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Friday, May 27, 2016

Should Panhandling Be Illegal?

Should Panhandling Be Illegal?


There are a lot of people that would like to see panhandling completely go away, and in some places it already has. Even in places where panhandling isn't "illegal" cops will find ways to run panhandlers out of town or arrest them for other crimes, made-up or real.

Let's face it, most people don't like panhandlers because of their own insecurities. Sure, it looks bad, but is it really bothering anyone? I agree that aggressive panhandling should go away. Nobody needs to be harassed for their money. My only issue with laws banning aggressive panhandling is the interpretation of what's aggressive and what's not. If a cop wants to be an asshole then he can exaggerate the situation and allege that someone is being aggressive when they're really not. It's a slippery slope.

If someone is simply holding a sign and being perfectly polite I don't see that as aggressive panhandling. If a guy can hold a sign advertising a sandwich shop or other goods or services then why can't a homeless person hold a sign?

Back when I was on the East Coast I seen panhandlers holding signs while trying to intimidate drivers. They will actually walk right up to a car and nearly put their sign in the driver's face while glaring at them. I would never give this type of panhandler money. That just makes people even more afraid than they already are. Why would they even want to roll down their window when it looks like you are going to rob them?

There are also other panhandlers that do not take a no for an answer or if you give them a dollar or two they will act insulted and ask for more. That's aggressive panhandling and it's wrong. You need to always be grateful for whatever someone gives you. People don't owe you anything. I have been giving a small handful of change that didn't add up to more than 20 cents and I didn't throw it back or insult the person helping me out. The aggressive, rude panhandlers give us all a bad name and need to be taken off the streets or get their act together.

I remember a story Adam Carolla told about a panhandler he encountered in LA. Adam rolled down his window and gave this guy holding a sign $10. The panhandler looked at the money then looked back at Adam and said, "Hey, you're that guy on TV! You can afford to give me more than $10! Come on man!"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Carolla

Adam replied, "Sure I COULD afford to give you a $100,000 if I wanted to but I'm not going to do that!"

Unfortunately there are many stories about aggressive panhandlers. I hope the police will keep these types in check without making it all go away. You really don't want panhandling outlawed completely.

If panhandling were to be completely outlawed you are going to see crime increase dramatically. People will do things out of desperation to get money. Drugs users and alcoholics will find other ways to get money fast. Property crime will rise. Violent crime will increase. As a society we will be paying more to lock these guys up and most of them will be released right back onto the streets again.

Banning panhandling won't eliminate it. Robbing a bank is against the law yet it still happens every day. Because panhandling is a very minor crime, and in most cases a citable offense, you will see the courts tied up dealing with these infractions even when the average homeless guy doesn't have any money to pay the fines and/or court costs. When the fines don't get paid the panhandler eventually ends up in jail. Now you have jails that are already overcrowded filling up with homeless guys that can't pay simple fines. To hold one inmate in jail for 24 hours cost taxpayers on average $168 a day! That doesn't even include the costs of processing and booking the inmate each time he/she gets arrested. Now you have an officer being taken off the street and another more serious crime is probably going to be committed easily.

Now if you want to pay a lot more in taxes and hire more officers and really make our country a police state then this plan to stop panhandling might work. But our government is already going bankrupt. We are already paying  many officers over $100K a year because of overtime. Is this REALLY the answer?

Panhandling will never completely go away anyways. Most likely the panhandler will just move to a different location. I know panhandling looks bad. It's an eyesore. Most people don't want to be reminded of what could happen to them. Other people want to pretend homelessness doesn't exist. It's more of a personal issue. One person might see a panhandler and be happy that even though life is tough at the moment, it isn't THAT tough, it could always be worse. It helps some people. Another person just wants it to go away because quite frankly it scares the shit of them or it just looks bad. It's all perspective.

If you really want panhandling to go away there is only one real answer, don't give your money to us. As long as there are people willing to give there will always be panhandlers. Nobody is going to hold a sign all day if they aren't getting any money. Until that well runs dry, society is going to have to deal with it.





