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Just Begging for an Accident

Posted by cdonegal on September 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM

My consideration of the panhandling issue was prompted by a recent action by Maryland's Montgomery County officials to discourage panhandling, a remarkably rare phenomenon in that affluent community. The plan called “Give a Hand Up, Not a Hand-out” encourages drivers to contribute directly to charities that help the underprivileged instead of contributing to the safety and conscience issues cause by panhandlers in the street. This action results directly from the death of a panhandler earlier this year, when a car jumped the curb onto the traffic island where she stood. In another incident, reported by the Washington Post (September 11, 2013) the executive director of a charity that works with the homeless recognized a man holding a cardboard sign that claimed he was homeless as someone for whom she had provided housing.

The Montgomery County program provides for givers to text SHARE to the Community Foundation for Montgomery County. Of course, not all panhandlers would avail themselves of this charity, and the program never will work unless all drivers band together to withhold donations that encourage panhandlers to continue.

To resolve that issue, I suggest that charities also sell bumper stickers that say “SHARE,” and that the proceeds be allocated to helping the homeless even as they give the message that this driver is helping, but will not contribute to endangering the community and encouraging panhandling by givingh money to people in the street.

Pedestrians might purchase a book of tickets that say SHARE, perhaps with an address for panhandlers to seek assistance. Rather than cash, the donor hands a SHARE ticket to the panhandler.

Let us hope that this sort of plan—possibly refined—will increase assistance to those who need it as it reduces the dangers, moral dilemmas, and pangs of conscience associated with panhandlers accosting drivers and pedestrians.

Who knows what we can do about the firefighters and their boots?



Categories: Clive Says

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