Sunday, March 30, 2014

Panhandling, or real need?

How does one respond to being approached and solicited with some degree of aggression?

Yesterday, as I was about to enter the E Street Landmark Theater when a large man confronted me, asking for donations for the homeless.  This time, he had small DC travel guides and some pens to “sell”.  I went ahead and “did it”.  You have to stop, dig out a wallet, and not drop stuff.  True, I could use the pens.  The ones I have tend to go dry.

I have purchased “Street News” papers before, usually for $2.   
It is very hard to tell which solicitations are legitimate.  A number of years ago, when more clubs were located in SE Washington near what is now Nationals Park, panhandlers would approach and ask for money to “watch” your car. DC  Police say that “aggressive panhandling” is illegal, but not simple solicitations.

But insularity and aloofness, along with vulnerability of many, is a factor in social instability and the increasing brazenness of some crimes.  It seems to lead some to believe that the system of property rights cuts them out and doesn’t apply to them.

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