General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If you saw a woman begging on the street with a 3 year old boy over a period of days, would you eventually call the police?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14596points) May 16th, 2009

On my way to work, I’d see a woman with a young boy, presumably her son, begging for change with a sign that said “Stranded. Please Help”. She was out there for about 3 weeks, child with her the whole time. Do you give a woman down on her luck the benefit of the doubt and do nothing or do you call the authorities on behalf of the child’s well being?

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75 Answers

seekingwolf's avatar

3 weeks?? That’s insane.

It’s highly unlikely that the police don’t already know that she’s there with that time. The fact that she has a young child with her is disturbing though. I’d call the police, informing of them the situation and then put it out of your mind.

Don’t ever give beggers money or anything for that matter. Just leave them be.

casheroo's avatar

I would give them any money I had on me, and give them the number and address to the local county assistance office.

seekingwolf's avatar

On another note, maybe Child Protection Services may be a better choice?
I’m concerned about the welfare of such a young child.

I called them when I discovered that one of my sis’s friends was living (literally) in a shit hole with little food and a dad too addicted to WoW to work. She also was pretty ill. They got her out of there and she’s living somewhere else now.

They are very helpful and maybe they can help here.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

She’s not out there anymore but when I saw her, there was always someone talking to the boy while giving her some bills. She could’ve made enough to take a bus in 1 day but 3 weeks… there was something definitely amiss.

I tend not to give money to people begging for money. I’ll occasionally buy someone some food but never outright cash. The only thing that does is ensure they’ll be right out there panhandling tomorrow.

seekingwolf's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Yeah something is definitely amiss.

If you are going to inform someone, I would do it when you see her out there so you know she’s there. That way, someone can go over right away and do something about it.

Ugh, I really dislike beggers’ behaviour. So I discourage it by never giving them anything or letting them talk to me. We are lucky to be in a country that has services/shelters for these people – they need to take advantage of them.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Being on the street sucks. If one person a day said to themselves “this blows. I want to try something different” and asks for help, it can only be a good thing.

figbash's avatar

I would definitely contact the police and get their direction. She may be down on her luck and trying to work her way back, but her little boy deserves a clean roof over his head and shouldn’t be exposed to what she’s doing. Not only can weird things happen when you’re standing out on a street corner, but that’s got to be pretty traumatic for him as well. He needs someone to advocate on his behalf and keep him safe, and she clearly can’t.

Fred931's avatar

Maybe call social services, try not to make contact.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Seeing a three year old on the street for even one day would have been enough for me to take them in.

FGS's avatar

In all honesty I would ask if there was something I could do to help. It seems obvious to me that the mother is doing the best that she can just by keeping her son with her as opposed to leaving him somewhere. Calling the police or social services is a quick way to have the boy in a foster home. Is that really the best choice? You think he’s being exposed to something less than healthy now? Strip him of the one piece of stability he has by calling social services and you’ll see real trauma. I don’t believe in not making contact with the homeless, that’s tantamount to closing your eyes and pretending they don’t exist…no one benefits from this.

justwannaknow's avatar

When ever I see someone that is begging by holding up a sign that says “will work for food” I offer them a job. Only one person ever took me up on it. I fed him, He worked his ass off and I paid him well for his time. I then took him to the bus station (after another stop where I bought him something else to eat) where he bought a ticket to his home town. I even let him call his dad on my cell phone to tell him he was coming and he (dad) was right that he needed help. The rest just wanted money. <Lets see, 50 people that walk by in an hour give a begger 1 dollar Hmmmmm…..>

DarkScribe's avatar

Not until I had found out – from her – what her situation was and attempted to help. In all likelihood the last thing that she would need is Police involvement. Several times in my life I have been involved in a similar situation, on a couple of them my wife and I had house guests for a few weeks or months. Calling the Police is abrogating a natural responsibility. If you don’t want to help, then at least don’t make it worse. The woman would know that the Police and other agencies were there if she wanted to go that way. Sometimes all it takes is a little help, either from the people she begs from, or someone prepared to do a little more.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would contact social services. @DarkScribe I would not recommend approaching a stranger, no matter what the good intentions. A homeless woman stabbed a man here recently when he declined to give her any money.

