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Action Bob Markle

Music, theater, and my personal life, not always in that order. I try to keep it interesting, I rarely hold back, because one thing I truly believe in is the shared experience of this reality we call life. We're all in this together, people. More than we even know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cries in the city

Last night, a man in South Station stood at the base of the down escalator pleading for money. Please, he beseeched, I'm just short three dollars. Please, he wailed to each person the escalator fed past him.

What were their thoughts? What were their feelings? Fear? Embarrassment? Disgust?

Shame on us. Shame on us for letting this happen. Shame on all of us for having grown so hard that we can so easily turn away. Shame on us for being so cold that my response is to dissect the situation, as coolly and clinically as a technician dismembers a frog. Each and every one of us probably had the three dollars in our pockets, but none of us reached in for even a quarter.

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Anonymous Chris said...

Shame on the people for not giving a panhandler money?

If I gave money to every panhandler I came across on my commute to and from work, I would soon be the one at the bottom of an escalator screaming for three dollars. I don't understand why people should feel ashamed for not stopping to give this guy a buck or two.

September 26, 2007 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one?

Including you?

September 26, 2007 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto, I encountered a Lady in Faniel a few years back asking for $10 or whatever you could spare. She had a story about needed money to get a cab ride back to providence because she missed her train and she didn't have her phone on her.

It was late, but around 10:30, so I knew the trains were still running. I also knew how much a cab ride to providence would cost, and $10 here and there wouldn't cut it. I told my drunk friends to keep moving, but they didn't and one fell for this trick.

I saw her again a year later, but this time drunk drunk drunk, up to the same scheme.

It's hard not being cynical when 99% of the bums are looking for drug or drunk money. Why should I pay to support their addiction that led them there in the first place. I've been known to buy food or a sub and circle back to drop it off to those that look like they could use it, but I'm not inclined to give away money unless it's to an organization that I know will spend it on things they need.

And it is really hard, especially the guy near south station that holds a sign saying he has AIDS, but he most likely got it from sharing needles, and drugs prob put him in a downward spiral. My moneys not going to help you, until you use the services my tax dollars pay and start to help yourself.

September 26, 2007 at 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My brother was waiting to pick up friends at South Station when he overheard a man asking folks for two dollars because his wallet had been stolen and he was just trying to scrape together the final couple of dollars he needed to get back home. Those folks gave him the money and the man disappeared...

...for a little while. About 20 minutes later, he was back, asking folks for four dollars, because his wallet had been stolen and he was just trying to get together the final four dollars he needed to get back home. That was his scam.

That is why people turn a blind eye.

September 26, 2007 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Pierce said...

i've read some very naive blogs in my day, but this one takes the cake.

September 26, 2007 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Offy said...

I hate to pile on, but I know of at least two people who work the South Station area with this type of scam. It's like others have said. You see them one day asking for $3 to get home on the commuter rail and then the next day they're doing the same exact thing.

If I see someone who looks like they need food and seems serious about getting food, I'll offer to buy them food, but giving them cash is just plain stupid.

September 27, 2007 at 2:35 AM  
Blogger Rachael said...

I work at an organization that does research and training for homeless services and I've done a lot of thinking and asking outreach workers what the best response to a panhandler is. What I've come away with is that you do not need to give someone money to have a more positive interaction. Just take the time to look them in the eye and say "I'm sorry but I don't have time/don't carry cash/can't." Or just "I'm sorry." Acknowledging their existence is important but giving money isn't always the best idea because it's sadly true, many of these individuals are stuck in shitty situations and are going to use that money for things that you don't agree with.

September 27, 2007 at 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say `nee' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

September 27, 2007 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger John Greiner-Ferris said...

Not sure what the Monty Python quote has to do with any of this, but I like MP so wth...

September 27, 2007 at 9:19 AM  

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