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Brilliant or Bastard?

I’ve gotten quite a bit of response to my column this week in the Indianapolis Star on my “reverse panhandling” experiment.

You can read it here, but in a nutshell, a few weeks ago I got tired of the panhandlers downtown asking me for money so I decided to turn the tables on them and do some preemptive begging.

In other words, I asked them for money before they asked me.  My conclusion, panhandlers don’t like it when people ask them for money either.

The public response to my efforts fell into two distinct camps.  Most sane, rational  people thought what I did was brilliant and plan to do something similar the next time they get approached.

Other folks, well, not so much. I was a cruel, heartless bastard with no moral conscience; which is odd because I am also an attorney.    And one person hoped I would lose everything so he could walk by the street and spit on me.  Wow!!!

What really amazed me with the hate mail was how many people got mad at me for proving a point;  that most downtown panhandlers are scam artists and giving them money only feeds into the scam.  In addition, panhandling has been cited as reason Indianapolis has lost some of its conventions.  And those conventions generate dollars so we can pay for things like public safety and roads.

Yes, there are truly homeless people in our community and they deserve our help to get them in a stable environment, which is why I support programs and events like this.

But as far as that guy who ran out of gas and left his pregnant wife on I-69 and she’s about to go into labor and he just needs a few dollars so he can get her to the hospital, sorry dude.  Today is not your day and to be frank, tomorrow doesn’t look all that great either.

So what am I a genius or a jerk?  You make the call.

 

  • ChamberMan

    “Most sane, rational people thought what I did was brilliant and plan
    to do something similar the next time they get approached.” I believe
    you and your friends are classless to the Nth degree. But, if you are
    willing to pull this stunt, your probably don’t care what I believe.

  • CapnFatback

    So what am I a genius or a jerk? You make the call.

    Jerk.

    Well, that was easy. Next!

  • CapnFatback

    Other folks, well, not so much. I was a cruel, heartless bastard with no
    moral conscience; which is odd because I am also an attorney.

    *blink* . . . *blink*

  • James Spader

    Genius?

    Is there anyone over 20 who hasn’t already thought of this? I find that hard to believe.

  • malercous

    I don’t see the dichotomy. I’ve always thought you were a brilliant bastard.

  • The_Amazing_Abdul

    Thank you, sir!

  • AWB

    >that most downtown panhandlers are scam artists

    I would tend to disagree with “most” beggars downtown are scam artists. I would say that nearly all of the beggars you see on the exit intersections of highways are scam artists. Truly homeless people know where the resources are to help them and they a’int on the corner of 465/56th or similar.

    But anyway, not so sure that plan was brilliant but it sure as hell is funny!

  • http://batman-news.com rhondaleebaby

    “though of this” or actually done it? I’ve been doing this since the 90s. Except I wait until they ask me for money first. When I say I don’t have any, I ask them for a buck. I’ve never had anyone give me any money this way. Jerks.