Thursday, 08 February 2018

Local Governments Around the Country Crackdown on Unlicensed Acts of Kindness

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A chef in Decatur, Illinois, dared to serve food to the homeless without permission from the government, so armed police and health inspectors stormed into his house and seized his professional cooking equipment.

Freedom Outpost reports: “Khemuel ‘Chef’ Sanders had his business shut down, all of his equipment stolen by the state, and his life ruined because he made food in his home to give to the homeless.”

To be very clear, Sanders has a food handler’s license. That is to say, he has already paid the state for permission to prepare food. That in and of itself is tyrannical, but that the cops and the food police would raid his house and take his cooking utensils into custody is so far beyond the pale that the pale isn’t even visible anymore.

“I have my food handlers license. Expires at the end of this month. I was in a restaurant but the owner got in some trouble and shut everything down. It was out of my control that’s the only reason why I was cooking out of my home,” Sanders explained, as reported in the Freedom Post piece.

The equipment Sanders used to prepare food for the homeless is exactly the same equipment that he used in the restaurant to prepare food for paying patrons. The food itself was identical. 

Every step of the process — the process of serving food to the hungry — was precisely identical to that followed in the restaurant.

Sanders’s crime, then: cooking food for the homeless at home.

Lest anyone doubt the utter inanity of this situation, consider the wording of the warrant that authorized law enforcement to enter Sanders’s house and seize his equipment: “You are commanded, in the name and by the authority of the people of the state of Illinois, to search the premises ... and seize the following instruments, articles, and things which have been used the commission of [sic], or constitute evidence of, violation of the Macon County Food Sanitation Ordinance.”

Then, the warrant goes on to instruct officers to seize “multiple deep fryers” and “other food preparation equipment.”

In a video Sanders made of the crackdown, officers from the Macon County Sheriff’s Department and public health service agents are seen entering Sanders’ house and carrying out the contraband.

When asked about the reason for the raid, Lt. Jamie Belcher said, “It’s a health issue with people consuming foods. [The Health Department] wants to make sure the food is actually consumable.”

That seems an odd inquiry considering the food was actually consumed! None of those who benefit from Sanders’ charity complained or called the cops. They were likely too busy being grateful for a meal to bother notifying health department officials of the offense.

All this statism and squelching of care for one’s less fortunate fellow man is too frequent to overlook.

Last September, city government shut down an operation that was providing tiny houses to the homeless in Los Angeles. Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores explained why her office couldn’t allow just anyone to offer shelter to people living on the street. “Most cities have very strict building codes to make sure that any structure approved have the bare minimum access to safe electricity, ventilation and water,” she said. “From what I’ve seen of these structures, they don’t meet current safety standards.”

Then, Flores doubled down on the despotism, declaring that even if an individual had one of these structures on private property, it would still be seized as it would likely not pass municipal code muster.

In January of this year, Greg Schiller of Chicago had a similar idea — housing the homeless — and he experienced a similar city government smackdown.

After an EMT told Schiller he couldn’t allow homeless people to sleep in his garage — his own garage in a home he owned — Schiller decided to have “slumber parties,” inviting those who would otherwise be sleeping outside, exposed to the extremely bitter winter of the Windy City to sleep in his basement.

The apparatchiks wouldn’t allow that, either. Here’s the rest of the story as reported by Reason:

Police officers and city officials showed up at Schiller's home with a warrant Tuesday and inspected the unfinished basement. They then claimed its ceiling was too low and its windows were too high and too small to exit through them. According to Schiller, they told him to shut down his operation and turn his basement back into storage within 24 hours or they would condemn the house.

"While we appreciate those who volunteer to provide additional resources in the community," city spokesperson Molly Center said in a statement, "Mr. Schiller's house does not comply with codes and regulations that guard against potential dangers such as carbon monoxide poisoning, inadequate light and ventilation, and insufficient exits in the event of a fire.”

From feeding the hungry to sheltering the homeless, it seems there’s no act of Christian charity that government won’t punish. It’s a good thing the Lord didn’t distribute those fishes and loaves in the United States in 2018.

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