Manchester NH Police Chief Was Absolutely Right About Panhandlers
Over the weekend, there was a story that came out of Baltimore, reported by CBS Baltimore, that broke my heart and makes me think of the old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished." That's an understatement when it comes to this story.
According to the report, a 52 year old woman was riding in the passenger side of a car with her husband and his child when she spotted another woman with a cardboard sign asking for help to "feed her baby." The 52 year old woman in the car rolled down her window to give the panhandler some money. At that same moment, a man appeared with the panhandler, reached in to the car and fatally stabbed the woman in car. Should I say that again? He FATALLY STABBED her for doing what she perceived as a good thing.
According to a report from CBS Boston and from my own eyes in Manchester, over a year ago, the Chief Willard of Manchester worked with City Officials to put up signs discouraging giving money to panhandlers. Some of the signs in the Queen City state: "Your generosity could lead to a fatality."
I know that it pulls at your heartstrings to ignore the people on the side of the road who are holding signs. It's bad enough if they are by themselves, but sometimes, you'll see them with a dog or a child. Believe me, it's really hard to do. I've been known to roll down my window to help from time to time, but I will most often give them bottled water that I have in my car, or maybe a sandwich, but I never give them money anymore. If they are in need, there are plenty of services, especially in NH and Maine, that are able to help them. There's NO WAY that you CAN'T find help if you are looking for it. I would imagine that it's a lot less embarrassing to go looking for help at the places that do this for a living than to hold a sign on the side of the road.
Know that if you give a panhandler money on the side of the road, you are contributing to their addiction and, as was the case in Baltimore, it may cost you your life.