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Doug Higley
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http://www.breitbart.tv/html/84523.html

Excellent investigative video report on one aspect of the phenom...
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gaddy
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No wonder Western Civilization is in a crisis!
*due to the editorial policies here, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Bill Nuvo
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There have been many an expose on professional panhandlers
ringmaster
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That's not an eye opener, it's an eye closer. It has nothing to do with the families that are sleeping on the porch of church, or the dozens of veterans under the overpass down from VA hospital. That girl is a thief, she is stealing from the most hapless and hopeless.
One of the last living 10-in-one performers. I wanted to be in show business the worst way, and that was it.
Harry Murphy
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Whoa! $500.00 a week for a fairly dangerous job! If that average holds then it beats working at Wal-Mart or being a commission only telephone marketer.

I offer that begging is an old “profession”. Read the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” and Victor Hugo’s “expose” of professional beggars. In fact you can find mini-discussions of beggars and begging in some histories of now gone empires (and begging didn't cause the empire to fall). Any day of the week and in almost any major city across the world you can expose this story. It is not new news nor is it in fact news.

I don’t see it as the fall of western civilization at all. I don’t see it as taking food off anyone’s plate. In fact it is a rather difficult way to make a living. One has to be rather thick skinned and a consummate actor to really pull it off. The newsman did some math to show how much she could possibly make. He did not touch on the verbal abuse, sexual propositions, and basic rudeness that she had to endure to get her hourly average. Anyone who believes that this is an easy way to make money ought to try it once. Of course the danger in that challenge is that you might be good at it and quit your daytime job! LOL!!

I suspect that this kind of news story does more to hurt the truly needy that are out there begging. It does so by making people more guarded in their giving.

In my mind giving to organized charities is just as bogus. What does the CEO of Red Cross make (yes RC has a CEO, a CFO, a director of advertising, etc. just like any major corporation)? Where does that salary come from? Why from the pockets of the people that willingly give. How do they get people to willingly give? Maybe through fund raisers, publishing sad stories of the needy that are being “helped”, etc., you know, by begging! OK it is sort of a big-time and better organized begging but begging never the less.

I am of a mixed feeling about this whole thing. This “expose” served no real purpose other than it felt like real journalism! It is something safe to tackle and we can all feel outraged by the fraud. I’d rather they had tackled Blue Cross customer fraud or maybe organized charities, or perhaps the mismanagement of Homeland Security, or maybe the woefully poor salary levels of our care givers. Whoops! That would be risky and maybe even real journalism.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Josh the Superfluous
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I've been considering panhandling at work to supplement my income. There's money in those cubicles.
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Lyndel
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Back in the day, when I was a police officer, many of my colleuges would hassle the homeless bums. But I actually treated them with respect and because of that, they would tell me things. I built a rapport with them. They would sometimes inform for me on crimes they had witnessed (they're out at all hours of the night and see a lot of stuff).

But more interestingly, they would open up to me and I would hear their stories. I found it fascinationg and became somewhat of a cop-hero to the local homeless people. My co-workers dubbed me a "bum-ologist" because of my study/relationships with street people.

One guy's ID I looked at didn't even look like the man in the dirty tattered clothes who was standing in before me. In his Drivers license picture, he was at least a hundred pounds heavier, well groomed, clean shaven, and was wearing a clean white shirt and a stylish neck tie. After a couple more encounters with this same guy, I finally asked him his story. How someone with a great job as a successful salesman became homeless. He told me that he came home from work one night to see fire trucks and emergency vehicles all over his neighborhood. Turned out that his house had burned down and he had lost his wife and two children in the blaze... After that, he said that he just didn't care about anything any more and the he wanted to kill himself but he didn't have the nerve to do it, so he decided to just do it slowly by drinking hisself to death. Sad... One day there was a fire at a run-down abandoned house where bums were known to ocasionally sleep. Two people inside were killed. Since my whole department knew that I knew all the bums by name and by face, I was off duty but was called in to help identify the bodies. Ironically, one of the deceased was this same guy whose family had perished in a house fire! The fire department later determined that a knocked over candle had been the source of the fire. ...But sometimes I wonder if it really was an accident.

