Grass Valley, CA — Self-proclaimed Nevada County local natives Ed Nick and Cliven Duster refer to themselves as “The Organization,” named after a group both their fathers belonged to in the 1970s. And although they consider themselves “red-blooded American patriots,” neither has ever considered themselves an activist. Not until, however, Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
“I liked to lay low. And have for most of my life,” said Mr. Nick, who had just finished one of the fourteen “Dirt Sucker” bus searches he had performed today. “But something changed after Trump got elected. I started looking around at how screwed up things were around here. See, all these homeless people with their filth and drugs started showing up from the Bay Area that made me take action.”
According to the Organization‘s website and Facebook group, uncreatively called Grass Valley Dirt Suckers, the group doesn’t condone or support violence. However, they encourage people to post unsubstantiated photos and comments about area homeless people in attempts to, in the words of one member, “not turn Grass Valley into the next San Francisco,” referring to the current homeless crisis in the city by the bay.
“All these people from the Bay Area have been moving up here for the past few years and bringing their libtard tolerance with them,” said Cliven Duster, who had just exited the bus behind Mr. Nick. Duster, 46, was also carrying a loaded legal firearm for ‘protection.’ “We want people to post pictures and comments about these dirt suckers so we can stop them. The idea is to send them back to where they came from, you know?”
When asked how The Organization could tell whether someone was not only homeless but also being bussed in from outside the area, Mr. Duster bristled.
“Look, you can tell by looking at them. They don’t look like us, OK?” Continued Cliven growing visibly agitated by the questioning. “See, I saw this documentary about Liberia. You know, in Africa? And how they sent the blacks back there. It’s the same idea. Send these scumbag dirt suckers back to San Francisco. At gunpoint, if we have to. We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep our town safe from these people.”
Part of what is driving the hysteria has been an uptick in the homeless populations across California, not just the major urban areas. The growth has been fueled by a lack of access to drug and mental health services and skyrocketing housing costs due to fewer home starts and the booming economy.
“Add in a growing culture of conspiracy theories, sourced not only from hearsay on social media, but from political leaders, and you have a perfect and dangerous environment for some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” said Professor James Badwater of the University of Chicago’s Badwater Institute of Culture Bias Studies. “Many of these movements start, at least intending, to have an impact on their communities. But they inevitably turn into jack-booted reactionary movements that morph into often violent vigilante groups.”
Mr. Nick says he doesn’t have anything against the homeless people. He doesn’t want “their type” in his town.
“We’re tired of being the victims in our town,” said Mr. Nick speaking for himself and the other members of The Organization. “We’re searching the buses to root out the vermin. If they know, we’re doing it. They’re less likely to board the buses in San Francisco. That should send a strong signal. And we have plans to investigate these broken-down RVs that have been showing up as well. But we have some legal issues to work out first. It’s like we say online: this is our blood and our soil. Not theirs.”
Both Governor Gavin Newsom‘s and San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s offices say that there are no programs to transport the city’s homeless to other regions of California.
“Of course this is one of the oldest and frankly most reckless conspiracy theories out there,” said Gavin Newsom spokesperson Bethany Millbright. “Angry people want simple answers to very complex problems and saying that ‘the homeless are being shipped out our cities’ fits that mold. But even the simplest questioning reveals how ridiculous this would be. Not to mention, it would be impossible to conceal.”
As for Mr. Nick and Duster, they’re not giving up on keeping Grass Valley and the surrounding communities “free of the dirt suckers.” And they admit that after three weeks of searching incoming buses, they haven’t found one homeless transplant.
“Just because we haven’t found any doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” said Mr. Nick getting a nod from Cliven nearby. “Everyone knows this is happening. It’s just that they’re on to us now, I figure. You know, they’re probably going into Penn Valley or Nevada City now where they know we’re not looking for them. Yet. Yet, I say.”