DarkScribe's avatar

@YARNLADY I think that we will disagree on that yarnlady, I do not call in agencies that are known to be ineffectual in many cases. I will always approach someone if they appear to be in trouble. I am not a little man, and I am hardly going to be concerned that a woman with a small child will attack me – unless she had mental problems. It would make no difference anyway – I like to sleep with a clear conscience and I would not be able to if a ignored something like that. I am the Godfather to a child whose mother I found in a similar situation about eight years ago. She lived with my wife and I while we found counseling services for her, and had her husband charged with assault. We eventually tracked down her own mother, someone she had run away from as a child. They are still happily together, mother, daughter and grandchild. The woman had been trying to locate her mother for years but did not have the resources or experience.

YARNLADY's avatar

It is commendable to want to help people, and they cannot always be helped, but we pay our taxes and donate to charities to help, and I am more interested in protecting my own family than confronting a complete stranger on the street.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I use to give homeless people money until I realized that they were not going anywhere. If you lived in columbus and gave your money to people all the time when they asked for it you would be broke. But concerning the kids, I guess there’s no law against being homeless with kids. I mean I probably wouldn’t call the cops but if you feel like you should it doesn’t hurt any so go for it.

DarkScribe's avatar

@YARNLADY I can understand that and my own family would always come first. When my own family are safe and secure, when I have resources that I afford, and a six bedroom home with only a couple in use (my kids have all left home and one is now a gym) I would feel really mean and uncaring if I walked away. I don’t try to take evey beggar home (We don’t see them often in Australia) but anyone with a small child in tow is quite a different thing. In that case you don’t wait or second guess. I know that I am a bleeding heart, an easy touch – I don’t care and I don’t want to be any other way. My wife is the same. We have been burned and used on occasion, but it still won’t stop us tying to help in some circumstances. The circumstances are usually a person in tears or obviously distressed or with a child.

seekingwolf's avatar

@YARNLADY

I totally agree with you. There are resources out there and homeless people need to use them.
It is impossible to know what’s really going on with people…maybe it’s a helpless mother, or maybe a drug addict in need of a fix, or even someone who scams. It’s too dangerous and call me selfish, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I’ve encountered beggers of all ages (youngest was probably 4) in many countries but I’ve never given anything and I don’t feel guilty. I realize that there is always poverty and I can’t change that, nor do I have an obligation to try to. By giving them something and possibly putting myself at risk does nothing to address the real problem: why these people are homeless in the first place! The economy? Lazy culture? Not enough resources?

Treat the disease, the cause of the symptoms, not the symptoms themselves.

DarkScribe's avatar

@seekingwolf You walked past a four year old child in a foreign country who was begging? Ouch! I lived in Sri Lanka as a child. back when it was Ceylon, and saw lots of small kids begging. We used to always give them something if they were on their own and not part of a begging crowd. I use the same approach later in life, when in SE Asia.

YARNLADY's avatar

We all allow 20,000 people to starve to death every single day of the year. It’s simply a matter of proper allocation of available resources.

seekingwolf's avatar

@DarkScribe

Oh I did worse than that.

The little rugrats in Calcutta LOVE to pickpocket and as soon as they see you, they’ll come up and literally GLOM onto your legs and arms as you walk (I’m dead serious) and try to get into your pockets all while being cute and huggly. It’s serious business, my friend got 100 US dollars stolen!

I usually carried a plastic bag of my work clothes as I came back from the hospice work. When I saw them coming, I’d shout “NO” and swing the bag in a small circle around my body so they couldn’t come near me, let alone touch me. They left me alone.

A lot of the children are taught by their parents how to steal from people. It’s a huge issue in India and in many countries. What do you do? You ignore them or this behaviour will perpetuate. Giving in does no good other than to make yourself feel good for a few minutes.

