Abdul At Large

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Pure Genius or Pure Evil

I’ve gotten quite a bit of response to my column this week in the Indianapolis Star on my “reverse panhandling” experiment.  

You can read it here, but in a nutshell, a few weeks ago I got tired of the panhandlers downtown asking me for money so I decided to turn the tables on them and do some preemptive begging.

In other words, I asked them for money before they asked me.  My conclusion, panhandlers don’t like it when people ask them for money either.  

The public response to my efforts fell into two distinct camps.  Most sane, rational  people thought what I did was brilliant and plan to do something similar the next time they get approached.

Other folks, well, not so much. I was a cruel, heartless bastard with no moral conscience; which is odd because I am also an attorney.    And one person hoped I would lose everything so he could walk by the street and spit on me.  Wow!!!

What really amazed me with the hate mail was how many people got mad at me for proving a point;  that most downtown panhandlers are scam artists and giving them money only feeds into the scam.  In addition, panhandling has been cited as reason Indianapolis has lost some of its conventions.  And those conventions generate dollars so we can pay for things like public safety and roads.

Yes, there are truly homeless people in our community and they deserve our help to get them in a stable environment, which is why I support programs and events like this.

But as far as that guy who ran out of gas and left his pregnant wife on I-69 and she’s about to go into labor and he just needs a few dollars so he can get her to the hospital, sorry dude.  Today is not your day and to be frank, tomorrow doesn’t look all that great either.

So what am I a genius or a jerk?  You make the call.

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