New bums that would come into town would hear about me from other bums... My reputation would proceed me. I stopped a new bum once that I didn't recognize and he said, "Oh, YOU'RE Officer Lyndel?" He said that other street people had told him of me and told them that although I was firm and would arrest them if they did something illegal, I was the most sensitive to their life style of all the cops in the department. After that encounter, I though to myself, "Oh great, now I'm the Lone Ranger to street people every where..." LOL

The $500.00 per day figure in the video is actually pretty accurate. I had more than one bum tell me that during the holidays, it was not uncommon for them to make $1,000.00 to $2,000 per day! Isn't that insane!? Guess people are in a more generous mood around the holidays...

I discussed with many of them their techniques for panhandling and their psychology behind the various messages on their signs. Some of them had given their messages a lot of thought! One guy had multiple signs with various sad-story messages and would change them out if he didn't feel as though he was getting enough "donations."

Another guy made a ton of money with his specific sign that simply read, "Why lie? I need a beer!" You gotta give him points for honesty since that's what most of them usually spent the money on at the end of the day anyway...

One day, shortly before Christmas, I was talking to a bum (I was standing there in uniform) and he was running a sign that said, "Hungry veteran, homeless, please help." He told me that he had never really served in the military, but putting it on his sign helped increase "donations." A minivan drove up and the driver handed the bum a sack of food he had just purchased in a Wendy's drive-thru. I listened as the bum thanked the person profusely and said "God bless you lady, I'm really hungry, and I really appreciate it!" After the van drove off, the bum came back over where I was to sit back down, but before he did, he looked to make sure the van was out of sight and then he tossed the bag of food behind a bush. I said to him, "I thought you said you were hungry?" He told me to look behind the bush. I looked behind the bush and I swear that there must have been 20-30 fast food bags full of food piled up in a mound!

Once, me and my fellow officers had received orders to crack down on the bums drinking in the city parks. (It was against city ordinance) I rolled up into the park and saw five of my "regulars" sitting on the park bench drinking. After laughing and joking with them for a few minutes, I told them that I was going to have to arrest all of them for drinking in the park and how orders had came down for us police officers to crack down on it because of some complaints from citizens. They all said, "well, we don't want to get you in trouble officer Lyndel for not doing your job, so if you gotta take us downtown, we understand." I arrested all five... Put three in the back seat of the cruiser and one sat on the other ones lap in the front seat all the way to the police department. (That was one stinky ride, let me tell you!) When I was calling in to let dispatch know that I had made five arrests and was enroute to the department, the dispatcher could barely hear me because all five bums had decided to continue their party in my patrol car and were singing "Camp Town Races" at the top of their lungs all the way there! LOL! Hilarious!

I have hundreds of other stories about bums like these... I should write a book! Smile


Lyndel
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stoneunhinged
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Lyndel, thanks for the stories.

Actually, I'm one of those people who usually gives people a buck or two. I know some of them are just collecting for the next bottle, and I'm not trying to help them kill themselves.

Göttingen is a town of about 100,000 people. And like most European cities, it has a real town center which people walk around in--you know, as opposed to just driving around between shopping malls and strip malls and Walmart. So the town beggars are generally known to most of us who live here. I know most of them and have given most of them money. They aren't faking it; but this *is* Germany, which is socialist and has a very significant safety net. People don't just get hard on their luck and lose the roof over their head. If they live in the streets, it's by a kind of choice. They're not hungry. They're either just thirsty or have mental problems or just refuse to work and live like other people...or all of the above.

There was a woman in this town who had mental problems and lived as a bag lady. I rarely gave her money because she was too weird--I didn't really want to listen to her. But I knew her, as did most of us. She generally hung around outside the front of one of the university's institutes.

On Christmas Eve she was raped and strangled to death. Now, this town has a murder ever four or five years--and that is usually a boyfriend kills his ex-girlfriend sort of thing--so this was a rare event. And James (not her real name, but her street name and the name everyone knew her by) was a kind of public figure. She was weird, but she had never hurt anyone.

