Authorities say a Good Samaritan in Florida who gave a homeless man a place to sleep on Thanksgiving night was allegedly a victim of sexual battery after she awoke to find the man’s hands around her neck.
Fox News reported that the purported crime happened in the city of St. Pete Beach.
According to WTVT-TV, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reported that 44-year-old Clark Caplan knocked on the woman’s door near midnight Thursday and asked if he could stay.
Deputies said the woman agreed to let the man sleep on the floor in her living room while she slept in a bedroom.
At some point during the night, according to WTVT, the woman awoke to find Caplan with his hands around her neck, sexually assaulting her.
While the victim tried to escape through the front door, WTVT reported, the man grabbed her hair to prevent her from leaving.
Pinellas County deputies arrested Clark Caplan, 44, after they say he sexually battered a woman who gave him a place to spend the night. https://t.co/4oVpBsUViA
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) November 27, 2020
The report did not explain who called authorities or how Caplan was arrested, but he was taken into custody and charged with sexual battery, felony battery and false imprisonment.
His bail was set at $112,500, WTVT reported.
Florida hasn’t been the state hardest hit by the homelessness epidemic in terms of its population. According to data from 2019, the estimated homeless rate had Florida at 15th per capita, with 13.5 homeless individuals per 10,000 population. New York, Hawaii and California were the top three states, with 46.4 homeless per 10,000, 44.9 and 38.3, respectively. (The District of Columbia was by far No. 1 with 94 homeless per 10,000 population, but it isn’t a state.)
There are plenty of solutions forwarded to deal with the issues, most of which assume the issue is simply a matter of getting a roof over the homeless person’s head. The rest of the problems will sort themselves out, the liberal line will go.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a roof over a homeless person’s head — in fact, that’s the ultimate aim — but it also doesn’t solve the root issues behind homelessness. In many cases, it actually perpetuates them.
In this case, according to reports, it’s a woman who put her personal safety at risk to give a man in need a place to stay. No one can blame her, but the impulse should be warned against, even if it’s driven by the most charitable impulses.
Even in cases where the “solution” is a bit less ad hoc and personal, there are still issues. In May, as homeless individuals were being given free room and board in many cities due to the pandemic, San Francisco said it was also providing free alcohol and drugs to some of the individuals who were staying in hotels at the time.
At the time, a Twitter user calling himself “T Wolf” wrote that “I just found out that homeless placed in hotels in SF are being delivered Alcohol, Weed and Methadone because they identified as an addict/alcoholic for FREE.”
He wrote, not wrongly, that the city is “supposed to be offering treatment. This is enabling and is wrong on many levels.”
The city didn’t just confirm that this was the case, it also essentially told “T Wolf” to check his privilege.
These harm reduction based practices, which are not unique to San Francisco, and are not paid for with taxpayer money, help guests successfully complete isolation and quarantine and have significant individual and public health benefits in the COVID-19 pandemic.
— SFDPH (@SF_DPH) May 5, 2020
“These harm reduction based practices, which are not unique to San Francisco, and are not paid for with taxpayer money, help guests successfully complete isolation and quarantine and have significant individual and public health benefits in the COVID-19 pandemic,” the city’s Department of Public Health tweeted.
Except, at some level, it was being paid for with taxpayer money. Even if the drugs and alcohol were not purchased with public funds, it was all part of a city program that is paid for by taxpayers. (That bureaucrat who wrote the tweet defending the practice, for instance, wasn’t working for free.)
But this wasn’t quite the point: Drunken and drugged individuals have a higher propensity to pose a danger to themselves or others. While “harm reduction based practices” may work in certain circumstances, they’re based on science from situations that don’t involve hotel rooms in a pandemic.
We’ve seen more than a few occasions during the COVID crisis where allowing those with substance abuse and mental health problems into subsidized hotel housing has created serious issues with public safety.
So, yes, it’s a moral thing to spare a thought for the homeless, particularly in these grim times. You should first think of your own safety, however, or the safety of others.
Homelessness may be ameliorated by acts of kindness, but not when they cut against reason and common sense.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.