Austin, TX

A Homeless Man in Austin, TX Pulled a Knife on Me and Wasn't Arrested

Carol Lennox

His sister says open camping and a lack of mental health resources led to attacks.

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Edward McIntosh was arrested for assault with injury after an unprovoked attack on a young woman on 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas. He hit her in the face and knocked her to the ground, according to the Austin Police Department. Prior to that, he confronted me and four male members of my writing group outside the Austin Recreation Center with a large knife. I was facing the other four, who were in the parking lot, as I was standing on the curb.

I had my back to him as he approached us, but I clearly heard his gutteral challenge, "Are you going to keep messing with me?"

I'm a trained martial artist and a psychotherapist. I slowly stepped down off the curb to be further from him, turned to face him, and said in my most compassionate voice, "No baby, we don't want to keep messing with you."

I stared down at the foot long knife he held across his stomach.

The moonlight glinting from it made the knife clearly visible. We stood and looked at one another for a moment that seemed like forever. Then he turned and went back up the stairs to lay on a bench at the entrance to the Austin Recreation Center.

My male friends stayed for the police, while I drove shakily home. The Austin police came. They ascertained that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenic and was off of his meds. They did nothing.

A few weeks later he walked up to the young woman in downtown Austin and struck her in the face. That's when he was arrested.

His sister, Janet McIntosh, in an interview with CBS Austin on September 13, 2019, blamed her brother's situation on the Austin City Council revoking the laws against camping in Austin, Texas in July of 2019. Janet says he decided to leave the group home where he lived n Lockhart, Texas, to go to Austin, where he would be allowed to sleep anywhere in public spaces. She reports, "He said, 'I'm going to live at the ARCH. I'm going to live in downtown Austin, you can camp out anywhere you want to in Austin.'"

The ARCH is the Austin Resouce Center for the Homeless. It's managed by First Steps, and is located one street away from where he attacked the young woman. It's only a few blocks away from the Austin Recreation Center where he pulled a knife on me.

It provides temporary shelter, resources to obtain housing, recuperative medical care and supportive services. A quote from their website states, "Our vision is that no person in oour community should ever have to spend the night on the streets." Unfortunately, while Edward McIntosh must have hung out there, he was sleeping on the streets when I encountered him. Technically, he was sleeping on a bench at the entrance to the Austin Recreation Center, where my writing group met at the time.

His sister blames the Austin ordinance allowing camping in all public places, plus the lack of affordable housing for the mentally ill, for his leaving his group home and choosing to live on the streets of Austin, Texas.

Decriminalizing homelessness in Austin, Texas, and everywhere in the U.S., is an important step in handling the homelessness issue. It also frees up the police to focus on more serious crimes.

In the case of Edward McIntosh however, decriminalization and a lack of resources for the mentally ill led to his remaining on the streets after he threatened me with a knife. Lack of resources and decriminalization allowed another woman to be attacked and injured in the streets.

We need better solutions.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on Medium.com/@carollennox, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX
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