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Homeless “Campers” Starting Wildfires: Outside the Social Contract

Nederland, Colorado. A town in Boulder County that had embraced marijuana dispensaries for profit, found itself just outside a wildfire that burned 600 acres in July, 2016. Two homeless men were charged with fourth-degree arson for failing to put out their camp fire. The townsfolk reacted in anger, pointing to the increasing number of homeless people in the nearby national forest. Officials had been forced to deal with “more emergency calls, drug overdoses, illegal fires and trash piles deep in the woods.”[1]Some residents urged the U.S. Forest Service to crack down on the homeless by imposing tighter rules on camping, or banning it altogether in certain parts of the woods most popular with the homeless. An analysis drawing on the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, a seventeenth-century English philosopher can be employed to reveal a broader perspective on the problem.
The full essay is at “Homeless Campers.”
 




1. Jack Healy, “As Homeless Find Refuge in Forests, ‘Anger is Palpable’ in Nearby Towns,” The New York Times, August 21, 2016.

Authored By The Worden Report