I saw the police shooing the homeless away from a shopping center where they were asking for money..
Driving through a shopping center parking lot today, I noticed three or four people holding signs begging for money. A few minutes later I saw the police shooing them away. How do you feel about this?
My fear is of becoming numb to injustice. I see it often and everywhere, and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
I work with the homeless on a every day basis and with very rare exceptions I would never, I repeat never give them money. And you should not either. In most American cities they can eat a good to great meal several times a day. Locate your local homeless shelter and find out yourself when meals are served. Please do not support any ones drug or alcohol habit.
I too have worked with the hungry and homeless however, there are lots of cities and counties where they're so far from a free meal that it may take more than a full day for them to walk to an area that has one. No one should give strangers rides.
When the police get involved with homeless people/vagrants/beggars it makes me a bit angry to be honest. How come the police are spending time and money on relatively innocent types when they should be concentrating on real criminal activity!
It's a thin line. Public disorder/trespass (at least in the UK, I don't know about the US) covers many areas - if someone complains the police are duty bound to act? I suspect that's what happened in your parking lot.
I personally would not give money to someone begging on the street as it can do more harm than good. Often all they do is collect enough to buy a bottle or smokes or whatever and get out of their minds temporarily. You have to judge each individual but generally speaking street beggars need to satisfy a habit.
The best thing to do is donate to local charities and support those who work hard day to day with these unfortunate people.
Welcome to martial law tactics if it is ever declared. The examples of human beings not respecting their own authority. Our nature is what we develope our spirits to be and sad to say we have hateful and angry spirited people having too much authority. I think they show no compassion for fellow human beings.
It's hard to comment on a singular incident such as this. As with any group of people, the homeless can range from the good to the bad. For 6 years, I lived in Austin, which has a sizable homeless population. I knew one guy who used to come through my neighborhood picking cans out of the dumpster. I used to put my cans out on the side for him and every now and then would run into him. He was really nice guy and we had short, but very neighborly, conversations.
I also used to work at a thrift store which had a regular group of local homeless. They would dig through donations that people dropped off overnight, which, by itself, might have been fine if they had been neat about it, but they weren't. Instead, they would tear open bags/boxes and spread the contents out all over the ground (thereby ruining them). On top of that they would hang out and leave a mess--food scraps, beer cans/bottles, and, all too frequently, bodily waste products. This particular group of homeless was therefore treated with a great deal of hostility by store employees (including me). They were not allowed in the store or even on the property. If they wouldn't leave when asked we would call the police.
There wasn't anything about this situation that I felt good about. Not their condition or our policy of running them off. The progressive in me wondered what could be done for them, e.g. shelters, re-hab, transitional housing, etc. The conservative in me thought, "geez, how about at least a little bit of effort on their part." Neither idealism really mattered though. The reality is that I got tired of cleaning up after someone shat on my sidewalk and I really didn't care. I defaulted to whatever was the easiest option to try and remove the problem from my line of sight.
In the absence of a grander vision, it is those sorts of narrow solutions that will realistically always take hold. And we just don't seem to be a society anymore that has the ability for grand vision. Or maybe that's just my excuse.
This is called capitalism, no one is there to care about poor, rich don't want them, government don't care. This is called exploitation. Exploitation of interest economy.
Right, any attempt by the government to help the poor with it's social programs is seen as socialism, which to people who want to keep their gravy train pouring in, one step away from communism. An old idea that needs to die a slow death.
I remember how the face of our'beautiful sunny capital city' was cleaned up of all of its blemishes, all the homeless have been offered the temporary accomodation out of the city for the period of the Queen's city, after her visit was finished, the homeless have been kicked back on the streets again...welcome to the murky waters of our pretencious paradise....
Wow. It's one thing to ask them to leave but to shoot them away, where the heck do you live? I can't even imagine seeing something happen like that. It's so shocking what the world is becoming. So many people are homeless now more then ever. I know it's not good to panhandle but wow what happened to just addressing a problem in a civilized way? Civilization seems to be falling apart all over the world. I fear the day when I have to explain to an innocent child why the police are shooting at unarmed innocent people. People want to say that it's violence on TV making the kids act out the way they do. Well what about the six oclock news, people need to keep their kids further from the truth by keeping them from it because it's terrifying!
