Does anyone actually think it’s legal to beg for money on the side of the road?  I’ve wondered this in the past.  You know you’ve been there.  You pull off the exit, you approach the red light at the end of the off ramp- and there he/she is.  A person dressed as though they were about to make a Walmart run with a cardboard sign asking for money.  It usually has some kind of sob story on it… “Lost my job”, “Need to feed my family”, “Disabled”… For a lot of these signs I wish they would just be honest “Need money for crack”, “Spent my money on bad .com investments”, “Too lazy to get a job”…

And who are they fooling with that whole “God bless you”… I’m not falling for that either.

I get it.  Not all beggars are gross degenerates.  Actually, those are the ones that break my heart the most.  Seeing a woman stand on the side of the road while her two kids stand by her side wide-eyed makes my heart drop.  BUT- we live in Connecticut.  There are ample town resources that can help.  And get your friggen’ kids off the side of the road.  I’m less likely to fish four quarters out of my purse if I think you’re not competent as a parent.

Anyway…

Milford has seen a rise in panhandling recently.  Turns out their thoughts are similar to my own- There’s plenty of resources locally to help people who need it.  There have been many Connecticut towns that have made panhandling illegal: Stratford, Bridgeport, Norwalk, New Milford, East Hartford, Milddletown and Rocky Hill.  But what do these towns think is the correct way to discipline these beggars?  With a fine.  Yes, a fine.  The irony is hilarious.  You have no money, you beg for coins on the side of the road- but if officials catch you, your punishment will be a $99 fine.

Seems weird.  Can they pay that in nickels?

I always wondered how much a person can make being a panhandler.  I guess it depends on how sad you look.  I always try to pull as close to the light as possible to avoid eye contact- or stop a good thirty feet away from them.  Easier to avoid that awkward interaction than to hand the person 34 cents.  I’ll be honest, most of the time I barely have five dollars in my wallet.  After working a very, very long week- I don’t want to give it to someone else, especially a stranger.

So, yes, make panhandling illegal… skip the fine.  Seems like they’ll have a hard time collecting.  Imagine that sign- “Need money to pay my fine for begging”…

 

Source: NH Register | Top Image: (c) iStock/Thinkstock

 

 

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