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Hawaii lawmaker wages campaign against the homeless and their belongings with sledgehammer

Published time: November 19, 2013 23:04
The belongings of a homeless man stand in a cart (AFP Photo / Hector Mata)

The belongings of a homeless man stand in a cart (AFP Photo / Hector Mata)

In the past two weeks residents in Hawaii noticed what appeared to be a crazed individual carrying a sledgehammer through the streets of Honolulu, a state lawmaker looking to rid the city of homeless people by targeting their belongings.

State Representative Tom Brower (D) is currently dedicated to dealing out his own personal brand of “justice” by seeking out homeless people and destroying their possessions. Brower estimates that he has used the sledgehammer to smash at least 30 shopping carts, rendering them useless by bashing in the front wheels. 

I got tired of telling people I’m trying to pass laws. I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets,” he told Hawaii News Now. “I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them.” 

Brower admitted he was “disgusted” with homeless people during an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, adding that he has not taken a homeless person’s cart directly from them but that is a possibility in the future. 

If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets,” he said. “I don’t want to be threatening anybody. I think it’s threatening to steal things and then walk around with them like it’s their own.” 

Brower did say that he is unafraid to wake people up, though. 

If someone is sleeping at night on the bus stop, I don’t do anything, but if they are sleeping during the day, I’ll walk up and say, ‘Get your ass moving,’” he said. 

At least 19.5 percent of the Hawaiian public reported experiencing some form of mental illness in 2011, with 3.5 percent thought to suffer from severe problems, according to a report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 

Beyond Hawaii’s reputation for being a popular tourist destination complete with endless sunbathing opportunities and ideal surfing conditions, the state’s homeless population has also  swelled in recent years. Lack of affordable housing, healthcare problems, unemployment, and substance abuse are among the myriad of factors pushing people to survive without shelter. 

The Hawaiian island of Oahu saw its homeless population increase by 28.6 percent between 2005 and 2007. Other, much smaller increases were reported throughout the state in the years directly after, although government funding to city shelters has also increased. 

Still, at one point earlier this year, state lawmakers were trying to come up with a plan that would put homeless on planes and fly them to the mainland United States. 

For these and other reasons, some in the community are saying Brower has made victims out of the very people he should be trying to help. Marya Grambs, executive director of Mental Health America of Hawaii, told the Star-Advertiser he is only making the problem worse. 

His message to the public is that it’s okay to commit acts of violence against homeless people, against vulnerable people,” she said. “It’s okay for vigilante justice.”

Comments (40)


W.w. Webweaver 25.11.2013 02:06

Vandalism is a crime last I checked. Even if you're vandalizing stolen property. I say arrest this useless, ignorant, psychotic POS, and toss him in jail with all the mentally ill homeless who were busted for loitering or trespassing.


R 21.11.2013 07:09

David Koresh is my Homeboy 20.11.2013 19:03

Votin g them out is not possible anymore. Culling them is more realistic as it prevents them from returning to power - necessary for freedom


Fun fact: Only 37% of Americans actively participate in the political process. Only 70% vote.

When we have 100% on both accounts, and things havent changed, then maybe youll make sense. But it seems to me you dont do anything political to change things: You just grumble and dream of the day when anarchy reigns.

If you want to rule by the gun--->middle east is that way. Dont let the door hit you.


John Doe 21.11.2013 05:53

As if the Homeless don't have enough problems, way to go jerk!

View all comments (40)
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