Should Panhandling Be Illegal?


There are a lot of people that would like to see panhandling completely go away, and in some places it already has. Even in places where panhandling isn't "illegal" cops will find ways to run panhandlers out of town or arrest them for other crimes, made-up or real.

Let's face it, most people don't like panhandlers because of their own insecurities. Sure, it looks bad, but is it really bothering anyone? I agree that aggressive panhandling should go away. Nobody needs to be harassed for their money. My only issue with laws banning aggressive panhandling is the interpretation of what's aggressive and what's not. If a cop wants to be an asshole then he can exaggerate the situation and allege that someone is being aggressive when they're really not. It's a slippery slope.

If someone is simply holding a sign and being perfectly polite I don't see that as aggressive panhandling. If a guy can hold a sign advertising a sandwich shop or other goods or services then why can't a homeless person hold a sign?

Back when I was on the East Coast I seen panhandlers holding signs while trying to intimidate drivers. They will actually walk right up to a car and nearly put their sign in the driver's face while glaring at them. I would never give this type of panhandler money. That just makes people even more afraid than they already are. Why would they even want to roll down their window when it looks like you are going to rob them?

There are also other panhandlers that do not take a no for an answer or if you give them a dollar or two they will act insulted and ask for more. That's aggressive panhandling and it's wrong. You need to always be grateful for whatever someone gives you. People don't owe you anything. I have been giving a small handful of change that didn't add up to more than 20 cents and I didn't throw it back or insult the person helping me out. The aggressive, rude panhandlers give us all a bad name and need to be taken off the streets or get their act together.

I remember a story Adam Carolla told about a panhandler he encountered in LA. Adam rolled down his window and gave this guy holding a sign $10. The panhandler looked at the money then looked back at Adam and said, "Hey, you're that guy on TV! You can afford to give me more than $10! Come on man!"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Carolla

Adam replied, "Sure I COULD afford to give you a $100,000 if I wanted to but I'm not going to do that!"

Unfortunately there are many stories about aggressive panhandlers. I hope the police will keep these types in check without making it all go away. You really don't want panhandling outlawed completely.

If panhandling were to be completely outlawed you are going to see crime increase dramatically. People will do things out of desperation to get money. Drugs users and alcoholics will find other ways to get money fast. Property crime will rise. Violent crime will increase. As a society we will be paying more to lock these guys up and most of them will be released right back onto the streets again.

Banning panhandling won't eliminate it. Robbing a bank is against the law yet it still happens every day. Because panhandling is a very minor crime, and in most cases a citable offense, you will see the courts tied up dealing with these infractions even when the average homeless guy doesn't have any money to pay the fines and/or court costs. When the fines don't get paid the panhandler eventually ends up in jail. Now you have jails that are already overcrowded filling up with homeless guys that can't pay simple fines. To hold one inmate in jail for 24 hours cost taxpayers on average $168 a day! That doesn't even include the costs of processing and booking the inmate each time he/she gets arrested. Now you have an officer being taken off the street and another more serious crime is probably going to be committed easily.

Now if you want to pay a lot more in taxes and hire more officers and really make our country a police state then this plan to stop panhandling might work. But our government is already going bankrupt. We are already paying  many officers over $100K a year because of overtime. Is this REALLY the answer?

Panhandling will never completely go away anyways. Most likely the panhandler will just move to a different location. I know panhandling looks bad. It's an eyesore. Most people don't want to be reminded of what could happen to them. Other people want to pretend homelessness doesn't exist. It's more of a personal issue. One person might see a panhandler and be happy that even though life is tough at the moment, it isn't THAT tough, it could always be worse. It helps some people. Another person just wants it to go away because quite frankly it scares the shit of them or it just looks bad. It's all perspective.

If you really want panhandling to go away there is only one real answer, don't give your money to us. As long as there are people willing to give there will always be panhandlers. Nobody is going to hold a sign all day if they aren't getting any money. Until that well runs dry, society is going to have to deal with it.







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