Hawaii State Rep. Tom Brower recently bragged about how he was destroying shopping carts, used by homeless people, with a sledgehammer.
Rep. Brower did not explain how destroying shopping carts would reduce homelessness in the state, but did seem to get some personal satisfaction (video below).
“I got tired of telling people I’m trying to pass laws,” Brower told Hawaii News Now. “I want to do something practical that will really clean up the streets.”
“I find abandoned junk, specifically shopping carts, and I remove them,” added Brower. “I also create a situation where those carts can’t be pushed around the city. I think it’s a good thing.”
Not content with the destruction of property, Brower also harasses people that he thinks are homeless.
“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,’” Brower bragged to the Star Advertiser. "When you are walking down the sidewalk with a sledgehammer, people get out of your way."
However, Mental Health America of Hawaii Executive Director Marya Grambs strongly disagrees with Brower's tactics.
“His message to the public is that it’s okay to commit acts of violence against homeless people, against vulnerable people. It’s okay for vigilante justice,” stated Grambs.
"You have to remember that there are people who are traumatized out there," Connie Mitchell, executive director for the Institute of Human Services, told Hawaii News Now. "To see someone with a sledgehammer sometimes can be re-traumatizing for a lot of people."
UPDATE: Brower has suddenly decided to stop his destruction of the shopping carts, but still maintains he was doing the right thing.
“It’s time to put down the sledgehammer. The point that I was trying to make has been made,” Brower told the Star-Advertiser. ”Now that the issue of shopping carts is on our minds. The question is are we going to move forward and try to solve it or just let it become status quo.”