This is my personal thoughts, opinions and musings place. I will also rant about things, especially politically-correct things that irritate me. And sci-fi. Did I mention sci-fi? There'll be lots of sci-fi stuff here. And movies, too. Mmmmm... Movies

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The beggar kid culture

There's a strange phenomenon here in town that I'd never witnessed anywhere else. Of course, I have to admit that I'd never before lived in a such a small town, or so close to downtown, but even so, it's something that I think shouldn't even be allowed to exist. There's a group of kids(if I had to guess, I'd say they're all under twenty) out there who seem to spend their springs, summers and falls, begging for money all up and down Main Street. Now, these kids don't seem hungry, they have large, well-fed dogs with them, they wear good(relatively speaking - they are begging, after all) clothes and shoes, and they're recognized as classmates by other kids in town.

Sometimes, they try to get creative in their attempts to swindle money out of hardworking people; they make up signs that say, “Travelling, please help.” My initial reaction is, if that sign is accurate and you are, in fact, travelling, and you hadn't settled the question of accomodations, food or money before you set out, that's your damn problem, not mine. The reality, however, is that it's just a scam: they're not travelling, and in fact have good homes here in town.

So these kids, well-fed and well-dressed, drag their huge, well-fed and shiny-coated, dogs downtown to beg for money. At least the guy who was begging for money with the sign that said “Will code HTML for food” was being honest and was willing to actually work for his supper. It sounds like a harsh expression, doesn't it? “Work for his supper”. But it's absolutely true for every single one of us who gets up in the morning and goes to work five days a week. Why, in realiity, should we part with our hard-earned money to feed those who refuse to work to feed themselves? Is giving them money not being an enabler of bad behaviour? When we do that, do we not reinforce their belief that they're somehow entitled to live a carefree life, to carouse with their beggar kid friends, and to not actually do something productive?

But what if they're really needy, you might ask? Well, then they wouldn't be able to keep their dogs quite that well fed. There are also several hostels in the area; I regularly pass one on my occasional lunch time walks. There are Churches in the area, and if they can't help for whatever reason, then certainly a Church would know who can. The economy might not be in the best condition, but there are still a ton of low-level jobs in the papers.

Oh, but wait! Didn't you know? They don't really want to work. A friend of mine offered a couple of them a job at $10/hour to clean out her shed. That's well above minimum wage, but she got turned down. That's not why they're out there on the street corners.

Helping people is all well and good, if it actually helps them. But nobody's every proven to me that merely giving people money simply because they ask for it does anybody any good.

The Beggar Kid culture Posted by Hello

These kids in Fredericton, NB, were representative of what I'm talking about. They were gathered there, on a street corner, one fine Saturday this month, and were demanding food not bombs. Was it the educational system that failed them, or their parents? I don't know, but if they were going to protest bombs, they should've known there aren't any in Canada, and if there were, we don't have any bombers to deliver them. But protesting in front of an American consulate would've been too much like work. There was another sign there, painted on the ground, that said, “Free food, please help”. Till I saw that sign, I actually thought they were doing charity work. I should've known better.

Why does it matter, you might ask. They're only kids. The trouble is that kids don't stay kids, they grow into adults, and if they get used to always getting free money for nothing, they'll be welfare cases for the rest of their lives, and so will their kids. And you and I will have to pay for their choices. I'm all for helping people, but it should be help, not keeping the lazy kids in the belief that they're owed something for nothing.


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