Spoiler alert for all you optimists out there: 2017 is going to be worse than 2016. Exhibit A in this argument is the news that Tampa police are continuing to crack down on people who commit the ghastly crime of giving food to the homeless.
Tampa is one of several cities in Florida that requires a permit for anyone feeding the needy in a public place, which causes a good deal of red tape and can be prohibitively expensive for activist groups that offer free meals frequently. Food Not Bombs is one such group, and, although warned that giving out food without said permit could result in arrests, went ahead and did so on Saturday. When cops arrived, they were given three minutes to stop what they were doing.
But they went on serving their food, and a number were cuffed, with one telling the homeless congregated there to please help themselves as he was led away. Onlookers meanwhile shamed the police and chanted "people over profit."
Food Not Bombs, according to a statement, "has no plans to stop sharing food with the homeless and hungry and will continue to defy unjust laws that criminalize compassion and mutual aid," and is planning an event in the same park for Tuesday morning. They claim to have given away food there dozens of times before without incident, leading some to speculate that the nearby College Football Playoff National Championship could have been a factor in these arrests—although others have been detained for the same violation in the past.