Thursday, May 31, 2012

Generosity Causes Homelessness

Here's the story: A driver tries to give a disabled person a few bucks at an intersection, one dollar falls to the ground, and the driver is given a $344 ticket for littering.

What the ...? Well, you see, in Columbus, Ohio, it's illegal to give money to a panhandler.

Um, okay, but the ticket was for littering? Well, you see, the penalty for littering is higher than the penalty for giving to a panhandler, so they're prosecuting him for the "greater crime." All for giving a few bucks to a disabled panhandler.

This is your tax dollars at work. Not at work, trying to help a disabled adult whose only income is from panhandling. No, that would be foolhardy, and would only encourage people to be disabled and destitute. No, this is your tax dollars hard at work punishing those naive fools who help out their fellow man.

Anti-panhandling laws (and anti-"camping" laws, and loitering laws, and...) arise out of the notion that if you make life inhospitable to the homeless and destitute, that they will, at best, suddenly be able to get a job and move inside, or, at the least, move on to another locality.

In Columbus, however, they've taken the next step. It's no longer enough to punish the poor for being poor, they've taken it upon themselves to punish decent citizens who take pity upon their fellow man, and therefor encourage them to be disabled and broke.

In some ways, this does make sense: it's easier to collect a fine from the guy with a job than from the guy on the street. But this is also their public policy, they obviously believe that it's that driver's fault that the guy in the wheelchair is a beggar.

Clearly, the good people of Columbus have discovered and gone after the root cause of poverty: Generosity. If we would only stop caring about the less fortunate among us, life would be wonderful, and our streets would be clean and safe.

Thank you, Columbus, for leading the way to a sweeter smelling, less caring America!


  1. god, what can i even say? i do think, given that we can assume that at least some of the folks behind this estimable law are christian, we might want to do them all a favor and rewrite some biblical passages. we could start with the good samaritan. the first two guys ignore the poor fellow ibleeding in the street, and when the samaritan helps him, throw them both in jail. and this makes jesus very happy, because that's what god wants us to do--loathe thy neighbor as thyself. funny how they use the word 'pervert' pretty exclusively around sex. anyone who would pass, and then reinforce, such a law is my idea of a pervert.

    1. After I wrote this, and was on my way to my meeting this morning, I was also thinking the Good Samaritan, and how - in the wake of Princess Diana's death - there were "Good Samaritan Laws" being passed in various places, requiring people to help a stranger in trouble. (As parodied in the final episode of Seinfeld). I considered whether or not this was the start of "Bad Samaritan Laws."

      And, yes, Karen, I agree with your definition of "pervert."


Twitter Feed