With all the restrictions on selling and marketing food, it’s easy to forget that even sharing food is sometimes still a crime. Despite my own stated optimism last year, it appears that bans on sharing food with the homeless and less fortunate won’t be going away any time soon.
Last week, Scott Keyes, a senior reporter with the progressive news site ThinkProgress, reported on the idiotic outcome of one of the latest of such bans.
In that case, the city of Birmingham, Ala. has barred a local pastor from sharing food with the homeless from a church-owned vehicle because he doesn’t have… a food truck permit.
“Wood was stopped from handing out food by local police because he was in violation of a new city ordinance, passed in December, that regulates food trucks,” writes Keyes. “The new regulation requires food trucks to get a permit, which can cost as much as $500.”
I can only imagine that the “thinking” behind the $500 permit requirement was that poor and homeless people had not suffered so terribly as to allow narrow-minded bureaucrats to give them a break, and to let Good Samaritans help the poor and homeless out a bit. Yes, that must be it. Indeed, now that I am on this topic, I have to ask: Just what is it with the poor and homeless–and, for at matter, with the Good Samaritans who wish to help them–that causes them to think that state bureaucrats in Alabama might take something resembling a broad view and let the charitable help the down-and-out? I mean, the nerve. Don’t the dispossessed and the generous know that there are rules and that those rules will be enforced–the facts on the ground notwithstanding?
Perhaps next time, those who are having a bad time of it, and the people who want to help them, will be smart enough to go through the proper channels and render unto Caesar that which Caesar has no business asking for at a time like this, before good deeds are done for those in desperate need of them. Otherwise, we may be well on our way to a society that is as smart as it is compassionate. And Heaven knows that bureaucrats the world around lose sleep at the thought of such a prospect.