|Blogs > rm_Fireball329 > indifference|
I was writing on my "regular" blog (yes, I have two, one not affiliated with this site), and I made a post today that I felt should be shared here, because I'm interested in comments and opinions on this issue. No, it is not sex-related, sorry to disappoint.
Ben is a friend of mine from Europe that visits me often, just to clarify.
Have a good weekend. =)
Last weekend, Ben was over here, so our usual routine is that I walk him to the bus stop every Sunday night. The reason for this is pretty simple: his bus stop is on Baltimore and Calvert Streets. Now, if you're familiar with downtown Baltimore, you will know that Baltimore and Calvert is a very dangerous corner. It's even more dangerous at night - and the height of dangerousness on a weekend night. Ben is not American, but European and hasn't lived here more than a few months. Now you know why I do what I do.
Anyhow, we're walking up to the corner, and we're constantly getting assaulted. Not physically, mind you - but the ever-popular refrain of your typical homeless person.
"'scuse me please but can you spare a little change so that I can... (insert reason here)"
Last weekend, I was asked six times. Three times by the same person.
Okay. Now, before you accuse me of being heartless (and believe me, I never said I wasn't), read a little further.
On the one hand, I definitely feel sorry for these people. There has to be a reason why people are asking for money and panhandling, and Gawd knows I've been in a position where I've felt like that was my only option to survive. Times are tough right now, even for "middle class" families. With the price of gas skyrocketing and Americans working harder than ever, it's no wonder that some people just bottom out. It's hard all around.
However, there are reasons why I just walk on and don't look back. Here are some of them.
1. If I give to one person, I have to give to them all. You never know who's watching, either. If one homeless guy comes up to me and I give him, say, a dollar, he'll tell everyone else that's doing it right along with him. Don't think they won't find you, either. That actually happened to me once, where I gave this guy a buck (he spun a great story, too, it even fooled me and I've lived here all of my life - I've heard it all before), and not more than 5 minutes later, someone else approached me and asked for money, saying, "You helped him, why can't you help me?" It's like the first guy memorizes your description! "Hey, y'all, look for the busty chick in the blue shirt and the white jeans, she's giving up free money!"
Paranoid? Maybe, but it has happened. In any case, I don't have all this money to be giving away to people.
2. I have no doubt that some of these people are in need. But a lot of times, all they want is a drug or alcohol fix. And I'm not going to give up what I've worked so hard to earn to someone who wants to be stupid and kill themselves. Period. Some of these people work so hard at making up a good line that if they actually applied themselves, they'd be millionaires in their own right! And somehow I don't appreciate the fact that I'm being lied to, either.
3. I give a lot of money to charitable organizations that are supposed to be helping people who are in need - oftentimes I don't have the money to give, but I do it nevertheless, because I was once in a position where I needed assistance. And you know, I consider it something I need to do, because I'm okay now - but who knows if I'll ever need them again? What comes around goes around. In any case, I am not convinced that some of these people who panhandle don't know where to go for help - they know. Trust me, they know. I live right behind a "rescue mission", and believe me, some of the faces that I see on the streets panhandling have a bed to sleep in at night. I'm good at recognizing faces.
I'm in a difficult situation where I feel bad for people, and yet I'm angry, all at the same time. Homelessness is a problem - it's a problem that's not easily fixed. But you know, I'm going to tackle it the right way, by giving to Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, Our Daily Bread, whatever organization is in need. I'm not giving one thin dime to people with their hands out on the street. Simple as that.
Comments welcomed. Have a good weekend.
5/12/2006 4:14 pm
I usually put quarters in my right pocket and everything else in my left. When approached I give up all my small change and keep the quarters (the only change that serves any purpose). I like the homeless; I mean who really wants to sit around and roll pennies. I did feel sorry for them until a guy charged me a dollar for him to help me find a mall that was 50ft away.|