Across the US, there are 30 million people at risk of being evicted, and only 173,000 sheriffs to enforce those evictions.
Across the US, there are 30 million people facing potential evictions, and only 173,000 sheriffs to enforce those evictions. nito100/Getty Images

There was a time when America did not exist, and there will be a time when it ends, and every morning when I groggily scroll though headlines I wonder just how close we are to the end.

Today’s doom news comes in the form of a massive housing crisis: Depending on what survey you look at, around a third of us are close to not having a place to live. And while evictions are on hold in some places right now, those moratoriums too will end, at which point 30 million people may be forced to leave their homes.

The only question is … who’s going to make them?

When evictions happen they "must be ordered by the court and must be served by a county sheriff, who will also oversee the removal of the tenant from the property if they have not already vacated," according to the rules in this state. There are around 173,000 sheriffs employed in the United States, and I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a lot of people are already pretty unhappy with law enforcement.

Under normal circumstances, sheriffs are sent to kick people out of their homes if they don’t go voluntarily; and under normal circumstances, there’s no use putting up a fight. But this is the first time there’s been so many more people facing eviction than law enforcement officers to kick them out.

Imagine the scenario: Sheriffs descending on neighborhoods en masse to kick families out and make sure their belongings are thrown onto the street. I can't see how there are enough sheriffs to keep up with that many evictions, which means they'll need help. But from whom? The National Guard? The Army?

When — if — those tens of millions of tenants put up some kind of resistance, what then? How violent is the government willing to get to protect the private property of the rich?

Unemployment is at around ten percent right now, and that figure doesn’t include people who have given up looking for work because jobs are in scarce supply, or because going to a job right now could kill you. So here we are, living in a country where a pandemic makes it unsafe for many people to secure employment; where the government refuses to provide for those of us who’ve lost our sources of income; where a full third of the population could soon be unhoused; and where domestic armed forces have already demonstrated their willingness to attack citizens.

Would you say the prospects for that country are... good?