Vulnerable homeless people are the targets of increasing violence in America and California has one of the highest rates of attacks against people forced to live on the streets. The ‘Street Spirit’ newspaper tells readers: “Since 1999, more than 240 vulnerable homeless Americans have been stabbed, beaten, drowned, shot or burned to death in a revolting display of one of the last socially tolerated prejudices, this one based on class.” Youth in the United States are being influenced to commit crimes against homeless people with a dangerous subculture against the most unprotected in society where violent crimes are most tolerated by authorities targeting people without shelter. The videos feature apparently unprovoked attacks on homeless people that are caught on video, by what are being called ‘thrill offenders’, young toughs seeking to lash out against victims. These violent and degrading videos are sold for the pleasure of young males that are known in popular culture as ‘Bumfights’ named after a popular video series. Hundreds of thousands of tapes and DVDs, or internet sites like Youtube have been viewed. A generation of young people has been exposed to Reality TV shows, ‘Funniest Home Video’ episodes (which often feature people striking each other accidentally) or the ubiquitous World Federation of Wrestling programming whose main element is routines of simulated violence. Now producers appear to be are encouraging acts of violence against people forced to live on the streets or they are exploiting videos that have come into their possession; encouraging a new phenomena which is bringing a new low to US culture.

In a dozen states legislation has been proposed to add homeless status to hate-crime laws.

‘Bumfights’ Makes Gladiators of Homeless: On Shocking Video, they Fight and Smoke Crack’ by Ray Delgado, San Francisco Chronicle’ June 25, 2002

Read more:

‘Hate Crimes Escalate Against Homeless People: California Has the Second-Highest Number of Anti-Homeless Assaults in the Nation’ by Brian Levin and Michael Stoops; Street Spirit 2009