To the editor:
This letter is in reference to the Oct. 15 story “Merchants to start campaign against panhandling.” I have a few questions for these merchants. What gives any one of you the right to say how another American spends her or his money? Who looks over your shoulder to judge whether your purchases are productive? What do you call a productive purchase? Is it a $5 ice cream cone? How about a $12 pound of coffee? How about anything you can imagine as long as it has a Jayhawk slapped on it? Are those productive purchases?
What would be so terrible about seeing the poor and homeless who panhandle as human beings just like any of us and actually doing something about the fact that millions of Americans are forced to live this way? Why can we not start with the assumption that it is never OK to harm another person and actually try solving social ills rather than bullying the poor and homeless?
Whether we like to admit it or not, they are humans, part of our society, and in need of help. Why must we blame them and punish them for a social issue that is much larger than they are? Shame on our downtown merchants!