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On Being Discriminate. . . .

March 31, 2009 - Joselyn King
Amid all the discussions about drug testing of welfare recipients, Barbie dolls and teachers' dress, the West Virginia Legislature is considering legislation (Senate Bill 238) to add "sexual orientation" to existing anti-descrimination and human rights laws -- alongside gender, race and religious orientation.

On the surface, who could really quibble with this. It seems there really shouldn't be a reason to discriminate against anyone needing the basics to human existence. Whether you like them or not. . . .

It would be so nice if we didn't even have the need for human rights laws.

But as I do think about it -- based upon my own experience as a renter whose lived over the years alongside some unusual characters -- it seems there just might be times when a landlord should use better discretion before allowing some colorful individuals live in properties they own.

And yes. I do live within a relatively nice residence in one of the area's better neighborhoods. Still, these observations really are based on true experiences.

* First off, prospective renters should have some demonstrated means of (legal) employment.

You have to be suspicious of someone who is home all day and never goes anywhere -- but still many people come to see them, both day and night. Some of the visitors drive noisy clunkers, while others come in Mercedes.

Then suddenly the traffic stops, and the renters coincidentally stop paying their bill. The legal machinations of eviction take very long . . and in the end they've run up over $1,500 in unpaid rent while the neighbors all have struggled to pay theirs.

Discrimination against drug dealers and the vocationally lazy somehow seems justified.

* And what about those who bring violence onto the property? One neighbor -- a young woman -- had no qualms about letting her boyfriend into her apartment on a frequent basis. He also beat her frequently.

On one occasion he showed up to find her with another man. A major fight ensued that shook the walls. He threw bleach on her belongings that ran onto the carpeting and throughout the apartment.

She would be evicted and move in with her parents. The boyfriend would later stab a family member at the home.

Discrimination against those who pose a threat to others seems rational. But should you discriminate against those who merely let threats onto the property?

I was just glad they were gone.

* And what about those two women who live together downstairs who are just annoying? They didn't have jobs either, and their mooching was endless. "Can I use your phone?" "Can I borrow some milk?" "Can you drive me downtown?"

The one woman disappeared for about a month. She returned at precisely 3:46 a.m. one Monday morning. Neighbors looked out to find her and her roommate wrestling on the lawn.

"I didn't leave you. . .you left me," the one tearfully told the other as her hands continued to clinch her throat. If they had taken the act to Dallas Pike, they might have made enough money for a car, phone and groceries.

The encore, though, came two weeks later. Their downstairs neighbor awakened during the night to find water streaming through his ceiling. He ran upstairs to find the problem.

Their door was unlocked (they had long ago lost the key) and they were nowhere to be found. Inside the apartments lamps were overturned and the rooms were flooded.

Then the neighbor saw in the distance what he thought might be the reason -- a butcher knife plunged into a water bed.

And their eviction wasn't because of sexual orientation at all. It was because of destruction of property.

* I really see no reason to discriminate against animals. Overall, they seem to cause fewer problems than their owners do.

The two women had a great old dog who just laid around a lot. He never stabbed a water bed.


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