Young men in their teens and early 20s are more likely to attack homeless men, says the Miami Herald. It’s a growing and disturbing trend. In 1999, 60 homeless individuals were attacked. In 2004, 105 were attacked. Since 1999, 386 homeless individuals have been attacked nationwide, resulting in 156 deaths, according to the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless. More incidents occur during the summer, when kids are out of school and many homeless shelters are closed, said the coalition’s Michael Stoops. “I think the reason why people pick on homeless people is that they think they can get away with it, and it is easy to attack someone who is not physically or mentally able,”‘ Stoops said.
The attackers can range in age from 11 to 65 and straddle ethnic lines. It’s not surprising if alcohol and drugs are involved, Stoops said. Dr. Scott Poland, a psychologist at Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Psychological Studies, said although the victim is likely chosen at random, the actions of the attackers are not necessarily impulsive. “This is something they thought about — they planned,” Poland said. Today, a teenager who was charged in connection with last week’s spree of baseball bat beatings that left one Florida homeless man dead and two others badly hurt was released on bond. Another teen who was charged in the beating death was denied bond, the Herald said.