There’s been a lot said about the amount of homelessness going on in California, and everyone’s got a hypothesis as to just why that is. Regardless, though, homelessness is rampant. More than that, though, these don’t seem to just be harmless folks down on their luck. A large number of them appear to be willing to attack innocent people.

In fact, a number of them have apparently gone after groundskeepers at the California state capitol, and now the groundskeepers want to protect themselves.

The groundskeepers who maintain the California Capitol are requesting security, pepper spray and training following a string of alleged violent attacks by homeless people.

“We are treading on new territory on how to arm our members,” said union spokesperson Brandy Johnson.

Johnson, with the International Union of Operating Engineers, said the union filed a grievance with the state’s Department of General Services on Wednesday following five alleged attacks by homeless people this year.

“Our groundskeepers are not trained in self-defense or how to deal with a hostile situation,” Johnson said. “They’re there to do the job of cleaning and making the grounds beautiful.”

The most recent attack allegedly happened earlier this month when two groundskeepers were cleaning the Veterans Memorial along N and 14th streets ahead of a Sept. 11 memorial event. Johnson said the groundskeepers asked a homeless person to remove his belongings.

“The individual did not want to, so they began to do it themselves as they’ve been instructed by management,” Johnson said. “That irritated and upset the homeless person. He proceeded to punch and scratch one of the groundskeepers in the face.”

That particular groundskeeper was out of work until Wednesday.

It also wasn’t the first such attack, and that’s a huge problem.

However, I can’t help but think about the fact that this is California, one of the states most down on citizens protecting themselves from attack. After all, it’s virtually impossible to get a concealed carry permit in some places. Unless you’re a huge donor to the sheriff, that is. For regular folks, it’s a non-option in those places.

Yet the state’s groundskeepers are begging for pepper spray to protect themselves from violent assaults.

Frankly, I think it’s ludicrous they’re having to ask for it. They should be free to buy and carry whatever they want as a means to protect themselves. If they didn’t want to buy it since this is within the course of doing their jobs, then that’s fine too. Their employer probably should provide them with the means to protect themselves, especially if that same employer is going to insist on them performing tasks that may put them at risk. Telling a homeless guy to move probably shouldn’t be one of those cases, but it is.

The truth is, the state needs to get these guys what they need or, at the very least, make sure they have the state’s support should they be forced to use it in self-defense.

The right to defend yourself from violent attack is one of the most important human rights there is. Even vehemently anti-gun countries tend to still recognize the right to defend yourself.

Maybe it’s time for California to do the same.