Today--five months later--there is still a makeshift shrine arranged on one of the trees in front of the institute where she liked to hang out. There is a very large cross, a copy of the obituary which appeared in the newspaper, a couple of letters written by passers-by, and lots of candles.

Nobody loved her. The shrine isn't an outpouring of love. The shrine is just one town's way of acknowledging the unfortunate, ugly and unnecessary death of a fellow human being who we all knew.

So yes, I stop by the shrine every now and then myself, and yes, I give money to people begging even though I know that none of them really need it and most of them will use it for drugs or alcohol. But it doesn't cost me much. Such a lifestyle cost James her life.

The guy who did it, by the way, was caught within a few hours. Previous conviction, also mentally unstable, just recently released.

As for the girl in the video, well, I would have given her money, too. And I wouldn't be losing any sleep over it today, now that I know she's a fraud. It wouldn't be the first time I'd been conned.
Skip Way
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Quote:
In my mind giving to organized charities is just as bogus. What does the CEO of Red Cross make (yes RC has a CEO, a CFO, a director of advertising, etc. just like any major corporation)? Where does that salary come from?


Whoa, please...there are some very crooked "charitable" organizations out there, but I don't believe the Red Cross deserves to be lumped in with them. The Red Cross was one of the first organizations on the scene at 9/11 Ground Zero to help feed, house and care for the rescue workers and the waiting families. They were there for me and my buddies as we processed into and out of military combat staging zones. They were the first on the scene following Katrina, beating any government support by days. Sure they're a corporation and, like any corporation, they need skilled, knowledgable and experienced officers willing and able to make the hard decisions & organization necessary to keep the corporation fiscally sound. Talent like this costs.

The Red Cross annual report stated that 91% of all monetary donations collected for Katrina were distributed in direct support of the recovery effort. Only 9% was retained for overhead costs. When the Red Cross reached their Katrina goals, they stopped accepting donations and directed donors to other reliable organizations. THis is just one example of their professionalism in this arena.

While everyone has and is entitled to his own opinion, I think it's unfair to lump The Red Cross and organizations like it into this particular discussion.

Rant over. Smile Carry on.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Mercury52
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I work in NYC, so I get approached on a very regular basis for money. I never, ever, give cash on the street.

As said before, if you still want to give, there are plenty of ways to help without giving cash. Even if you don't like the huge corporate organizations like RC, you can always check out local services and soup kitchens and whatnot.

I truly hope that nobody was surprised by this "news" story. I thought it was very common knowledge that the vast majority of people asking for money are either lying about their need, or using the money for drugs/alcohol.

I don't spend 50+ hours a week away from home just to give my money to someone who does nothing to earn it. And yes, I realize that some of it can be a tough gig, but I also see plenty of people just sitting up against the wall sleeping in Penn Station with a cup next to them, and the cup still gets full. Make money while you sleep!

I have had a few funny encounters though. Some of the people are really ballsy. Usually if you ignore them, they'll just walk away. Not 2 days ago though, I was standing in line to grab a quick bite, and this crazy-looking old woman came up and asked me for money. I just kept looking ahead, and she just got even closer to me and asked again. Had to wave her away.

Another time, I was in the McDonald's in Penn Station, and a guy came around asking if people had any money for him to get something to eat. I didn't realize he was in there, because I was sitting at the counter, and he didn't approach me. It wasn't until I heard a lady go off on a huge rant at him that I knew he was there. It went a little something like this:

"Do I have any money? Yes I have money! I have a job! Why don't you go ask the manager for an application?" and so forth. She was very loud and animated, and had us all rolling. She was sitting next to some tourists, and turned to them as was like "I'm sorry ya'll. You don't know any better. But I'm from New York! I don't give money to nobody! I don't get up at 4AM every day and put up with a bunch of mess at work to just give my money away! He's lucky I don't have my drink on! I'd beat his ***!"

She was really entertaining.

