A NOTE FROM ONCE FALLEN:
I felt rather than bury this in my archives section, it is worthy of a section of its own. In the winter and spring of 2004, I was homeless. I had stayed in a shelter a while, but had to spend much of time in the streets. Few people care about the homeless, and even less about a person labeled as a “sex offender”. When Thomas Pauli died from hypothermia after denied emergency shelter on January 23, 2009, the message boards were filled with derision and cheers. It is a sad testament to American culture when we cheer a man’s suffering and death.
Since the creation of this page in 2010, residency restrictions were overturned both in California (March 2015) and in Michigan (Dec. 2020). Still, residency restriction repeals will not save the lives of those who died.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: WINTER 2009-2010
DO NOT ALLOW ANOTHER HUMAN BEING TO DIE IN THE COLD!
“No one, regardless of what they have done, deserves death on the street like that.“
–Miriam Aukerman, a Legal Aid of Western Michigan attorney taking up the legal battle on behalf of area homeless advocates
On January 23, 2009, Thomas Pauli froze to death in the cold Michigan winter. Shelter after shelter denied services because Pauli was a sex offender, and the shelters were too close to school properties, which were closed due to inclement weather. This winter, shelters are again denying shelter to HUMAN BEINGS. In places like OTTUMWA, IA, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, MIAMI/ DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, and FRANKLIN COUNTY, PE, this is already beginning. Will we allow another person to freeze to death in the name of a false sense of security? READ THIS ARTICLE to get an idea on the process of hypothermia. It is a very slow, painful way to die!
R.I.P. THOMAS CRAIG, S.F., CA, Died Nov. 18, 2010
Thomas Craig died from cancer-related complications, but homelessness played a role in Thomas Craig’s death. Homelessness has played a role in health complications in three homeless sex offenders this year alone in San Francisco. In addition to Craig and Chaykovski, a third man, Faamamalu Casey, died of a heart attack this year. Three homeless registrants have died this year in the San Francisco area alone. How many more have died as a result of Jessica’s Flaw?
R.I.P. Nicholas Chaykovski, S.F., CA, Died Feb. 18, 2010
Residency laws have claimed a second life. Nicholas Chaykovski died from complications related to the stress of a life of homelessness caused by California’s Prop 83, a.k.a., “Jessica’s Law.” Just weeks before, he was featured in an SF-Weekly article on homeless registrants as “Mr. C,” which described accurately the desperation of some homeless registrants simply to get rest. Under Prop 83, a registrant cannot stay in a location violating restrictions for more than two hours. Like Thomas Pauli before him, we allowed a man to die a violent death out of our thirst for revenge.
What is a “Fundamental Right?”
Derek W. Logue
May 3, 2010
“I feel bad for him. I know it’s cold outside, but we have to enforce the law. There is no constitutional right to warmth.”— Hamilton County, Ohio Prosecutor Joe Deters, responding to a lawsuit by a homeless Former Offender to stay at an emergency shelter within 1000 feet of a school
In US v. Guest, 383 US 745 (1966), the Court addresses certain rights as basic and fundamental; “The reason, it has been suggested, is that a right so elementary was conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created.” [See also Edwards v. California, 314 US 160; Kent v. Dulles, 357 US 116, 125-6; and Apthecker v. Secretary of State, 378 US 500, 517.]
What exactly is a fundamental right? What basic rights do all human beings share that is so elementary that it does not have to be explicitly stated in the US Constitution? My first thought was the most basic human needs to survive– food, clothing, and shelter. In light of Joe Deter’s statement, I wonder if there even is such a thing as a fundamental right. After all, we are systematically denying the most basic of human needs to some homeless people simply because of a status.
In the Declaration of Independence, we get the famous quote “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Life. The right to live. We even have a legal defense of “necessity” for times we break the law during a pressing emergency. If you were pursued by a serial killer (or a tornado), would you stop and think, “I can’t break into this closed business because B&E is against the law?” I doubt it. We recognize in many instances the right to live as a most basic need and right. The right to seek emergency shelter should be no different. Yet, we do not honor this for people stigmatized by the sex offender label.