Opinion

Graham: Panhandlers are just scamming, laughing at you

Posted 1/18/22

I write to respond to the letter from Barbara Plona in the Jan. 12 edition of the Sun City Independent. With all due respect, the attitude expressed in that letter is exactly the reason the panhandlers at our major intersections will be around for a long time.

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Opinion

Graham: Panhandlers are just scamming, laughing at you

Posted

I write to respond to the letter from Barbara Plona in the Jan. 12 edition of the Sun City Independent.

With all due respect, the attitude expressed in that letter is exactly the reason the panhandlers at our major intersections will be around for a long time.

I’m a retired police officer with more than 40 years of service. In that time I’ve come across more than my share of panhandlers and beggars. We became familiar with them as individuals, and we knew their names. Almost without exception, they’re simply swindlers.

They’ll pocket your dollar bill and put it together with all the others they’ve swindled during the day. Then they’ll join their friends behind the dumpster where they’ll drink and party, then rest awhile before returning to the intersection the following day.

I’ve known many to assume their beggar character by dressing and acting to appear as much of a human wreck as possible in order to gain the sympathy of the passing traffic to generate more “donations.”

Want to help by giving them food instead of cash? My experience revealed they’ll thank you kindly, then leave that food unopened to rot and for the city or county to clean up when they leave their posts. No, giving them cash is not the answer. That makes you nothing more than an enabler. They’re taking your money, Ms. Plona, and they’re laughing at you as you drive away. You’re helping nobody.

I believe we as a society must help those who through physical or mental disability are legitimately unable to help themselves. As for those who are, in fact, physically and mentally capable of supporting themselves, we must insist that they do so.

That latter category includes the overwhelming majority of panhandlers we’ll see working their corners tomorrow.

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