Good intentions hardly guarantee good results, as a young activist in Seattle is about to discover. Eddie Wang, a recent graduate of University of Washington, is raising money to provide comfortable new sleeping bags for all homeless people in the Seattle area – an estimated 3,000 of them.
He’s half-way to his goal of $75,000 for the sleeping bags, but he never explains how new bedding would do anything to assist street people in finding shelter or jobs, or turning around their lives. In fact, comfortable new sleeping bags only make it easier for people to continue camping in public parks, under freeway overpasses, or in alleys, rather than finding their way to shelters, psychiatric facilities, or rescue missions that could lift them from their misery.
Compassion for our suffering neighbors is natural, but thoughtless generosity can end up harming them even more than thoughtless callousness.