MrGV's avatar

Let the lady do what she wants don’t be a douche and report her; who cares if she has a 3 year old child sucks for him/her

DarkScribe's avatar

@seekingwolf That’s why they invented money belts. I always use one, and I thread stainless steel trapeze wire through my camera bag strap etc. I have spent many years in Asia and North Africa and am used to the risks. Still loved it though. My first Pickpocket experience was in Cairo in late sixties in my mid teens. Lost my wallet and my boarding pass. After that it was money belts and a light chain on my wallet.

ratboy's avatar

Jeez—have a heart. I’d give her a quarter.

seekingwolf's avatar

@DarkScribe

Oh yes that’s a wonderful idea! I will need to get one of those next time I go back to India.
Last time I went, I wore a special pouch under my shirt. It had my passport and a little money in it (hotel wasn’t safe enough to leave the passport there). No one could tell I had it and it was secure.

I will have to thread the stainless steel wire through the camera bag though…that’s a great idea! I didn’t take my camera to Calcutta last time but I want to next year. Just a little worried about it getting stolen, that’s all.

SeventhSense's avatar

Highly questionable and likely a well crafted scam. I remember living in Florida and these “homeless” would be dropped off in a van near the overpasses every day. An organized scam that paid off quite well. Some of them with “disabilities” or in weelchairs were the most succesful. It’s sad but true that there are such abuses.

If you feel safe and you can engage her then by all means try to get them some help housing food, shelter but not money and don’t put yourself in jeapordy.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf

I realize that there is always poverty and I can’t change that, nor do I have an obligation to try to.

Yes you do. We all, as citizens of this globe, have an obligation to end poverty.
(perhaps not by handing out bills on the street although I think it is honorable to do so).

sakura's avatar

Thats a tough one, 3 weeks is a long time, I am sure the authorities must be aware of their presence. However it could be a case of everyone thinking someone else must have reported them and no one has??? I’d be tempted to ask her what her situation but I still have a niggling feeling in case it was a scam. I’d direct/take her to a local shelter service and see if they could help her out.

bythebay's avatar

Unless you were in obvious danger, and you probably aren’t since she’s in public view, how could you NOT try to help. If not for her, for the childs sake. It never hurts to just ask; “What can I do to help you and your child”...you could refuse and you could walk away, but at least you would know you tried.

@YARNLADY: I sit on several charitable boards, trust me when I tell you that money is specifically earmarked and it’s not going to street beggars. Also, your tax dollars spent on social service initiatives are not helping those who are homeless (with the exception of state run homeless shelters). Those services need to be sought after and perhaps this particular woman simply needs a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Clair's avatar

I would give her a little money and let her know about the shelters in the area. If she didnt find them more suitable soon, id assume it was a scam and contact dss or something. You could always give them food too. I have no tolerence for child neglect but i understand how helpless and frustrating it is to be homeless

YARNLADY's avatar

@bythebay We have specific organizations that help street people here, such as W.E.A.V.E. and House of Ruth and Mary House (private facility), in addition to the government agencies.

cwilbur's avatar

I often see people begging for money at the intersections around Massachusetts Avenue and the Alewife T station in North Cambridge. Some time back a TV news program investigated and found that people begging at that intersection could make a couple thousand dollars a day because of the volume of traffic.

If I saw a woman with a young child on the street begging, I’d suspect a scam first. So yeah, the police probably would be the people to call.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cwilbur I agree with that. I have seen reports of a group of people who go from city to city and send their women and children to beg in the streets while the men and boys scam people on phony home repair schemes.

bythebay's avatar

@YARNLADY, both of those organizations are grant & donation driven.

YARNLADY's avatar

@bythebay W.E.A.V.E. also operates a charity thrift store that I heavily support with the charity gifts I make with donated yarn and plastic canvas. They provide exactly the type of services I am talking about in my previous comment.

bythebay's avatar

@YARNLADY: I understand what you’re saying, my point is she may not even be aware that they exist and certainly nobody is scooping her up to drive her there. I sit on the board for House of Ruth, many women suffer for long periods of time before they’re even aware the help exists. Donating money and items is not always enough.

