How could a civilised society plant spikes in the ground?

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What a sad world we live in when people feel the need to install spikes in public spaces outside their properties to deter homeless people from sleeping rough.

I read that this had happened in London – and apparently these days it isn’t rare.

I don’t know all the details, for example whether there had been aggressive or threatening behaviour, or whether there were other circumstances,.

But the question that needs to be answered is how has our society come to this? How is it that we, so civilised, so cosmopolitan, would plant spikes in the ground?

It’s similar to the way we treat pigeons and other birds, with a few spikes here and there to deter potential vermin from taking root. Are we therefore saying that homeless people are vermin? I sincerely hope not.

It’s quite revealing to watch how we can revert to such uncaring behaviour. I recently saw a hand-to-hand combat display in which the ringmaster (for want of a better word) asked the crowd of – mainly children – whether the loser (down on the ground) should be kicked again.

The howling and baying for continued violence to be inflicted on a cowed man made me think of how Roman amphitheatres must have been. A crowd revelling in the punishment of another.

Yes, it was all fake and no doubt it was all done in the spirit of fun. But I walked away wondering whether the children realised that they’d witnessed a piece of theatre, or whether they got home and reflected upon the fact that they’d acted as judge, jury and proverbial executioner.

If we’d handed around projectiles, would they have been thrown? I honestly think that’s a yes.

I’m as bad as the next person. I was excited by the spectacle of the fight, caught up in the moment before realising what was really happening.

And in all honesty, I wouldn’t want a homeless person sleeping outside my home either.

But the fact is, we’ve got people living on the streets, with spikes under their frugal bedding, and I’m part of the head-in-the-sand majority who let it happen.