I don't really mind the passive bums who are in public areas, because they're easy to ignore/bypass. They're not in anyone's way generally. It does bother me when they enter the NY fast food restaurants and other stores and interrupt people at their tables. Those are private establishments, and if I were the manager of one, I'd run them right out of there.

The one time I ever gave anything (in recent memory, anyway) I was in line, yet again in Penn Station in Taco Bell (man, these stories make it seem like all I do is hang out in Penn Station and eat fast food!)

I was still on line waiting to order, as was the guy behind me. He didn't looking dirty or crazy, but you could tell he wasn't all that well-off. He had some money with him, and asked if I had a little bit extra so that he could get a taco. He was very polite and seemed sincere.

So, that, combined with the fact that he was already in line at the place, I was pretty sure he wasn't gonna run away and buy a beer. So, I bought him a meal, which I saw him order and eat. I know that doesn't make me a saint or anything, but it was nice to see that not 100% of the people asking for money are full of it. Just 99% I suppose!
Kevin Reylek
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2008-04-26 10:39, Lyndel wrote:
Back in the day, when I was a police officer, many of my colleuges would hassle the homeless bums. But I actually treated them with respect and because of that, they would tell me things. I built a rapport with them. They would sometimes inform for me on crimes they had witnessed (they're out at all hours of the night and see a lot of stuff).


You remind me of the rookie (although I know you're not) in "Report to the Commissioner." He's the one who befriends the legless homeless man when his partner tries to get rid of the guy by throwing his platform in the dumpster. Later, when he needs someone followed, the homeless guy is willing to risk his life being dragged along behind a taxi to help the cop.

There was a similar character in the original verison of the Star Trek story where they ended up in Depression era New York. In that one, Kirk helps a veteran of WWI who later sacrifices himself to save Kirk. (It got lost in the editing. Very sad.)

You're one of the good ones Lyndel. God bless you.
"All the world's a stage, but the play is badly cast!" - Oscar Wilde
kcg5
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Great post lyndel
Nobody expects the spanish inquisition!!!!!



"History will be kind to me, as I intend to write it"- Sir Winston Churchill
MickeyPainless
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I have on more than one occasion offered 4 or 5 hours work (pulling weeds, painting fence, hauling brush etc.)(with a ride back to their spot when they're done) for a nominal fee (50-75 bucks) and have been told (with a chuckle) that they can make more standing there! Hmmmmm.........
I have also picked up an extra burger before getting on the road and offered it to those standing on the on ramps. Unfortunately I have always got the "stink eye" and a comment like "5 bucks would be better"! I want to help, I like to help but because of the scammers it makes it hard to determin who is and who ain't so I just try to give in other ways!
I have a REAL problem with the ones that claim to be war vets when they have never served. This particular destain came when I saw a guy that MAY have been 30-35 years old and was claiming to be a Vietnam Vet!
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I'll give you money, food, the shirt off my back and even a place to sleep. BUT, not if you are a hustler. In NYC begging for money has become Performance art. There have been many expose's in the news paper about some of these "artists".

If you show somw initive, then I'll give you some money. If you just stand there, I'll pass by. Also, I won't give to any "organization" that stands at the intersection with a pail looking for donations to the local (enter name here).

The other night I was to perform for a councilman, as I was setting up an older woman came over and started talking to me. I was clearing out my pockets and removed some cash (left over change from a twenty), she saw the money and said "Oh, you got money!?" Yes, I said, why you need some? She said yes "how much you gonna give me? I asked what she was going to do with it? Buy some groceries. I gave her Ten dollars. I later found out that she was 99 years old!!! I couldn't believe it.
Magnus Eisengrim
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I don't know about where you live, but around here, the median standers with boxboard signs all cropped up at about the same time a few years back. Every sign is much the same as every other: "I am hungry and far from home. Please help me to go home." If you hit the intersection at just the right time, you can see one leave the "shift" as another takes his or her place.

