The thoughts of a writer.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nice Weather = Panhandlers With Small Backpacks

The nice weather we have been having each afternoon, seems to have brought out the panhandlers. Having worked at one time in social services, I have developed my own opinion on panhandlers. I don't think most of them are legitimate. They hold up cardboard signs proclaiming that they are homeless, out-of-work, stranded, or whatever. Often there is some biblical reference as well such as, "God Bless." A woman panhandler recently had a sign that said she was a homeless single mother; but there were no children with her. Were they at daycare? The men usually have beards. Not like the homeless guy I see on Rice Street—who tends to have a long, unkempt beard, but rather a beard you might see on regular guy who has a beard. In addition to the flannel shirts, etc., they all seem to have, sitting close by, a backpack. The issue I have, is that most elementary school students carry a backpack that is at least as big as the backpacks I saw the other day—which seemed awfully small for a homeless person; many of whom carry all of their worldly possessions with them. How much food, clothing and necessities can one carry in a tiny, child's backpack? Some people will give money to these beggars just in case they are really in need. I don't tend to believe that the "fair weather beggars" who swarm—one per highway ramp during rush hour are really anything more than opportunists who would rather beg for money than earn it. Of course it is possible that the cigarette and bottle of water they have, had been given to them by the previous motorist who went by; but personally I doubt that most of them are really in need.

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