Camping has become remarkably popular recently and is sweeping the nation.
Only this isn’t the meet Smokey the Bear type of camping where families get close to nature and an alarming number of biting insects.
This is urban camping where crazy people, drug addicts, and criminals (there is plenty of overlap in these categories) pitch a tent in a public park or sidewalk with good access to free food kitchens, liquor stores, and drug dealers.
The Shannon side of this duo has some experience with urban camping.
His relatives participated in the last Oklahoma land lottery in 1901.
They pitched tents in a soon to be urban setting, but since they were functioning adults, the settlers quickly built permanent homes and the city of Lawton.
That’s not what happens in Portland, Oregon for instance.
These tent-dwellers seize public land and essentially make it their own, depriving law-abiding citizens of the use of parks, sidewalks and other public areas paid for by their taxes.
The situation was so bad for the disabled in The City of Roses they filed a lawsuit over the proliferation of tents and other impromptu shelters blocking sidewalks and making the paths inaccessible for wheelchairs.
Lawsuits or not, this lawless appropriation of public space didn’t really bother the authorities in Portland.
Outkick.com reports that until recently, "the city’s mayor, [compassionate Democrat] Ted Wheeler, has been slow to address the issue.
"This year, the mayor’s office said that there were 6,000 homeless people in the city. However, it’s typically thought that figure is low."
Oh, he made the usual noises to cover up his lack of action.
The Washington Times quotes Wheeler lamenting, "The magnitude and the depth of the homeless crisis in our city is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe."
This year the city council finally passed a law banning urban squatting in the city and limiting tent cities to three designated campsites.
And there the situation stood until November.
Then, seemingly overnight, the Laurelhurst Park nylon slum was suddenly cleared out.
On Sunday the tents and tarps were there and Monday the blight was gone.
Replaced by construction equipment that was busy resculpting the park’s terrain.
What was the genesis of this blow struck for productive citizens?
Turns out it was tennis for old people.
Outkick again, "Then the pickleball sensation became too much to ignore. . . . Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation and one that Bill Gates likes to remind people he played before it was cool."
A tennis knock-off with a smaller court, shorter rackets and a much slower ball finally got the city to move. We’re betting a council member or two plan to play there or pickleball is popular with the city staff.
Or a big donor was wondering what was the holdup with construction.
Either way the courts will be much more popular with residents living in the neighborhood of Laurelhurst Park than the aluminum pole ghetto that was there before.
We’re only wondering what will happen when construction is finished and nomadic derelicts decide the new level, well-drained surface of the courts with the nifty divider in the middle would make a perfect place to pitch a tent.
Will the city have the sense to stand up for normal residents and use the new law to evict the pickleball claim jumpers or will "compassion" once again work to the disadvantage of both the disadvantaged and the productive?
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker's bureau. Read Michael Reagan's Reports — More Here.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)" Read Michael Shannon's Reports — More Here.