I almost always buy the street newspaper from the guys on the corners, however.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
gaddy
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An irony here for me is that I often bust my hump street performing and rarely make more than 100$ in a day. Maybe I should just cut out the middle man of magic and "just do hat lines"...
*due to the editorial policies here, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
MickeyPainless
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***I later found out that she was 99 years old!!!***

Very cool Justin, yer karma points jumped another level for that one! Those are the examples that make me want to help but sadly there are far more free loaders than neat old ladies of 99!
Bernard Sim
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I believe this is happening everywhere. In Singapore, there are even syndicates who makes money in such a way. They will bring in old people from Indonesian and will get them to beg on the street. In the beginning, passerby will give them money as they look pitiful. When the scam was exposed, people just stop helping these people.

Those needy people inevitably gets affected. I hope such syndicates have some conscience. What goes around comes around.
Bernard Sim
Doug Higley
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Gaddy...thast's what I meant by Eye Opener.
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Professor Piper
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I swore I'd never write about this, but Lyndel, your post has made me 'go back' to those days and actually relive it....

I'll try to keep it brief....

Back in the 90's I worked in Las Vegas...I had a great gig at the Riviera...Got paid lots of money and was 'living the life'...

I made the conscience choice to ride a bicycle everywhere...My Volkswagon Bug had been stolen (that's another story!), and I only lived 7 VERY flat miles from work, so why not just ride, right?

Well, by riding a bike on the strip you get to meet a TON of street folks...Those that got paid a pittance for handing out the hooker fliers, the 'scam bums', and then those that are the real point of this post:

Those who REALLY need the 'donation'....

I'd become pretty jaded after 2 years of riding the strip and meeting the varied folks, one night however, I was stopped in my tracks and forced to REALLY see....

You know, when you drop all pretense, all 'wisdom' and get floored by the truth?

I had a habit of, when on a day off, of just riding around the strip, down to the 'downtown area', all over the place exploring right? I ususally did this in the late evening, early 'night' time so I wouldn't cook in the sun...

So I'm riding one night and stop in front of the Mirage to watch the Volcano and get a rest in....There was this group of teenagers, all VERY 'raggy' looking, hanging out...They weren't bothering anyone, they had no signs, and they weren't obviously panhandling....Just hangin...

One of the girls (I'll NEVER forget her face) strolled over to me and very shyly and sheepishly said hello....I said "Hi, how ya doing?"...She said, "Ok"....I'm not reading ANYTHING into this encounter, ok? I'm a naive 22 year old out riding my bike in my 'hanging out clothes' just relaxing....She then asked me how long I'd been out....Not knowing her true meaning, I said, "Awhile"....

She then asked me a question that made me who I am...(and I'm BLESSED to have recognized it)...

She asked, "When's the last time you ate? Cause I have a couple of coupons for free giant hotdogs from that place across the street and I'll share 'em with you..."

It took me a few minutes to really realize the gravity of the moment....Here was this really sweet, lost, girl who, despite her situation was looking to help others she thought needed it.

I realize she is in a very tight minority, but she was also an example of the truth...

There are those out there who REALLY need the help, but yet still are able to think of others instead of just themselves....

Needless to say, I took her (and her friends, all 10 of them) to Denny's and 'fed em up good'....I also made it a habit of stopping by their 'spot' to check on them during my rides....I knew her and her little group for about 4 months...They NEVER asked me for anything and they ALWAYS treated me with respect and kindness....I got a few of them work (those that wanted it and were able to) and I always made sure they had food in their bellies and were taking care of themselves as best they could...

One night, during a ride, I didn't see them in their spot...Then the next ride, not there again...

I never saw them again....It left a pretty big hole in my heart and I, to this day, pray that they made it 'out' of their situation and found happiness....I never found out much about their 'stories', they were pretty tight lipped...About the only thing I new for sure was that they were all 17-20 years old, and all were runaways for whatever reason....

That little group of kids (not much younger than me at the time) taught me more about life and human nature than anything I ever learned in college....

There ARE diamonds in the rough, and the only way to find them is to open your eyes (And heart) and do what you can to help your fellow man....Sure, they may be scamming you, but that does NOT belittle YOUR effort or heart.

/story/

Remember, we are all part of one very important race....The HUMANrace.

God Bless,

Prof. Piper
"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
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