Mr. Ehrlick, once again, your recent opinion about an incident downtown is doing more harm than good. First, your editorial only exacerbates the stigma that downtown is somehow dangerous, making it even more difficult for locally owned businesses to do their jobs. Second, by going out of your way to center your own feelings of discomfort about working downtown, you overshadow the plight of the houseless. When you write about "feeling outnumbered" or "having to step around or over people in various states of inebriation" you are dehumanizing people who are at the worst possible moment in their life.

The houseless citizens of Billings deserve respect and integrity and to be included in the dialogue about their own rehabilitation. They do not deserve to be used as artillery in the supposed ongoing battle of “what’s to be done about downtown?” In the future I would encourage you to seek out people-centered solutions that encourage community engagement and unity over blasting out opinions that only continue to sow enmity and divisiveness.

Patrick Scott-Wilson


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