YARNLADY's avatar

When I was volunteering at Diogenes, we had many clients brought in by the police, so notifying the police is a good way to handle the issue.

seekingwolf's avatar

@RedPowerLady

I respectfully disagree. I believe as humans we have the responsibility to make the world a little better than before we got here. It doesn’t have to be just ending poverty. There are many ways to better the world and for me personally, I feel ending poverty is unrealistic and not my calling.

I’ll better the world in my own way. Anyone who wants to lose their money to homeless and endanger themselves is welcome to do it. But it will never be me.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

@YARNLADY i understand what you mean by the dangers of approaching someone whose intentions you are unsure of, but unless you don’t approach strangers whatsoever, it seems kind of hasty to assume that all homeless folks are dangerous. i really doubt that the ratio of violent homeless folks is anywhere near being higher than the amount of violent considerably well-off people. what you stated is simply an available heuristic; you know of a specific situation, so it’s stuck in your mind, and you extend that example to represent what would happen with others.

@original question, i think it would be best to contact child services – not the police really. calling child services would not only take the child out of the danger of living on the street, but probably also help the mother, though i’m sure she doesn’t want to give up her child. looking after herself in such a tough situation is bad enough, but also worrying about a young child and having to support him also is ten times worse.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf I appreciate your opinion even though we disagree.
This though scares me a bit: I feel ending poverty is unrealistic

cwilbur's avatar

I think ending poverty is unrealistic, because I think as we get closer to ending poverty as we understand it, the meaning of poverty changes.

Look at the people nowdays living below the poverty line, and compare their lives to the poor people of a century ago, or two centuries ago. The lowest working class today lives in better housing and has access to better nutrition and health care than the royalty of the middle ages—as well as an incredible access to education in the forms of museums, libraries, community colleges.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I think ending poverty is unrealistic, because I think as we get closer to ending poverty as we understand it, the meaning of poverty changes.

Now that is a good point. And I will correct myself in saying that I refer to ending poverty as we understand it today .

laudermale's avatar

I think it’s sickening to see people who are homeless and begging and people ignore them. I always give money to those who ask. Who am I to judge why they are where they are. Who knows the dark journey thier life has been on. God commands us to give when asked. He doesn’t deny us the basic necessities. I can’t allow a hungry animal to go hungry if I can help. I can’t fix the problem. I can’t ignore it. My mother use to tell me ” what if that homeless man was a test from God to see where your heart is at. You don’t want to fail that test”. I believed her and though she may be wrong. How could one say for sure. ..... And to the one who sais ” they are only gonna buy beer with the money”. If you had thier life you might need a beer too. People are just stingy. Explain it away any way you want. Your just stingy and heartless.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Your sentiment is commendable but there are those who will also take advantage of that sentiment. This is why it’s good to donate money to charitable organizations.
I’ve seen a man drive to a parking lot in a Huge Ford Explorer and proceed to get into a wheelchair and pretend to be a paraplegic veteran while begging for money.

YARNLADY's avatar

@laudermale It’s way more heartless to give a pittance of a few dollars to a beggar on the street than it is to give them the means to better their life. “Give a man a fish, he has one meal; teach him to fish he can feed himself for life”

SeventhSense's avatar

@laudermale
Explain it away any way you want. Your just stingy and heartless

I’ll explain it this way- You’re judgmental..and you know nothing about the lengths I’ve gone or anyone else here for that matter to get people off the streets, fed, clothed and into shelters and off drugs. Throwing money at people is easy. But maybe it just helps some people feel less guilty. Understanding people and finding real solutions is hard.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@laudermale I agree with your general sentiment. Also I believe that if they end up spending it on booze who am I to judge? If I was cold and starving I just might want a beer (or ten) too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RedPowerLady Are you really OK with the possiblility that the child gets nothing but a boozy parent, and maybe a share of the booze for dinner?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@YARNLADY I am discussing homeless people in general and the idea of giving money to the homeless. I really have said nothing about the parent-child homelesness because I think it is a tricky situation. But of course I’m not okay with a child starving or getting booze for dinner.

