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View Poll Results: Should panhandling be illegal?
Yes, it should be illegal at all times/in all places
42
55.26%
No, it should be legal at all times/in all places
11
14.47%
Some times/places should be illegal, while other should be legal
22
28.95%
Panhandling? Is that related to washing the dishes?
1
1.32%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

Should panhandling be illegal?

Old 08-16-05, 09:49 AM
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Should panhandling be illegal?

I see that Atlanta has made panhanding illegal in certain areas. I like the idea of not having to be harassed by bums wanting their next bottle, but this might be an unreasonable limitation on speech.

So, do you think panhandling should be legal or illegal?


Atlanta Lawmakers Approve Panhandling Ban

ATLANTA - Protesters yelled "Shame!" and "Crybaby!" as city council members approved a ban on panhandling near tourist attractions, but the mayor is expected to sign the legislation. ...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050816/...ta_panhandling
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Old 08-16-05, 09:50 AM
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Why is this not a poll?
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Old 08-16-05, 09:51 AM
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I think it should be illegal, but then I've not yet had to rely on it to sustain myself, if I had, I may feel differently.....
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Old 08-16-05, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Minor Threat
Why is this not a poll?
Tilt your head and squint... now, do you see the poll?
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Old 08-16-05, 10:01 AM
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Yes. It's disgraceful and doesn't help beggars.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:01 AM
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Panhandling over the phone and door to door definately should be illegal.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:16 AM
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No.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:25 AM
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For the most part yes i think it should be illegal. There are plenty of oranizations including churches that homeless, poor people can go to for free food, clothing, shelter etc... I'd rather give to those places and encourage individuals with needs to seek out those avenues as opposed to giving money to people on the streets who may have questionable motives..
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Old 08-16-05, 10:28 AM
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Yes.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:31 AM
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Heck yes it should!'
I want to be able to fill my car up with gas and not have some guy try and get money out of me by throwing water on the windscreen.

I want to be annoyed at being stuck in traffic without having to see a guy hobbling towards me.

And being that I work in the citeh I then see him later in the day not hobbling at all.

Non-aggresive panhandlers I am okay with to a degree
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Old 08-16-05, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by woofman
For the most part yes i think it should be illegal. There are plenty of oranizations including churches that homeless, poor people can go to for free food, clothing, shelter etc... I'd rather give to those places and encourage individuals with needs to seek out those avenues as opposed to giving money to people on the streets who may have questionable motives..
Good to see there is (pause) some compassion involved. And here, my old cynical self was thinking the people most in favor of this legislation are just tired of being confronted by funky bums all the time. Really, who is at liberty to make such a decision for these people?

You can always say "no" to a panhandler. Or be like Ted Raimi in Hard Target: "Ain't got no change, man!"
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Old 08-16-05, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by planetaire
... You can always say "no" to a panhandler. ...
One of my concerns is, can you really say "no"? Some, though certainly not all, panhandlers will be come agressive if you don't "help".
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Old 08-16-05, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by planetaire
Good to see there is (pause) some compassion involved. And here, my old cynical self was thinking the people most in favor of this legislation are just tired of being confronted by funky bums all the time. Really, who is at liberty to make such a decision for these people?

You can always say "no" to a panhandler. Or be like Ted Raimi in Hard Target: "Ain't got no change, man!"
I see you're in Nashville. Ever come across the homeless guy near Centennial Park who would ask you for change, then follow you and threaten you if you said no? I wouldn't mind a law saying he can't bug me.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Dead
One of my concerns is, can you really say "no"? Some, though certainly not all, panhandlers will be come agressive if you don't "help".
Yeah, I can definitely see that. Maybe it's growing up in Nashville, but I've never really seen the aggressive, wacked-out panhandler that purports to exist, just the leisurely, genteel southern panhandler.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by uberjoe
I see you're in Nashville. Ever come across the homeless guy near Centennial Park who would ask you for change, then follow you and threaten you if you said no? I wouldn't mind a law saying he can't bug me.
No, luckily I've missed that character. But then again, maybe I have, but just gave him change.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:51 AM
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There's a lot of panhandling here in downtown Memphis. Lots of them hang around just on the edge of the Beale Street area, hoping to get some cash off of the tourists. For the most part, they're not aggressive or anything, but nevertheless, they should all be rounded up and pushed out. It should be illegal, period.

For one thing, they strike me as lazy. I mean, for gods sake, it's Beale Street. Throw down a hat and play a harmonica or something! I've seen kids doing back flips down Beale Street and making a killing by passing a bucket around. I have no problem with that sort of thing, but just sitting around begging for change is freakin' lame.