I agree. It's sad that these people literally have to beg to get change and that meager lifeline is taken away because other simply don't want them visible. Some homeless have no choice but walking to far away shelters and no money for food.
The police were shoo-ing them away...not shooting....sorry I wasn't more clear...
The shopping center stores, management, and shoppers themselves tend to call police because they don't want to be reminded of the suffering that is occurring all around. Sure it may also be law in many areas but the very reason the law was created is rooted in the belief of "out of sight, out of mind." There are even laws prohibiting handing out food to the needy in various cities and counties to simply keep them away from sight.
Some homeless people can be aggressive in their actions and language and this is not fair or safe to passers by, but most often this isn't the case. People don't like to see homeless people...period. Even more so around the holidays. This appears to be modern human nature.
If begging was a crime in your city the police did them a favor. If it is not a crime then I think the police are out of line.
i lived on the streets for a long time and though there are some legitimate people out there who have to beg and do use the money for food, the majority are going to use it to feed their habits. i rarely give money to beggars but at the same time, if you live in this country, you should be able to stand wherever you want and ask for money as long as you aren't causing problems for others.
It's disgusting. People are so easily dehumanized. The town i used to live in 'revitalized' its downtown a few years ago. By that i mean the city govt offered a lot of incentives (which we would call 'handouts' if we were honest) to attract upscale businesses. Part of the program was clearing out the homeless people who panhandled there. They were simply driven out of the city limits by the police. Just taken away in a patrol car and dumped off somewhere. All so heartless people from the suburbs with money to spend wouldn't be scared away by them. If it turns out there is a God and a judgement for our sins we'll have to answer for letting this kind of thing go on.
I think the homeless are a glaringly obvious reminder of the huge injustices that take place in our society and people would rather not be reminded of that. To say they ended up that way because of some drug or other problem is a copout. Even if that is the case it's wrong to treat them that way. After all, we idolize celebrities with the same or worse habits. The difference, of course, is money.
I think all people should treat others how they would want to be treated. And see themselves in other people. If someone is hungry they should have empathy and help them in anyway possible regardless of differences. And society should prevent this.
I believe it's because of big business, the powers that are big business have a final say in what goes on in the world and you can see that with the politicians who always pander to big business to get financial backing.
The Police will shoo away the homeless because they are told to do it by someone above them, simple as that. Most Police Constable's have a lot of sympathy for the homeless, but when they're boss says go and shift those homeless people they have to do it.
Think of big boss, capitalism, or Manager next time you see this happen, it then begins to make sense.
I say capitalism because they were in a shop doorway, and they probably called the Police because they wanted to open the shop for business, if the shop owner was friendly with the head of Police who no doubt is an Old Eton, Oxford, or Cambridge student then they will be moved very quickly.
The Policeman trying to eat his breakfast inside his Policevan will be called up to move them on, I'm sure he would rather be eating his breakfast.
Now I am very left wing in my views, but I can see the point of view. It's a business that needs to make money, and jobs for hundreds of people.
And even my liberalist, left wing side is saying those homeless guys need to find shelter else where, brutal as it sounds.
I think it is fine. They are not all desolate and need your help. They are resourceful enough to hold up a sign for money then they could do may other jobs that pay as well. If they make $20/hour from xmas shoppers would you stop.
Homeless people are not all innocent or considered non-criminals. Many have committed white collar, or aggravated crimes, don't want to hold a job b/c the way they were raised, drug or alcohol abusers, runaways and some are just downright unfortunate and down on their luck from losing their jobs (which are easier to notice in my experience). If there are kids with them you know it more likely a valid situation.
Overall, I think more enforcement should be done whether they are really homeless or a lazy abuser. The police can offer help. They are there to protect and serve the general public. Police don't just go after violent criminals. They can help guide people on the streets to where they need to go if homeless. It really urked me when a young muslim woman begged me for money with a sign right near a Wells Fargo ATM (outside the bank). She hardly looked homeless but still panhandled. That is just absurd and disrespectful to the true homeless people/families or handicapped. These people should be arrested as it is harrassment.
As someone who has worked with homeless and hungry people I've seen a fair number of homeless that refuse to "look homeless" but things are not always as they appear. Just because they are clean or well mannered does not mean they aren't homeless.
