Legal Insurrection readers may recall that in the autumn of 2017, a series of wildfires broke out in Southern California. One of those blazes threatened the famed Getty Center Museum.

On Easter Sunday this year, a suspected arsonist, who set off fires in the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Center, was taken into custody after a an alert citizen saw the man lighting the fires and tackled him.

The suspect was arrested after Richard Lazenby took him down to the ground and held him there until officers arrived. Part of that confrontation was caught on camera.

“I yell at him, like, ‘what are you doing?” Lazenby told KTLA. “And he says, ‘I’m destroying everything.'”

Lazenby was driving home from Easter Sunday church service with his family when he saw brush fires burning along Sepulveda Boulevard. He then saw the suspect lighting another fire, and blocked the man with his vehicle.

Using an air and ground attack, Los Angeles Fire Department crews were able to quickly extinguish the flames. The blaze was limited to one-quarter of an acre with no structural damage or injuries.

The suspect has been identified as Steven William Adkison, a 31-year-old transient.

Adkison now faces four felony counts of arson of a structure or forest and could be sentenced for up to eight years in state prison, the District Attorney’s Office said.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his appearance in Los Angeles County Superior Court and, officials set. He was scheduled to return to court for a hearing in his case on May.

His bail has been set at $300,000.

Studies estimate that L.A. County had nearly 53,000 homeless people last year. This represents an increase of about 39% since 2014.

It’s not clear what caused the alleged actions of the suspect.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, up to 25 percent of the homeless population suffers from some form of mental illness.

“Being on the street exacerbates and develops mental illness. Just like most of our, most of our soldiers, the men and women in the armed forces, that go overseas and have fought in these horrific wars, they didn’t go over there with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They didn’t go over there with anxiety conditions or with depression or with alcoholism. They came back with it,” [said Bill Walker, the director of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services].

Homelessness and the associated health problems related to it are problems that can only be solved by changing the political climate that prioritizes social justice over public security.

California political reporter Katy Grimes reviews public health hazards related to homelessness around Sacramento and says proven, non-government programs are the best solution.

In Sacramento, after already legislating hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for combating homelessness ineffectively, we now tax responsible residents out of more of their hard-earned income, to build tiny homes for people currently living and pooping on the street who will turn these houses into tiny crack houses, as has already happened in Los Angeles. Homelessness is only increasing in California, along with tent cities, used needles, piles of defecation on the streets, and communicable diseases.

The Democrats who control the state have solved nothing, and are spending ridiculous amounts of money doing it. It’s hard not to ask who is getting rich off of some of these dubious programs.

It’s time for big-city Mayors to back down and allow success to happen with the state’s most vulnerable people through proven private and non-profit programs. Money in the hands of politicians is about control, and not results. The State, county and city governments cannot and will not ever achieve any real results with California’s homeless epidemic.

Unless there is a change in the approach to homelessness, Californians better hope that citizens like Richard Lazenby remain in the state. We will need more heroes.


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