Listen, I’m a traveler. And I’m a huge fan of Neal Cassady. I hopped a few trains back in the day. I become nostalgic when I see movies like Into The Wild. I’ve made my away across 48 states picking up odd jobs and living way below normal standards. Hell, I even hitchhiked my way onto a sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean. I was pretty badass.
But you know what I didn’t do? I didn’t ask other people for money, not once. I didn’t wipe my feces on any walls like a freaking monkey. I didn’t loiter outside lucrative businesses—stanky, smoking, and giving the passers-by dirty looks to intimidate them as they were forced to step over or around me. I never broke into any abandoned buildings.
See, I’m all for the romantic celebration of “an anti-consumerist” live-off-the-fat-of-the-land lifestyle. But as you so eloquently put it (“A stop on the squatters’ trail,” March 5), these kids aren’t living off the fat of the land, they’re living off the “fat-of-the-society” … and that means you and me, the residents of San Luis Obispo. Now, I’m not saying throw ’em in our jails. That would be as wasteful as throwing pot smokers in jail. But in this town where Dan DeVaul faces fines, jail, and constant harassment—you’re seriously telling me that the police response to these truant, loitering, squatters is that “nobody’s committing any crimes”? I think we should drop them off at Mr. DeVaul’s school of hard knocks and teach them what’s really up. Punks.