SeventhSense's avatar

@RedPowerLady
indifference to appease one’s guilt solves nothing

YARNLADY's avatar

@RedPowerLady read the question

seekingwolf's avatar

@RedPowerLady

How is my thinking that “ending poverty is unrealistic” scary?
Sorry, I’m just not sure why you’re thinking that.

I think it’s unrealistic in the same sense that obtaining world peace is unrealistic. Would it be nice to end poverty? OF COURSE, poverty is terribly sad and I wish it wasn’t around. However, given human nature and the limited resources available in many countries, I don’t ever see poverty ending.

It’s sad but it’s something I’ve come to accept. Just wanted to clarify.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@YARNLADY I read the question. I was responding to comments and not the general question in this case. That is why it was directed at a specific user.

@SeventhSense How am I indifferent exactly???? Actually I’m quite offended because I have no idea what you are referring to. Are you referring to a comment I made?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@seekingwolf I generally disagree but we each have a right to our own opinion.

SeventhSense's avatar

I might give booze to an alcoholic if they were having DT’s but I would also help them find treatment. Giving someone money and contributing to their demise while appeasing one’s own guilt is not helpful.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@SeventhSense I can agree with that. I believe in finding a solution to the problem. Actually I work in low-income housing right now in the social service field. In fact most of my comments on this thread have been in that light.

In this circumstance I was on a certain ‘topic path’. It was being discussed if one should give money to homeless or not. I always give when I can regardless if I am being scammed. I think the possibility of providing someone with a dinner for a night outweighs the cost. It is a temporary relief while one is working on the solution to the larger problem. I am not worried people will mis-use my money. One of the most common arguments is to not give money to the homeless because they will likely use it for booze. And in all honesty that doesn’t bother me as much anymore. If I were freezing and starving I might want a beer as well. It is just a rhetorical way of saying I think the benefits and possibilty of easing pain for a night (while we work on the solution) outweighs the cost. Therefore I think giving money to the homeless on the street is a good thing to do and it is something I participate in (regardless of possibility of scam or what they choose to use the money on). I suppose if you have worked with the homeless or know anyone who has been homeless you begin to understand how helpful such handouts can be. I work in social services and therefor know that no matter how hard you try social services are not always available and most often when they are there is a waiting list.

SeventhSense's avatar

And I stand even more firmly by my statements. There needs to be a more concerted effort among those who do care to exercise some restraint as well. As long as there is a steady stream of willing people able to be scammed or who feel “compassion” there will be a problem with homeless people who see this as a solution and a means to not address treatment for illness or mental health.

Many people leave shelters and fail to engage in treatment and they should be allowed of course, but to support a person such as this causes more harm to their self esteem and worsens a problem. And in fact most homeless people are well aware of the free missions and food in their area and will invariably use money for drugs or alcohol. A drunk night is no comfort but an ongoing misery. We need always consider carefully the nature of our assistance.

RedPowerLady's avatar

We need always consider carefully the nature of our assistance.

I agree with this statement.

But I also believe your basic premise that giving handouts on the street increases homelessness or alcoholism among the homeless is really quite absurd. It leads me to want to ask the following question: Have you ever known any homeless people?

I would also like to point out that missions fill up and run out of food. Social services do run dry. There absolutely is not always help available. And sometimes that money is enough to make up for the lack of services.

And to add to that, mental health services, which is what many homeless people need are even less available. So we are essentially setting people up to be homeless by denying them access to needed services. If you would deny them handouts as well, well then really I think this reasoning is a way to overcome some guilt.

Regardless of either of our opinions the facts don’t add up either way. You are right in saying the money could be spent elsewhere and have a greater effect. But that does not change the need for daily assistance when the wells run dry . Can you imagine living on no money? Really there is no evidence that suggests one is contributing to the cause by giving handouts. And there is none that say it helps either. Of course I’ve met and known homeless people and work in low-income housing. Handouts do help if only for giving hope that people give a sh*t.

Coming straight from the horse’s mouth:

It’s a myth that panhandlers do pretty well for themselves, Connery said.

