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April 26, 2004 // UPDATED 1:23 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Bruce A. Norgaard
Bruce A. Norgaard

Help, not fund, panhandlers

At first, I read your article about panhandling ("Police say overturned begging law will make prosecuting panhandlers tougher," April 12-18) with apprehension. Then I realized that begging and panhandling are easily prevented if people just don't give money to people asking for it on the streets.

I have noticed that the closer you get to the bars of the Warehouse District, the more panhandlers you will find, many of them obviously intoxicated, or acting funny because they haven't scored their rock for the night, or whatever their drug of choice is. It is amazing how many cars break down just down the street from the liquor store, or right next to a known drug dealing area.

If you feel you must do something, offer to buy the person lunch, make a cell phone call for them, or help them find the nearest homeless shelter. It has been my experience you often will be turned down with something along the lines of "just give me the money."

If the person gets violent, the police can then take action. My money is not community property as some seem to think, and I do not choose to support somebody's alcohol or drug abuse. It is not our obligation to give money to people on the streets, instead we should contribute to the charities that provide shelters and food for those that truly need it. You will be doing more good for the city that way than encouraging shiftless individuals who choose to sponge off society instead of earning an honest living.

Bruce A. Norgaard

North Loop