Writing in the Indianapolis Star, attorney and political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz tells of an interesting experiment with the city’s panhandlers, a large number of whom are well-known to be nothing but the lowest level of confidence tricksters, whose activities are made possible only by the intransigence of Democrats on the local City-County Council:
Panhandlers in Downtown Indianapolis are some of the most stingy people I have ever met.
I’ll give you a second to catch your breath.
Yes, I accused Downtown panhandlers of being stingy. Allow me to explain.
As someone who works and frequently plays in the Mile Square, I come across panhandlers every day. They include the “physically disabled” woman outside of Starbucks on Monument Circle who manages to haul around a shopping cart full of her stuff, the guy who has been trying to get enough money for gas so he can get his family stuck on the Eastside to Memphis, and the two guys who are “broke and homeless” but talked about their cellphone plans when they didn’t think anyone was listening. . . .
I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to turn the tables on the panhandlers and start asking them for money.
Now I had a couple of ground rules. I would not approach anyone who was just holding a sign. Instead, I decided to approach only those panhandlers who either walked up to me and asked for money or solicited cash when I walked by them. And I would ask for money only once it was clear that’s what they wanted.
It was a fantastic experiment. . . .
What fascinated me the most was the fact that people who spend all day begging others for money had the nerve to get mad when someone did it to them.