“The people who panhandle are homeless, are poor, have issues and they need help,” he said.

Eighty-one percent of the 107 panhandlers surveyed separately said they were homeless, and 70 percent said they had a disabling condition.

Goodland, 45, said he is disabled and hasn’t been able to find a job that pays enough to put a roof over his head.

Goodland said if people stopped giving him handouts near the freeway, he still wouldn’t spend much time in a homeless shelter.

“You can only stay in them a certain amount of time,” he said. “It’s seven days here, three days there. I’d still be back on the street. I want a place to live, but I want to do it on my own.

Food Pantry Shuts Down

Another Food Pantry Shuts Down

Not Enough Mental Health Servcies

I suppose we are going to have to agree to disagree. Or just plain disagree.
Of course that is no excuse for making offensive comments.

SeventhSense's avatar

Have you ever known any homeless people? Yes and many of them are belligerent.

Goodland said if people stopped giving him handouts near the freeway, he still wouldn’t spend much time in a homeless shelter.“You can only stay in them a certain amount of time,” he said. “It’s seven days here, three days there. I’d still be back on the street. I want a place to live, but I want to do it on my own

Well he can’t do it on his own. If he’s too proud to humble himself and accept guidance and assistance then that’s his problem not mine. I should feel compelled to help him in the particular way he would like to receive assistance? I have to do work in whatever capacity I am able but he’s entitled to special treatment? I am an educated college graduate with a specialized degree but I own a business which I get my hands dirty. I have seen so many people I would hire pass on cash money 15.00 an hour because they don’t want to work. I see illegal aliens every day willing to work and they beg to work not beg for handouts.

Imagine one is dying from being shot by a poison dart. Someone comes along and says, I can remove the dart and help you. And then the victim says, “No I will only accept help from a qualified doctor”. Meanwhile he dies from the poison. Such is the case with many homeless. If you can’t work that’s different. Ironically, the amount of people who are disabled grows every year. I work till I ache in my bones. Maybe I’m disabled? We have Social Services. We have food stamps. We have welfare. It’s available until you can get on your feet.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Yes and many of them are belligerent.

And I know so many blue people who steal. So all blue people are thiefs.

Your argument about people not working is craziness. Many homeless people cannot work. They need mental health treatment first. Also you have to understand psychology of human behavior. People need their basic needs met before they are adequately able to pursue higher needs. Not to mention the lack of appropriate clothing and computer access and well written resumes that are needed to find a job.

We have Social Services

But you have to be able to access those social services.

To get food stamps you have to be able to show proof of identity. How many homeless people carry around their Social Security Card, ID that cost quite a bit of money, Birth Certificate….? You also have to have an address (this can sometimes be accomplished in other ways but many homeless people do not know those ways).

SeventhSense's avatar

No not all homeless people and that is why it is highly irresponsible to not consider with wisdom and reflection on a case by case basis and not throw money. This only perpetuates a vicious cycle and weakens someone further by creating an environment where one is dependent upon another in a weakening way. Empowering methods are always better
You also have to have an address (this can sometimes be accomplished in other ways but many homeless people do not know those ways).
So how about helping them to find these ways and methods. The one thing they have is time. It’s not like they have anything else to do.

RedPowerLady's avatar

So how about helping them to find these ways and methods. The one thing they have is time. It’s not like they have anything else to do.

Sure I think that is great.

This only perpetuates a vicious cycle and weakens someone further by creating an environment where one is dependent upon another in a weakening way.

I disagree but we’ve already discussed this.

So I guess we will just have to disagree?

laudermale's avatar

it’s funny all the people on here who don’t give a penny to a beggar has turned this around. The question was about giving money to someone who asked, not creating a nonprofit organization to save and rehabilitate the homeless. I use to talk to a homeless lady in my town named Alice. Every time I gave her a nice bit of cash,at least twice a month, I would talk to her. One year on Mothers Day I sat with her at midnight. Asked her about her life and past. She was someone mother. She was also mentally She could carry on an intelligent conversation with me and she told me she liked her life the way it was. I told her I didn’t believe her. She convinced me. I don’t know why someone is where they are or how they got there. If a person who has nothing asks, I give. If you want to talk about charitable organization and the bigger picture. Start that question. The posts I commented on, I was right. Your stingy.

