Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Afternoon Thread

Taking care of some gustatory needs.  Will post a most imposing piece shortly.

OK, I'm back.  I wanted to touch on a story that appeared on last night's channel 10 newscast:  it's about panhandlers taking money from the public while appearing not-so-destitute.

Apparently KGNS got a lot of calls from uptight concerned viewers alerting them about two gentlemen who frequent certain intersections asking for money.  The reporter went to work and shared the fact that one of the panhandlers has a truck.  According to her, he's out there giving the public his version of supposed need, all the while having his own transportation and gawd knows what else.  For effect, she throws in a shout-out to Laredo's "kind and giving people," and sensationalizes the story by asking if these men are taking "too much advantage of your hard-earned cash."



Now these men might be making a nice chunk of change out there, but at what expense?  Cancer?  Yes sir, I'll give you a quarter if you decide to stand there and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.  If you're willing to forego any sense of dignity, then yes, I'll give you twelve cents.  It doesn't break my back, yet some have to chime in with fake outrage.  They're flabbergasted at the thought of somebody else shelling out ten cents to someone who might not be on the up-and-up. 

On some level I know KGNS is providing a service, but it's the sanctimonious attitude that irks me.  I've given money to the gentleman featured in the report, as well as to others, but it's always been spare change.  They make it sound like they're robbing us blind or something.

For those who called in to the station, and to the reporters:  you have to give us charitable people some credit.  We're not that naive.  When I saw the story, I didn't fall out of my chair.  We know that those who beg for money are always going to hand us some far-fetched story.  I remember this one lady who used to hang around Saunders telling everyone that she had cancer.  Was it true?  Who knows.

And then there's the man with the "why lie, I need beer" sign.  And the sun-burnt man hanging out along Chihuahua with an HEB cart.  He looked homeless but he knew a lot of what's going on in the political realm.  Where is this man getting his information?

The point is that I give whatever little money I can shell out while knowing full well that it's probably not going to be used with the intended purpose I deem appropriate.  Some are going to go out and buy beer.  Then again, some might need it to cover their stay at the Salvation Army shelter. 

I'll tell you what:  next time I drive by somebody asking for money, I'll give them a little extra so they can call it a day and move along, saving you from feeling uncomfortable at the sight of someone wiping his forehead with his t-shirt while holding a cardboard sign that's seen better days.  Deal?  Deal.

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