June 1, 2013
Revolution Required For Rogue Street Warriors
Oregon seems to have an especially liberal freedom of speech decree; even more unrestricted than the federal constitution. This is why we have too many strip clubs, and why boldly lurking, waiting to ask for money, along with various other kinds of belligerent street behavior, is protected as free speech. Our state constitution bill of rights provides for such conduct. For our communities to feel safe we need to prohibit aggressive panhandling, especially in certain areas. It would help if, as a society, we would not give money directly to panhandlers. Giving to charities that serve the needy is a better option. If people stopped giving panhandlers money, the panhandling would likely stop.
As a society we tend to classify panhandlers as deprived, homeless and broken. However, panhandlers and homeless people are not necessarily one and the same. Studies have shown that only a small amount of homeless people panhandle and only a small percentage of panhandlers are homeless.
While homeless people often come from larger societal issues such as poverty, race, class, addiction, mental health, and education, panhandlers choose this way of life as employment. Most are not interested in regular employment, especially not minimum wage, as that would scarcely be more profitable than panhandling. Some panhandler’s refusal to look for work is better explained by their inability to commit to regular work hours, often due to substance abuse problems. Because so many of our homeless in Portland are kids, we also have to recognize such issues as gender, sexuality, and lack of influential and nourishing options for young people. Many panhandling youth are simply “bored” or faintly like the ability to intimidate. Reports say that at least a third of downtown Portland’s “street kids” are current or former foster-care children who have been dumped by...
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