YARNLADY's avatar

@laudermale Maybe you need to read the question again. There is not one word about giving anybody some money. The question is do you call the police, and my answer is that a social service agency would be better than the police.

SeventhSense's avatar

@laudermale
OK now you’re going to get schooled.
I have on numerous occasions helped homeless people. I have taken homeless people reeking of grime off the streets and put them in my car and taken them to hotels. I have taken them to get AIDS tests so that they can get into a treatment program for addiction and alcoholism. I have bought clothes for homeless people. I have bought food for homeless people. I have given my advice, an ear to listen and a heart to commiserate. I have given the homeless my time and energy. I have offered them work and paid them cash.

So quite the contrary I have and continue to contribute value to society and aid. But I don’t have to have a PC point of view to pander to a leftist, right wing, liberal, conservative, christian or secular point of view. Guess what, we need answers, not knee jerk reactions.

Have you ever noticed the abundance of causes over the years? I don’t know how old you are but they have gone back to the 1970’s with Bangladesh and then there was Live Aid in the 1980’s, Farm Aid, Band Aid, and on and on. People get all excited they raise milions of dollars and they flood the area with grain and supplies. And lo and behold the problem persists and these problems continue to worsen.

International government solutions and a world with an eye towards the interdependence of all people needs to be considered. And health care and equal housing for all should be mandatory. We just spent and continue to spend billions for bankers! Meanwhile I don’t have health coverage but I have to pay taxes so these fucks can balance their books!

I would give up 25% of my income if it would help eradicate suffering and world hunger but there has not been a solution yet that has effectively addressed the underlying causes of the imbalance between the west and the third world. Bono and organizations like RED are starting to create a groundswell but it’s usually just yuppies who think it’s all trendy like the latest Prada bag but have no intention of sacrificing anything. But it’s the people who run the world that have to get on board. The useless International monetary fund, The World Bank would like to pretend that they are desiring of an balancing of the worlds wealth but they have no intention of this.

And mostly Our lifestyles assure that this inequity continues. All of us in the West have a lifestyle that is sickeningly prosperous compared to the average third world citizen. So the next time you sip that latte or get on the treadmill, you can thank the little boy who is sewing up the stitching on those Nikes for .50 a day or the little girl in Africa picking those coffee beans. Either one may be at the garbage dump tomorrow picking through the glass for a meal.

But you go ahead, smile smugly and throw your dime in the cup.
Your a good girl and I’m a bad man.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Removed by Me…

cwilbur's avatar

@SeventhSense: The world produces more than enough food to feed everyone. Famines are not caused by underproduction or natural disasters; they’re caused by politics. Raising money to buy food for impoverished African countries does no good if the people in those countries are hoarding it rather than eating it, or if different ethnic groups within the country are fighting over it, or if the local warlord uses it as a bludgeon to keep the local people in line.

If someone really does need help, the best thing I can do is to get that person in touch with the social service agencies that I pay taxes and make donations in order to support. If I give $5 to a beggar, that won’t even buy a full value meal of McFood. If I give that $5 to a homeless shelter, that will buy enough beans and rice to feed a dozen people—especially if it’s combined with other $5 donations from other people, so that the shelter can buy in bulk.

SeventhSense's avatar

@cwilbur
I agree. My points exactly

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

How disappointing, she was out there again today. That makes it a month she’s been out on the streets with her son begging for change.

chasy's avatar

I would want to help but I’d probably call the police instead. It’s possible she’s using the boy as a “prop” to encourage people to give her money. It’s also possible that it’s really her son and she really needs help. Either way, I think the police are the best equipped to deal with the situation.

SeventhSense's avatar

I would definitely contact CPS. This may be what she’s avoiding by not going to a shelter, but the child may be in jeapordy. Trust your gut.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Update: In the news this morning, it was reported that the state took this child away from his mother. That’s the right decision.

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