Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

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Enough Begging

I'm not sure if the same phenomenon is sweeping other areas, but the DC Metro area has become inundated with beggars of all sorts, primarily at busy intersections. At first it was the occasional homeless individual, or perhaps someone attempting to sell flowers, but now it's reached near epidemic proportions. You can no longer drive by any major intersection without being bombarded with heartfelt pleas to spare some of your hard earned loot. I think it's time someone did something about it.
The breaking point for me came at the intersection of Democracy and Old Georgetown in Bethesda. For quite some time, the corner was occupied by one of two different homeless individuals who must have made a relatively good take, given that Bethesda is an upscale area. Apparently, others caught on, and in particular, youth league or high school athletic teams seem to have strong armed the homeless people out on the weekends, so that they can partake in some good natured begging of their own. To me, I find this behavior absolutely disgusting.

Whatever happened to actually teaching kids the value of earning a living, or that you don't get something for nothing? What happened to selling candy bars, or washing cars, or volunteering at local retirement homes to earn extra cash to help support the activities students are involved in? I find it absolutely reprehensible that under adult supervision, children will be sent out to dodge between cars in the middle of an intersection during some of the hottest days of the year. Aside from the physical risk of injury, what sort of message does it send to teach kids that all they have to do to get something is to hold out their hand and beg? On top of that, being these are athletic organizations, do they think that their opponents in upcoming games are going to give them any handouts on the field? I find it particularly ironic that most of these kids are local, meaning they're growing up with every economical advantage to begin with, and now I'm supposed to further ingrain some sense of entitlement while stopped at a red light? I should shoulder the burden so some kid with a trust fund can have another pair of Jordan's for his youth league basketball? Enough is enough, I'd much rather give my money to a homeless individual, even if they were to run off and buy drugs, alcohol or cigarettes with it.

The most disgraceful display I saw was when the high school right down the street decided it would be a good way for their cheerleaders to raise money. The scene was something out of a pedophiles wet dream, scantily clad girls between the ages of 14-17 showing some skin and flashing a playful smile in order to raise money. Are these the lessons being taught to young women these days? Do these schools condone showing some ass on the corner to raise money? How many parents are actually aware that their children are being exploited and put at risk to raise a few extra dollars? The entire practice is horrible.

So I say fight the powers that be, and give the homeless people their corners back. I'd rather give my spare change to someone that actually needs it.



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