If they're truly hard up, then hit the dozens of churches and shelters around town. There's way plenty of help available for the truly needy. But most of the people I see out there panhandling are not homeless, and they are not needy. They're lazy, and they make fairly good money at simply begging off tourists, and that's why they do it.

In any case, there has been a fairly large campaign around Memphis to not give them money, and it worked for the most part. There used to be a lot more than there were, hanging around Main Street and over near the Peabody Place mall. But now, Main Street is fairly clear, and I only see them down by Beale, so to some extent those campaigns do work.

If everybody would just stop giving them money, there wouldn't be any more panhandling.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:54 AM
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I get panhandled every day at lunch. It bugs me, but I wouldn't make it illegal. First Amendment and all that.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Dead
One of my concerns is, can you really say "no"? Some, though certainly not all, panhandlers will be come agressive if you don't "help".
um, there's a big difference between aggressive panhandling and merely sitting somewhere with a sign.

I don't mind banning aggressive panhandling, but I don't see how someone who doesn't even approach you, or does approach and takes no for an answer, should be banned.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
um, there's a big difference between aggressive panhandling and merely sitting somewhere with a sign.

I don't mind banning aggressive panhandling, but I don't see how someone who doesn't even approach you, or does approach and takes no for an answer, should be banned.
Because there's no feasible way to sort out those who don't take no for an answer from those who do.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
um, there's a big difference between aggressive panhandling and merely sitting somewhere with a sign. I don't mind banning aggressive panhandling, but I don't see how someone who doesn't even approach you, or does approach and takes no for an answer, should be banned.
How about if he approaches you and asks you for some money at an ATM machine, while you're pulling out some cash? You wouldn't find that a bit intimidating?

Banning panhandling outright turns out to be hard to do. The Supreme Court has struck down some laws along those lines as infringing on the right of free assembly. However, there's good reasons to put a stop to this sort of thing, and most of the newer laws banning it take this sort of thing into account.

Yes, there's probably no way to make a guy sitting on the sidewalk with a sign and a cup and not saying a word to anybody into being an illegal activity. But very little panhandling is actually done that way.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
um, there's a big difference between aggressive panhandling and merely sitting somewhere with a sign.

Yep. I assume most if not all municipalities have laws on the books for harassment or in the case of those squeegie guys, jaywalking. A law banning panhandling is unnecessary.

Also, what happens when a bum is arrested and convicted of panhandling? What is the punishment? Pay a fine? That's not going to happen. Jail time? Is this something the community wants to pay for. Even if sentenced to community service, there are administrative costs. Certainly doesn't seem worth it to me, when I can simply say 'no.'
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Old 08-16-05, 11:09 AM
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This may sound crazy, but I think local governments should be able to decide whether it be legal or illegal, and where.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto
How about if he approaches you and asks you for some money at an ATM machine, while you're pulling out some cash? You wouldn't find that a bit intimidating?

Banning panhandling outright turns out to be hard to do. The Supreme Court has struck down some laws along those lines as infringing on the right of free assembly. However, there's good reasons to put a stop to this sort of thing, and most of the newer laws banning it take this sort of thing into account.

Yes, there's probably no way to make a guy sitting on the sidewalk with a sign and a cup and not saying a word to anybody into being an illegal activity. But very little panhandling is actually done that way.

Most ATMs are on private property, so there are already laws on the books to deal with such panhandlers: trespassing.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Most ATMs are on private property, so there are already laws on the books to deal with such panhandlers: trespassing.
Huh? ATM's in metropolitan areas generally are external to the building and face the sidewalk and while the ATM itself may be on private property, the person is standing in a public place as is the panhandler. You can't get somebody for trespassing when they're standing on the sidewalk.

Furthermore, in tourist areas (a favorite of panhandlers), there are generally stand alone ATM devices on the sidewalks, which are not actually part of the building but are bolted to it. These usually sit directly on the sidewalk, instead of beside it. Definitely can't call that trespassing.
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Old 08-16-05, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Goldblum
Because there's no feasible way to sort out those who don't take no for an answer from those who do.
No, you can make laws. Isn't that what we're talking about here?
Originally Posted by Otto
How about if he approaches you and asks you for some money at an ATM machine, while you're pulling out some cash? You wouldn't find that a bit intimidating?
Yes I would. But laws can limit panhandling in some locations.
Originally Posted by Otto
But very little panhandling is actually done that way.
Basing broad statements about panhandling based upon one's own locations or experience may not be appropriate. Around where I live, there's virtually no aggressive panhandling. It's illegal in the downtown area (aggressive panhandling, not panhandling, I believe). And outside of downtown, they mostly sit at intersections with signs, and don't accost anyone.

Of course it is very different in other places, like yours, apparently. But that doesn't mean it can't be changed.
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