Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Spare some change to get me out of jail?

The dirty south just won't let up. ATL just made begging illegal. Apparently, it works like this:
Under the ordinance, beggars get a warning on the first offence and referred to social services on the second. They can do a short time in jail if they get three citations in one year.
The whole reason is to curb panhandling near tourist spots, but I feel it's more aimed at hiding a serious societal issue. With a disproportionate amount of the homeless having mental health issues, treating them as criminals is not a solution (not to mention the infringement upon civil liberties).

Also referring them to social services is a complete waste of time. The homeless are well aware of the various shelters around town. However, if you've ever spent time in a shelter, you'd know why most people avoid them.

In my experience, all (yes, I said ALL) panhandlers will leave you alone if you afford them some dignity and respect.

Your downtrodden citizens are not an inconvenience.

2 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

"With a disproportionate amount of the homeless having mental health issues, treating them as criminals is not a solution (not to mention the infringement upon civil liberties)."

That's a very good point.

Here in Champaign-Urbana, we have a handful of beggars (mostly in the campus town area), and while I have empathy for them, the primary reason I never give them money is because I look into their eyes and don't see anybody at home. So, I figure it'd be pointless.

Many of the beggars I've come across - in big cities and small - don't seem like the kind of people who would actually respond well to an ordinance like the one ATL has come up with.

Still... we'll see.

14:18  
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06:16  

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