Homeless people can't just go out and get a job, because they lack 3 things an employer looks for. An address for tax records, a phone, and a car. Millions of potential employees who have those 3 things will get first choice over the ones that don't.
I used to work in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I worked on the downtown mall selling hot dogs, and the same homeless people were out there on the mall every day asking people for money or collecting returnable cans from the trash. Granted, a lot of them do use the money to buy alcohol, but some are stock piling that money, so that one day they will be able to cash out a home or get an apartment. Most are just getting what they can to eat.
As for the comment about soup kitchens. It may seem like a good idea, but it also draws the desperate, and those who want to take advantage of the desperate. I have seen, and heard about people going to a soup kitchen to get a meal, and another homeless person will rob them of whatever they might have before or after they arrive. So, it's not as nice as it seems, and some soup kitchens are ran on donated money and food, but, what you don't know is that a huge portion of that donated money is going into the owner of the soup kitchens pocket and not to buy food for it. More likely to make a payment on their second home.
Also, not everyone you see with a sign is homeless. Some have perfectly good homes, and will grunge themselves up, and go out and ask for change. Some actually earn a decent living. Also people with perfectly good jobs, and homes will go to eat at the soup kitchens, so they don't have to spend money on a meal.
As for the police. They will not bother the homeless unless there is a complaint. The shopping center more than likely wanted them off their property. They usually ask nice the first time. But, if the person does not move they will bust their heads, but will not arrest them. They also use greyhound or taxi therapy. Where they will give a taxi driver so much money to drive the homeless person away from their begging spot, so they half to walk if they want to beg there again.
Don't give people money. If they say they are hungry give them food. If they are truly hungry they will eat it. But, the drunks will just get loud. Like a scene from scary movie. "I said a dollar Bitch!" LOL!!
I can why the stores would be bothered by their presence, and they have a right to bust people for loitering (homeless or not). However, I do feel bad about it at the same time. It's a difficult issue to grapple with: how do you help the truly needy instead of those who are just lazy panhandlers? Generally my rule of thumb is, if they are truly needy they will take food and not just money.
Not too long ago, there was a fellow begging outside of a McDonald's holding a sign and claiming he needed money to pay for cancer surgery. I figured maybe he'd like a burger, so on my way out I handed him one. After we started to drive away, my boyfriend looked back and saw the beggar throw the burger into the bushes. I was so pissed, I was tempted to turn the car back around and give him my 2 cents. But, we decided it wasn't worth our time, it was just a $1.00 burger, but still...it was the principle of the issue. Obviously he wasn't truly needy, and was trying to exploit people who may have lost loved ones to cancer (such as myself).
So, you have to be careful when choosing to give to beggars, many of them are just there to make an easy dollar....I have friends who knew people that did it professionally--they actually had a place to live and everything, but made it their job to panhandle because they made a ton of money a day. You really have to be careful these days, and try to use your best judgement whether they are truly needy or not.
It is a tough question. Everyone claiming to be homeless, is not homeless. They are not rich, but some have made a conscious choice t beg rather than work. Some are ill and not able to find or hold a job. Others have skills that are no longer needed or were laid of late in life and cannot find a job.
There are few tricks to watch out far. When someone comes running out of the bushes to catch you and tell you they have a job in a nearby city and need gas money, it is usually a scam.
I do not give to people standing in the middle of the street.
I have given small amounts to people who just walk up to me and just want to buy a sandwich.
Some of those asking for money are aggressive, will use abusive language and scare some people. Businesses should not have to put up with that. Some homeless are truly in need of help. It is a judgment call. It is also good to support the shelters and other facilities that serve the homeless--they may be the best way of helping the most people.
I do not carry a lot of cash with me, so I usually have been little to give.
Finally, a business has a right to keep people from loitering in front of their shops and offices if it scares or prevents customers from entering without any fear.
As a child, in the early 1960s, there were a group of men, with no legs, who sold pencils or accepted donations at a local shopping center. They sat on small carts with wheels and uses scrub brushes to propel themselves. I later figured out there were WWII or Korean War vets that have not received the treatment that veterans received today, which is still not enough in some cases. Those men were doing the best they could. They all disappeared a few years later. I never knew if they died or got the help they needed.
Like I said, all who claim to be homeless are not. However, some are in desperate need of help. Making the right choice is a personal issue, and it is usually not an easy choice.
by Eaglekiwi 14 years ago
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