This is a super controversial subject,
But one I felt the need to address because I was having a conversation about it which was more like a heated debate.
As a former ‘bleeding heart’, I found my self deeply sympathetic to the plight of the everyday beggar, panhandler, or desperate person who I’d come across in my New York city life.
My receptiveness to the human condition overshadowed any logical thought as to the mechanics involved in and behind a life of desparity.
I never stopped to think what makes these people tick?
I just used to think those people who shunned them were just mean-spirited folk who were miserly and judgemental. People like my father who used to suck their teeth at the sight of a person asking for something, that something usually being money.
But there is a dynamic to being a down and out person, and the sad truth is that people don’t like to say things that sound unpleasant, but there are some blunt realities in life.
It took a conversation with my boy Brandon Carter to give me a different angle on my viewpoint of those ‘less fortunate’ . I had dreams of giving every homeless person I saw a hundred dollar bill when I became wealthier, Building homes when I was financially set, and having a hand in eradicating worldwide poverty when I got filthy rich.
Sounds nice right?
The thing is, I was thinking that my little general donation of pennies was putting me on the path to do so. I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of the person who offers a bum some food instead of cah and they’ve gotten less-than -grateful responses. In my time living in D.C., me and Brandon used to frequent the 711 on our studio runs and come across the most unpleasant of these such characters. After explaining to me one day why he was so rude to one particular beggar who had previously insulted and scared his girlfriend, Brandon later revealed his philosophy on those broken people like our 7-11 friend.
Now Brandon is a man who I’ve seen treat total strangers to a hot meal, give people rides, money, even urge me to let the dude with the I-just-killed-a-man look at the gas station, pump my gas. Not to mention, at the time, he was heavy into paying Tithes. So this is not a selfish, Jerkish, bastard we’re talking about here. He probably sees more of the good in most people than they do in themselves.
But yet and still he explained to me that giving a bum money when they’re just holding there hands out, is just telling them it’s okay to be pitiful. It’s an enabling agent. the worst insult is when these are able bodied men and women you’re talking about.
It sounds silly, but I didn’t fully embrace this ideology until I saw the Will Smith flick “Pursuit of Happyness”, based on the real life story of Chris Gardener, a self made man who worked his way out of rock bottom to become a top financial expert. Not only did he have to experience the perils of surviving homelessness and the threat of daily uncertainty, but he had to fend for himself and his young child simultaneously.
It’s the stuff that Hollywood is made for, but tales like this mean so much more for me. They’re human interest stories. What I thought was the human condition was empathy and giving to your fellow man to better themselves. But what’s really human is accepting that you have an oppurtunity everyday. That there is a chance for us all and you get what you give.
So yes, I can still build those houses one day, and maybe I can have a hand in eradicating this social ill, but that will only be as a result of proactive aid and true HELP, not by giving away my hard earned money to someone who has decided to dedicate their days to politely sticking you up!
Iam not talking about the situational homeless, or people in true need, or going through hard times. No. I’m talking about serial losers. The technical term being the ‘chronic homeless’. Better Known as Bums. And the Basic Psychology of your everyday, run-of-the-mill ‘bum’ is that he or she is an individual who has given up on themselves and have been convinced that it’s okay to be rewarded by you for that.
Every coin given is a greenlight that there will always be at least one person who will look out for them, so why try??.
We’re not all put on this planet with the same amount of time in one day right?
There aren’t programs that are out there solely to help people who WANT to be helped and truly desire to lead a normal life right?
In trying to find some quick research to back up my thoughts on this, I came across this interesting Comic strip by Peter Bagge.
Tell me what you think…