Glenn K. Beaton: A modest proposal* to reduce the homeless by feeding them to the needy

Glenn K. Beaton
The Aspen Beat

Denver’s goose is cooked, and now the needy need more.

According to Denver officials, “Geese poop in our parks is one of the biggest complaints we have. It had gotten to the point where the parks were being almost unenjoyable for a lot of people — that is why we moved forward with this plan.”

OK so far, but I’m curious. Why just “almost”? And “a lot of people” suggests a number less than “all.” Are there some people who don’t find goose poop unenjoyable?

I have a friend who thinks goose poop is unenjoyable even on the golf course. Because when he accidentally drops his cigar and goes to pick it up, he sometimes mistakes a goose poop for it, and the goose poop — though no worse for his health and no worse smelling and tasting than a cigar — is really hard to keep lit. Sort of like smoked salmon, but more so.

On to Denver’s plan. It’s to feed the geese to needy families. This is all couched in sanitized bureaucrat-speak, of course. They say they will “cull” the geese by capturing them alive. (Why?) Then they’ll send them off to be “processed” and eventually the needy will eat them. I assume that somewhere in that process of being “processed” and before getting eaten, the geese get killed and cooked, but the bureaucrats are vague about that step.

Bureaucratize aside, this is brilliant. For the hunger problem of the needy and the overpopulation problem of the geese, it’s a regular final solution.

But not quite. Only about 5,000 geese are in Denver, and there’s a zillion needy people. So proposals are on the table to expand the program to mice and infesting insects. Not to be fed, but to eat.

But mice and insects aren’t very filling. Besides, culling is inhumane, as you would know if you’d ever been culled. In fact, an animal rights group has sued Denver to stop goosing the geese, and I can only imagine the outcry if Denver puts cute and furry critters like mice on the menu.

I have a modest proposal.

Note first that goose poop is not the only kind in the Denver parks. Denver recently voted down an initiative to allow homeless vagrants to camp in the parks and on the sidewalks (as if that would solve their problems) but there’s still a lot of illegal camping there.

Like the geese, those campers can use the can only where they can, and it’s often at their campsites — the parks and sidewalks. Personally, I find park people poop even more unenjoyable than park goose poop. So does my cigar-chomping friend.

And note also that Denver has an overabundance of these park pooping people, just as they have an overabundance of park pooping geese. Decades of giving free stuff to vagrants for being vagrants has not reduced their vagrancy. Go figure.

So let’s feed the vagrants to the needy.

Of course, we’ll be careful in the words we use to describe this plan. We’ll call the menu items “the homeless” rather than “people.” We’ll “cull” the tastiest homeless — alive, of course, because anything less would be inhumane — and then send them off to be “processed.” Then we’ll place their processed parts in adoptive homes with the hungry needy.

The beauty of my plan is that it will feed the needy without culling any animals. That will placate the righteous animal rights crowd. And it spruces up the parks, which will thrill the enviros.

Most importantly, it saves us the time, trouble and expense of treating those persistent problems afflicting the homeless. Why treat addiction, alcoholism, violence, loneliness, criminality, insanity, family breakdown, community estrangement, psychosis, personality disorders, mental illness, schizophrenia, political correctness, social Darwinism, bad choices, bad luck and bad hygiene, when we can just cull?

This might also be a way to cull the overabundance of Denver Democrats. It’s not unprecedented in that regard. At the sentencing of notorious Colorado cannibal Alferd (that’s how he spelled his name) Packer back in the frontier days, the judge apocryphally declared:

“Stand up yah voracious man-eatin’ sonofabitch and receive yir sintince. When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was siven Dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of ‘em, goddam yah. I sintince yah t’ be hanged by th’ neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin’ in reducin’ th’ Dimmycratic populayshun of this county. Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sintince ya ta hell but the statutes forbid it.”

We can surely do better than five.

*—Acknowledgements and apologies to Jonathan Swift.

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