesters argue that protest should be differentiated from the homeless issue, Steve reminds us that for many on the street, homelessness is their protest.

Bass has longtime experience administrating the Sunday morning soup kitchen at CC’s Shove Chapel. According to Bass, it’s not a matter of “To be or not to be” but the unalienable right to be or be somewhere else. Here’s an excerpt from his statement:

A point is advanced during the meeting [Occupy Colorado Springs negotiations with City officials] that separates homeless campers from active political occupiers. As a matter of personal opinion, though there are some real differences in context, the camping ordinance is bad law as yet untested in courts. However, having been involved with the free food biz in Colorado Springs for decades I am confident in stating that many homeless campers are in their position by choice, having opted out of a political system found onerous. I see no legitimate difference between this lifestyle of protest and the pointed expressions of protest embraced by Occupy Colorado Springs.

Other homeless campers are thus because of uncontrolled habits, some of which fall under the label of “diseased” behavior by authoritative bodies in the U.S. or because of circumstances external to their control. There are only two varieties of property in the entirety of the U.S.–public or private. If the continuously burgeoning population of homeless campers is barred from sleeping on public property, and have no means by which to acquire access to private property, they have no option at all. Others are then required by default to put them up, thus far manifest here in conditions both unsanitary and unsavory as demonstrable by the bed-bug ridden Express Inn or the Aztec Motel, or else the Salvation Army–court ordered church. Otherwise, our only other option is to incarcerate them. I maintain that an unmentioned and “unalienable” right of all human beings is simply to be, wherever that being may take place.

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