a reply to: ClownFish
Yes sir! I give as much as I can, whenever I can. Being rather poor myself, it isn't always much (the most I gave was $20 and that was after I found
$60 in an otherwise empty pack of smokes sitting on a table outside an eatery near Pioneer Square in Seattle, after putting forth a considerable
effort to find the owner. If I didn't take it, someone else would have or it may have just been thrown in the trash if nobody looked inside), but it
is rather often.
I don't even care if they spend it on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or hookers for all I care... I was "homeless" for 4 days myself after things went
wrong during a 6 month long visit to Vegas. I slept outside and worked 2 jobs throughout the ordeal. Each night I would drink a 24oz can of high
alcohol content beer and accepted the "green medicinal smoking herbs" that the 2 homeless guys I stayed with offered to me.
When you have to sleep outside, things like that help you deal with the psychological reality of your situation so you actually can get a good night's
sleep. Yeah, they could save up their money and get a place to live, but without a steady income,they would just be evicted out on the streets again
after the 1st month.
Without a miracle, combined with a Herculean effort, the great majority of these people are going to remain homeless for their entire life. This is
their reality, until we as a society can provide a basic living standard (shelter, running water, electricity) to those who are unable to do so for
themselves. So who really gives a Damn if they seek out a little comfort in the form of various substances?
I don't even care if they are lying to me and saying they need the money for food or something. I may be understanding of their situation, but
probably at least 95% of people out there would not give them a dime if they said they needed a fix, or a beer, or a pack of smokes, so if they told
everyone the truth, they know they would make 95% less money, or another way to put it is they would have to spend 1950% more time asking for for
money, or have to ask about 1950% more people which in many places isn't realistic because you are gonna run out of people.
There's already only a small percentage willing to give to panhandlers, and an even smaller percentage who would still give if they knew the money
would go to something they may not agree with. Society is, in effect, forcing them to lie because of our judgemental, hypocritical ways...
It's not that I am happy with the current situation or that I prefer that they spend my money to get high. It's just that I know it happens, and I
accept it, having been there myself, albeit for only 4 days it's still an experience I will never forget.
And even back before I had that experience and I was a little more against the idea of panhandlers spending my money on beer and drugs and such, I
still gave what I could when I could because I decided I wasn't going to stop helping the people who really needed it just because some people were
going to use my money for things that, in my mind, back then, were both unnecessary and wrong. I wasn't going to let those "bad people" change me.
Now I realize they are not bad people. They are just doing what any other person does: trying to move away from misery, and towards happiness. Being
that their situation is different from ours, their methods for doing so are quite different from most. Sometimes to the point that it is
unrecognizable to us, so we could be forgiven for mistaking them for "bad people".
Now, some people got in that situation due to indulging in a bad habit. Those people are still not bad, they are sick and need help. But some people
became homeless for reasons that have nothing to do with excessive use of drugs and or alcohol, and then turned to the bad habit as a way to ease the
suffering that comes with a situation they are unable to escape. Except of course for the temporary escape their vices provide them. And who wouldn't
desire at the minimum, a temporary escape from an otherwise inescapable misery?